As a confirmed collector car bottom feeder, I could always count on getting a cheap Italian roadster fix with a decent Fiat 124 or Spider 2000 for credit card money. And although I've never owned an X1/9, I've always admired their wedge-era tidy good looks.
You used to be able to pick up non-rusty non-smoking examples of either (often with a working second gear synchro) for two grand or less. Call it a bump from the successful launch of the new Fiat 500 or just a belated realization that these are cool little cars that but the entry level now seems to be more than four grand for a clean old Fiat.
Rob Sass is the publisher of Hagerty magazine and the author of the book “Ran When Parked: Advice and Adventures from the Affordable Underbelly of Car Collecting.”