A Site by Tobias Berger accessed times / Page 1





Photos scanned from German magazine "Oldtimer Markt" issue 5/94
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Science Fiction '69

In 1969, the front-wheel driven FIAT 128 debutet. Soon it was clear that a new sports car on its base should replace the FIAT 850 Spider. Question was, what concept to take: the complete chassis of the 128 with just a new body and stronger engine, or a mid-engined chassis new to design? The first would have been cheaper in design and production, but the second promised to have the much better handling and was the much more sportive concept.
Nuccio Bertone who had already shaped the 850 Spider for FIAT, presented on the Turine Motor Show '69 his concept for a middle-engined two-seater using the engine of the 128. Visitors were impressed by the futuristic look that seemed to resemble a speed-boat rather than a car. To draw a veil over their true plans, the Runabout wasn't shown at FIAT's, but at Autobianchi's, a little firm that belongs to the FIAT company. The car also shows the Autobianchi logo.
After that successful debut FIAT decided to order Bertone to design a mid-engined car with the looks of the Runabout. In 1973 Bertone and his chief designer Giorgio Giugiaro had done the job: the new car debuted as the FIAT X1/9.


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