A Jim of All Trades

Fiat X1/9 & an Autocross

with 4 comments

It’s been a while since I’ve said anything about my Fiat X1/9. Last year I got it out of storage, did some work to it, did one autocross with it in March, did some more work to it, and at my next autocross in June began having problems with it. It was hard to get it running and keep running and there were a few things at fault, but at that point I was out of patience and didn’t have any more budgeted for working on it. I think I fixed just enough to keep it running okay and drove it over a few weekends, but it went back into storage relatively early in the year and I didn’t autocross it again last year.

But as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this year I had renewed interest in working on it again. I didn’t get it out of storage until June, but I made a plan of attack and devoted an hour a day to wrenching on it for a few weeks to get everything fixed, plus some extra time over some weekends. It was nice splitting up the time like that because I never got too frustrated with it. Some nights were just spent re-positioning jacks and getting tools ready because there’s only so much you can do in an hour, but it worked for me.

Here’s a list of the work done:

  • new brake pads
  • installed an electric fuel pump
  • oil and filter change
  • installed a “hard-start” relay
  • replaced starter
  • installed new outer tie rod ends
  • did my best to align it (it’s not perfect, but improved)

And here’s how it looked for most of June:


Though I did have to rely heavily on a friend for advice for a couple things, everything went pretty well and it’s been running good since. It does still need more work – it’ll never be “done” – but I’m not doing anything major until next year at this point. Next will be fixing a transmission leak and hopefully doing some much needed body work.

Anyway, I’ve been driving it once a week, usually just for fun on back roads or to the gym on weekends, and it’s been a hoot.

(shot with a polarizer and some post processing was done)

I wasn’t going to autocross it this year, just don’t have the extra time and money to commit to it, but the local Corvette Club is hosting some events ONLY ONE MILE FROM MY HOUSE, and they’re cheaper than the ones I usually do, so how could I pass that up?? I mean, it’s so close I can drive there on my racing tires (not street legal) and don’t have to mess with changing tires in a parking lot with hand tools and bringing a ton of extra stuff along.

So yesterday I got the car all ready and today was my first autocross since the one in June of last year that was absolutely horrible.

Here’s the car yesterday with the tires on, all ready to go:

IMGP7973xs IMGP7986xcs IMGP7999xs
way too much negative camber, but that’s the best I can do with my current setup

And here are two shots to sort of give an idea of the stance with the Slicks on… they stick out a bit:



The car doesn’t look that great non-photoshopped with all of it’s defects showing, but it is a very fun little car and I’m happy to have it.

Anyway, on to the autocross…

It rained today so it was a bit more challenging than under clear conditions. I had fun though and am glad I went. In the morning I finished 7th out of 14 overall and in the afternoon I finished 9th out of 14. I wish I would have been faster, but I’m satisfied with middle of the pack, especially considering it’s been over a year since I’ve done this. The car club that organized this is welcoming and I’m looking forward to doing their last event of the year in a couple weeks, at the same location.

Here are a couple pictures I shot in the parking lot today. You can sort of tell how small the X1/9 is compared to other modern cars.

IMGP8021xs IMGP8022xs IMGP8023xs

The club is a Corvette club, hence the number of Vettes.

And here’s a video I took using a Drift HD I borrowed from a cousin (neat little camera). This was my best run from the morning.

Thanks for reading and happy motoring!


Written by Jim

August 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm

4 Responses

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  1. How fun! Did you borrow a GoPro video camera? I love how little this car looks among the others, I didnt know it was smaller. I also really like the glamour shot you took of it – looks really nice! I’m super envious that you have that natural-light garage (or space)… much preferable to a dark shop for tinkering around, I imagine. Congrats on placing so well!


    August 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    • I used a “Drift HD” camera. Very similar to the GoPro, but a bit bigger and not quite as good quality. I had never heard of it before but it was offered to me to use by a cousin when I was asking around. I like it, neat wide angle vantage point.

      The car port is so-so. In mid spring and early fall it’s nice and comfortable, but it’s pretty hot in the summer and freezing in the winter – just like being outside. It’s better than having absolutely no protection, but its purpose is really just shielding weather from a car, which I’m still grateful for. Or at least Kristin is – she gets it over the winter! ;) Not very well lit in the evenings either, but shop lights help. Maybe someday I’ll have a nice garage, but in the meantime this works and I’m thankful for it!


      August 19, 2013 at 8:58 pm

  2. How did you achieve that much negative camber?


    August 24, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    • The negative camber is a result of using drastically cut springs. I actually have “camber bolts” installed to bring them back positive a few degrees.


      August 25, 2014 at 7:01 am


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