Fiat 850 Review from Australia and New Zealand

1970 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe 903

Year of manufacture1970
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 903 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired60550 miles
Most recent distance65110 miles
Previous carFord Telstar

Summary:

Maybe not a classic, but certainly a fun collectible

Faults:

The most challenging problem was loss of spark due to failure of the insulation on the low tension lead into the distributor body, shorting out the points. Even the experts took several hours to diagnose.

The only on-road failure in 6 years was combined loss of battery and starter motor relay.

I had a near disaster experience with the triple rocker switch unit (lights/wipers) burning out at night - an obvious weak point in older vehicles as heat builds up across oxidized contacts.

With a relay across the ignition and extra relays across the lighting circuits it is now the most reliable Fiat I have had and starts easily.

General Comments:

This is the third 850 Sports Coupe I have owned in 32 years. It took me that long to work out how to make them run properly!

I undertook an 18 month rolling restoration from July 1997 involving extensive rust repair, engine rebuild, head conversion to unleaded fuel, mild cam, upgraded clutch, interior refurbish and addition of Cromodora alloys.

A fun car to drive, it matches modern traffic in most areas, acceleration and brakes being the downside. But does it love to rev!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th September, 2003

4th Sep 2006, 01:40

I owned a Fiat 850 back in the 1970s. It was a heap of fun, but they have a couple of things to watch out for if you are going to take one on. (1) the fan belt system - long belts with tension adjusted by pulley shims. It's easy to get this wrong. The upshot I found was one of the pulleys flew to pieces and spat steel throught the side of the car. (2) It looked like there were steel components in some of the electrics, notably the voltage regulator terminals. Corrosion was a problem that needed to be monitored and caused power outages (seems darn odd and I may be wrong, but there seemed to be rust on the VR terminals). (3) Under-body seemed to be very prone to rust. Mine failed when the front suspension parted company with the rest of the car due to rusted chassis members.

Average review marks: 7.0 / 10, based on 1 review