Dallara K24/K20 Swap

So –  there is a very slick body kit made to match the group 5 racing version of the x 1/9 introduced back in 1975. The Icsunonove Dallara. The original Dallara was essentially a stripped down and customized x chassis and built back up with a  fiberglass body. Keeping the weight around 1500 lbs all-in. Dallara toyed with a couple of engine specs, but eventually finalized on a 1600cc 16v high revving monster for 230hp at 10k rpm! That’s a power to weight ratio of 1.53 hp per 10 lbs of car.


The signature wide fenders (not flared) and rear wing make the Dallara the most distinct looking version of the x 1/9, followed closely by the Abarth Prototipo Rally car.

The look inspired a body kit that can be fitted to any year model x. Although not quite as aggressive in width, the kits on the market are a very close copy and right away add a look that screams speed and performance. I particularly like one a local Fiat guy in Santa Cruz name Chris Obert @ FiatPlus built some years back. I was lucky enough to ride in it at an auto-cross event in Santa Clara, CA.


Can’t tell you what’s under the hood; it’s a secret! – well, not really. I just don’t know actually. I do know that it was a FAST and FUN ride.

Another famous and currently raced Dallara bodied X is driven by Di Fulvio Racing. Very competitive racing company who totally embraced the magic of the Dallara made little rocket.


My turn…About 8 months back a local Fiat owner posted he was selling his black Dallara bodied 74. I had seen the car at a C&C event once or twice, but honestly never got to inspect it a ton until the day I bought it. At first glance, a lot of good and bad going on. The good was the body work and the PBS built stroke 1300 with dual Weber carbs. The bad, just the typical stock x 1/9 gremlins, mainly the electrical ones.



With the exception of the PBS engine, there wasn’t a lot of performance in this car. Other words, the look was all the fun but that’s all. The first thing I did was swap out the front stock brakes with a Wilwood vented performance set and struts all around.


Now you might think the Wilwood’s are overkill, especially because the PBS engine at best might put 125hp at the engine. Well that wouldn’t make much sense to me as well. At least not until I have the k24/k20 performance engine installed!

Got the PBS engine out fairly quickly. Removing a carb’d engine is pretty straight forward and since I am not re-using a lot of the engine harness, I didn’t have to take a lot of care preserving nasty old wiring. However, the engine bay was essentially internally wrapped with a tar based sound proofing wrap, I guess was doubling as heat shield? I wasn’t sure. I just know that it was a nasty and messy as hell to remove. Lots of heat (heat gun) and brake cleaner (isn’t brake cleaner amazing???)



Left a nasty pile behind…

Here is a great side-by-side of a k-series and the 1300 SOHC engine. Hard to believe the K20 comes close to fitting in that little engine bay. Well, minus a few pulleys.


The engine bay cuts were pretty quick and I only made one with the engine the car. I remember my first swap, I think I fitted the engine at least 3 times before I was done making room. Took an entire weekend. This time, all and all about 2 1/2 hours.


Since the TB points to the passenger side, I am left with more room to groove on the drivers side. I decided then that I could leave more of the brackets in place and re-use them. The bracket on the fuel tank firewall would be a great spot for fuel pressure regular (for example) and with a modification, I can re-use the SS stock coolant overflow and it’s brackets (off the strut tower).

With the engine out, we could next weld up the engine bay and get it ready for final fit.

engine_bay_4 engine_bay_2 engine_bay_1 compartment_cabin



Tons of things to tackle next. One of which being the custom exhaust header. It’s a variation of a k-tuned 4-2-1 similar to this pic.