Rare Italian Minivan: 1967 Fiat 850 Familiare Pullmino

I know what a Fiat 850 looks like, a good friend that had one when we were in high school. But I’ll admit, I’ve never seen one wearing what looks like a ’60s Ford Econoline cab over a set of threads.  But then again, as the seller states, “This 1967 FIAT (Familiare Pullmino) is one of probably only a handful in the US“. That may have something to do with my lack of familiarity. And since he further states that it’s a fun car, we need to give it the once over. This Fiat van is located in Beverly Hills, California and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $4,300 with fourteen bids tendered so far.

Introduced in 1964, the Fiat 850 manifested itself in multiple body styles including a two-door coupe and sedan,  Spider roadster, a three-door van, and the Familiare minivan such as our subject. While Fiat 850 production was discontinued in 1973, the seven-passenger Familiare van actually continued on into 1976 before being replaced by the 900T.

This van represents several different styling cues including the VW Type II, the Chevrolet Greenbrier, Corvair- based van, and a smattering of Ford Econoline thrown in for good measure. This 27K mile (not guaranteed) example spent most of its life in the Campobasso region of central Italy transporting passengers to and from an estate – note the roof-rack for the attendant luggage. It’s not revealed how long this Italian immigrant has been in the U.S. but Campobasso is apparently dry and the condition of this van reflects the climatic conditions from its Italian residency – which should translate into no rust. That said, the passenger side rocker panel looks like something may be brewing there. The finish is mostly original with some added touch-up but it still shows well.

Power is provided by an 843 CC, in-line four-cylinder, rear-mounted engine, working through a four-speed manual transaxle. The seller claims it to be in “good running and driving condition” but I have to believe that description could be augmented by adding the word “slow”. Fully loaded, and only 40 HP on tap, has to be a “planned” driving experience coupled with a dose of patience.

The interior of this diminutive people-mover is, as the seller states, very clean and presentable. The upholstery looks like a tough commercial grade of vinyl but not sterile in a delivery van sort of way. There are no obvious signs of rips, splits, or tears. I generally don’t think of a tan/brown shade working with a medium blue exterior but in this case, it works beautifully. The plain and functional instrument panel is a nice blend of Italian gauge work and VW Type II simplicity. Of note is the spare tire which appears to be domiciled in the driver’s compartment, passenger side under the dash. Owing to the lack of seatbelts, instead of having an airbag, maybe it’s like an air tire – well, maybe not.

The seller describes this Van as super rare, on these domestic shores that’s a certain bet. He also describes it as “super-fun” but I’ll let others come to that determination. Considering where values have trended as of late for a VW Type II bus, this could be a pretty reasonable alternative. Show of hands please, does anyone have familiarity with a Fiat Familiare Pullmino?

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Jim, that “90” sticker on the rear panel means it was restricted to 90 km/h (~55 mph) on European highways. This being an 850, I suspect it wasn’t good for much more anyway.

    So why do I want it so much? Don’t know, but the tiny vanlets of VW, Fiat and others had a great deal of charm to go along with their tepid performance. I’ll bet it rides fairly well, too.

    I wonder if Abarth ever built a variant of one?

    Like 4
    • jo6pac

      Or if an Abarth 1000 or 1300 twin cam would fit.

      I would buy and drive it the way it is. Good for going to town for shopping.

      Like 1
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Ray:

      I saw that decal and thought 90? Does that mean speed? That’s optimistic!

      JO

      Like 1
      • RayT Member

        Yes, Jim, that’s what it means. I was confused by that on my first trip to Europe, but after seeing “50” stickers on many large trucks — and similar discs on Citroen 2CVs and other tiny cars — a German friend explained it. There was also a color code, I think (some yellow stickers, some red), but I don’t know what that means.

        I’d think that the “90” might be optimistic in the case even as a metric measure, depending on how many bodies (and how much of their stuff) the Fiat was carrying!

        But I still want one!

        Like 1
    • Pietro

      remember that the “90” (plus 110 and 130) stickers were mandatory in the early 70s as a conservative measure to reduce car accidents on high ways and motorways. They went out of oblige toward the end of the same decade. From that time hence it has been very hard to find this way labelled cars also because drivers felt it a o sort of shaming mark. It is easy to argue that this pulmino must have been out of the Italian routes for many years.

  2. Sheffield cortina centre

    In the UK during the 70’s the pandora camper conversions where a market leader

  3. AZVanMan

    So cool, until you get to the 40hp Fiat engine.

    Like 2
  4. Mike

    So no slider but an awkward swing out door? Not particularly useful in a parking lot.

    Like 2
  5. Car Nut Tacoma

    Sweet looking van. I’ve never a Fiat Familiare before.

  6. Martin Horrocks

    These were popular in Italy and Spain. Usual thing with commercials, not many are left, so the asking prices are higher than the sedan from which it was derived.

    This is very sweet. It would be the cheapest way to get a prime slot at Concorso Italiano, if Monterey ever happens again. I would trailer it, personally.

    Yes you could easily Abarthise the engine, suggest the same for the brakes, steering and suspension as well, if you did.

    Like 3
  7. Graham Line

    I think the last thing it needs is a peaky engine. Fitting a 124 is not unheard-of. Shame that my Safeway is up a long hill from the house.

    Like 2
  8. Mark_Mitchell Member

    This auction ended early – somebody probably made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. This had been listed on CL not long ago by a well-known Italian and French car collector in LA for around $14 – $15k

    These vans are worth somewhere in the mid to high teens, even in Europe. Most were worked to death or rusted beyond repair. This is the deluxe version with the wide front grill, quad headlights, rear quarter windows, extra side door and nicer interior with folding seats for 6 (or more).

    I just bought a nicer example that was listed on BAT!

    Like 4
  9. Derek

    A pal of mine had one – the later one, though. He and his wife had a month-long honeymoon around Europe in it. They’re still married, although the van is long gone.

  10. R.Scot

    Didn’t “Jaws” destroy one of these by tearing the roof off of it like a sardine can in an old Roger Moore-era Bond movie?… I can’t remember.

  11. Roger Beattie

    I have had a camper version of this in Australia for over 35 years. Travels well at 90+km/h and I have often done 1,000 mile trips in it and definitely fun.

    Like 1
  12. Willowen Member

    This is a clear and obvious (and larger!) successor to the earlier Fiat Multipla, the oddball “rolling toaster” version of the Fiat 500. The positioning of the spare tire is a clear holdover from that car, whose mounted spare occupied the front passenger under-dash … and as diminutive as the 12″ wheel was, a tall passenger would have been a very tight fit.

    The only other one of these I’ve seen was in the Malamut collection, also in the L.A. area. I missed seeing it in person, as it had been sold off just before our Alfa club had one of our tours there, but it had been featured on an auction website.

    • Roger Beattie

      Willowen, not larger …. the original version of this van was the 600T built by OM on the Multipla floorpan as a purely goods vehicle. They ran concurrent with the Multipla and the 843 motor went in post 1964. Even after the 850 floorpan became available the Familiare was still built on the original shorter wheelbase (2000mm) Multipla pan from the 600 (not 500). Plenty of room for 6′ plus drivers. Surprisingly nimble as an urban delivery vehicle.

      Like 1
    • t-bone bob

      The Multipla was based on the 600 sedan platform. 4-cylinder water-cooled engine, rather that the two-cylinder air-cooled motor of the 500. The transmission had lower gearing to handle the extra weight. I could only get mine up to about 55 mph on the flat. Or 60 if I was going down hill. Got a real kick out of that car.

  13. Willowen Member

    You are of course right about the Multipla’s being a 600! As I recall, my 500 could barely haul around its meagre half-ton, even with a much lighter version of me the sole occupant.

    I will certainly take your word for the dimensions of the Familiare, since as I mentioned I never got to stand next to Malamut’s,

  14. Araknid78

    This listing was ended by the seller because there was an error in the listing

  15. Mark_Mitchell Member

    Ebay sellers often use the excuse of “error in the listing” after ending an auction early. They are selling it outside of Ebay and avoiding the seller fees.

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