Rusty But Not Crusty: 1971 Fiat 850 Sedan

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Now this is surface rust! Our own Jeff L. came up with this find, as did Jim S. It’s actually located about four hours away from me in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s listed for sale here on eBay where bidding is starting at $1,000 but there is a reserve.

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This must be a Fiat fan’s house, as you can see what I think is an 850 spider with a hardtop in the background. The 850 sedan is, believe it or not, a genuine four-seater. You don’t believe me? Ok, as long as everyone’s about 5’4″ or shorter, it will all work out! The seller tells us that it’s all surface rust on the exterior except for one spot at the bottom of the passenger side door. However, they also state that the passenger floor along the side of the inner rocker and a place along the inside of the rear glass are also areas where the rust bug has eaten complete holes. They have included pictures of these areas so you know what you are getting into.

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You can see the hole in the front of the passenger door in this shot. The seller tells us that all you are going to get is in the pictures, so among the items they state are missing are the side marker lights, front and rear emblems and front turn signals.

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Isn’t it cute? You can see how short it is in this profile shot. That’s a whopping 79.8 inch wheelbase!

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The owner speaks about how nice the interior is; I’ll agree in general, but I wish whomever chose the replacement vinyl for the panel on the driver’s seat had looked a little harder for matching vinyl. The headliner is also 1/2 down, so plan on matching or replacing it, too. But if the reserve price is anywhere close to the starting bid, I’m probably wrong to expect much nicer.

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The engine looks a little neglected, and it is. It’s currently frozen solid. The seller also tells us it’s missing the generator, starter, air cleaner and radiator. I think the seller has painted an accurate picture of the car and has included a link in the auction to a large online photo album. And with a stellar feedback record I think you can trust what they are saying. So who among our readers is interested in this project?

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Comments

  1. Spridget

    That not an 850 hardtop in the background -it’ an 850 Racer! Fiat had around 2000 made by a coachbuilder- I want to say Bertone. It’s for sale on CL for $1,200 and has major rust issues, but it runs.

  2. Jean Lecointe

    How can a car get rusted that much but outside?
    I imagine a blasting of outside and forgetting to protect the crude steel for several days.
    I had one of these 850 Fiat from a friend in 1978 who asked me to replace the clutch, a quite simple job, and I did enjoy driving it afterwards.
    It is simple, springy and joyful.
    A simple and funny project as all parts are easyly available and cheap.
    Good luck and great fun to the next owner.

  3. Andrew

    The head rests wouldn’t be original as they didn’t had them back then.

  4. Wayne Thomas

    needs motorcycle engine!

  5. John

    These were fun to drive, but they had a tendency to tuck in the outside front wheel and get upside down at very low speeds. They were terrible little cars, but they were lovable. I hope this one finds someone to love it.

  6. Jubjub

    Pretty cool. I imagine it’ll bring more than I’d be willing to pay.

  7. Peregrine Lance

    It’s nice to see wood used in auto framing structures. (I say this, because my carpentry skills far exceed my auto-mechanic skills…)

    To my knowledge, several auto makes use this fine, available, and versatile substance, including this Fiat, the Simca Aronde-Oceanne, and–so I seem to remember–some Mercedes products over the years.

    Anyone who could offer either relevant sites or other historical data about auto/wood use would be greatly appreciated. (I do mean framing members, NOT the woodie-wagons our California surfer guys knew so well!)

    • Wiley Robinsonq

      I think you’re a few decades late for wood framed Fiats. I have several 850 Coupes and there’s not a splinter of wood in the frame. Pretty sure the sedan is all steel too.

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