|Nick Troth’s X1/9 Experience
The X1/9 is the most beautiful and balanced car I have ever driven giving a lot of fun and pleasure, at a reasonable price. I bought my first Fiat X1/9 back in 1992 after previously servicing it for a customer over a number of years. The car was a 1980 model and was in a tatty condition when purchased, yet the chassis proved to be sound.
The car later developed the usual gearbox problems and a cylinder head fault. The head had turned porous resulting in the cooling system being pressurized, which kept bursting the water hoses.
Whilst chasing a friend in a RX7 on a mid-Wales weekend trip, a 360 degree spin illuminated the limits of the X1/9 suspension and tyres. I decided (having also owned a Beta Coupe) to fit a tuned Lancia 2.0 twin-cam engine and gearbox.
The Lancia 2.0 Twin-cam conversion
The X1/9 was also fitted with 14” Beta wheels, 185 – 60 tyres, and Koni adjustable shocks with 25% uprated springs. The weight distribution, breaking performance and front end stability were greatly improved by moving the fuel tank to the front of the car. This also gave greater access to the engine bay from behind the passenger seat. A central tunnel was constructed to accommodate the gear selector mechanism and strengthen the floor pan. The bumpers were removed and a P1X front end design was created. A custom rear spoiler and engine cover was produced to compliment the bodywork, which was then sprayed in Tahiti Blue. It was a delight to drive!
The X1/9 was used for 5 immensely fun years with the Lancia engine. Unfortunately whilst racing a 911 on Castle Coombe race circuit at a club meeting in 1999, oil starvation caused inevitable engine damage and it was time for another upgrade.
The Alfa Romeo 3.0 V6 conversion
A friend had previously asked if it was possible to fit the 3.0 V6 Alfa Romeo engine – it was considered impossible, yet the thought persisted.
Sliding the V6 under the X1/9 showed that the unit would not fit without major chassis and bodywork modifications. The shock absorber mountings had to be moved outwards, wishbones were altered, drive-shafts and hubs were modified along with many other jobs as you would expect.
164 shocks and brakes were adapted to fit improving performance and this involved incorporating the 164 master cylinder into the X1/9 pedal box!
The P1X was finished hours before the 2000 club trip to Italy. Every evening and weekend was used to complete the project which proved to be a considerable workload whilst running the business. Auto Italia featured the car in June 2001!
The completed P1X had handling, acceleration, breaking performance and stability that was far greater than expected - The ultimate X1/9 road car!
A fully converted X1/9 to P1X can be made to order!