Feasibility of converting tiny, old Fiat X1-9 into a dune buggy?

softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,928 ✭✭✭✭
Towed home an old X1-9 from a rancher. The rancher inherited it from somebody who intended on turning the X1-9 into a dune buggy. 

I used to own an X1-9 and enjoyed the remarkable handling and fuel economy. It is a mid engine Italian sports car that the Pontiac Fiero was modeled after.

It has 74,000 miles, a motor/trannie and the oil looks pretty clean. However the car has not been used in years and years. The tires are shot, many wires are chewed by mice, and the carburetor throat has a lot of mouse droppings in it. 

I couldn't get the motor to turn and the starter is not accessible to XXL hands. Now I can't even turn the key. Something I did has frozen the key. 

Thinking about turning it into scrap metal. It is already sitting on a trailer. Cut my minimal losses (~$100) short. Though a dune buggy would be the cats meow if the s**t really, really hits the fan. 

Asking here because some of you guys are mechanically inclined. 
First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries

Comments

  • manzanitamanzanita Registered Users Posts: 37 ✭✭
    I'm not one of the mechanically inclined members ... but I'm not certain how you expect to pull this off. You are trying to modify a vehicle that likes to be low to the ground with relatively small tires ..... to something that has good ground clearance and maybe larger tires?

    A 1.3L engine is not going to have lots of torque. Your gear box would probably come apart with the strain. So big tires aren't really feasible. (I ruined the tranny in a Geo Metro driving it on bad dirt roads. Used the 1L engine in a crude co-gen project until it died.)

    Low ground clearance will create more problems. You would have to modify the suspension and I don't mean just putting in longer shock absorbers.

    If this car was in good shape -- which it isn't -- you might get away with taking off body parts until you had something that could scoot around on hard-packed dirt. But if it has uni-body construction you can't even do that. This is not a good vehicle to make a dune buggy. It does have good weight distribution, but that's about it. Since the wiring is shot and the engine needs to be pulled apart and cleaned you have a _lot_ of work to do to just get it running. I wouldn't try it.
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,401 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Fiat X19's are desirable to some, completely restored examples fetch > $10 000, If the overall condition is good, not a rust bucket, I would be inclined to auction it on Ebay, no reserve, some are looking for parts car, others for restoration, there is always a lid that fits the pot, just a matter of advertising. Once hacked up the value is lost and it's not a good candidate for a dune buggy. 
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  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭

    FIAT - Fix it again Tony ;)

    A dune buggy wants to be made out of robust parts, Fiats are the exact opposite of robust parts


  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,928 ✭✭✭✭
    Everybody makes some valid points. It would be a low riding dune buggy without a lot of ground clearance. That would be fine around here....this is an alpine desert.

    Unibody construction? Didn't consider that. Guessing that means the body can't be lifted off the frame. In that case, this becomes mission impossible. The body is a goner....not salvageable. This X1/9 is not salvageable unless the body can be lifted off. Then it becomes a giant go-kart in a way.

    FWIW.....my own experience with my X1/9 was very good. I sold it to my brother and bought a Jaguar.....which was not a good car for me. Girlfriends can be expensive.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,011 ✭✭✭✭

    Use an electric motor ???
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  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,928 ✭✭✭✭
    The X1/9 was built with unibody construction. Thus making this virtually mission impossible. Oh well. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • manzanitamanzanita Registered Users Posts: 37 ✭✭
    softdown said:
    The X1/9 was built with unibody construction. Thus making this virtually mission impossible. Oh well. 
    Sorry about the Unibody problem.
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