It was one of the most admired concept cars at the Geneva Show, with its iridescent orange colour pointing up attractive curves and a dynamic profile but, in spite of the Fiat trademark, it was not the latest creation from a renowned coachbuilder, nor from a manufacturer’s in-house style centre.

The X1/99 is the eye-catching coupé developed by students from the 2003/2004 Master in Transportation Design course at the Istituto Europeo di Design of Turin. Built on a Fiat Punto platform, the name evokes the X1/9 of the Seventies. The brief: “Design a car that stirs up the desire in a young person to own a Fiat” gave a macroscopic indication of the direction to be taken by the seven young students who attended the Master course.

The creative part of the project was developed entirely by the students, guided by Lowie Vermeersch, Pininfarina designer and coordinator of the Master course, and monitored by Mike Robinson (Fiat Brand Promotion at the time) and by Gianni Frigatti (Fiat Marketing); the conceptual part, particularly that regarding the feasibility of the roof, was entrusted to Webasto technicians. A leading role throughout the implementation stage was played by Cecomp, a Turin constructor of models and prototypes, that works with the IED of Turin on scale models for design work done by students during their three-year course and during the master course.

The X1/99 is an attractive coupé with a compact shape and well-conceived proportions. The spectator’s eye lingers over the interesting solution for the roof which, once open, goes to create the two additional rear seats and does not reduce the luggage space of a car which is plainly young and sporty. The presence of the rear engine is stressed by the two longitudinal grilles which take up the roof ribbing on the tail.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 152

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