OUR WORST FEAR HAS BEEN REALIZED

OUR WORST FEAR HAS BEEN REALIZED

Mac
Mac

February 25th, 2005, 9:29 am #1

THE X1/99, IF PRODUCED, IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE FRONT ENGINED

This has been confirmed in my last round of communication with our friend...

...and in fact it may well BE the "last" round... I hope not, but, it didn't go too well when this question was thrust (by me) front and center (no pun)

I'm sure you all can imagine I would want to get right to the bottom of this concern cropping up!!!!!!!!!!!

It went something like:

It doesn't have any engine. It's a static prototype.

(yeah, I guessed that, but what about a PRODUCTION version???)

It IS on the Punto Fiat-GM 199 platform...

(yeah, so the mid engine X was on a front engine 128 platform, so? AND????)

the IED project is a small sports car for the youth market. Just what this requires is "to be decided"

(COME ON MAN!!! Just say it, it's already obvious...)

Today [our] mid-engines are only built by Ferrari, not even Maserati!

(well, if Maserati can't even pull it off I guess a bunch of old Xheads are SOL...)

Starting from scratch to create a mid-engine platform today would take years and billions

(neither of which FIAT has at the moment...)

I felt pretty darn shitty about this turn of events, that's for sure, and the worst part of all is that our friends DO want it to be mid-engined every bit as desperately as we do, of that I am totally convinced, beyond any doubt. What it looks like it's all come back down to is FIAT just plain being too broke to do it THE RIGHT WAY. It's not for a lack of desire, it's the lack of a pre-existing mid-engine platform that could be used for this, and the lack of FUNDING to develop one...

NOW WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO ??? Do we just pack it in? What a lousy discovery to make, days before Geneva, and it's my freking BIRTHDAY no less...

Thoughts? -Mac
Last edited by seattlex19 on February 25th, 2005, 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: April 18th, 2001, 2:41 pm

February 25th, 2005, 12:02 pm #2

It did seem pretty far fetched but no harm in hoping....

78 X1/9 TNB racer
96 TVR Griffith 500
97 Ford Explorer (all round tank and tow car)
http://www.the-lair.demon.co.uk/
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Mac
Mac

February 25th, 2005, 12:28 pm #3

For the whole time I've been talking to them it's been sounding really quite seriously promising and the phrase "mid engine" has certainly been tossed around (by ALL sides) a healthy number of times when referencing what WE ALL WANT the car to be.

I took that, coupled with the renderings we previously examined here (that pretty clearly show reflections of a floor under the nose and what looks like a gaping engine bay hole in back), to mean the ACTUAL PLAN was for a mid-engine, and no one stepped up to correct that assumption. As much as it looked that way, the question was never asked OUTRIGHT up until this point...

When it again fell into question I came RIGHT OUT and ASKED POINT BLANK, and there you have it. I can only assume one of two things, either our friends seriously believed it to be possible too, until recently, or, they were really aware it could not be possible, but were simply praying that we as a community would support any car in the X's "spirit" (tiny, open top, low-slung, sporty, aspiring toward all which the X actually is regardless of engine layout) so much so, that spilling the front engine beans was just best left untouched until eventually cornered into having no choice but to address it. I don't know which, but logically speaking it's probably the latter.

I feel bad too. Now I'm really not sure where to go from here. These are good people, at IED, at FIAT, the project is EVEN STILL pretty cool for what it is, for those who are in markets where Fiats are sold, even front engine it would still be one of the most interesting cars Fiat has built in a long time... but there's just no way they could get away with marketing it "AS" the "NeXt1/9" with a front engine, there's just no way, and I really doubt, based on knowing this community as I've had the good fortune to over time, that many of you would disagree with that feeling.

As soon as this came out, I told them "it's still a cool car for Fiat, it should still be produced, but don't dare call it X1/something, else most likely enrage the global X1/9 enthusiast community, would be much wiser to market it as the "New Fiat Coupe" or basically ANYTHING BUT...

Hmmm... So Julian, what kind of a TVR was that you were saving up for?

Peace, -Mac
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Brett Melancon
Brett Melancon

February 25th, 2005, 12:39 pm #4

THE X1/99, IF PRODUCED, IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE FRONT ENGINED

This has been confirmed in my last round of communication with our friend...

...and in fact it may well BE the "last" round... I hope not, but, it didn't go too well when this question was thrust (by me) front and center (no pun)

I'm sure you all can imagine I would want to get right to the bottom of this concern cropping up!!!!!!!!!!!

It went something like:

It doesn't have any engine. It's a static prototype.

(yeah, I guessed that, but what about a PRODUCTION version???)

It IS on the Punto Fiat-GM 199 platform...

(yeah, so the mid engine X was on a front engine 128 platform, so? AND????)

the IED project is a small sports car for the youth market. Just what this requires is "to be decided"

(COME ON MAN!!! Just say it, it's already obvious...)

Today [our] mid-engines are only built by Ferrari, not even Maserati!

(well, if Maserati can't even pull it off I guess a bunch of old Xheads are SOL...)

Starting from scratch to create a mid-engine platform today would take years and billions

(neither of which FIAT has at the moment...)

I felt pretty darn shitty about this turn of events, that's for sure, and the worst part of all is that our friends DO want it to be mid-engined every bit as desperately as we do, of that I am totally convinced, beyond any doubt. What it looks like it's all come back down to is FIAT just plain being too broke to do it THE RIGHT WAY. It's not for a lack of desire, it's the lack of a pre-existing mid-engine platform that could be used for this, and the lack of FUNDING to develop one...

NOW WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO ??? Do we just pack it in? What a lousy discovery to make, days before Geneva, and it's my freking BIRTHDAY no less...

Thoughts? -Mac
This is what I was basing my opinions on regarding this project. Unless Fiat looked at this as simply an image car, it will never happen. I personally think that in todays economy, an affordable, mid engine car is not economically feasible. I don't like saying that but it is true. The closest thing that we have to an X1/9 right now is an Elise. It is a great car and folks are not busting the doors down.

Look at the bright sid, that makes our X1/9s even more special. There may not ever be another car like it in the market again. Take the money that you would spend on a new plastic Fiat and put even half that into an X1/9 and you have one heck of a car.
Brett
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Mac
Mac

February 25th, 2005, 1:12 pm #5

... but I feel a bit "led on" (see my response to Julian) by the huge bulk of the dialogues that took place up to that revelation. I would never had sounded so convinced it was possible had they not sounded so convincING that it WAS possible... if you could only have heard some of the things that were said to encourage me, well shit.

The Elise IS great, but no one's busting down the doors because as great as it is it's still too expensive for a lot of people to even realistically consider buying or maintaining.

The only mid engine cars that seem to be surviving out there at all on a budget market are Japanese. Hm, when I want an Integra or a Civic, they do those great, but honestly I just can't see myself ever enjoying a tiny mid engine car that drives with the surgical blandness of a Toyota when I have tasted the "spicy meatball" that is the purebred Italian X1/9...

You are right, if it's front engined, I really would be better off dumping cash on the Xs I have now. The trouble is, where I might be able to get a car financed, there is no one around anywhere that would ever finance my FIAT X1/9 restorations!

Peace, -Mac
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Brett Melancon
Brett Melancon

February 25th, 2005, 2:12 pm #6

about the Japanese car blandness. I used a friends Supercharged MR2 for an autocross once and realized the difference. Even though the cars are similar on paper, there IS a difference. I looked forward to getting back into my X1/9 and have not looked back since.

So many things would need to happen for the market to ever accept a car like the X1/9 again. Heck, it would be hard to sell the idea of building a car that could not sell at least a quarter of a mil a year and keep the cost down. They only sold about 140k X1/9s from '72-'89. Most cars sell that many in a year.

I love the X1/9 and I love the idea of a NEW X1/9. I just doubt that the two will ever meet.

I think that the folks were leading you on in order to get information that they hoped to use for thier project.
Brett
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Mac
Mac

February 25th, 2005, 2:45 pm #7

... my feeling after all the dialogues looking at it now is not really at all that they were seriously looking for 'project information' - YET. It was made quite clear that a point would come after Geneva when that would become very much more important, but for now, the main concern seems to be whether the car will ever even make it out of the "static prototype" stage in the first place.

My feeling is that the prime motivator was pure and simple, "look at this global group of X1/9 enthusiasts, if they would support this car that we are floating 'in the SPIRIT of the X1/9' vocally to Fiat management, the chances of it being seriously considered for production would surely go up..." - eg: it would lend legitimacy to have enthusiasts of the original "endorsing" this one loudly as a group.

Plus, if what they wanted was some demographic input, I think I just nailed that to the wall for 'em, in the last email. Tell me if I got it right folks?...

===

...no matter how great the spirit of a sported up Punto rebody might be, if the engine is in the front, that "spirit" is unarguably fundamentally altered...

There is no way this group of enthusiasts is going to back a "front engine X1/9" they will drop that sucker like a hot potato the minute that realization strikes... even if it was the 'second coming of the Gandini Wedge', actually that with a front engine would just piss them off.

...precisely what it would take to be a "hot" car to this crowd: tiny, low-slung, slot-car handling, mid engine, rear wheel drive, 2 seats, targa top and a couple gracefully eXecuted styling cues to recall the heritage. I do wish FIAT and you success, nothing would make me happier than to see that company flourish and thrive, then perhaps a REAL evolution of the X could be afforded. In the meantime, maybe the 99 if front engined would be better marketed as the "new Fiat Coupe".


===

Would you say that is a reasonably accurate appraisal of overall "vocal majority" enthusiast opinion on this topic? If I'm off the mark please do let me know ...

Peace, -Mac

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Joined: April 18th, 2001, 2:41 pm

February 25th, 2005, 3:47 pm #8

For the whole time I've been talking to them it's been sounding really quite seriously promising and the phrase "mid engine" has certainly been tossed around (by ALL sides) a healthy number of times when referencing what WE ALL WANT the car to be.

I took that, coupled with the renderings we previously examined here (that pretty clearly show reflections of a floor under the nose and what looks like a gaping engine bay hole in back), to mean the ACTUAL PLAN was for a mid-engine, and no one stepped up to correct that assumption. As much as it looked that way, the question was never asked OUTRIGHT up until this point...

When it again fell into question I came RIGHT OUT and ASKED POINT BLANK, and there you have it. I can only assume one of two things, either our friends seriously believed it to be possible too, until recently, or, they were really aware it could not be possible, but were simply praying that we as a community would support any car in the X's "spirit" (tiny, open top, low-slung, sporty, aspiring toward all which the X actually is regardless of engine layout) so much so, that spilling the front engine beans was just best left untouched until eventually cornered into having no choice but to address it. I don't know which, but logically speaking it's probably the latter.

I feel bad too. Now I'm really not sure where to go from here. These are good people, at IED, at FIAT, the project is EVEN STILL pretty cool for what it is, for those who are in markets where Fiats are sold, even front engine it would still be one of the most interesting cars Fiat has built in a long time... but there's just no way they could get away with marketing it "AS" the "NeXt1/9" with a front engine, there's just no way, and I really doubt, based on knowing this community as I've had the good fortune to over time, that many of you would disagree with that feeling.

As soon as this came out, I told them "it's still a cool car for Fiat, it should still be produced, but don't dare call it X1/something, else most likely enrage the global X1/9 enthusiast community, would be much wiser to market it as the "New Fiat Coupe" or basically ANYTHING BUT...

Hmmm... So Julian, what kind of a TVR was that you were saving up for?

Peace, -Mac
Take a peek on www.tvr.co.uk

T350 in aero trim specifically for the racetrack


78 X1/9 TNB racer
96 TVR Griffith 500
97 Ford Explorer (all round tank and tow car)
http://www.the-lair.demon.co.uk/
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Chris Schaeffer
Chris Schaeffer

February 25th, 2005, 4:02 pm #9

This is what I was basing my opinions on regarding this project. Unless Fiat looked at this as simply an image car, it will never happen. I personally think that in todays economy, an affordable, mid engine car is not economically feasible. I don't like saying that but it is true. The closest thing that we have to an X1/9 right now is an Elise. It is a great car and folks are not busting the doors down.

Look at the bright sid, that makes our X1/9s even more special. There may not ever be another car like it in the market again. Take the money that you would spend on a new plastic Fiat and put even half that into an X1/9 and you have one heck of a car.
Brett
I'm waiting for a couple years for Elise.
Once it comes out of warranty, like every other British car, they will drop.

I'll but a used 30,000 mile Elise for $25,000 all day long.


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Joined: December 16th, 2002, 3:08 am

February 25th, 2005, 4:19 pm #10

This is what I was basing my opinions on regarding this project. Unless Fiat looked at this as simply an image car, it will never happen. I personally think that in todays economy, an affordable, mid engine car is not economically feasible. I don't like saying that but it is true. The closest thing that we have to an X1/9 right now is an Elise. It is a great car and folks are not busting the doors down.

Look at the bright sid, that makes our X1/9s even more special. There may not ever be another car like it in the market again. Take the money that you would spend on a new plastic Fiat and put even half that into an X1/9 and you have one heck of a car.
Brett
what happened to Ulix's project? That has way more potential and is more worthy of our collective efforts, ideas and criticisms. I hate to say THIS: if I want a modern, affordable, mid-engine sports car, I'm gonna have to buy an MR2. Like I said, I hate to say it, but it does meet the criteria.

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