One Family Since ’76: 1973 Fiat 850 Sport Spider

My father owned a Fiat 850 coupe during 1968-69, and I remember it being the first car I truly loved – I still have the factory tool kit. This gorgeous 1973 850 Sport Spider has me contemplating a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota to pick this car up, but I’m sure the no reserve auction here on eBay will result in higher bids than the current $1,525 — if not, I’ll see you gopher state folks soon!

The seller tells us that their mother purchased the Fiat in June 1976 from the used car lot of a Chevrolet dealer. While she drove the car for several summers, it has spent most of its time since then under cover in a garage. It’s hard to believe, but the seller tells us there is only one spot of rust on this little convertible.

And here it is — we’re told the battery leaked during storage and rusted out the battery tray. Any of you that are Fiat 850 fans are wondering out loud where the rest of the rust is located, as this can’t be all of it.

Oh, and that uncracked dash and mint seats? Sure, I’m dreaming. Even down to the vintage “Coco” mats, this car is a time capsule to the early 1970s. There were over 124,000 850 Spiders produced, but very few are left that still look this good. The paint is a repaint, commissioned when the car was purchased from the Chevrolet dealer, but I remember seeing them new in this shade of orange, so I suspect it is at least the original color (or close to it).

Not known for it’s power, the 903 cc version of the engine (the largest fitted to a Spider from the factory) had a tough time keeping up with American needs. The seller says the engine was prepared for storage in 1993 by fogging it with oil and that it is free to turn now. I’m sure some recommissioning will be in order before driving the little car for the first time — I’d just like to be the Barn Finds reader/writer doing it!


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  1. alphasud Member

    One of the nicest 850 Spiders I’ve seen in a while. I mentioned in the past I worked at a Alfa Romeo dealer and the same dealer at one time started with Fiat and Lotus. The owner had 2 sons which both worked in the shop. One of them was driving his spider to work when a cement truck pulled out in front of him. Unfortunately due to the size and height of the car he ended up under the cement truck. Fortunately there was a trauma doctor on his way to work and I do believe by gods grace he was saved and recovered. He came back to work later and I had the honor of working with him. Super guy and I’m glad to be a friend to him. As much as I like these little cars you have to be real careful in today’s roads people look right over you.

    Like 5
  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    Okay, a cooler head has prevailed and I won’t be bidding on the Fiat after all. However…I would suggest that you folks take a look at the value guides for this car. It’s going for WAY under its value at this point with less than a day to go in the auction.

    Like 2
  3. banjo

    I have dealt with 2 of these. Keep the front end joints well greased or the steering will bind in short order, and if you have an engine that does not want to run at all, check the timing chain first. both of the very low mileage units I worked on had jumped chains. I grew a distaste for these things, but I’ll keep that to a minimum. And I love oddball little cars!

    Like 5
  4. Sam61

    Very nice….interesting that no one could find the time to fix the hand brake in 45 years?

    Like 1
  5. Sharon Schlink

    They were fun to drive, although I had the 124 Spyder (and a 128 Sedan). Worked for a Fiat dealer years ago. You needed to put extra weight in the front of the 850, and later, the X-1/9 or the back end tended to come around on you in the rain.

    Like 1
  6. JBD

    I had one of these 850 Sport Spiders with the 903 cc engine. They were fun cars and could go anywhere. The problem areas were brakes and carbs.

  7. Steve Clinton

    FIAT = ‘Fix It Again, Tony’
    With 3 hours left the bid stands at $2275.00 which seems fair.

  8. Mike Hawke

    A lot of fun to drive this slow car fast…revs to 7K and sounds good. Nice to see the engine tin still in place. Would like to see the chassis. Three years in MN salt before 1976 could be an issue.

    Like 2
  9. Gerard Frederick

    Pretty as a picture, cute as a button. But there´s this ¨Fix It Again Tony¨ thing that keeps getting in the way.

  10. Dave

    I worked at a Fiat dealership back in the day and picked up a bunch of spiders, coupes, a sedan, and a Racer for cheap. Easy to work on and a ton of fun to drive.

  11. JBD

    Sold for $4800! Someone got a cool low mileage sports car. You will be the only one at the car show with this Fiat!

    Like 1
  12. Kenneth

    Winning bid: $4,800.00 [ 39 bids ]

  13. Juan

    Still a great deal at $4800

  14. Ward1

    I remember a pretty blonde that had a new one of those in a bright green color when I was about 8 years old and lived at Travis afb in California. She was a swimming instructor on base and it took me half the summer to learn how to swim. God I loved that girl.

    Like 1
  15. chrlsful

    among the many fiats at home but after the 128 4dor sedan momie-taxi (2 kids to get to practices, band, sports, church, U now the drill) Mom got several of these B4 onto the 124 spyders and toping out at Alfa Beta Coup (’82 kids in College by that time). The ford Expo was no down grade for her, she loved them all (Dad got her a new car pretty often).

  16. Araknid78

    Ended:Nov 23, 2020 , 1:58PM
    Winning bid:US $4,800.00[ 39 bids ]
    Item location:Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

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