Into the lions' den ...

Into the lions' den ...

Chris Hafner
Chris Hafner

July 3rd, 2008, 11:58 pm #1

Hello all,

I write for Amazon Car Lust, and specifically I wrote the Fiat/Bertone X1/9 post that Jim D. mentioned in here - a post that was received with not a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Here's Jim's post: http://www.network54.com/Forum/12159/me ... 214679772/
Here's my offending X1/9 post: http://www.carlustblog.com/2007/10/fiat-x19.html

I don't necessarily have a lot of honor to defend, but I am worried that I caused offense where I meant none with people who I probably have a lot in common with, so I'd like to try to explain. And if you'd prefer to shout me down and pelt me with rotten fruit and other solid objects, I can certainly understand that too.

Here's the thing - I actually thought I wrote a pretty loving remembrance of the X1/9, so I was startled to see the response. Until I actually reread my post and I think I understand the problem.

It might be helpful for me to give some context, and answer some of the questions along the way.

> I am amazed that he can be allowed to write an article and post/publish it about a car he has never even driven.

Well, the downside of the Internet is that any idiot can post an opinion on the web, and as mischance would have it, I'm one of those idiots. I have opinions on cars, and I write them. I may have the name "Amazon" on the blog, but at the end of the day I'm just another idiot posting his opinions on the Internet.

In my defense, I try to make clear up front the fact that I'm not operating as a journalist here, but just as another blogger. My profile on the blog reads thusly:

"Chris Hafner is a former automotive journalist turned full-time car addict. Without concerning himself with fairness, objectivity, or expertise, he nevertheless feels strongly about just about every car made. His tastes in cars are, to be charitable, quirky. Be cautious; if you would like to avoid hearing him drone on about Saabs for countless hours, it's best if you avoid eye contact and back away slowly."

I've been a journalist in my career, engaged in fact-checking, etc., I'd get test cars for evaluation and all that, but this is a whole different ball of wax. On this blog I write about cars I like and dislike for whatever rational or irrational reason; I've posted daily for nearly a year, about hundreds of cars now, and if I limited it to cars I've actually driven I wouldn't be able to write about all kinds of cars. I'm not declaring fact - I'm having a conversation with other enthusiasts who also lust after a wide variety of cars, many of which they probably haven't driven.

For what it's worth, I try not to be a complete ignoramus. There's usually a reason I have an opinion on these cars - I've either driven one, or known somebody who owns one, or have just read many road tests (or one road test many times!). But again, I'm not declaring myself to be the world's expert on every car I write about.

I can see why it came across as overly negative, though, and maybe some context would be helpful here. I write about cars I like (and, rarely, cars I don't like). Those cars tend to be very quirky by the standards of the outside world. Meanwhile, my readership is, at best, generalized car enthusiasts who know the cars they drive and the big names like Ferraris and Corvettes and that kind of thing. At worst, they don't know anything about cars. That kind of audience is, at best, likely to look at a Fiat X1/9 and say, "Wow, it's tiny. Didn't those rust easily? I remember those being really slow." At worst, they're likely to look at it and say, "Huh?" Their frame of reference is going to be to compare the X1/9 to a 1996 Civic. So this is my audience.

My style tends to be self-deprecating. And when I'm writing about cars that I like, I tend to be self-deprecating about them. Typically I say something like, "Okay, okay, so it's slow and expensive and blah blah blah, but here's why it's great ..." That's the formula I used in the X1/9 piece as well. I'm honest about my opinions, but with cars I like I typically start slow and end fast.

I don't think it's wrong to say that the X1/9 wasn't a great classic car - it isn't legendary for its performance, it didn't change the automotive market, and it wasn't sold here in great numbers. And I don't think it's wrong to say it wasn't fast (in a straight line, anyway - its handling is a glaring omission here). But then notice that I then go in and build it up - it's gorgeous and totally desirable. I want one.

I try to write these with a loving tone, as if I'm saying these things with a smile on my face. It doesn't always work, unfortunately. But if you guys read some of my other posts on cars that you don't necessarily have an emotional connection with, I'm hoping my style and what I'm trying to say becomes a little more clear.

The general population thinks I'm a way-overboard weird car lover, too unrealistic about the commonly known faults of the cars I love. But then the ironic thing is that when I try to be balanced about the cars I like, the true believers think I'm being way too critical. An example is the AMC Eagle - I said, in essence, that it was ugly but totally endearing and fantastic. The Eagle fans heard that I thought it was ugly and took umbrage.

Either I'm doing something fundamentally wrong or I'll never be able to please everybody. Or it's just a natural outgrowth of the fact that I'm something of a car generalist and don't focus my energy on one car, so we communicate about it a little differently. But I can say with great confidence that I have more in common with you guys and the Eagle guys by far than the general Joe off the street who thinks the X1/9 must be garbage.

> Where did he get this quote? "Nowadays, you can find ratty old X1/9s behind gas stations, parked in alleys, and in fields--their marvelous designer lines left to slowly (or rapidly, as the case may be) rust away into nothingness"

Actually, the whole idea of an X1/9 article was prompted by a car I saw rusting away behind a service station in Sturgis, SD, when I was out there visiting family. The cars in Sturgis tend to be pretty vanilla, so I was really struck that this fantastic boutique car was left to rust behind a service station. It was pretty, interesting, and a bit sad. Since then I've kept my eyes open and seen more in a sad state of disrepair. They're not unique in that way - I've seen all kinds of fascinating 1970s cars in a sad state of disrepair that ignores their glory when they were built.

My point wasn't that all X1/9's are rotting away somewhere, or that all X1/9's SHOULD be rotting away somewhere - just that some are. I think that's interesting.

> One friend commented that it was scary when you think that we are reading this and we know how wrong it is because we know about the subject matter ourselves

This could certainly be true in this case as well. I try not to give the impression that I'm writing the end-all-be-all reference document on a car; rather, I'm writing more of an opinion essay. Hopefully an accurate opinion essay, though. I do one of these every day and don't get paid anything extra to do it (and don't get to do the rest of my job less well) so I'm a bit limited on the fact-checking I can do. As I say, I've been a journalist, but I just can't write this to that standard. This has to be a different animal.

> I also would mention that a Brake master cylinder in a 4000 dollar used Class mercedes will run you 850 parts and labor where you could get that done for less than 150 on an X/19.... Where does he come up with the expensive maintence?

This is another case where everything depends on context. The X1/9 might not have expensive parts and labor compared to a used Mercedes, but that's a pretty expensive context. Mercedes are not cheap for either parts or labor.

Keep in mind that much of my readership drives what I'll call (for a lack of a better word - no offense) normal cars. By this I mean boring, everyday cars that make up 90% of the cars on the road. In that context, speaking to that audience, owning a Fiat is not a cheap proposition.

That sentence was about me, by the way. Among other cars, I'd love to have an X1/9 (or a Fiat 124 Spider - I'd be torn), but compared to your average car I think it'd be an expensive proposition. I'd love to be wrong about that, by the way.

---

This has turned into a book, but because I like the car and I didn't mean to hurt any feelings here I wanted to be as clear as possible in what I was trying to say. And thanks to all who have invited me to the X1/9 get-together in Centralia/Chehalis - if I can make it (I have a young daughter, so all bets are off on future planning) I certainly will. It sounds like fun, and you deserve a chance to take a swing at me in person if you'd like. And if anybody is foolhardy enough to allow me to drive their X1/9, well, I'd love that too. And either way, if I attend, I'll write up a post about it. Fair?
Quote

Joined: December 1st, 2007, 10:55 pm

July 4th, 2008, 12:17 am #2

looking for more from you in the future after you have driven a few good examples of the x.

reyy
longtime fiat freak
74 x1/9
san dimas, ca
USA
Quote

Joined: September 25th, 2004, 5:43 am

July 4th, 2008, 12:23 am #3

Hello all,

I write for Amazon Car Lust, and specifically I wrote the Fiat/Bertone X1/9 post that Jim D. mentioned in here - a post that was received with not a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Here's Jim's post: http://www.network54.com/Forum/12159/me ... 214679772/
Here's my offending X1/9 post: http://www.carlustblog.com/2007/10/fiat-x19.html

I don't necessarily have a lot of honor to defend, but I am worried that I caused offense where I meant none with people who I probably have a lot in common with, so I'd like to try to explain. And if you'd prefer to shout me down and pelt me with rotten fruit and other solid objects, I can certainly understand that too.

Here's the thing - I actually thought I wrote a pretty loving remembrance of the X1/9, so I was startled to see the response. Until I actually reread my post and I think I understand the problem.

It might be helpful for me to give some context, and answer some of the questions along the way.

> I am amazed that he can be allowed to write an article and post/publish it about a car he has never even driven.

Well, the downside of the Internet is that any idiot can post an opinion on the web, and as mischance would have it, I'm one of those idiots. I have opinions on cars, and I write them. I may have the name "Amazon" on the blog, but at the end of the day I'm just another idiot posting his opinions on the Internet.

In my defense, I try to make clear up front the fact that I'm not operating as a journalist here, but just as another blogger. My profile on the blog reads thusly:

"Chris Hafner is a former automotive journalist turned full-time car addict. Without concerning himself with fairness, objectivity, or expertise, he nevertheless feels strongly about just about every car made. His tastes in cars are, to be charitable, quirky. Be cautious; if you would like to avoid hearing him drone on about Saabs for countless hours, it's best if you avoid eye contact and back away slowly."

I've been a journalist in my career, engaged in fact-checking, etc., I'd get test cars for evaluation and all that, but this is a whole different ball of wax. On this blog I write about cars I like and dislike for whatever rational or irrational reason; I've posted daily for nearly a year, about hundreds of cars now, and if I limited it to cars I've actually driven I wouldn't be able to write about all kinds of cars. I'm not declaring fact - I'm having a conversation with other enthusiasts who also lust after a wide variety of cars, many of which they probably haven't driven.

For what it's worth, I try not to be a complete ignoramus. There's usually a reason I have an opinion on these cars - I've either driven one, or known somebody who owns one, or have just read many road tests (or one road test many times!). But again, I'm not declaring myself to be the world's expert on every car I write about.

I can see why it came across as overly negative, though, and maybe some context would be helpful here. I write about cars I like (and, rarely, cars I don't like). Those cars tend to be very quirky by the standards of the outside world. Meanwhile, my readership is, at best, generalized car enthusiasts who know the cars they drive and the big names like Ferraris and Corvettes and that kind of thing. At worst, they don't know anything about cars. That kind of audience is, at best, likely to look at a Fiat X1/9 and say, "Wow, it's tiny. Didn't those rust easily? I remember those being really slow." At worst, they're likely to look at it and say, "Huh?" Their frame of reference is going to be to compare the X1/9 to a 1996 Civic. So this is my audience.

My style tends to be self-deprecating. And when I'm writing about cars that I like, I tend to be self-deprecating about them. Typically I say something like, "Okay, okay, so it's slow and expensive and blah blah blah, but here's why it's great ..." That's the formula I used in the X1/9 piece as well. I'm honest about my opinions, but with cars I like I typically start slow and end fast.

I don't think it's wrong to say that the X1/9 wasn't a great classic car - it isn't legendary for its performance, it didn't change the automotive market, and it wasn't sold here in great numbers. And I don't think it's wrong to say it wasn't fast (in a straight line, anyway - its handling is a glaring omission here). But then notice that I then go in and build it up - it's gorgeous and totally desirable. I want one.

I try to write these with a loving tone, as if I'm saying these things with a smile on my face. It doesn't always work, unfortunately. But if you guys read some of my other posts on cars that you don't necessarily have an emotional connection with, I'm hoping my style and what I'm trying to say becomes a little more clear.

The general population thinks I'm a way-overboard weird car lover, too unrealistic about the commonly known faults of the cars I love. But then the ironic thing is that when I try to be balanced about the cars I like, the true believers think I'm being way too critical. An example is the AMC Eagle - I said, in essence, that it was ugly but totally endearing and fantastic. The Eagle fans heard that I thought it was ugly and took umbrage.

Either I'm doing something fundamentally wrong or I'll never be able to please everybody. Or it's just a natural outgrowth of the fact that I'm something of a car generalist and don't focus my energy on one car, so we communicate about it a little differently. But I can say with great confidence that I have more in common with you guys and the Eagle guys by far than the general Joe off the street who thinks the X1/9 must be garbage.

> Where did he get this quote? "Nowadays, you can find ratty old X1/9s behind gas stations, parked in alleys, and in fields--their marvelous designer lines left to slowly (or rapidly, as the case may be) rust away into nothingness"

Actually, the whole idea of an X1/9 article was prompted by a car I saw rusting away behind a service station in Sturgis, SD, when I was out there visiting family. The cars in Sturgis tend to be pretty vanilla, so I was really struck that this fantastic boutique car was left to rust behind a service station. It was pretty, interesting, and a bit sad. Since then I've kept my eyes open and seen more in a sad state of disrepair. They're not unique in that way - I've seen all kinds of fascinating 1970s cars in a sad state of disrepair that ignores their glory when they were built.

My point wasn't that all X1/9's are rotting away somewhere, or that all X1/9's SHOULD be rotting away somewhere - just that some are. I think that's interesting.

> One friend commented that it was scary when you think that we are reading this and we know how wrong it is because we know about the subject matter ourselves

This could certainly be true in this case as well. I try not to give the impression that I'm writing the end-all-be-all reference document on a car; rather, I'm writing more of an opinion essay. Hopefully an accurate opinion essay, though. I do one of these every day and don't get paid anything extra to do it (and don't get to do the rest of my job less well) so I'm a bit limited on the fact-checking I can do. As I say, I've been a journalist, but I just can't write this to that standard. This has to be a different animal.

> I also would mention that a Brake master cylinder in a 4000 dollar used Class mercedes will run you 850 parts and labor where you could get that done for less than 150 on an X/19.... Where does he come up with the expensive maintence?

This is another case where everything depends on context. The X1/9 might not have expensive parts and labor compared to a used Mercedes, but that's a pretty expensive context. Mercedes are not cheap for either parts or labor.

Keep in mind that much of my readership drives what I'll call (for a lack of a better word - no offense) normal cars. By this I mean boring, everyday cars that make up 90% of the cars on the road. In that context, speaking to that audience, owning a Fiat is not a cheap proposition.

That sentence was about me, by the way. Among other cars, I'd love to have an X1/9 (or a Fiat 124 Spider - I'd be torn), but compared to your average car I think it'd be an expensive proposition. I'd love to be wrong about that, by the way.

---

This has turned into a book, but because I like the car and I didn't mean to hurt any feelings here I wanted to be as clear as possible in what I was trying to say. And thanks to all who have invited me to the X1/9 get-together in Centralia/Chehalis - if I can make it (I have a young daughter, so all bets are off on future planning) I certainly will. It sounds like fun, and you deserve a chance to take a swing at me in person if you'd like. And if anybody is foolhardy enough to allow me to drive their X1/9, well, I'd love that too. And either way, if I attend, I'll write up a post about it. Fair?
Chris and I have been talking off line and he seems like a decent enough guy. So please hear him out and take his post as the peace offering I believe it is intended to be. And do head over the the Car Lust blog and read some of Chris' other entries on various cars. I think they are very entertaining and well written.

Chris, personally I enjoyed your X1/9 post. I thought it was a nice write up, even with the few things I disagreed with. Our little car has certainly been treated worse by other writers.

Good to see you over here Chris,

Jim Decker



jd


Code: Select all

        1978                1986  \
[/b]
2005 FFO Photo Gallery
Quote

Joined: April 18th, 2002, 3:52 am

July 4th, 2008, 12:24 am #4

Hello all,

I write for Amazon Car Lust, and specifically I wrote the Fiat/Bertone X1/9 post that Jim D. mentioned in here - a post that was received with not a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Here's Jim's post: http://www.network54.com/Forum/12159/me ... 214679772/
Here's my offending X1/9 post: http://www.carlustblog.com/2007/10/fiat-x19.html

I don't necessarily have a lot of honor to defend, but I am worried that I caused offense where I meant none with people who I probably have a lot in common with, so I'd like to try to explain. And if you'd prefer to shout me down and pelt me with rotten fruit and other solid objects, I can certainly understand that too.

Here's the thing - I actually thought I wrote a pretty loving remembrance of the X1/9, so I was startled to see the response. Until I actually reread my post and I think I understand the problem.

It might be helpful for me to give some context, and answer some of the questions along the way.

> I am amazed that he can be allowed to write an article and post/publish it about a car he has never even driven.

Well, the downside of the Internet is that any idiot can post an opinion on the web, and as mischance would have it, I'm one of those idiots. I have opinions on cars, and I write them. I may have the name "Amazon" on the blog, but at the end of the day I'm just another idiot posting his opinions on the Internet.

In my defense, I try to make clear up front the fact that I'm not operating as a journalist here, but just as another blogger. My profile on the blog reads thusly:

"Chris Hafner is a former automotive journalist turned full-time car addict. Without concerning himself with fairness, objectivity, or expertise, he nevertheless feels strongly about just about every car made. His tastes in cars are, to be charitable, quirky. Be cautious; if you would like to avoid hearing him drone on about Saabs for countless hours, it's best if you avoid eye contact and back away slowly."

I've been a journalist in my career, engaged in fact-checking, etc., I'd get test cars for evaluation and all that, but this is a whole different ball of wax. On this blog I write about cars I like and dislike for whatever rational or irrational reason; I've posted daily for nearly a year, about hundreds of cars now, and if I limited it to cars I've actually driven I wouldn't be able to write about all kinds of cars. I'm not declaring fact - I'm having a conversation with other enthusiasts who also lust after a wide variety of cars, many of which they probably haven't driven.

For what it's worth, I try not to be a complete ignoramus. There's usually a reason I have an opinion on these cars - I've either driven one, or known somebody who owns one, or have just read many road tests (or one road test many times!). But again, I'm not declaring myself to be the world's expert on every car I write about.

I can see why it came across as overly negative, though, and maybe some context would be helpful here. I write about cars I like (and, rarely, cars I don't like). Those cars tend to be very quirky by the standards of the outside world. Meanwhile, my readership is, at best, generalized car enthusiasts who know the cars they drive and the big names like Ferraris and Corvettes and that kind of thing. At worst, they don't know anything about cars. That kind of audience is, at best, likely to look at a Fiat X1/9 and say, "Wow, it's tiny. Didn't those rust easily? I remember those being really slow." At worst, they're likely to look at it and say, "Huh?" Their frame of reference is going to be to compare the X1/9 to a 1996 Civic. So this is my audience.

My style tends to be self-deprecating. And when I'm writing about cars that I like, I tend to be self-deprecating about them. Typically I say something like, "Okay, okay, so it's slow and expensive and blah blah blah, but here's why it's great ..." That's the formula I used in the X1/9 piece as well. I'm honest about my opinions, but with cars I like I typically start slow and end fast.

I don't think it's wrong to say that the X1/9 wasn't a great classic car - it isn't legendary for its performance, it didn't change the automotive market, and it wasn't sold here in great numbers. And I don't think it's wrong to say it wasn't fast (in a straight line, anyway - its handling is a glaring omission here). But then notice that I then go in and build it up - it's gorgeous and totally desirable. I want one.

I try to write these with a loving tone, as if I'm saying these things with a smile on my face. It doesn't always work, unfortunately. But if you guys read some of my other posts on cars that you don't necessarily have an emotional connection with, I'm hoping my style and what I'm trying to say becomes a little more clear.

The general population thinks I'm a way-overboard weird car lover, too unrealistic about the commonly known faults of the cars I love. But then the ironic thing is that when I try to be balanced about the cars I like, the true believers think I'm being way too critical. An example is the AMC Eagle - I said, in essence, that it was ugly but totally endearing and fantastic. The Eagle fans heard that I thought it was ugly and took umbrage.

Either I'm doing something fundamentally wrong or I'll never be able to please everybody. Or it's just a natural outgrowth of the fact that I'm something of a car generalist and don't focus my energy on one car, so we communicate about it a little differently. But I can say with great confidence that I have more in common with you guys and the Eagle guys by far than the general Joe off the street who thinks the X1/9 must be garbage.

> Where did he get this quote? "Nowadays, you can find ratty old X1/9s behind gas stations, parked in alleys, and in fields--their marvelous designer lines left to slowly (or rapidly, as the case may be) rust away into nothingness"

Actually, the whole idea of an X1/9 article was prompted by a car I saw rusting away behind a service station in Sturgis, SD, when I was out there visiting family. The cars in Sturgis tend to be pretty vanilla, so I was really struck that this fantastic boutique car was left to rust behind a service station. It was pretty, interesting, and a bit sad. Since then I've kept my eyes open and seen more in a sad state of disrepair. They're not unique in that way - I've seen all kinds of fascinating 1970s cars in a sad state of disrepair that ignores their glory when they were built.

My point wasn't that all X1/9's are rotting away somewhere, or that all X1/9's SHOULD be rotting away somewhere - just that some are. I think that's interesting.

> One friend commented that it was scary when you think that we are reading this and we know how wrong it is because we know about the subject matter ourselves

This could certainly be true in this case as well. I try not to give the impression that I'm writing the end-all-be-all reference document on a car; rather, I'm writing more of an opinion essay. Hopefully an accurate opinion essay, though. I do one of these every day and don't get paid anything extra to do it (and don't get to do the rest of my job less well) so I'm a bit limited on the fact-checking I can do. As I say, I've been a journalist, but I just can't write this to that standard. This has to be a different animal.

> I also would mention that a Brake master cylinder in a 4000 dollar used Class mercedes will run you 850 parts and labor where you could get that done for less than 150 on an X/19.... Where does he come up with the expensive maintence?

This is another case where everything depends on context. The X1/9 might not have expensive parts and labor compared to a used Mercedes, but that's a pretty expensive context. Mercedes are not cheap for either parts or labor.

Keep in mind that much of my readership drives what I'll call (for a lack of a better word - no offense) normal cars. By this I mean boring, everyday cars that make up 90% of the cars on the road. In that context, speaking to that audience, owning a Fiat is not a cheap proposition.

That sentence was about me, by the way. Among other cars, I'd love to have an X1/9 (or a Fiat 124 Spider - I'd be torn), but compared to your average car I think it'd be an expensive proposition. I'd love to be wrong about that, by the way.

---

This has turned into a book, but because I like the car and I didn't mean to hurt any feelings here I wanted to be as clear as possible in what I was trying to say. And thanks to all who have invited me to the X1/9 get-together in Centralia/Chehalis - if I can make it (I have a young daughter, so all bets are off on future planning) I certainly will. It sounds like fun, and you deserve a chance to take a swing at me in person if you'd like. And if anybody is foolhardy enough to allow me to drive their X1/9, well, I'd love that too. And either way, if I attend, I'll write up a post about it. Fair?
There here folks are afraid of anyone who proceeds to come in here to talk about their "opinion" whether educated or not. HA! God help you if that opinion is a negative one about Fiats in general, let alone a negative opinion about an X-1/9! LOL.

Seriously, I think you have a lot of good points, which is unfortunate to say the least. Many of these cars have either fallen into the hands of true lovers of the cars and have been restored (or are in the process) or they've been mangled, screwed up, blown up, stripped and left to rot. There seems to be very little middle ground.

I think it shows a lot of "balls" to come here and try to explain yourself. To be honest, I'm only half-joking about the responses you're likely to get. You've already seen some of that in response to your original blog. The people here are very sensitive at times (much like the little Italian cars they love, actually) So someone who doesn't fawn all over the cars and apparently has the gall to want to write negatively about the car without first checking with them is, needless to say, met with some amount of backlash.

Look at the ire that was brought about by a recent magazine article in Classic Motorsports Magazine. They compared the car to a Ferrari and these folks pissed and moaned that they used a modified Ferrari and happened to get a Fiat with the worst color combination possible. Good god, some of these same people would complain if they were hung with a new rope. The fact that the car did receive a decent amount of praise apparently went right over their heads as some apparently thought the Fiat should have beaten the Ferrari or some such nonsense.

Anyway, if you hang around and ask nicely you'll likely find someone local. Or perhaps someone passing through who would be willing to let you take one for a spin and let you experience the car first hand. Maybe then you'll see why they can be so fiercely defensive about the cars. To be honest they are a strange anomoly in the automotive world that has been duplicated several times, but never as successfully as the original. The original MR-2 came close, but too much of the driving experience was lost in the copying process and of course the styling is very much from the early eighties.

The fact is, as someone here pointed out, Fiat screwed themselves and the enthusiasts when they left the states in such an abrupt manner. The cars do deserve better treatment. Perhaps if Fiat brings the 500 to the states and it turns out to be successful there might be some resurgence in interest from the public in the older cars that were left behind and the enthusiasts who fell stuck in the shadows can come forward and bask in the limelight they feel they've earned.

Stefan
Quote

Joined: June 17th, 2005, 11:39 pm

July 4th, 2008, 12:25 am #5

Hello all,

I write for Amazon Car Lust, and specifically I wrote the Fiat/Bertone X1/9 post that Jim D. mentioned in here - a post that was received with not a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Here's Jim's post: http://www.network54.com/Forum/12159/me ... 214679772/
Here's my offending X1/9 post: http://www.carlustblog.com/2007/10/fiat-x19.html

I don't necessarily have a lot of honor to defend, but I am worried that I caused offense where I meant none with people who I probably have a lot in common with, so I'd like to try to explain. And if you'd prefer to shout me down and pelt me with rotten fruit and other solid objects, I can certainly understand that too.

Here's the thing - I actually thought I wrote a pretty loving remembrance of the X1/9, so I was startled to see the response. Until I actually reread my post and I think I understand the problem.

It might be helpful for me to give some context, and answer some of the questions along the way.

> I am amazed that he can be allowed to write an article and post/publish it about a car he has never even driven.

Well, the downside of the Internet is that any idiot can post an opinion on the web, and as mischance would have it, I'm one of those idiots. I have opinions on cars, and I write them. I may have the name "Amazon" on the blog, but at the end of the day I'm just another idiot posting his opinions on the Internet.

In my defense, I try to make clear up front the fact that I'm not operating as a journalist here, but just as another blogger. My profile on the blog reads thusly:

"Chris Hafner is a former automotive journalist turned full-time car addict. Without concerning himself with fairness, objectivity, or expertise, he nevertheless feels strongly about just about every car made. His tastes in cars are, to be charitable, quirky. Be cautious; if you would like to avoid hearing him drone on about Saabs for countless hours, it's best if you avoid eye contact and back away slowly."

I've been a journalist in my career, engaged in fact-checking, etc., I'd get test cars for evaluation and all that, but this is a whole different ball of wax. On this blog I write about cars I like and dislike for whatever rational or irrational reason; I've posted daily for nearly a year, about hundreds of cars now, and if I limited it to cars I've actually driven I wouldn't be able to write about all kinds of cars. I'm not declaring fact - I'm having a conversation with other enthusiasts who also lust after a wide variety of cars, many of which they probably haven't driven.

For what it's worth, I try not to be a complete ignoramus. There's usually a reason I have an opinion on these cars - I've either driven one, or known somebody who owns one, or have just read many road tests (or one road test many times!). But again, I'm not declaring myself to be the world's expert on every car I write about.

I can see why it came across as overly negative, though, and maybe some context would be helpful here. I write about cars I like (and, rarely, cars I don't like). Those cars tend to be very quirky by the standards of the outside world. Meanwhile, my readership is, at best, generalized car enthusiasts who know the cars they drive and the big names like Ferraris and Corvettes and that kind of thing. At worst, they don't know anything about cars. That kind of audience is, at best, likely to look at a Fiat X1/9 and say, "Wow, it's tiny. Didn't those rust easily? I remember those being really slow." At worst, they're likely to look at it and say, "Huh?" Their frame of reference is going to be to compare the X1/9 to a 1996 Civic. So this is my audience.

My style tends to be self-deprecating. And when I'm writing about cars that I like, I tend to be self-deprecating about them. Typically I say something like, "Okay, okay, so it's slow and expensive and blah blah blah, but here's why it's great ..." That's the formula I used in the X1/9 piece as well. I'm honest about my opinions, but with cars I like I typically start slow and end fast.

I don't think it's wrong to say that the X1/9 wasn't a great classic car - it isn't legendary for its performance, it didn't change the automotive market, and it wasn't sold here in great numbers. And I don't think it's wrong to say it wasn't fast (in a straight line, anyway - its handling is a glaring omission here). But then notice that I then go in and build it up - it's gorgeous and totally desirable. I want one.

I try to write these with a loving tone, as if I'm saying these things with a smile on my face. It doesn't always work, unfortunately. But if you guys read some of my other posts on cars that you don't necessarily have an emotional connection with, I'm hoping my style and what I'm trying to say becomes a little more clear.

The general population thinks I'm a way-overboard weird car lover, too unrealistic about the commonly known faults of the cars I love. But then the ironic thing is that when I try to be balanced about the cars I like, the true believers think I'm being way too critical. An example is the AMC Eagle - I said, in essence, that it was ugly but totally endearing and fantastic. The Eagle fans heard that I thought it was ugly and took umbrage.

Either I'm doing something fundamentally wrong or I'll never be able to please everybody. Or it's just a natural outgrowth of the fact that I'm something of a car generalist and don't focus my energy on one car, so we communicate about it a little differently. But I can say with great confidence that I have more in common with you guys and the Eagle guys by far than the general Joe off the street who thinks the X1/9 must be garbage.

> Where did he get this quote? "Nowadays, you can find ratty old X1/9s behind gas stations, parked in alleys, and in fields--their marvelous designer lines left to slowly (or rapidly, as the case may be) rust away into nothingness"

Actually, the whole idea of an X1/9 article was prompted by a car I saw rusting away behind a service station in Sturgis, SD, when I was out there visiting family. The cars in Sturgis tend to be pretty vanilla, so I was really struck that this fantastic boutique car was left to rust behind a service station. It was pretty, interesting, and a bit sad. Since then I've kept my eyes open and seen more in a sad state of disrepair. They're not unique in that way - I've seen all kinds of fascinating 1970s cars in a sad state of disrepair that ignores their glory when they were built.

My point wasn't that all X1/9's are rotting away somewhere, or that all X1/9's SHOULD be rotting away somewhere - just that some are. I think that's interesting.

> One friend commented that it was scary when you think that we are reading this and we know how wrong it is because we know about the subject matter ourselves

This could certainly be true in this case as well. I try not to give the impression that I'm writing the end-all-be-all reference document on a car; rather, I'm writing more of an opinion essay. Hopefully an accurate opinion essay, though. I do one of these every day and don't get paid anything extra to do it (and don't get to do the rest of my job less well) so I'm a bit limited on the fact-checking I can do. As I say, I've been a journalist, but I just can't write this to that standard. This has to be a different animal.

> I also would mention that a Brake master cylinder in a 4000 dollar used Class mercedes will run you 850 parts and labor where you could get that done for less than 150 on an X/19.... Where does he come up with the expensive maintence?

This is another case where everything depends on context. The X1/9 might not have expensive parts and labor compared to a used Mercedes, but that's a pretty expensive context. Mercedes are not cheap for either parts or labor.

Keep in mind that much of my readership drives what I'll call (for a lack of a better word - no offense) normal cars. By this I mean boring, everyday cars that make up 90% of the cars on the road. In that context, speaking to that audience, owning a Fiat is not a cheap proposition.

That sentence was about me, by the way. Among other cars, I'd love to have an X1/9 (or a Fiat 124 Spider - I'd be torn), but compared to your average car I think it'd be an expensive proposition. I'd love to be wrong about that, by the way.

---

This has turned into a book, but because I like the car and I didn't mean to hurt any feelings here I wanted to be as clear as possible in what I was trying to say. And thanks to all who have invited me to the X1/9 get-together in Centralia/Chehalis - if I can make it (I have a young daughter, so all bets are off on future planning) I certainly will. It sounds like fun, and you deserve a chance to take a swing at me in person if you'd like. And if anybody is foolhardy enough to allow me to drive their X1/9, well, I'd love that too. And either way, if I attend, I'll write up a post about it. Fair?
I for one (with the same demented twist on things) understood your article. Sometimes the truth hurts. We all know it'll be a fairly cold day in hell if when or if our little Italian beauties make it to the "must have classic" arena. For that, I'm thankful as parts are pretty cheap but not too common. Look up Year One and see what they get for prices on their classic car parts. Also, we all know our car (in stock form) are pretty slow. It's not a myth, its fact. 75hp can only push 2,000lbs so far. But with a little rework (or a turbo), and achieving the 100+ holy grail, they really liven up. Handling, we got hands down. For the price, it's one of the best handling cars even today.

Keep up the great work Chris, and if you can make it to the event please do. You'll get hooked for sure! And if you ever make it to New England, you got a few rides here as well. From a Concourse 86 to a couple of turbo X's and maybe Paul's full SCCA racer.



=========================================================
1982 Fiat X-1/9 (the pee'd off bumble bee) Soon to be Turbo'd

Quote

Joined: June 16th, 2004, 3:48 am

July 4th, 2008, 12:32 am #6

Hello all,

I write for Amazon Car Lust, and specifically I wrote the Fiat/Bertone X1/9 post that Jim D. mentioned in here - a post that was received with not a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Here's Jim's post: http://www.network54.com/Forum/12159/me ... 214679772/
Here's my offending X1/9 post: http://www.carlustblog.com/2007/10/fiat-x19.html

I don't necessarily have a lot of honor to defend, but I am worried that I caused offense where I meant none with people who I probably have a lot in common with, so I'd like to try to explain. And if you'd prefer to shout me down and pelt me with rotten fruit and other solid objects, I can certainly understand that too.

Here's the thing - I actually thought I wrote a pretty loving remembrance of the X1/9, so I was startled to see the response. Until I actually reread my post and I think I understand the problem.

It might be helpful for me to give some context, and answer some of the questions along the way.

> I am amazed that he can be allowed to write an article and post/publish it about a car he has never even driven.

Well, the downside of the Internet is that any idiot can post an opinion on the web, and as mischance would have it, I'm one of those idiots. I have opinions on cars, and I write them. I may have the name "Amazon" on the blog, but at the end of the day I'm just another idiot posting his opinions on the Internet.

In my defense, I try to make clear up front the fact that I'm not operating as a journalist here, but just as another blogger. My profile on the blog reads thusly:

"Chris Hafner is a former automotive journalist turned full-time car addict. Without concerning himself with fairness, objectivity, or expertise, he nevertheless feels strongly about just about every car made. His tastes in cars are, to be charitable, quirky. Be cautious; if you would like to avoid hearing him drone on about Saabs for countless hours, it's best if you avoid eye contact and back away slowly."

I've been a journalist in my career, engaged in fact-checking, etc., I'd get test cars for evaluation and all that, but this is a whole different ball of wax. On this blog I write about cars I like and dislike for whatever rational or irrational reason; I've posted daily for nearly a year, about hundreds of cars now, and if I limited it to cars I've actually driven I wouldn't be able to write about all kinds of cars. I'm not declaring fact - I'm having a conversation with other enthusiasts who also lust after a wide variety of cars, many of which they probably haven't driven.

For what it's worth, I try not to be a complete ignoramus. There's usually a reason I have an opinion on these cars - I've either driven one, or known somebody who owns one, or have just read many road tests (or one road test many times!). But again, I'm not declaring myself to be the world's expert on every car I write about.

I can see why it came across as overly negative, though, and maybe some context would be helpful here. I write about cars I like (and, rarely, cars I don't like). Those cars tend to be very quirky by the standards of the outside world. Meanwhile, my readership is, at best, generalized car enthusiasts who know the cars they drive and the big names like Ferraris and Corvettes and that kind of thing. At worst, they don't know anything about cars. That kind of audience is, at best, likely to look at a Fiat X1/9 and say, "Wow, it's tiny. Didn't those rust easily? I remember those being really slow." At worst, they're likely to look at it and say, "Huh?" Their frame of reference is going to be to compare the X1/9 to a 1996 Civic. So this is my audience.

My style tends to be self-deprecating. And when I'm writing about cars that I like, I tend to be self-deprecating about them. Typically I say something like, "Okay, okay, so it's slow and expensive and blah blah blah, but here's why it's great ..." That's the formula I used in the X1/9 piece as well. I'm honest about my opinions, but with cars I like I typically start slow and end fast.

I don't think it's wrong to say that the X1/9 wasn't a great classic car - it isn't legendary for its performance, it didn't change the automotive market, and it wasn't sold here in great numbers. And I don't think it's wrong to say it wasn't fast (in a straight line, anyway - its handling is a glaring omission here). But then notice that I then go in and build it up - it's gorgeous and totally desirable. I want one.

I try to write these with a loving tone, as if I'm saying these things with a smile on my face. It doesn't always work, unfortunately. But if you guys read some of my other posts on cars that you don't necessarily have an emotional connection with, I'm hoping my style and what I'm trying to say becomes a little more clear.

The general population thinks I'm a way-overboard weird car lover, too unrealistic about the commonly known faults of the cars I love. But then the ironic thing is that when I try to be balanced about the cars I like, the true believers think I'm being way too critical. An example is the AMC Eagle - I said, in essence, that it was ugly but totally endearing and fantastic. The Eagle fans heard that I thought it was ugly and took umbrage.

Either I'm doing something fundamentally wrong or I'll never be able to please everybody. Or it's just a natural outgrowth of the fact that I'm something of a car generalist and don't focus my energy on one car, so we communicate about it a little differently. But I can say with great confidence that I have more in common with you guys and the Eagle guys by far than the general Joe off the street who thinks the X1/9 must be garbage.

> Where did he get this quote? "Nowadays, you can find ratty old X1/9s behind gas stations, parked in alleys, and in fields--their marvelous designer lines left to slowly (or rapidly, as the case may be) rust away into nothingness"

Actually, the whole idea of an X1/9 article was prompted by a car I saw rusting away behind a service station in Sturgis, SD, when I was out there visiting family. The cars in Sturgis tend to be pretty vanilla, so I was really struck that this fantastic boutique car was left to rust behind a service station. It was pretty, interesting, and a bit sad. Since then I've kept my eyes open and seen more in a sad state of disrepair. They're not unique in that way - I've seen all kinds of fascinating 1970s cars in a sad state of disrepair that ignores their glory when they were built.

My point wasn't that all X1/9's are rotting away somewhere, or that all X1/9's SHOULD be rotting away somewhere - just that some are. I think that's interesting.

> One friend commented that it was scary when you think that we are reading this and we know how wrong it is because we know about the subject matter ourselves

This could certainly be true in this case as well. I try not to give the impression that I'm writing the end-all-be-all reference document on a car; rather, I'm writing more of an opinion essay. Hopefully an accurate opinion essay, though. I do one of these every day and don't get paid anything extra to do it (and don't get to do the rest of my job less well) so I'm a bit limited on the fact-checking I can do. As I say, I've been a journalist, but I just can't write this to that standard. This has to be a different animal.

> I also would mention that a Brake master cylinder in a 4000 dollar used Class mercedes will run you 850 parts and labor where you could get that done for less than 150 on an X/19.... Where does he come up with the expensive maintence?

This is another case where everything depends on context. The X1/9 might not have expensive parts and labor compared to a used Mercedes, but that's a pretty expensive context. Mercedes are not cheap for either parts or labor.

Keep in mind that much of my readership drives what I'll call (for a lack of a better word - no offense) normal cars. By this I mean boring, everyday cars that make up 90% of the cars on the road. In that context, speaking to that audience, owning a Fiat is not a cheap proposition.

That sentence was about me, by the way. Among other cars, I'd love to have an X1/9 (or a Fiat 124 Spider - I'd be torn), but compared to your average car I think it'd be an expensive proposition. I'd love to be wrong about that, by the way.

---

This has turned into a book, but because I like the car and I didn't mean to hurt any feelings here I wanted to be as clear as possible in what I was trying to say. And thanks to all who have invited me to the X1/9 get-together in Centralia/Chehalis - if I can make it (I have a young daughter, so all bets are off on future planning) I certainly will. It sounds like fun, and you deserve a chance to take a swing at me in person if you'd like. And if anybody is foolhardy enough to allow me to drive their X1/9, well, I'd love that too. And either way, if I attend, I'll write up a post about it. Fair?
if I had to do a write-up I think it would have been for more critical. This being because of knowing all the quirks and unique problems over the many years. Beware they can be very addicting and a real eye catcher. The best discription I've read was in Road and Track many years ago and they said driving it was "orgasmic" so if you go ahead with a road test be forewarned. Another comment elsewhere was you don't so mush as stear it through a turn but think it. Sounds like a great opportunity to do a follow-up article,,hint!!! Many here have found somewhat abandoned X's and turned them into fully restored beauties but I don't need to tell you that. They just couldn't bare to see them rusting away hence multiple cars. Very interesting to read the article and reply much appreciated. Thanks
Quote

Joined: December 21st, 2004, 3:04 am

July 4th, 2008, 12:56 am #7

Hello all,

I write for Amazon Car Lust, and specifically I wrote the Fiat/Bertone X1/9 post that Jim D. mentioned in here - a post that was received with not a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Here's Jim's post: http://www.network54.com/Forum/12159/me ... 214679772/
Here's my offending X1/9 post: http://www.carlustblog.com/2007/10/fiat-x19.html

I don't necessarily have a lot of honor to defend, but I am worried that I caused offense where I meant none with people who I probably have a lot in common with, so I'd like to try to explain. And if you'd prefer to shout me down and pelt me with rotten fruit and other solid objects, I can certainly understand that too.

Here's the thing - I actually thought I wrote a pretty loving remembrance of the X1/9, so I was startled to see the response. Until I actually reread my post and I think I understand the problem.

It might be helpful for me to give some context, and answer some of the questions along the way.

> I am amazed that he can be allowed to write an article and post/publish it about a car he has never even driven.

Well, the downside of the Internet is that any idiot can post an opinion on the web, and as mischance would have it, I'm one of those idiots. I have opinions on cars, and I write them. I may have the name "Amazon" on the blog, but at the end of the day I'm just another idiot posting his opinions on the Internet.

In my defense, I try to make clear up front the fact that I'm not operating as a journalist here, but just as another blogger. My profile on the blog reads thusly:

"Chris Hafner is a former automotive journalist turned full-time car addict. Without concerning himself with fairness, objectivity, or expertise, he nevertheless feels strongly about just about every car made. His tastes in cars are, to be charitable, quirky. Be cautious; if you would like to avoid hearing him drone on about Saabs for countless hours, it's best if you avoid eye contact and back away slowly."

I've been a journalist in my career, engaged in fact-checking, etc., I'd get test cars for evaluation and all that, but this is a whole different ball of wax. On this blog I write about cars I like and dislike for whatever rational or irrational reason; I've posted daily for nearly a year, about hundreds of cars now, and if I limited it to cars I've actually driven I wouldn't be able to write about all kinds of cars. I'm not declaring fact - I'm having a conversation with other enthusiasts who also lust after a wide variety of cars, many of which they probably haven't driven.

For what it's worth, I try not to be a complete ignoramus. There's usually a reason I have an opinion on these cars - I've either driven one, or known somebody who owns one, or have just read many road tests (or one road test many times!). But again, I'm not declaring myself to be the world's expert on every car I write about.

I can see why it came across as overly negative, though, and maybe some context would be helpful here. I write about cars I like (and, rarely, cars I don't like). Those cars tend to be very quirky by the standards of the outside world. Meanwhile, my readership is, at best, generalized car enthusiasts who know the cars they drive and the big names like Ferraris and Corvettes and that kind of thing. At worst, they don't know anything about cars. That kind of audience is, at best, likely to look at a Fiat X1/9 and say, "Wow, it's tiny. Didn't those rust easily? I remember those being really slow." At worst, they're likely to look at it and say, "Huh?" Their frame of reference is going to be to compare the X1/9 to a 1996 Civic. So this is my audience.

My style tends to be self-deprecating. And when I'm writing about cars that I like, I tend to be self-deprecating about them. Typically I say something like, "Okay, okay, so it's slow and expensive and blah blah blah, but here's why it's great ..." That's the formula I used in the X1/9 piece as well. I'm honest about my opinions, but with cars I like I typically start slow and end fast.

I don't think it's wrong to say that the X1/9 wasn't a great classic car - it isn't legendary for its performance, it didn't change the automotive market, and it wasn't sold here in great numbers. And I don't think it's wrong to say it wasn't fast (in a straight line, anyway - its handling is a glaring omission here). But then notice that I then go in and build it up - it's gorgeous and totally desirable. I want one.

I try to write these with a loving tone, as if I'm saying these things with a smile on my face. It doesn't always work, unfortunately. But if you guys read some of my other posts on cars that you don't necessarily have an emotional connection with, I'm hoping my style and what I'm trying to say becomes a little more clear.

The general population thinks I'm a way-overboard weird car lover, too unrealistic about the commonly known faults of the cars I love. But then the ironic thing is that when I try to be balanced about the cars I like, the true believers think I'm being way too critical. An example is the AMC Eagle - I said, in essence, that it was ugly but totally endearing and fantastic. The Eagle fans heard that I thought it was ugly and took umbrage.

Either I'm doing something fundamentally wrong or I'll never be able to please everybody. Or it's just a natural outgrowth of the fact that I'm something of a car generalist and don't focus my energy on one car, so we communicate about it a little differently. But I can say with great confidence that I have more in common with you guys and the Eagle guys by far than the general Joe off the street who thinks the X1/9 must be garbage.

> Where did he get this quote? "Nowadays, you can find ratty old X1/9s behind gas stations, parked in alleys, and in fields--their marvelous designer lines left to slowly (or rapidly, as the case may be) rust away into nothingness"

Actually, the whole idea of an X1/9 article was prompted by a car I saw rusting away behind a service station in Sturgis, SD, when I was out there visiting family. The cars in Sturgis tend to be pretty vanilla, so I was really struck that this fantastic boutique car was left to rust behind a service station. It was pretty, interesting, and a bit sad. Since then I've kept my eyes open and seen more in a sad state of disrepair. They're not unique in that way - I've seen all kinds of fascinating 1970s cars in a sad state of disrepair that ignores their glory when they were built.

My point wasn't that all X1/9's are rotting away somewhere, or that all X1/9's SHOULD be rotting away somewhere - just that some are. I think that's interesting.

> One friend commented that it was scary when you think that we are reading this and we know how wrong it is because we know about the subject matter ourselves

This could certainly be true in this case as well. I try not to give the impression that I'm writing the end-all-be-all reference document on a car; rather, I'm writing more of an opinion essay. Hopefully an accurate opinion essay, though. I do one of these every day and don't get paid anything extra to do it (and don't get to do the rest of my job less well) so I'm a bit limited on the fact-checking I can do. As I say, I've been a journalist, but I just can't write this to that standard. This has to be a different animal.

> I also would mention that a Brake master cylinder in a 4000 dollar used Class mercedes will run you 850 parts and labor where you could get that done for less than 150 on an X/19.... Where does he come up with the expensive maintence?

This is another case where everything depends on context. The X1/9 might not have expensive parts and labor compared to a used Mercedes, but that's a pretty expensive context. Mercedes are not cheap for either parts or labor.

Keep in mind that much of my readership drives what I'll call (for a lack of a better word - no offense) normal cars. By this I mean boring, everyday cars that make up 90% of the cars on the road. In that context, speaking to that audience, owning a Fiat is not a cheap proposition.

That sentence was about me, by the way. Among other cars, I'd love to have an X1/9 (or a Fiat 124 Spider - I'd be torn), but compared to your average car I think it'd be an expensive proposition. I'd love to be wrong about that, by the way.

---

This has turned into a book, but because I like the car and I didn't mean to hurt any feelings here I wanted to be as clear as possible in what I was trying to say. And thanks to all who have invited me to the X1/9 get-together in Centralia/Chehalis - if I can make it (I have a young daughter, so all bets are off on future planning) I certainly will. It sounds like fun, and you deserve a chance to take a swing at me in person if you'd like. And if anybody is foolhardy enough to allow me to drive their X1/9, well, I'd love that too. And either way, if I attend, I'll write up a post about it. Fair?
... and hopefully YOU learned something about HOW and WHAT you wrote and WHY it may have impacted others... 

For this reason only... is why I bothered to respond. 

My original comments are here... and I stand behind them also.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/12159/me ... de+in+mine...


My best,



Tony
Black Tooth and me... since 1983!
<A href="http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f108/ ... gFixed.jpg " target=_blank>
<IMG src="http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f108/ ... gFixed.jpg " ;></A>
<FONT size=1 Roman? Bew face_?Times>Disclaimer: This message does not necessarily reflect the views of the sender, or, for that matter, any other carbon-based life form; Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is unintentional and coincidental; All models are 18 years of age or older; Dry clean only, do not use bleach, Tumble dry and remove immediately; Do not bend, fold, staple or mutilate; Anchovies, cheese or jalapenos may be added to orders upon request for an additional charge; Professional driver on a closed course, do not attempt to duplicate; Your actual mileage may vary; No substitutions are allowed; Available for a limited time only while supplies last; Offers are void where prohibited by law; Humor is provided "as is" without any warranties expressed or implied; The user assumes full liabilities and originator is not liable for damages due to use or misuse; We are an equal opportunity employer, with no regard to race, religion, sex, or sexual preference; No shoes, no shirt, no service; Read at your own risk; This post may contain material some may find to be objectionable; Parental advisory: Explicit lyrics; keep away from pets and small children; limit one-per-family please; No money down; No purchase necessary; Ask us about our guns-for-dope trade-in plan; You need not be present to win; Some assembly required; Batteries not included; Action figures sold separately; Contents were packed full at the factory, but may have settled during shipping; Peanuts and peanut products are produced in this establishment and also consumed by the author; Sanitized and sealed for your protection; Do not use if safety seal is broken; Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment; Safety goggles may be required during use; Use gloves when handling; Call before you dig; Use only with proper ventilation; For external use only, if a swelling, redness, rash, or irritation develops, discontinue use; Do not place near a flammable or magnetic source; Keep away from open flames; Avoid inhaling fumes or contact with mucous membranes; Contents under pressure, may explode if incinerated; Smoking may be hazardous to your health; No smoking allowed, except in designated areas; The best safeguard, second only to abstinence, is the use of a good laugh; Text is made from 100% recycled electrons and magnetic particles; No animals were harmed while writing this post; No salt, MSG, preservatives, artificial color or flavor added; If ingested, do not induce vomiting, If symptoms persist, consult a comedian; Ribbed for your pleasure, slippery when wet; Must be 18 to enter; No one under 21 allowed; We check IDs to age 40; Seniors Welcome; Ask for our Senior Menu; Present discount coupons to cashier before totaling; An 18% gratuity will be added to the total for parties of 8 or more; We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. Return all carts to the store; No dogs allowed, except for the visually impaired; Penalties for early withdrawal, one size fits all; Offer is valid only at participating sites; Prices slightly higher west of the Rockies; Allow four to six weeks for delivery; If defects are found, do not attempt a repair, return to an authorized service center; Please remain seated until the vehicle has come to a complete stop; Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear; Fasten seat belts; In the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will fall from above, cover your face first, then assist those around you. Your seat cushion may be used as a floatation device. This disclaimer is invalid in the event of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, sonic booms, vibration, electromagnetic radiation from nuclear blasts or any other act of war, unauthorized repair, improper installation, misuse, typos, misspelled words, missing or altered signatures, and incidents owing to computer or disk failure, accidental file deletions, and Acts of God. Other restrictions may, or may not apply.</FONT>
Last edited by Black-Tooth on July 4th, 2008, 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Quote

Joined: December 31st, 2006, 9:00 pm

July 4th, 2008, 1:11 am #8

Hello all,

I write for Amazon Car Lust, and specifically I wrote the Fiat/Bertone X1/9 post that Jim D. mentioned in here - a post that was received with not a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Here's Jim's post: http://www.network54.com/Forum/12159/me ... 214679772/
Here's my offending X1/9 post: http://www.carlustblog.com/2007/10/fiat-x19.html

I don't necessarily have a lot of honor to defend, but I am worried that I caused offense where I meant none with people who I probably have a lot in common with, so I'd like to try to explain. And if you'd prefer to shout me down and pelt me with rotten fruit and other solid objects, I can certainly understand that too.

Here's the thing - I actually thought I wrote a pretty loving remembrance of the X1/9, so I was startled to see the response. Until I actually reread my post and I think I understand the problem.

It might be helpful for me to give some context, and answer some of the questions along the way.

> I am amazed that he can be allowed to write an article and post/publish it about a car he has never even driven.

Well, the downside of the Internet is that any idiot can post an opinion on the web, and as mischance would have it, I'm one of those idiots. I have opinions on cars, and I write them. I may have the name "Amazon" on the blog, but at the end of the day I'm just another idiot posting his opinions on the Internet.

In my defense, I try to make clear up front the fact that I'm not operating as a journalist here, but just as another blogger. My profile on the blog reads thusly:

"Chris Hafner is a former automotive journalist turned full-time car addict. Without concerning himself with fairness, objectivity, or expertise, he nevertheless feels strongly about just about every car made. His tastes in cars are, to be charitable, quirky. Be cautious; if you would like to avoid hearing him drone on about Saabs for countless hours, it's best if you avoid eye contact and back away slowly."

I've been a journalist in my career, engaged in fact-checking, etc., I'd get test cars for evaluation and all that, but this is a whole different ball of wax. On this blog I write about cars I like and dislike for whatever rational or irrational reason; I've posted daily for nearly a year, about hundreds of cars now, and if I limited it to cars I've actually driven I wouldn't be able to write about all kinds of cars. I'm not declaring fact - I'm having a conversation with other enthusiasts who also lust after a wide variety of cars, many of which they probably haven't driven.

For what it's worth, I try not to be a complete ignoramus. There's usually a reason I have an opinion on these cars - I've either driven one, or known somebody who owns one, or have just read many road tests (or one road test many times!). But again, I'm not declaring myself to be the world's expert on every car I write about.

I can see why it came across as overly negative, though, and maybe some context would be helpful here. I write about cars I like (and, rarely, cars I don't like). Those cars tend to be very quirky by the standards of the outside world. Meanwhile, my readership is, at best, generalized car enthusiasts who know the cars they drive and the big names like Ferraris and Corvettes and that kind of thing. At worst, they don't know anything about cars. That kind of audience is, at best, likely to look at a Fiat X1/9 and say, "Wow, it's tiny. Didn't those rust easily? I remember those being really slow." At worst, they're likely to look at it and say, "Huh?" Their frame of reference is going to be to compare the X1/9 to a 1996 Civic. So this is my audience.

My style tends to be self-deprecating. And when I'm writing about cars that I like, I tend to be self-deprecating about them. Typically I say something like, "Okay, okay, so it's slow and expensive and blah blah blah, but here's why it's great ..." That's the formula I used in the X1/9 piece as well. I'm honest about my opinions, but with cars I like I typically start slow and end fast.

I don't think it's wrong to say that the X1/9 wasn't a great classic car - it isn't legendary for its performance, it didn't change the automotive market, and it wasn't sold here in great numbers. And I don't think it's wrong to say it wasn't fast (in a straight line, anyway - its handling is a glaring omission here). But then notice that I then go in and build it up - it's gorgeous and totally desirable. I want one.

I try to write these with a loving tone, as if I'm saying these things with a smile on my face. It doesn't always work, unfortunately. But if you guys read some of my other posts on cars that you don't necessarily have an emotional connection with, I'm hoping my style and what I'm trying to say becomes a little more clear.

The general population thinks I'm a way-overboard weird car lover, too unrealistic about the commonly known faults of the cars I love. But then the ironic thing is that when I try to be balanced about the cars I like, the true believers think I'm being way too critical. An example is the AMC Eagle - I said, in essence, that it was ugly but totally endearing and fantastic. The Eagle fans heard that I thought it was ugly and took umbrage.

Either I'm doing something fundamentally wrong or I'll never be able to please everybody. Or it's just a natural outgrowth of the fact that I'm something of a car generalist and don't focus my energy on one car, so we communicate about it a little differently. But I can say with great confidence that I have more in common with you guys and the Eagle guys by far than the general Joe off the street who thinks the X1/9 must be garbage.

> Where did he get this quote? "Nowadays, you can find ratty old X1/9s behind gas stations, parked in alleys, and in fields--their marvelous designer lines left to slowly (or rapidly, as the case may be) rust away into nothingness"

Actually, the whole idea of an X1/9 article was prompted by a car I saw rusting away behind a service station in Sturgis, SD, when I was out there visiting family. The cars in Sturgis tend to be pretty vanilla, so I was really struck that this fantastic boutique car was left to rust behind a service station. It was pretty, interesting, and a bit sad. Since then I've kept my eyes open and seen more in a sad state of disrepair. They're not unique in that way - I've seen all kinds of fascinating 1970s cars in a sad state of disrepair that ignores their glory when they were built.

My point wasn't that all X1/9's are rotting away somewhere, or that all X1/9's SHOULD be rotting away somewhere - just that some are. I think that's interesting.

> One friend commented that it was scary when you think that we are reading this and we know how wrong it is because we know about the subject matter ourselves

This could certainly be true in this case as well. I try not to give the impression that I'm writing the end-all-be-all reference document on a car; rather, I'm writing more of an opinion essay. Hopefully an accurate opinion essay, though. I do one of these every day and don't get paid anything extra to do it (and don't get to do the rest of my job less well) so I'm a bit limited on the fact-checking I can do. As I say, I've been a journalist, but I just can't write this to that standard. This has to be a different animal.

> I also would mention that a Brake master cylinder in a 4000 dollar used Class mercedes will run you 850 parts and labor where you could get that done for less than 150 on an X/19.... Where does he come up with the expensive maintence?

This is another case where everything depends on context. The X1/9 might not have expensive parts and labor compared to a used Mercedes, but that's a pretty expensive context. Mercedes are not cheap for either parts or labor.

Keep in mind that much of my readership drives what I'll call (for a lack of a better word - no offense) normal cars. By this I mean boring, everyday cars that make up 90% of the cars on the road. In that context, speaking to that audience, owning a Fiat is not a cheap proposition.

That sentence was about me, by the way. Among other cars, I'd love to have an X1/9 (or a Fiat 124 Spider - I'd be torn), but compared to your average car I think it'd be an expensive proposition. I'd love to be wrong about that, by the way.

---

This has turned into a book, but because I like the car and I didn't mean to hurt any feelings here I wanted to be as clear as possible in what I was trying to say. And thanks to all who have invited me to the X1/9 get-together in Centralia/Chehalis - if I can make it (I have a young daughter, so all bets are off on future planning) I certainly will. It sounds like fun, and you deserve a chance to take a swing at me in person if you'd like. And if anybody is foolhardy enough to allow me to drive their X1/9, well, I'd love that too. And either way, if I attend, I'll write up a post about it. Fair?
I took no offense to the article.
Some of it was absolutely true, some was objective, and some was completely missing.

Again, speaking for myself, (also knowing many who share my opinion) I certainly
don't own an X for it's dependability or horsepower or the likes of. I own mine because they're
simply so damn much fun. These cars drive like legal go-karts. They're FUN to drive. When you
get to the point where you feel comfortable behind the wheel, (which doesn't take long, BTW)
you begin to realize there are things you can do (that doesn't cost a lot) to improve the ride.
This is where much of the conversations begin on this and other X1/9 sites. Truly, driving these
cars is an addiction that's difficult to explain. My first one in 1974 was unforgettable to this
day -even though it nearly brought me to my knees financially. (at the time) The ride is truly
unique.

Jim Decker hit the nail on the head when he said you ought to drive the car before you write about
it. Rust (or other problems) aside, the X1/9 isn't about it's inherent problems, it's really
about the ride. The style of the car was (and still is) a head-turner and way ahead of it's time.
I would encourage you to drive one down a curvy, windy road sometime, as I believe the
unmistakable smile on your face would change your opinion if you were to write the article again.

Thanks for posting your explanation.

Regards,
Bob Brown
Quote

Eric Hamilton (Durham NC)
Eric Hamilton (Durham NC)

July 4th, 2008, 1:15 am #9

Hello all,

I write for Amazon Car Lust, and specifically I wrote the Fiat/Bertone X1/9 post that Jim D. mentioned in here - a post that was received with not a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Here's Jim's post: http://www.network54.com/Forum/12159/me ... 214679772/
Here's my offending X1/9 post: http://www.carlustblog.com/2007/10/fiat-x19.html

I don't necessarily have a lot of honor to defend, but I am worried that I caused offense where I meant none with people who I probably have a lot in common with, so I'd like to try to explain. And if you'd prefer to shout me down and pelt me with rotten fruit and other solid objects, I can certainly understand that too.

Here's the thing - I actually thought I wrote a pretty loving remembrance of the X1/9, so I was startled to see the response. Until I actually reread my post and I think I understand the problem.

It might be helpful for me to give some context, and answer some of the questions along the way.

> I am amazed that he can be allowed to write an article and post/publish it about a car he has never even driven.

Well, the downside of the Internet is that any idiot can post an opinion on the web, and as mischance would have it, I'm one of those idiots. I have opinions on cars, and I write them. I may have the name "Amazon" on the blog, but at the end of the day I'm just another idiot posting his opinions on the Internet.

In my defense, I try to make clear up front the fact that I'm not operating as a journalist here, but just as another blogger. My profile on the blog reads thusly:

"Chris Hafner is a former automotive journalist turned full-time car addict. Without concerning himself with fairness, objectivity, or expertise, he nevertheless feels strongly about just about every car made. His tastes in cars are, to be charitable, quirky. Be cautious; if you would like to avoid hearing him drone on about Saabs for countless hours, it's best if you avoid eye contact and back away slowly."

I've been a journalist in my career, engaged in fact-checking, etc., I'd get test cars for evaluation and all that, but this is a whole different ball of wax. On this blog I write about cars I like and dislike for whatever rational or irrational reason; I've posted daily for nearly a year, about hundreds of cars now, and if I limited it to cars I've actually driven I wouldn't be able to write about all kinds of cars. I'm not declaring fact - I'm having a conversation with other enthusiasts who also lust after a wide variety of cars, many of which they probably haven't driven.

For what it's worth, I try not to be a complete ignoramus. There's usually a reason I have an opinion on these cars - I've either driven one, or known somebody who owns one, or have just read many road tests (or one road test many times!). But again, I'm not declaring myself to be the world's expert on every car I write about.

I can see why it came across as overly negative, though, and maybe some context would be helpful here. I write about cars I like (and, rarely, cars I don't like). Those cars tend to be very quirky by the standards of the outside world. Meanwhile, my readership is, at best, generalized car enthusiasts who know the cars they drive and the big names like Ferraris and Corvettes and that kind of thing. At worst, they don't know anything about cars. That kind of audience is, at best, likely to look at a Fiat X1/9 and say, "Wow, it's tiny. Didn't those rust easily? I remember those being really slow." At worst, they're likely to look at it and say, "Huh?" Their frame of reference is going to be to compare the X1/9 to a 1996 Civic. So this is my audience.

My style tends to be self-deprecating. And when I'm writing about cars that I like, I tend to be self-deprecating about them. Typically I say something like, "Okay, okay, so it's slow and expensive and blah blah blah, but here's why it's great ..." That's the formula I used in the X1/9 piece as well. I'm honest about my opinions, but with cars I like I typically start slow and end fast.

I don't think it's wrong to say that the X1/9 wasn't a great classic car - it isn't legendary for its performance, it didn't change the automotive market, and it wasn't sold here in great numbers. And I don't think it's wrong to say it wasn't fast (in a straight line, anyway - its handling is a glaring omission here). But then notice that I then go in and build it up - it's gorgeous and totally desirable. I want one.

I try to write these with a loving tone, as if I'm saying these things with a smile on my face. It doesn't always work, unfortunately. But if you guys read some of my other posts on cars that you don't necessarily have an emotional connection with, I'm hoping my style and what I'm trying to say becomes a little more clear.

The general population thinks I'm a way-overboard weird car lover, too unrealistic about the commonly known faults of the cars I love. But then the ironic thing is that when I try to be balanced about the cars I like, the true believers think I'm being way too critical. An example is the AMC Eagle - I said, in essence, that it was ugly but totally endearing and fantastic. The Eagle fans heard that I thought it was ugly and took umbrage.

Either I'm doing something fundamentally wrong or I'll never be able to please everybody. Or it's just a natural outgrowth of the fact that I'm something of a car generalist and don't focus my energy on one car, so we communicate about it a little differently. But I can say with great confidence that I have more in common with you guys and the Eagle guys by far than the general Joe off the street who thinks the X1/9 must be garbage.

> Where did he get this quote? "Nowadays, you can find ratty old X1/9s behind gas stations, parked in alleys, and in fields--their marvelous designer lines left to slowly (or rapidly, as the case may be) rust away into nothingness"

Actually, the whole idea of an X1/9 article was prompted by a car I saw rusting away behind a service station in Sturgis, SD, when I was out there visiting family. The cars in Sturgis tend to be pretty vanilla, so I was really struck that this fantastic boutique car was left to rust behind a service station. It was pretty, interesting, and a bit sad. Since then I've kept my eyes open and seen more in a sad state of disrepair. They're not unique in that way - I've seen all kinds of fascinating 1970s cars in a sad state of disrepair that ignores their glory when they were built.

My point wasn't that all X1/9's are rotting away somewhere, or that all X1/9's SHOULD be rotting away somewhere - just that some are. I think that's interesting.

> One friend commented that it was scary when you think that we are reading this and we know how wrong it is because we know about the subject matter ourselves

This could certainly be true in this case as well. I try not to give the impression that I'm writing the end-all-be-all reference document on a car; rather, I'm writing more of an opinion essay. Hopefully an accurate opinion essay, though. I do one of these every day and don't get paid anything extra to do it (and don't get to do the rest of my job less well) so I'm a bit limited on the fact-checking I can do. As I say, I've been a journalist, but I just can't write this to that standard. This has to be a different animal.

> I also would mention that a Brake master cylinder in a 4000 dollar used Class mercedes will run you 850 parts and labor where you could get that done for less than 150 on an X/19.... Where does he come up with the expensive maintence?

This is another case where everything depends on context. The X1/9 might not have expensive parts and labor compared to a used Mercedes, but that's a pretty expensive context. Mercedes are not cheap for either parts or labor.

Keep in mind that much of my readership drives what I'll call (for a lack of a better word - no offense) normal cars. By this I mean boring, everyday cars that make up 90% of the cars on the road. In that context, speaking to that audience, owning a Fiat is not a cheap proposition.

That sentence was about me, by the way. Among other cars, I'd love to have an X1/9 (or a Fiat 124 Spider - I'd be torn), but compared to your average car I think it'd be an expensive proposition. I'd love to be wrong about that, by the way.

---

This has turned into a book, but because I like the car and I didn't mean to hurt any feelings here I wanted to be as clear as possible in what I was trying to say. And thanks to all who have invited me to the X1/9 get-together in Centralia/Chehalis - if I can make it (I have a young daughter, so all bets are off on future planning) I certainly will. It sounds like fun, and you deserve a chance to take a swing at me in person if you'd like. And if anybody is foolhardy enough to allow me to drive their X1/9, well, I'd love that too. And either way, if I attend, I'll write up a post about it. Fair?
I posted a reply to your blog, a reasonably civil one, I hope.... I wasn't offended, although I disagree with you about "legendary unreliability and expensive parts"... can you name a more reliable and affordable mid-engine car of the era? Porsche 914, perhaps?

But now that I've read this post, I have another question for you:

Actually, the whole idea of an X1/9 article was prompted by a car I saw rusting away behind a service station in Sturgis, SD, when I was out there visiting family. The cars in Sturgis tend to be pretty vanilla, so I was really struck that this fantastic boutique car was left to rust behind a service station. It was pretty, interesting, and a bit sad.

Where? When? Has it already been fed to the crusher or the tinworms? Is it too late to launch a rescue mission?
Quote

Pat Higginbotham
Pat Higginbotham

July 4th, 2008, 1:58 am #10

Hello all,

I write for Amazon Car Lust, and specifically I wrote the Fiat/Bertone X1/9 post that Jim D. mentioned in here - a post that was received with not a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Here's Jim's post: http://www.network54.com/Forum/12159/me ... 214679772/
Here's my offending X1/9 post: http://www.carlustblog.com/2007/10/fiat-x19.html

I don't necessarily have a lot of honor to defend, but I am worried that I caused offense where I meant none with people who I probably have a lot in common with, so I'd like to try to explain. And if you'd prefer to shout me down and pelt me with rotten fruit and other solid objects, I can certainly understand that too.

Here's the thing - I actually thought I wrote a pretty loving remembrance of the X1/9, so I was startled to see the response. Until I actually reread my post and I think I understand the problem.

It might be helpful for me to give some context, and answer some of the questions along the way.

> I am amazed that he can be allowed to write an article and post/publish it about a car he has never even driven.

Well, the downside of the Internet is that any idiot can post an opinion on the web, and as mischance would have it, I'm one of those idiots. I have opinions on cars, and I write them. I may have the name "Amazon" on the blog, but at the end of the day I'm just another idiot posting his opinions on the Internet.

In my defense, I try to make clear up front the fact that I'm not operating as a journalist here, but just as another blogger. My profile on the blog reads thusly:

"Chris Hafner is a former automotive journalist turned full-time car addict. Without concerning himself with fairness, objectivity, or expertise, he nevertheless feels strongly about just about every car made. His tastes in cars are, to be charitable, quirky. Be cautious; if you would like to avoid hearing him drone on about Saabs for countless hours, it's best if you avoid eye contact and back away slowly."

I've been a journalist in my career, engaged in fact-checking, etc., I'd get test cars for evaluation and all that, but this is a whole different ball of wax. On this blog I write about cars I like and dislike for whatever rational or irrational reason; I've posted daily for nearly a year, about hundreds of cars now, and if I limited it to cars I've actually driven I wouldn't be able to write about all kinds of cars. I'm not declaring fact - I'm having a conversation with other enthusiasts who also lust after a wide variety of cars, many of which they probably haven't driven.

For what it's worth, I try not to be a complete ignoramus. There's usually a reason I have an opinion on these cars - I've either driven one, or known somebody who owns one, or have just read many road tests (or one road test many times!). But again, I'm not declaring myself to be the world's expert on every car I write about.

I can see why it came across as overly negative, though, and maybe some context would be helpful here. I write about cars I like (and, rarely, cars I don't like). Those cars tend to be very quirky by the standards of the outside world. Meanwhile, my readership is, at best, generalized car enthusiasts who know the cars they drive and the big names like Ferraris and Corvettes and that kind of thing. At worst, they don't know anything about cars. That kind of audience is, at best, likely to look at a Fiat X1/9 and say, "Wow, it's tiny. Didn't those rust easily? I remember those being really slow." At worst, they're likely to look at it and say, "Huh?" Their frame of reference is going to be to compare the X1/9 to a 1996 Civic. So this is my audience.

My style tends to be self-deprecating. And when I'm writing about cars that I like, I tend to be self-deprecating about them. Typically I say something like, "Okay, okay, so it's slow and expensive and blah blah blah, but here's why it's great ..." That's the formula I used in the X1/9 piece as well. I'm honest about my opinions, but with cars I like I typically start slow and end fast.

I don't think it's wrong to say that the X1/9 wasn't a great classic car - it isn't legendary for its performance, it didn't change the automotive market, and it wasn't sold here in great numbers. And I don't think it's wrong to say it wasn't fast (in a straight line, anyway - its handling is a glaring omission here). But then notice that I then go in and build it up - it's gorgeous and totally desirable. I want one.

I try to write these with a loving tone, as if I'm saying these things with a smile on my face. It doesn't always work, unfortunately. But if you guys read some of my other posts on cars that you don't necessarily have an emotional connection with, I'm hoping my style and what I'm trying to say becomes a little more clear.

The general population thinks I'm a way-overboard weird car lover, too unrealistic about the commonly known faults of the cars I love. But then the ironic thing is that when I try to be balanced about the cars I like, the true believers think I'm being way too critical. An example is the AMC Eagle - I said, in essence, that it was ugly but totally endearing and fantastic. The Eagle fans heard that I thought it was ugly and took umbrage.

Either I'm doing something fundamentally wrong or I'll never be able to please everybody. Or it's just a natural outgrowth of the fact that I'm something of a car generalist and don't focus my energy on one car, so we communicate about it a little differently. But I can say with great confidence that I have more in common with you guys and the Eagle guys by far than the general Joe off the street who thinks the X1/9 must be garbage.

> Where did he get this quote? "Nowadays, you can find ratty old X1/9s behind gas stations, parked in alleys, and in fields--their marvelous designer lines left to slowly (or rapidly, as the case may be) rust away into nothingness"

Actually, the whole idea of an X1/9 article was prompted by a car I saw rusting away behind a service station in Sturgis, SD, when I was out there visiting family. The cars in Sturgis tend to be pretty vanilla, so I was really struck that this fantastic boutique car was left to rust behind a service station. It was pretty, interesting, and a bit sad. Since then I've kept my eyes open and seen more in a sad state of disrepair. They're not unique in that way - I've seen all kinds of fascinating 1970s cars in a sad state of disrepair that ignores their glory when they were built.

My point wasn't that all X1/9's are rotting away somewhere, or that all X1/9's SHOULD be rotting away somewhere - just that some are. I think that's interesting.

> One friend commented that it was scary when you think that we are reading this and we know how wrong it is because we know about the subject matter ourselves

This could certainly be true in this case as well. I try not to give the impression that I'm writing the end-all-be-all reference document on a car; rather, I'm writing more of an opinion essay. Hopefully an accurate opinion essay, though. I do one of these every day and don't get paid anything extra to do it (and don't get to do the rest of my job less well) so I'm a bit limited on the fact-checking I can do. As I say, I've been a journalist, but I just can't write this to that standard. This has to be a different animal.

> I also would mention that a Brake master cylinder in a 4000 dollar used Class mercedes will run you 850 parts and labor where you could get that done for less than 150 on an X/19.... Where does he come up with the expensive maintence?

This is another case where everything depends on context. The X1/9 might not have expensive parts and labor compared to a used Mercedes, but that's a pretty expensive context. Mercedes are not cheap for either parts or labor.

Keep in mind that much of my readership drives what I'll call (for a lack of a better word - no offense) normal cars. By this I mean boring, everyday cars that make up 90% of the cars on the road. In that context, speaking to that audience, owning a Fiat is not a cheap proposition.

That sentence was about me, by the way. Among other cars, I'd love to have an X1/9 (or a Fiat 124 Spider - I'd be torn), but compared to your average car I think it'd be an expensive proposition. I'd love to be wrong about that, by the way.

---

This has turned into a book, but because I like the car and I didn't mean to hurt any feelings here I wanted to be as clear as possible in what I was trying to say. And thanks to all who have invited me to the X1/9 get-together in Centralia/Chehalis - if I can make it (I have a young daughter, so all bets are off on future planning) I certainly will. It sounds like fun, and you deserve a chance to take a swing at me in person if you'd like. And if anybody is foolhardy enough to allow me to drive their X1/9, well, I'd love that too. And either way, if I attend, I'll write up a post about it. Fair?
thread title is very apt.

We all know the x has many flaws. We also know that in its own peculiar way it is prefect. Don't even try to make sense out of this but if you are the car guy I think you are you will understand.
Quote