In Australia, we have four different types of X1/9s. I will explain the main differences between these models below. First, let's start at the beginning with the 1978 Series 1 (Series Special). This was the first X1/9 officially imported into Australia. They only came in three colours: Metallic Blue, Metallic Green, and Metallic Orange. They also had colour-coordinated interiors with deck chair-striped fabric. The pictures below highlight the differences between the earlier 1972 X1/9 and the Series Special.
The Series Special stood out for its unique features. There were ladder markings on the side and an X1-9 logo on the side pillar. It sported a full black front rubber spoiler, and black mirrors, not chrome.
The Series Special was also supposed to come with Carello fog lamps and matching luggage, as seen above. However, it's a bit of a mystery why we never received these items here. The fog lamps did not pass the Australian Design Rules (ADR) as they were yellow in colour. However, you could purchase them as an optional extra with clear lenses. The luggage had already been discontinued by the time we received our first delivery of X1/9s in Australia in May 1978.
The Series Special also had individually numbered stickers placed on the passenger side, which featured the Australian flag and Bertone's signature. I have been collecting data on these stickers, and here's what I have found so far.
If you have an original sticker, it's likely to have faded to white by now, though it was originally a light silver. The numbering was also unevenly printed. If you look at the '9' in the picture, you'll notice it's higher than the number '2'. The reproduction stickers I've seen are darker in silver, and the numbering lines up as if it were computer printed.
From my investigation, I have discovered that dealers were given a batch of stickers to apply to the cars themselves. Overseas, you received the sticker in an envelope with the car when you purchased it, and you applied it yourself.
The three examples here show the first chassis number as 93722 with sticker 0144. Yet, only 10 chassis numbers later, 93733 has sticker number 0329 and has jumped 185 stickers forward.
Stickers continued to be placed on cars for years to come. They were only meant to be placed on Series 1; however, some dealers had spares and continued to place them on the Series 1.5 and Series 2.
They are generally in order, as you don't see low numbers on Series 1.5 or 2; they tend to be above 1000.
Australian X1/9 owners only ever encountered two mirror types. The first was featured on the 1978 Series Special. It came with black mirrors and legs on both the driver's and passenger's side. These mirrors appeared in three other combinations sometimes seen on X1/9s in Australia. First, a full body chrome with chrome leg; second, a chrome body but with a black leg; and lastly, a full gunmetal grey body and leg.
From version 1.5, which is from 1979 onwards, the through-hole type mirror was always present on the driver's window only. Interestingly, we were the first in the world to receive this type of mirror.
The Series 3 (Bertone) featured mirrors on both the passenger and driver's sides.
Series 1 & 1.5
The Series 1 and 1.5 shared the same boot emblem. The later 'five speed' logo was only found on the Series 2. Interestingly, the Series 3 didn't have any emblem in this location at all.
Series 2 only
There were three different bumpers across the four series of X1/9s. The Series 1.5 had the combination of large aluminium bumpers with no holes for a number plate light. Instead, it featured the same side-mounted number plate lights in black as the Series 1. Notably, the internal components of the Series 1 number plate lights were silver or cream in colour, not black.
The correct placement of this sticker is on the passenger side front panel, above the ladder stripes, as demonstrated in the picture above with Niki Lauda.
Interestingly, I have found numerous cars delivered in Tasmania that have their stickers placed below the stripes. I'm not certain why the dealer positioned them in this way, but it was a common occurrence.
The Series 1.5 was unique to the Australian market only and is sometimes referred to as the hybrid model. These X1/9s were badged with the compliance date of 1979 & 1980. This version of the X1/9 bore a resemblance to the Series 2, with its large aluminium bumpers and modernised interior. However, it featured the 1.3 litre 4-speed engine from the Series 1.
Series 1.5 vehicles were between VINs 128AS0098000 to 128AS0125805. For the rest of the world, if your vehicle has a VIN within this range, it was a 1.5 litre 5-speed.
There are a few stories circulating about this. Some suggest that the bumpers were changed to comply with Australian safety standards at the time. Others suggest that the new 1.5 litre engine didn't yet pass compliance, so the older 1.3 4-speed was continued until compliance was reached. Another possibility is that FIAT needed to clear their stock of 1300cc engines and 4-speed gearboxes. Australia always seemed to receive the last of the batch shipments for all series.
Interestingly, we never saw a glove box in any of our Series 1 X1/9s in Australia. This was because it didn't comply with the Australian Design Rules at the time, which concerned legroom and obstructions in the cabin.
From Series 1.5 onwards, a glove box was featured, as seen here, with no logo underneath it.
In the Series 2, the glove box had a logo underneath it. Mechanically, it was the same as the Series 1.5.
The Series 3 was similar to the Series 2, but the logo changed to just a signature.
On the Series 1, models before VIN: 128AS0090258 had the front boot release under the driver's left leg. The mechanism was a pull-down handle type.
This position was chosen because X1/9s were originally only left-hand drive (LHD). This location would have placed the boot release in the glove box, locked away when the car was in LHD. There are not many X1/9s delivered in Australia with this configuration.
An announcement from Fiat on the 24th of August 1978 stated that the position and mechanism were changed to a lever and was now located next to the passenger's left leg. It remained there until the end of production.
Reference FIAT service document 701-23. You can download the package fromhere.
The doors on a X1/9 are the same on the outside however the series 1 internal door handles and mechanisms were different.
The handles and window winder were in different locations. If your looking to replace your door make sure you buy the correct door for your series.
Series 1 only
Series 1.5,2 & 3
Correct cap is 13lbs / .9 bar.
The series 1 had a stainless steel expansion tank.
From series 1.5 (1979) onwards this was changed to a plastic expansion tank. The often split because the wrong cap is fitted so the pressure is not release and the tank splits.
The stainless steel tanks are more reliable as they don’t explode unlike the plastic ones do as they age.
The centre console did change with each series but none more so then from the Series 1 to Series 1.5, The Series one had all controls on the centre console and none on the dashboard besides the pop up headlights that have remained in the same position throughout all series.
The series 1 and 1.5 had no option for power windows, from the series 2 onwards the option was there but never installed by dealer or factory for Australia. On the series 2 there are blanking plates and wiring ready to use should you wish to install them. All series 3 had power windows.
The gear knob was the same on the series 1 & 1.5 but changed to an unusual shape that often broke apart in the series 2 before the more practical one in the series 3.
The engine lid on the series 1.5 and 2 look the same but the series 2 had a extra vent on the side. This was required for better air flow on the fuel injection models that we did not get over here till 1987. The extra vent was on the passenger side of the engine bay lid as pictured above.
The pillar logo from February 1982 changes to the one you see here on the series two. This new logo designed continued till the end of production.
I believe if your X1/9 series 2 does not have one of these plates then it was built in 1981 regardless what your compliance plate reads.
The series 1 steering wheel was similar to the series 1.5 & 2 however the mechanics behind are different for the horn to work. So they are not interchangeable without modification.
The centre part was silver on the series 1 yet black and silver on the series 1.5 & 2.
Both displayed a different style Fiat logo in the horn position.
The Series 3 was a new designed altogether and now displayed the Bertone logo in the centre.
Series 1.5 & 2
Series 1.5 & 2
There was a few types of rims supplied in Australia. There was also many imported and local wheels, including some manufactured by Cromodora. Dealers of the time also offered upgrades at the time of sale. The pictures here are of the factory range offered across the series.
Series 1,1.5 & 2 Also spare wheel
The spare wheel from series 1.5 on
Series 1 (1978)
Series 2 (1981 - 1982)
Series 3 (1987 - 1988)
Series 1.5 (1979 - 1980)
The instrument cluster in all series only ever displayed in Kph. The series 1.5 was also sometime supplied with a clockwise tachometer. By the time the series 2 came out all tachometers were now going anticlockwise. The FIAT logo remained in the centre of the console untill the series 3 where it was then changed to read Bertone. There was also a Bertone logo in the centre of the tachometer. The wording ‘Unleaded Fuel Only’ was now displayed in the fuel gauge. The KM odometer on series 1 through to 2 only had 5 decimal places and was 6 by the time the series 3 was released.