This Sportbike-Powered, Active-Aero Fiat is a Garage-Engineered Wonder
This Italian-built Fiat track special demonstrates sheer awesomeness.
Fiat’s Bertone-designed X1/9 has always looked the part of a purposeful race car. However, its paltry engine held the mid-engine Fiat back from being a world beater. After getting ahold of them, though, enterprising tuners have graced some of the little two-seaters real horsepower. For Italian Albano Fabbri, a 1.0-liter Yamaha R1 motorcycle engine makes his track car scream, but the engine comprises only a small piece of this insane track special. The aerodynamic devices set this one apart from all others.
Even a discerning Fiat X1/9 enthusiast would have difficulty identifying that as the basis for Albano’s build. The front resembles a classic wedge-shaped Can-Am car that pushes air over the ground-scraping nose. Gigantic side sills link massive front and rear fenders to minimize underbody air. The low-lying bodywork does not represent the insanity, however.
Active aerodynamics set this homebuilt project apart. Fabbri didn’t bother with modern dive planes on the edges of the nose. Instead, he tacked on enormous triangular turning vanes that tilt with the steering wheel. That means they will grab more air in the middle of corners.
Add in a rear wing that changes angle of attack to maximize the active-aero quotient. On straightaways, the wing sits almost horizontally like an F1 Drag Reduction System (DRS). On the brakes and through the corners, the wing increases its angle dramatically to add downforce in the parts where the car needs it.
The entire project looks both like rough-hewn garage engineering and finely crafted, purposeful machinery. Those characteristics embody Italian ingenuity, really, with a strange melding of form and function.
Since it’s a homebuilt project, we doubt Fabbri has ever tested the design’s efficiency in a wind tunnel. We’d be curious to see that or even a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation to know how well the aero kit works.
Until then, we’ll be happy to hear the rev-happy bike engine and active aerodynamics, captured by Italian videographer 19Bozzy92 with fantastic quality.