Great fun and a unique car
When living in the 29 Palms (California) desert, the engine overheated to the extreme. Drove the car home smoking badly and WAY overheated. On tear-down, there was no cracking, scoring or any other damage to the block or bearings, just a warped head. This is an aluminum head on iron block. It seems the combination of Castrol 20-40 GTX motor oil with STP additive saved the motor.
Another time, I lost a cylinder at an autocross event and drove the 100 or so miles home on three cylinders. That time, on tear-down, the only damage was a SLIGHTLY scored cylinder wall, which honed out nicely. But the rings had disintegrated and the piston was beat to death. Still have the piston as a trophy.
Only recurrent problem was the points in the distributor would migrate and cause the engine to run poorly, and eventually not at all. Seemed to be a product of insecure mounting with screws into a cast aluminum distributor housing.
As with all the Fiat 850's, this car is a blast to drive. Very unique being a coupe (everybody's into the spider convertibles). My dream Fiat is the 850 micro van which was never sold in the U.S.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st June, 2003