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Recent interviews with Fiat Group brass

March 3 2005 at 7:57 PM

Courtesy of Italiaspeed.com...


The downside (for us as far as the "X 1/99" goes) is all the talk about drastic cost cutting

The upside is that some of the very same people who are supportive of the idea of the X 1/99 or something like it are some of the same people featured in the article

There's no telling what may happen next, all we can do is keep telling them what WE think, and see what happens!

Peace, -Mac

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March 3 2005, 8:54 PM 

I see from this article that Fiat are now talking to Daimler Chrysler - who are keen to reduce the losses on their Smart brand. A question then - Is the Smart platform something that could be the basis of a modern X? Being a 100% pure imbecile it matters mechanical I will leave it to you fine people - the experts - to ponder the Smart Brand.

poppa X

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nice segueway!

March 3 2005, 9:19 PM 

yes! that's an idea i didn't put together first up.

the "Smart Roadster", with a nice wedge-shape body... the options just go on from there...

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BUT it's actually TOO small

March 3 2005, 9:43 PM 

Looking over the Smart web site, the only one they have that is "mid engine rear wheel drive" is the "Roadster"

It seems way too small / weak for an X1/9 evolution...

X1/99 is 4060mm long, Smart is 3427mm

X1/99 is 1790mm wide, Smart is 1615mm

X1/99 is 1293mm tall, Smart is 1192mm

X1/99 (199) wheelbase is 2460mm, Smart is 2360mm

Smart weight (without driver/load) in kg 832

Smart MAXIMUM allowable total weight in kg 1,030

Now, the body figures are largely irrelevant, I just included them for comparison. My MAIN concern is the weight figures - the Smart is such a tiny car that its platform seems would be TOO frail for this. Could such a chassis even handle an X1/99-like body, a hot Fiat 4 cylinder engine and 2 passengers without buckling under its own weight?

It sounds like the Smart would be a great idea if we were all Fiat 850 enthusiasts! For the X1/99, I'd think that platform would require significant bulking up, some widening, basically so many mods I don't know whether it would be "smarter" to literally go from scratch - I am just a layman when it comes to manufacturing cars but it just seems too small...

Peace, -Mac

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March 3 2005, 9:47 PM 

i'm talking about an X1/9... NOT X1/99.

i don't mind the car being shorter front-to-back, it can be widened relatively easily, i just think it's begging for a nice looking body.

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what I mean is

March 3 2005, 9:59 PM 

... just that the FRAME of the Smart CHASSIS being designed for such a tiny lightweight of a car with a 3 cylinder engine and so on, I don't know if using that chassis would introduce limitations that would turn our "hot" tire smoking "new X1/9" (whether it be the "99" or ANY evolution) into less of a sports car and more of a wind-up toy.

If Fiat is going to build ANY new X it had better be a HOT son of a gun! I just don't know whether the Smart platform is too flimsy to live up to what we would want a New X to be. Yes the engine is in the right place, but if it's built that light could it even take the kind of powertrain we would demand? Or would we be by limitation of the chassis end up getting a "scorching 600cc with power uphill start assist"?? (homey don't think so!!)

If there were some feasable way to strengthen and widen it to the point that it could really perform on a level EQUAL to the original X handling-wise, and then could stand having one of Fiat's hottest 4 cylinder powertrains bolted to it, then take 2 people, and not collapse like a bent piece of wire, then I'd say go for it, I just don't know what it would take to turn a Smart chassis into what we would need...

I'm open minded, but skeptical, about the Smart option. I just don't know if it could take the weight / power of what we would want to bolt to it...

Peace, -Mac

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it's almost as heavy as the original X

March 3 2005, 10:08 PM 

surely some decent thoughts could go to getting a screamin 1.5 SOHC with 120 horses in there, that would be an adequate introduction for me.

now get in the frickin chat room, 9 guys... hmm, sounds a bit gay.

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Smart = 1800 lbs, X1/9 = 2200 lbs

March 4 2005, 12:48 AM 

That's a pretty significant difference in terms of what the chassis is engineered to handle I would think...

However, if it could be done that the platform could be gotten from DiamlerChrysler, reinforced by Fiat, maybe widened a bit? I think it could actually work out, as long as it can handle having Fiat's hottest 4 banger strapped to it.

Actually, to have a modern X that was lighter than the original would be a tremendously GOOD thing, since the old car weighs a ton (literally)

Hmm... you guys might be onto something...

I wonder if our friend is reading this? -Mac

(PS it was a fun chat!)

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1800lbs is EXACTLY what i want MY x to weigh

March 4 2005, 1:04 AM 

then anything around 100-120 hp is significant enough for a serious sportscar, and 150+ is nutter territory.

hmm, i'm gonna check out the local market... see what the going rate for these things are...

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March 4 2005, 1:12 AM 

almost get a secondhand elise for that.  phooey.

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Don't give up the ship!

March 4 2005, 2:12 AM 

In the UK a Brand new Smart Roadster is listing around £12,000, which is about $22,800 US at the moment, that seems like a more than fair "ballpark" price for a "New X" at the low end of the range, no options, no frills etc.

Besides, just because the Smart is one price doesn't mean the Fiat would be that price. If they cut some deal with DC for the platform, did any necessary modifications to them, put their hottest 4 cylinder and the new X body on, you figure they could come in around $25,000 US? -Mac

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price is fine...

March 4 2005, 4:39 AM 

...for a new X with all the character and soul of the original, with updated safety features and power output, but NOT for an asthmatic 600cc "smart" car, which is what they go for here.

colour me bored but here's a few NEW car prices in oz for ya... (pre-GST and delivery and rego and insurance etc, mostly the high-end version of it) and why hot cars like the X are even more appreciated here:

BMW M3 SMG convertible - $150k

BMW 760 - $320K


FERRARI 575 - $600K






HONDA S2000 - $73K







MAZDA 6 - $40K

MAZDA MX5 - $45K

MAZDA RX8 - $60K



NISSAN 350Z - $70K

NOBLE M12 - $200K



SMART 42 - $25K








VOLVO V70 - $100K


a couple used cars that i don't have to look up... (rough prices based on last few years of perving)


X1/9 PRE '84 - $5K

X1/9 POST '84 - $10K

MR2 MK1 - $10K

FERRARI 308 GT4 - $70K

FERRARI 348 - $140K

FERRARI 355 - $200K


90/91 MX5 - $15K




ALFA 105 - $15K


and going back to the old measurements...





CD/DVD - $30






as for wages, well, i think govt employees are indicative of average salaries...






anyhoo, hope that gives some perspective.

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Smart Cabrio ForTwo in Canada

March 4 2005, 7:28 AM 

I'm not sure which model the roadster is, but the ForTwo Carbio starts at $22 Cnd.. the ForTwo hardtop starts at $16K Cnd.

The US doesn't get Smart 'till 2006 or so. Wow, Canada got it first ... cool.

Myron Samila
Toronto, Canada
1978 Fiat X1/9 1500cc/4spd/daily driver
1982 Fiat X1/9 1500cc FI/Faza 35/75/weekender
1982 Fiat X1/9 1500cc dual 45/DCOE GT race car
1987 Volvo 760 GLE daily&winter beater
1987 Alfa Romeo Milano (Gold) sold,

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well i like teasing you south-of-arctic folks...

March 4 2005, 7:33 AM 

...about not having the elise for like a decade.  with the "smart" cars i'm not so smug, they're cute, but not worth a second look.

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Chris Prince

those smart cars are selling like crazy in Victoria..

March 5 2005, 1:05 AM 

even the pizza delivery has one up the road..cheers

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how do you?!? party size, I mean.??!?!

March 5 2005, 2:41 PM 

hehe... how does a party size Pizza fit in there??

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Mac - I disagree with you!

March 4 2005, 10:16 PM 

In the nicest possible way of course.
You said:

"If Fiat is going to build ANY new X it had better be a HOT son of a gun"

The original X was far from a HOT car - it relied on looks, configuration, price and handling to attract sales. So Mac - why does the 21st century X have to be hot? Surely as Ash says a 120-150Hp in an 1800 lb car - mid engined - targa - would qualify?

Also - I own up to being an amateur in these matters but with modern materials it seems to me to be possible to have similar strength in a lighter car. Think 1940 hot rods and todays small coupes - which one would you rather crash in?

Performance in a modern X is last on my list behind mid engine, targo, 2 seater, great handling, stunning body, light weight and finally price. There is probably a minimum hp requirement and the Smart's 600cc turbo 3 cylinder is probably too low.

Elsewhere some of us rave about the Elise - and yet its early models had "about" 120hp relying on all the things I've just mentioned to make it an appealing car.

poppa X

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1800 lb car?

March 7 2005, 5:40 AM 

I know it is highly unlikely for a targa configured car to weigh in at 1800lbs. The powertrain itself weighs in at a whopping 500lbs.

A Toyota Yaris (a little hatchback) is quite small and considered light, at 2200 lbs or so.

It is not possible for a modern car, packed with telematics and embedded electronics and safety equipment to weigh in at 1800lbs, unless it is a Smart ForTwo which is only 10 feet in overall length. The wheelbase of the Smart can almost fit in between the wheels of a X1/9!!

2500 lbs is somewhat more realistic.

What does a current MR2 weigh? A targa would not be much different.

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you do have some valid points, but...

March 7 2005, 12:07 PM 

... what I was getting at more than anything with that statement was that - if our original X1/9 had ANY FLAW (not including its desire to rust faster than you could raise an umbrella) it was its LACK OF POWER. Yes people can fix that themselves with Uno Turbo transplants, Twin Cam swapouts, a bunch of engine mods etc, but what I am getting at is, if Fiat were to produce a new X1/9, HOT out of the BOX should be a much more important factor than it was with our orignials, that's all.

If they actually produced any new X, it would be nice if it were a rocket straight out of the showroom. This would not be that hard to do given some of the engines Fiat has that they could put in there.

It should be all the other things you mention at the same time, mid-engined, tiny, handle "on rails", stunning body style etc. I just think a powerful engine should be higher on the list than it was originally

Peace, -Mac

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