Track Support Potential: 1970 Fiat 850

One of my primary goals with the HiAce project I own is to convert it to a camper van for both exploring our nation’s National Parks system and also for attending a few weekend-long racing events each year. This rare 1970 Fiat 850 van here on eBay is in the same oddball class of multi-passenger vans rarely seen on these shores, and absolutely worth saving even in its current condition. Bidding starts at $5,500. 

You might say – $5,500 to start? For a slow, needy passenger van? Well, yes – the “vanning” lifestyle is making a serious comeback after years of stagnation and may be just the thing for capturing the imagination of fickle millennials who otherwise don’t see the point to four-wheeled transportation. While I don’t harbor much affection for Instagram celebrities documenting their homemade Winnebagos, I like seeing vintage vans get a second life.

Perhaps the seller is hoping to cash in on the current popularity of oddball vans, as it seems the stranger it is, the more likely it is to capture the attention of travel bloggers and people who shoot catalog photos for the likes of LL Bean. Whatever the motivation, the asking price is likely also factoring in the rarity of a van like the Fiat 850 with the relative completeness – note the door panels, window cranks, shift knob and original steering wheel, all still attached.

The Fiat 850 lineup was quite varied, and we saw some of those vehicles on our shores in coupe and convertible form. The van – or Familiare – was never officially exported here, which is why this one arrived by way of the Czech Republic in 2013. The seller notes many spares are included in the sale, and that the lower rocker and floors with need rust repair. It was never going to be easy, but this is a worthy project that is likely quite rare to find anywhere outside of Europe.

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Comments

  1. Spridget

    This is likely one of a few in the US- however, it really be cheaper to import – good one than to buy and restore this. Keep in mind almost everything you’d need for a restoration would likely have to be shipped anyway, though you could probably get parts off of an old 850 Spider, since those seem to be far more common.

  2. Sheffieldcortinacentre

    These are rare in Europe to as they dissolved faster than an asprin when wet.

  3. Milt

    Weird bunch of cars in the background. A DKW Schnellaster, a NSU Sport Prinz and that fiberglass car???

    • James HGF

      That fiberglass car?

      That’s an Enzmann 506 built in Schupfheim, Switzerland beginning in the mid 50s. Production continued into the 60s. A DKW powered variant was also manufactured. The cut out – indentation in the bodywork – is a step allowing one to step up and into the Enzmann. Particularly handy when the aircraft cockpit style roof has been slid rearward so one gains access to the cockpit – what else. Not all cars had the sliding aircraft style roof.

      From a childhood delight to limited production motorcar that I can still imagine stepping behind the wheel years later.

      Enzmann-Register:

      https://www.enzmann-506.com/enzmann-register-1/fahrzeuge/

      Herr Google will give you an English version.

      • Bobsmyuncle

        Excellent post, thanks for the info and a solid informative contribution!

  4. boxdin

    Oddball van is right. Get a ford or a dodge van. Much more room, dependability, and you can actually go up a hill.

  5. Nevis Beeman

    My oddball friend has a very similar variant of this oddball classic van….his is one of those converted into a caravanette complete with pop up roof, kitchenette, and tiny sleeping area….a few thousand were sold on the British market, using names like Amigo & Pandora. He calls his “Amy” and pretty much uses it as his second home & it’s still road legal in the UK. Others that have survived in the UK with light use, & not in winter, found use as Ice Cream vans….but they are all pretty scarce. (I once saw a pic of one being used as a H E A R S E …..in its native Italy….unbelievable ! ) BTW…my friends other classic is a Corvette !

  6. Don

    I live here in Italy n can’t say that I see one every day but at least one a month still pops up. Really it wld be cheaper just to import one ready for use- let me know if anyone wants one..

  7. rustylink

    more like Life Support Potential…

  8. Don

    As I said , if someone needs one from here in Italy let me know or just tell this seller to drop the first 5 on their asking price n maybe if it’s not toooo far away get it- then let me know what parts u need….

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