1969 Fiat 850 Reviews

1969 Fiat 850 2 door Coupe 847cc from North America

Model year1969
Year of manufacture1969
First year of ownership1971
Most recent year of ownership1976
Engine and transmission 847cc Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired15000 miles
Most recent distance55000 miles

Summary:

A fun, but vulnerable car (class <1) deathtrap

Faults:

Oversteered a lot near 0.8g. Spun it sideways a few times when pushed, but controllable *abrupt. Like a wild go kart.

Halfshaft popped out of tranny several times.

Alternator/generator died at 48K.

Got over 35mpg hwy CA to NJ 2/72 kept log.

Vinyl interior oil film on windows when hot.

Engine seized at about 55,000.

General Comments:

My first car $1560 used at a BMW dealer when the best BMW was $5500.

Lowered it even more (Abarth) & wider alums 6" & Veith tires 13x165x70? Rubbed once in a while, so banged out the fender.

Made a nose spoiler 7" @ 45deg 3"+inches off ground.

Konis added-FIRM Top speed 101mph passenger wt =260.

Was a fun car to zip around like a madman in. Lucky to be alive from age 17-20. Almost made it in back seat.

2x3' area.

Economy is no value for a car in hwy accidents and this would car would fold up on you. It is a dainty car and life is too short.

1971 Datsun 510 sedan in '74 for $1200 (ventura CA)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 23rd January, 2008

11th May 2008, 13:04

Fiat 850's were in the 1960's "Bubble Car" category. BMW also had a bubble car (not the Mini Cooper) then. We are going to see a BIG revival of the Bubble Car in the next 20 years. When gas is $5+ per gallon in America, size will take a back seat. Air bags will help with safety.

In the 1960's cars had frames, while the European companies like Fiat were getting away from frames to make the cars lighter and more economical. Fiat also used a thinner gauge of body metal than the American cars of the time. Today, thin bodies are the standard. Also, most current US and Asian passenger cars have only a sheet metal pan to ride on and will as you say, "fold up." Do a search for "Smart Car" and you will see the car of the not so distant future.

1969 Fiat 850 Spider 850CC from Brazil

Model year1969
Year of manufacture1969
First year of ownership1977
Most recent year of ownership1980
Engine and transmission 850CC Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.7 / 10
Distance when acquired90000 kilometres
Most recent distance120000 kilometres

Summary:

A lovely car. The Pinninfarina Silueti will last forever

Faults:

Sometimes I experienced an over-heating of the motor. The rest was only pleasure.

General Comments:

I had the pleasure of owning an 850 Spider that I purchased on the second hand in very good condition. I used it until completing my high-school graduation.

There's a lot that I miss about this car that stays on my mind even nowadays with very advanced cars. The difference is only one: the modern cars have no soul like the 850 Spider FIAT. In those days it was faster than many six or even eight cylinder heavier cars manufacturing in the USA (most like a Second-War Tank). Let's remember that the Spider had only 1/5 or even no more than 1/6 of the minor American cars motor's of those days. Think about it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th August, 2006

30th Aug 2006, 11:53

I think the speed of your 850 has been greatly exaggerated by time.

9th Sep 2006, 10:06

Sure it does... it only weighs 725KG!!!

27th Sep 2006, 10:03

And it is powered by an engine that would be considered on the small side for a motorcycle today.

13th Oct 2006, 11:51

The 850 Spider was made for those quaint, picturesque little streets you see in Italian travel guides. Not exactly a high performance 60's American tire smoker! One the plus side, it was ahead of its time for running a fuel efficient, small displacement motor that required a high rpm range to operate. Sort of a Honda S2000 crossed with 1948 Crosley bubble car.

1969 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe 903 from Italy

Year of manufacture1969
First year of ownership1996
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) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired6000 kilometres
Most recent distance18200 kilometres
Previous carPeugeot 404

Summary:

Excellent car for its size and type

Faults:

I have problems with the ignition switch. Although the car has a very low mileage, the ignition switch tends to establish the main contact prior to starting the engine with problems, or to lose the contact, thus causing the engine to stall when the car is in use. The switch can be dismantled and the problem is in the worn sliding contact plate inside the switch which can be repaired with the use of sanding paper, but such a repair is only the temporary solution.

Other problems: some rust on the front side of the trunk cover, and on the lower (not visible) part of rear wings behind rear wheels.

The car still has the original spark plugs, contact points, brakes, etc.

General Comments:

Very reliable car for every day use, low maintenance requirements, the owner can do everything on his own regarding regular maintenance, good on mileage.

The longest drive was over 2.500 km in two days from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, to Den Haag, Netherlands; without a single problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th November, 2003

12th Nov 2003, 20:00

That "problem with the ignition switch" has certainly been chronic. Only 18,000km in 34 years!!

Average review marks: 7.2 / 10, based on 4 reviews