1971 Fiat 850 Racer: Ambition Required

fiatracer

So I had to do some digging to see if this 1971 Fiat 850 Racer on eBay was a case of a poorly-worded description or a project car worth looking at. It turns out there was indeed a ‘Racer’ designation given to some of these rear-engined coupes that were originally designed by Bertone. Calling it a Racer was by no means a case of excessive marketing jargon, however – Bertone actually prepared one to compete in the 1969 Monte Carlo Rally to demonstrate the car’s capabilities. Sadly, this example is a long way from competing in anything and the seller has set the price to reflect its condition, noting that the no-reserve listing opens at scrap value. It’d be a shame to see a rare car like this Fiat 850 Racer scrapped, but you’ll need some relatively deep pockets to bring this one back. Of course, if someone snags it for $300, there may be some room budget-wise to keep it from being an upside-down investment. Would any of you take a chance on bringing this one back?

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Comments

  1. jim s

    it has a bid so someone thinks it is worth $300. restore, parts, or junk car racing. is the top bolt or weld on?

  2. Tony, but not the Fix It Again guy

    Bolts on. Suprised that anyone thought these were race or rally worthy. From what I can tell, it did not finish the 1969 Monte Carlo, and why would it have? I owned an 850 Spider once, and ‘durable’ and ‘reliable’ were not descriptors I would have used, let alone ‘fast’.

  3. AbarthBill

    Tony, this model, only for North America, was a coupe-fixed top not removable.
    AbarthBill

  4. George Member

    I always thought that the Racer’s roof was actually a bolt-on, or maybe welded-on affair. not something you could remove for the weekend, but it wasn’t a question of a different coupé body.

    Not the first one that has been featured on BAT.

  5. George Member

    “Back in the day, I was Sales Manager of the FIAT store in State College, PA, earning a few bucks while pursuing a Masters Degree at Penn State. The “demo” was a FIAT Abarth 1000 Spyder, red over black, and it certainly was more “racier” than the model offered here.

    For those who wondered about production figures, the FIAT “Racer” model was sold 1970 and 1971 model years with 2,890 arriving on our shores. (Hundreds of others were sold in various European markets, but the US was the target audience.) MSRP in ’71 was $2,890 with subsequent depreciation in free-fall.”

    Copied from a 2013 BAT listing

  6. B. Choate

    With the right Abarth pieces, these could be decently sporty. They faired OK versus cars like the bugeye Sprite and whatnot. Unfortunately, they are heavier than their size would suggest. Restored they’re pretty things. I’ve had good fun with mine (especially with a much larger engine). I’d jump on this one if were within a comfortable days drive (It’s not).

  7. Yellowjax Member

    I had an 850 spider 1968. Went on to MG’s after. But saw a few of these over the years. Love it ….for no good reason.

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