Bertone Project: 1970 Fiat 850 Sport Racer

1970-fiat-850-sport-racer

Buying someone else’s unfinished project can always be risky, but sometimes you can pick up a super rare car on the cheap. This 1970 Fiat 850 Sport Racer is extremely rare, but is in need of completion. The seller started restoring it, but health problems are keeping them from finishing it. Their asking price may keep this one from being a budget project at $5,000, but hopefully they have set their reserve lower than that. It’s located in Sierra Madre, California and can be found here on eBay. Special thanks to Jim S for sharing this one with us.

1970-fiat-850-sport-racer-disassembled-engine

The 850 came in a variety of body styles, but the Racer by Bertone was the sportiest model. Besides having a fixed roof, the Racer came with a 903 cc straight four rated at 58 hp. The seller pulled the motor apart already, but it looks like all the parts are still there. With a few upgrades, this engine could be a hot little motor, especially if it turns out to have the rare 8-port head.

1970-fiat-850-sport-racer-interior

The interior has also been stripped, but they claim they still have all the hard to find parts. The 850 is notorious for its rust issues and while this one has some rust, it is surprisingly solid. From the seller’s pictures, it looks like the battery box has suffered the worst from rust, but we would be sure to check all the hard to reach spots for serious cancer.

1970-fiat-850-sport-racer-at-monte-carlo

To prove the reliability and capability of the Racer, Bertone prepared one to compete in the 1969 Monty Carlo Rally. While it didn’t win any awards, it did complete this challenging race. It would be extremely tempting to build this one to match the rally car’s specs and looks.

1970-fiat-850-sport-racer-rear-corner

No matter what direction you take this car, it’s going to be a big project. What would you do with it? Would you restore it back to original or would you turn it into a Monte Carlo Clone? Or maybe an Abarth 1000 OTR Berlinetta Clone would be more your style?

Monty Carlo Image Courtesy of: Fiat850SpiderBertone.com

Josh About Josh

I have been hunting down barn finds since childhood and my passion for automobiles has only grown stronger through the years. When Jesse told me about his idea for this site, I was more than a little excited. Before he had even finished the site, I was already writing the very first posts! And it has been an amazing trip ever since!

Comments

  1. Huh ????

    8 port head ????? that’s a stock head in the picture …

    This is a way over-priced BASKET CASE …that is a long way, and a bunch of greenbacks, from ever being a race car…………………

  2. 2vt

    I’m kinda glad I don’t have $5k in my pocket. That will be a cool car when done. I have friends who raced an 850 Spider in H/Production SCCA racing but it blew up every time it hit the track.

  3. jean Lecointe

    Intersting project but the display of the engine parts shows many missing parts as intake and exhaust manifolds and why two cylinderhead covers?

  4. Kman

    I had a 124 Spyder but my mechanics name wasn’t Tony, it was Gio.

  5. Blindmarc

    Looks like everything is there. It just all needs replaced.

  6. Dolphin Dolphin

    Well, with the lust for project cars proceeding at top speed, this is no surprise. These were $150 cars not too long ago, and now the seller hopes for $5,000 for this one.

    Sorry to hear about the seller’s health problems that are forcing the sale, and the presentation in the eBay listing is excellent, but…….this is a very small, modest car that will require a LOT of work and money to totally restore.

    The current Sports Car Market Price Guide doesn’t list the 850 Sport Racer, but it lists the 850 Spider at $5.500 to $9,000 for a #2 condition car, and nice Spiders regularly sell within this price range. So just to get into this project puts you at the lower end of the scale for a very nice Spider. And they made 124,660 of them, so they are not rare. I could be wrong, but I am not sure that the Racer version justifies the initial price and high restoration cost here. Buy this for love and a project to work on, not for financial gain.

    • Larry

      I agree Dolphin, I remember when you couldn’t give away an 850. It would have to be for the love of the car. Just remember one thing FIAT stands for fix it again today!! LOL

  7. Paul

    I had one of these a long time ago beat it to death auto crossing ,rallies etc, fun car just a bit north in the asking price.

  8. BillR

    I have owned and restored three TR3’s, three MGB’s, two MG TD’s, and two TR 4’s in my 70 years and never bought them for financial gain. I bought them for fun. I drove them all and had a blast. I don’t remember making a dime on any of them. But, man were they fun. Just saying……

  9. Horse Radish

    Just laying all the parts out for this listing must have taken the better part of a day.
    It also makes you realize how many parts are on a car and how much time it would take to reassemble, let alone clean and prepare/ redo all the parts beforehand…..

    You better be sure you want to do this.
    Then again at least the body is rust free (except the battery tray).
    After a good coat of paint this would look a whole lot more appealing

  10. Rancho Bella

    There is one here in San Diego for sale, complete, drivable and appears nice. The ask is 14K……but, that is the ask and it has been for sale for some time.

  11. william Robinson

    Finish the body and refresh the trans and mechanicals and rewire with a painless kit. stick in a hotted up alfa twin cam and rebuild the original engine and stick it under the bench for when (if) it ever appreciates. Have yourself some fun possibly for under 15 grand. I say possibly because I dont know much on the topic of fiat sports cars. could one even stick an alfa twin cam in that engine bay? Mostly just my imagination saying what if..

  12. AMCFAN

    One of the reasons these were very low priced vehicles (and not long ago) in my opinion is that FIAT left the US in ’82-’83. Poor quality/rust issues etc. If you had one after that point you quickly realized you couldn’t get parts. No internet. Most parts specialty shops were on the West Coast. Those who were the most upset when FIAT exited are no longer around. Now they (FIAT Spa) are back again. Wonder if you would be able to go to the local Chrysler dealer and order vintage FIAT parts? I doubt it. Fun to ask though.
    I actually like and respect FIATs. My father bought a new 74 124 Spyder and it was quite the car. Last of the chrome bumpers. He always said it would run circles around an MG. Dad wasn’t affected he sold the car to a friend who beat him down wanting to buy it. That was in ’80.

  13. 1750GTV

    Every nut and bolt should be bagged and tagged as to its proper location and orientation when it comes off the car. That pile of hardware is going to be a nightmare to sort out. I wouldn’t mind trying – but not at $5k.

  14. John

    This was a swing axle car as I remember. It had a nasty habit of tucking its inside wheel under. When it did that, it usually wound up on its head. There were also some horrible head gasket issues, and owners often went to carrying a spare, and tools to replace on the road.

    “Perfect” Fiat 850 is an oxymoron. It could make a Lotus seem reliable.

    No.

  15. tom

    I owned and autocrossed an 850 coupe back in the 70s. These things were a blast to drive because you couldn’t go fast enough to hurt anything. It did teach me why you should never let off the throttle due to understeer. A quick loop, and never touched a pylon. Yes, the head gasket was an issue, but I didn’t keep it long enough to rust.

  16. FRED

    MY EXPERIENCE WITH FIATS IS LIMITED TO A COUPLE 128 SPYDERS AND A COUPLE OF X19’S WHILE BEING A LOT OF FUN TO DRIVE I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY THE SELLER HAS HEALTH PROBLEMS.THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS IN THEM WILL MAKE YOUR BLOOD BOIL. THE LEFT FRONT HEADLIGHT AND RIGHT REAR TURN SIGNAL ARE ON ONE CIRCUT AND THE LEFT REAR BRAKE LIGHT AND RIGHT FRONT PARKING LIGHT ON ANOTHER.AND SO ON.ON THIS ONE YOUR LUCK THAT YOU CAN REWIRE IT SO IT MAKES SENCE.I HOPE THE SELLERS HEALTH IMPROVES AND I WISH THE BUYER NOTHING BUT THE BEST IN MAKING CHICKEN SALAD OUT OF CHICKEN YOU KNOW WHAT….

  17. Bryan Cohn

    No intake in photo as it is integral with the cylinder head. Carb just bolts straight to the head, you can see it on the right side center of the head in the photo. The 8 port head was a true hot piece, as I recall one could hang twin side draft Weber’s on a proper intake manifold and use a proper header.

    Why oh why do these orphan cars call to me? I have an ’86 Peugeot 505 Turbo, surely one orphan parts nightmare is enough?

  18. Jesse

    Bidding hit $1,625, but that wasn’t enough to meet reserve.

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