Stored 30 Years: 1970 Siata Spring

Certainly one of the most unusual vehicles that I have seen over the years, the Siata Spring has always looked like a kit of parts to me. I like some of the details and some don’t really work at all, at least for me. But, I’m the guy who likes Comuta-Cars so what do I know. This 1970 Siata Spring can be found listed here on craigslist in Perris, California, southeast of Riverside. The seller is asking $3,300. Thanks to MattR for sending in this tip!

See, this is one of those views that I’m not sure really works, design and proportion-wise. I keep my architecture license current even though I haven’t actually practiced in almost a dozen years now but I’ve designed quite a few buildings in my career. I don’t know the first thing about car design but I have a friend who is a car designer and it has to be as complicated as anything else is in order to do it right. Did Siata do it right with the Spring? Check out this view of the rear of this car and let us know in the comments section.

To be fair, there should be a spare tire on the rear – Continental kit-style – so seeing it without a tire on there looks incredibly weird. Overall, though, I like the style of the Siata Spring. They were based on Fiat’s 850, or the chassis and drivetrain. And, speaking of that and also some unusual design features, the giant radiator/grille in front? That’s basically just for show since like a Fiat 850 should be, the engine is in the rear.

You can tell that this car needs a fair amount of work. They’re fairly small and light so pushing it around in a one-car garage space shouldn’t be too bad, that’s all the space you would need to bring this one back to life again.

The engine should be Fiat’s 817 CC inline-four out of the 850 and the seller says that it runs on an external gas tank but they haven’t tried running it on the factory gas tank. These cars can draw a decent crowd at a car show and they can usually be bought for a reasonable price and restored for not much money. Would any of you own a Siata Spring or would you spend your $3,300 elsewhere?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    BOING,,,what a stupid name for a car. Kind of cute, looks like an Italian T series MG. Fiat 850 guts is all it would take for me to run screaming into the night.

    Like 5
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    No comment.

    Like 2
  3. Mike

    Stored 30 years? I think I know why. I wouldn’t be caught driving this either.

    Like 4
  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    “And second prize is two of them”.
    One of the worst cars ever made.There was
    a road test in Car & Driver,where they didn’t
    have a good thing to say about them.

    Like 5
  5. Jim Mc

    Normally I’m from the school of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” but this thing is what Milner (Paul Le Mat) described in American Graffiti as: “…a field car”.

    Like 3
  6. PairsNPaint

    I first saw one of these in 1970 at LaChina’s, a Fiat dealer in College Park, MD on the showroom floor next to an 850 roadster. Regardless of the reliability (or rather the lack of) factor, all I could think of was why someone would buy an ugly Spring over the lovely Bertone.

    BTW – the dealer also sold those hideous Subaru 360’s. I think the only thing that helped him stay in business was his service bays and his sale of Abarth parts.

    Like 3
    • Bill McCoskey

      PairsNPaint,

      Having also grown up in the area, I remember this Fiat dealer well. Not well known was the building’s history. It was built in the 1930s for the Follins family, where they ran a Packard dealership until they sold out when S-P closed. They had a second floor where they rented out apartments to employees, when the Fiat people took over, the family lived above the shop.

      Mrs. Follins then ran a retirement home just south of the dealership, at the top of the next hill,”Follins Retirement Home” was on a small sign out front.

      Like 1
      • PairsNPaint

        Hey Bill!

        Thanks for the memories. I do remember Follins home. Do you remember the “Vous” and the Italian Gardens restaurant across from the U of M bookstore? I worked for a while at Yonder’s Wall, the headshop next door!

      • Bill McCoskey

        PairsNPaint,

        I remember them all. Do you remember the gas station [ESSO?] right next to where the river went under Rt 1? This was just north of the Campus. I worked there for a short time, knew a co-worker named Zack Sargon who had several 1957-58 Packards, he lived there at the station, living in his 1958 Packard station wagon, and the other Packards were in a vacant lot next door.

        I have fond memories of the area, I used to get together with friends every Wednesday for lunch at the Seven Seas Chinese restaurant just north of the campus, they had a special on Wednesday with sushi 50% off!

        If you were a regular there for sushi, you probably knew Tony, the sushi chef. I used to dive various Packards, big Chryslers, Studebakers, and the occasional Rolls-Royce or Bentley to the restaurant, from my restoration shop in the Colesville area of Silver Spring.

    • ken tilly UK

      I had a Subaru 360 and loved it, not for it’s performance capabilities, but for it’s quirkyness.

      Like 1
  7. Martin Horrocks

    These are a horrible finale to a noble name. Check out the Siata versions of the Fiat 8V! But worth something, so why not_

    An astute person could point out that those are likely to be Borrani wheels, maybe worth $500….but I am not that guy……

    Like 1
  8. 370zpp

    I do not recall ever seeing one of these. It looks like it couldn’t decide what it wanted to be when it grew up.

    Like 2
  9. t-bone BOB

    cute car

    Like 1
  10. FastEddie/OldEddie: pick one

    One certainly has to admire the bravery and thick skin of the original and all follwing owners. I don’t pay much attention to what others say of me, but I’m not fure I would have ponied up when this was brand new in the dealership.

  11. FastEddie/OldEddie: pick one

    but I’m not SURE I would have ponied up when this was brand new in the dealership.

    Yes, we all need the edit button at some point in our lives, and I have obviously reached that point some time ago.

    Like 1
  12. lc

    Just cute old car. If you’re into to Fiat’s, these are simple as the day is long. If you’re willing to understand the svelte yet robust engineering, 850’s are among the easiest cars to maintain… PS, they don’t respond well to hammers.

    Like 1
  13. Jim D.

    You haven’t lived if you haven’t driven one these things from Connecticut to Northern Maine in January. We stopped in Massachusetts to put our long Johns. The heater finally kicked in somewhere in central Maine. The drop in side widows, 10” long wipers blade on I-95 vs slush and tractor trailer traffic is something you’ll never forget. Oh did I mention the temperature on this long weekend ranged from-5 to -35. The crazy sh*t you do when you’re 18 years old. Two best things on these cars are the heater & winter traction !

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