How many X1/9s were really built -- By Daniel Forest

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How many X1/9s were really built -- By Daniel Forest

Post by Chris Layton » Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:53 pm

<b>How many X1/9s were really built?
By Daniel Forest</b>

How many X1/9s were really built?
Neither Fiat or Bertone seems interested in confirming or invalidating the
numbers mentioned by various authors. I had seen numbers as low as 140 000,
but they were from older articles, when the X1/9 was close to the end, but
still in production. Some "experts" are now talking about 180,000 cars
built or even 200,000. I'm not inclined to believe them. I'm an X1/9 nut
and for years I have collected serial numbers to keep track of the cars and
in hope it would help me gather some useful production information. My
initial conclusion was that the production number was closer to 150,000. I
was wrong. After a few years of checking serial numbers in X1/9 windshields
I came to a new conclusion. You want to know how many X1/9s were really
built? Read on.

Thanks mostly to the X1/9 Survey of the British X1/9 Owners Club on the net, my
information on X1/9 serial numbers suddenly doubled. There are more than
700 hundred owners who had taken the time to register their car on this
survey, and a some of them even bothered to include their car serial

With information regarding the market (Europe, Australia, North
America,...) car colors, options, engine, bumpers, etc., I was able to
confirm the logic in the sequence numbers. Specifically, cars with numbers
in the same range were sold in the same countries, cars with following
numbers had the same option, the same colors, etc. No surprise here.

I also learned some facts about the different markets. In North America, we
tend to split the production in two groups: 1300cc and 1500cc. The 1300cc
having two bumpers model, the first one with only the small decorative
bumpers at each corner in 1974, and the 1975-78 run with the controversial
North American-only bigger dual bumper version. The 1500cc engine could be split between carbureted models (1979-1980) and fuel injected (1981 and up) and between Fiat and Bertone production (which commenced in 1982).

Mixing information from other countries make these distinctions obsolete.
In the rest of the world the 1974 style bumpers were used until the end of
1978 were the Mark II X1/9 (1500cc, for most of us) appears. But these
1300cc bumpers weren't exactly similar to the one (1974) in America. In
European trim, the rubber over-riders were less prominent for instance.

Considering the European market, for the most part they didn't have fuel
injected X1/9s. Some very late models corresponding to 1988 and 89 models
were, indeed fuel injected. Close inspection of some of these cars reveals
that they are nearly identical to USA specification cars, except for the
omission of USA-mandated labeling, such as the chassis number on the dash and
the emissions labels on the door jamb.

United Kingdom was a big market for the X1/9. Italy, France and Germany
seems to share most of the European production with a few going to Spain,
Sweden, Netherlands, etc.

Australian enthusiasts also had the X1/9 when Fiat started building right
hand drive version for the English market, beginning with the 1978 model.
In 1979, they received the revised model with update interior and worldwide
bumpers. But, because of emission controls regulation, they had to stick to
the 1300cc engine for awhile.

Japanese market seems to have received a strange mix of cars, from American
LHD to Australian RHD version. It would seem that the cars did receive
official support as Japanese-only market parts are well documented on the
rest-of-the- world (i.e. not North American) parts microfiche.

For how long?
The X1/9 was sold from 1972 to 1990. We know from Bertone that of the later
models a number of the bodies were probably built in 1987 or 1988 and
"tagged" as later model year depending when they were finally assembled,
sold or registered.

In the states, the latest cars were 1988 injected models, although only a
few made it to these shores. The demise of Bertone in North America was
due to the large number of unsold cars in dealerships.

And how many?
Contrary to my original belief, there are no significant holes between each
year's production runs or during the transfer from Fiat to Bertone. I
previously thought there were some important gaps because the sequence from
the serial numbers between some years were a lot bigger than the quantity I
believe was sold in the American market during that time. But the "poor"
years in USA were counterbalanced by a strong time in other markets.

I was always confused by reading articles from respected journalists
stating 180,000 or even 200,000 examples were built of the X1/9.Considering
the highest serial number I know of, there are probably less than 165 000
X1/9s sold. The latest model I know of is a 1990 LHD Gran Finale, serial
number 164 477 sold in UK. I heard about some cars with serial number in the 167 000 range in Germany, but at this time I don’t have any confirmation or details about this.

Knowing that, it became easier to tell how production was split between the
1300cc and the 1500cc cars. Some says it's half and half. Other even
suggest 2/3 of the production was in 1500cc form. Wrong. Before the advent
of the 1500cc engine, there was close to 100,000 X1/9 already built and
some were still being built (for the Australian market). So I believe the
ratio is more like 60% for the 1300cc (nearly 100,000) and 40% for the
1500cc (around 65,000).

Serial numbers vs production years?
So, can we tell with which serial numbers started and ended each year? This
is complicated. The serial number logic works in North America but not in
some other important markets.

For example:
My car is a 1980 carbureted North American version with serial number
121,252. I know car 130, 633 is the same, also a 1980 carbureted engine.

-Number 115,745 is a 1980 Australian car, while I know car 118,648 is a 1979
car. And 122,089 is a 1981 UK model while 130,117 is a 1984 Japanese car...

So it means:
115,745 is a 1980
118,648 is a 1979
121,252 is a 1980
122,089 is a 1981
130,117 is a 1984
130,633 is a 1980

So, one can conclude that serial numbers were not logically spread all
around the world and the way model years are related to the moment the car
were build (and their corresponding serial number) works in North America
while in some other markets it is linked to the year it was sold (or
register) first. It is important to note that typically cars are given
their serial number at the time the body is built. Couple this with time
delays for rationalizing production for a particular market or for
transportation delays, and it is easy to see how the serial numbers get
muddled for markets other than North America.The discrepancy between serial
numbers and model years tends to grow greater the closer you get to end of
the car's production. Some 1990 models were being built before a 1987 car!
One final note, the reason serial numbers relate so well to model years in
North America is because that is required by law!

Injection in 1980?
Another question that is subject to controversy is: was fuel injection
first available in 1980? It was advertised as an option in Canada and USA.
I haven't seen or heard about any Canadian 1980 car with it. And numbers
are telling me that the first injected model was around serial number
131,875, a 1981 Canadian model, while there is some later serial numbers
with injected engine, tagged as 1980 US models. So the first run of 1980
X1/9 in North America (121,001 and up) were carbureted, while starting at
around 131,900 the injection appears. These were tagged as 1981 in Canada
but 1980 in US...

Pretty confusing hey! Anyone with serial number information that refutes
some of my conclusions, please contact me! I'd like to refine my
understanding of the production of the X 1/9.

Daniel Forest
(with some help from Damon Royal Kane)
Chris Layton (Forum Admin)
2012 Subaru Imprezza (Kid Transporter)
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1981 124 Spider
1972 124 Spider (In pieces all across TN)

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Information about a 1988 Bertone X1/9

Post by 84pinin » Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:25 am


I owned a 1988 X1/9 until it was totalled in a car accident in 1996. I bought the car in 12/1989 from a Bertone dealer in Longwood, FL. The dealer told me that there were only 80 X1/9 brought into the United States in 1988 and this was one of them.

This car was manufactured in 02/88 with a serial number of: ZBBBS00A1J7163025. Color was Twight Blue Metallic Pearl with the Blue Tweed Interior. This car came with A/C, Leather shifter knob, leather shifter boot and three spoke leather wrapped steering wheel. Exterior had rear deck wing with "Bertone" decal on the righthand side of it and "Bertone" decals just below the air intake vents on both sides of the car along with the "Bertone" decal on the driverside headlamp cover. This car also came with a set of custom matching luggage.

I truly enjoyed this car and miss it dearly as I have never had as much fun with any other car that I have ever driven.


When does a car really become part of the family?

Evan J Statman
1984 Pininfarina ("Flashy")

When does a car really become part of the family?

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Post by Chris Layton » Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:24 am

Awesome story ! If you want to read more about X1/9s and check out production #s , lit for the era, and more browse on over to:

(another site I did work on and host :) )
Chris Layton (Forum Admin)
2012 Subaru Imprezza (Kid Transporter)
2005 Toyota MR2
2007 Lotus Elise
1981 124 Spider
1972 124 Spider (In pieces all across TN)

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Tim North
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Location: Chicagoland, IL

My 1988X info

Post by Tim North » Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:40 pm

Just found this thread so I thought I would add my car's info. My car's VIN ends with 162976. Has a built date of 09/87 and is titled as a 1988.
Tim North
Chicagoland FLU
1988 X 1/9

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Re: How many X1/9s were really built -- By Daniel Forest

Post by Funvair1982 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:26 pm

I have a 1980 numbers ending in 130628 im in the us however near the Canadian border so not sure if a us car or s Canadian car it does have the bosh ljet fuel injection

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