Car of the Month July 2011

Submitted by Tony Cucci

I bought the car purely by accident as I wasn't especially looking for one. I buy and sell items on ebay, and I had accumulated some cash. One evening I was searching ebay when by accident I came across an X1/9 for sale. I thought wow, I remember them (when I was 19 I saw a green one with the roof off pass my house and ever since then I had wanted one). That was over 24 years ago, but I never did get one. So when I saw one for sale my memories of the X1/9 came flooding back. that was it, I caught the bug

. I thought I had to have one.

Every night I began searching on ebay and elsewhere , then one evening I saw a black gran finale and all of a sudden I found myself bidding on it. My heart was pumping but unfortunatley I lost the bid. I became more determined and the wanting became greater. It wasn't easy finding a good one, but as I was searching every evening, I was glad that I lost the bid because I came across a completely original Bertone vs 1986 with only approx 26000 miles on the clock, one lady owner from new, loads of paper work with original car manual and even receipt of sale. It must have come on ebay that very second I was searching, because I emailed the lady and she couldn't believe how quickly someone responded. The gods must have heard me. She somehow knew how bad I wanted one and how I wanted to look after the car. She made a beeline for me in the sense that she wanted me to buy it. I went to view, it was almost immaculate, hardly any rust. The car had been standing for nearly 2 years. I paid the lady (Nan), her eyes welled up because it was her first car and she still loved it and sad to see it go. She had to sell for personal reasons. As she explained, there were a lot of people who wanted the car but she wanted it to go to someone who would cherish it, not some dealer who wanted to make a quick buck out of it, and they could because she sold the car below market value and the number plate was worth 1k!! But I was the right person for the car because I wanted the X1/9 for the love of it. It was fate!! I promised Nan that I would look after the car.

I arranged a truck to transport the car back to my house. At home she wouldn't start, but I slowly brought her back to life. I changed most of the electrical system to new, flushed the rad, new tyres, cleaned every bit of grime, polished. new brake pads and discs, new gear oil, engine oil, filter, brakefluid. new cambelt, cleaned her inside out, completely waxoiled her again, (she was factory waxoiled) and completey retuned her.

The moment came when she finally started, oh boy what a feeling of excitement! I took her out onto the road, summer sun shining, roof off, away we went. I was ROCKING! and ROLLING, and WOW!!!! Driving along the country road what a feeling of complete and utter JOY!!!!!! I WAS 19 AGAIN!!!! Yes I really did go back in time!!! My god it was surreal, I was LOVING it!!! What shear FUN!! Best money I had ever spent!! she handled beautifully round those corners.

That was in 2009, I still love taking the X1/9 out and get that great feeling each time, as my car is the only X1/9 in my town. I had only seen one other since I bought the car, in northampton when going to work. It was great seeing another one. I always get people looking, some wondering what car it is, some remembering the X1/9s with delight. When at a shop I came out to go in my X1/9 I found that there was a number of people around the car commenting how they remember the X1/9s and thought how much nicer they were than the other copies, such as the TR7. I was pleasantly surprised that some of the younger generation know the X1/9, when getting petrol, I went to pay and this young lad,about 24, said "thats an X1/9"!!, he then rolled up his sleeve and revealed his tattoo of the Fiat Abarth scorpion.

The x19 is now happily in my garage, and I use it daily. One day I want to go and drive on the continent. I will endeavour to keep her as pristine as possible, and when I retire it will be my project to make her look brand new again, then pass her on when I am no longer able to use her. If I was a millionaire, I would have the Ferrari ,the BMW etc, but I would still definitley have an X19. These cars have something special that no other cars have. Finally I just would like to say a GREAT BIG thank you to Nan for the privilege of letting me have her, and I have kept my promise, Nan, to look after her now and for the future.