Short And Sporty: 1971 Fiat 850 Sport Spider

051016 Barn Finds - 1971 Fiat 850 Spider - 1

This little blue beauty was a project car for the current owner so a lot of it has been gone over, but it sure looks great even if it isn’t original. The 1971 Fiat 850 Spider seen here is in Salt Lake City, Utah and it’s listed on eBay with a current bid of less than $3,500. If you have ever wanted one of these cars, this could be the one.

051016 Barn Finds - 1971 Fiat 850 Spider - 2

I really like these cars, even if it would be a tight squeeze to fit my 6′-5″ frame in that driver’s seat. This one was bought by the current owner almost two decades ago for $250 and has been gone over top to bottom, for the most part. Although, they mention some sort of odd impact on the underside that hasn’t effected driving so they didn’t fix it. I would want to get that fixed I think, it looks strange, like the car was dropped or something.

051016 Barn Finds - 1971 Fiat 850 Spider - 3

The seller mentions that the engine has been fully-rebuilt about 2,000 miles ago and there is a small oil leak; of course. The underside of the car looks great, other than that wrinkly-tinfoil thing going on there. That sure looks structural to me, but I could be wrong.

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Apparently, the interior has been redone with new seat covers, fitted carpet, and a whole new dash, not just a dash cover. Fiat really went all out on attaching the wood panels, eh? Big, exposed screws; ouch. A Maserati interior this is not, but it looks great other than that. We we’ve all seen a thousand times, sometimes when someone puts new “seat covers” on, they look all wrinkly and amateurish, like they’re trying to quickly hide something. These look great to me.

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Speaking of looking great! You could almost eat off of this 903cc, 58hp engine. The owner mentions a small oil leak and these cars can leak if the rear main seal is replaced and not situated perfectly. But, it’s said to run perfectly and it sure looks great, as does the entire car, other than the odd issue underneath. I wouldn’t even know how that could be fixed, or if it should be fixed? What do you think of these little Fiat 850 Spiders?

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Comments

  1. Dave Wright

    These were “Project Cars” when brand new…………

  2. wagon master

    Every old car I’ve purchased in SLC has had sizable rust!

    If it’s not leaking oil ….. it’s probably out of oil!

    • wagon master

      Looks like a bunch of slapped on bondo around that wrinkly-tin foil thingy.

  3. Sunday Driver

    Saw this car earlier today on eBay. Have been keeping my eye on these for quite a while.If I hadn’t purchased a ’67 a few months back, this would definitely be the one.
    Nice find Scotty.

  4. grant

    That looks like lift damage to me, which makes me wonder about hidden rust.

  5. As is cond.

    Weird, I wonder if this is my sisters old powder blue 850…she got out of the car one day to get the mail..engine running, parking brake on and it started rolling downhill with her in hot pursuit. Rolled through a neighbor’s yard and over their 8 foot vertical rockery, and landed upright.
    Engine still running, she got in and drove home.
    Kept on driving it for a year or so afterwards.
    Very similar damage underneath. Made me a believer in Fiats.

  6. Van

    Neet car
    I want to know if the original paint is the same on the front and the back.
    Could this car be built from 2 cars.
    The damage underneath is in a structural location. Add better tires and go for an agresive drive in the mountains, you may not be able to open one door or close the other, when you get home.

  7. Rex Rice

    These can be great cars if attention is paid. Rust can be repaired or slowed down. As old as I am, it only has to be slowed for a couple of years. I sold my wife’s Spider when it reached 130,000 miles, thinking something was bound to break. She is still pissed at me.

  8. bcavileer

    That is structural, the x frame terminates in a flat flange welded to the sheet metal floor pan and rear firewall structure. I doubt that degree of damage could be caused by a lift… and fixing that will be no small undertaking. Another case of lipstick on a pig. ( sorry piggys out there. Oink oink, oink) . That car is scary!

  9. Lee

    I had one of these in 1972 but it was a 1969 Abarth model. Loved driving this car and the gas was sure cheap driving. Had an issue starting the car in the Winter time. The only thing that passed me on the highway was a Porsche. Traded it in on a 1972 Pinto station wagon because of an impending family. Loved that one too.

  10. Matt Tritt

    I bought a new 850 Sport Coupe in 67 while in the Army in Germany. It was a really fun and reliable car for me, even if the 850 wasn’t exactly a race car. I sold it to another GI after deciding that what I really wanted was a Renault R-4. 2 months after I sold it, the guy I sold it to contacted me and said that the genreator/water pump tower had sheered off while he was tooling down the autobahn at top speed. When I told the guys at the Renault dealership about it, they all chuckled and referred to the quasi-aluminum tower casting as “I-tie metal”. What a piece of poo. Fiat wouldn’t even back their product because it was past the 60 day warranty.

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