19th Aug 2006, 12:13
I had a 1970 850 Spyder. If there was a more fun car built than this that gets 40 mpg, I haven't driven it. Know where I can find another one of these today?
27th Aug 2006, 17:08
My first car was a 1969 850 Spider that I bought used when I graduated from high school in 1971. Prior to buying it I would go nuts every time I saw one on the road. I just had to have one. It was not the most powerful car of its time, but it was a joy to drive. The high reving rear engine made you feel like you were driving a race car. I used to auto cross mine a lot and even came in first in my class at one event. I had a dream last night about those days and that is what led me to this site. I wish I still had that car.
3rd Sep 2006, 20:36
I Had a 1963 850 as a young man. It was absolutely great. It was pretty rusted on the bottom, but it still looked good and ran well. I had a blast!If only I had another one now.
13th Oct 2006, 19:52
I owned and drove one and I can tell you that it was unique in its time and a totally innovative approach to automotive engineering. The only thing about it was the need for weight over the front wheels due to the overhang of the rear engine. The rear end did have a tendency to cut loose on a slippery road. Maybe with a passenger it was better, but at under 140 lbs, my body was not enough to hold the front wheels down. I used solid scrap lead in the front inside the trunk. Scrap lead was cheap at the time and it helped the car handle better and cut the understeer effect.
11th Nov 2006, 22:38
I purchased a '67' in late December of that year--waited six months in a queue to take delivery. I lived in LA at that time and maybe there was 25 or 30 on the road. I had both the hard and soft top. I drew "looks" everywhere I went. People thought it was a Ferrari or Lamborghini. I was working in the airline industry at the time. We called an aircraft that constantly needed repair a "Hangar Queen." The Fiat was definitely a "queen." Constantly in the garage. But I really enjoyed driving it. In 1972, I bought a new VW and the spyder was driven into my garage--to sit for 10 years. Finally sold it when I moved from LA to Memphis--soft top still in its original carton.
Today, my daughter drives a Honda Del Sol. Maybe not as exotic as the Fiat Spyder, but incredibly reliable.
25th Dec 2006, 20:24
I had a 69 (?) 850 Spyder, whichever year the displacement was reduced to 803 cc’s in order to avoid emission controls. Lime green over black. While I owned the 850 I was dating a pretty strawberry blond and the two had a lot in common, both attracted admiring glances and both were problematic.
Yes the 850s are slow, but no slower than many other small sedans and sports cars of the era. It handled very well, the steering was light and pretty accurate and turned in easily. They are subject to trailing throttle over steer, but considering the lightweight and decent sized tires for that weight it was pretty predictable. You lacked the power to push the tail out or over come any under steer so you just drifted through the corner.
The most comparable cars of that era were the Sprigits (Sprite/Midget). With their larger engines a Spridgits are faster, but not as comfortable and entrance and egress was much easier in the 850. I knew a guy who was 6’1” who had one and he was very comfortable and couldn’t get in a Sprigit.
With the top up or down I could carry a surfboard in the car. Board length 6’, fold the passenger seat back down onto the cushion, wedge the nose of the board into the foot well under the glove box. With the lid of the top cover open, lower the tail of the board into the parcel shelf behind the seats. Unfortunately when I did this I needed to leave the blond at home.
In the winter it would never start without the block heater being plugged in, but it was a little tank getting through snow until you high centered in to on snowdrift. The heater was only OK, but the top tended to leak above the windshield and the rear window yellowed over in about two years necessitating the replacement of the top since the window didn’t zip out. Except for the cold starting it never left me stranded.
By 1974 it was so rusted out that the passenger seat had vertical travel of a couple of inches. Interesting it wasn’t so much the exterior body panels that rusted, but the interior and bottom panels of the unibody.
If I came across a restored one I’d be very tempted to buy it and maybe go looking for that strawberry blond.
3rd Mar 2007, 09:43
I'm a woman who knows very little about cars, but I inherited my spyder from my brother. It was the cutest car I've ever owned and taking hairpin curves in it made me feel like a race car driver. I never EVER had trouble handling the car and I live in Wisconsin and have had to maneuver it over snow and ice. I have no idea what problem the gentlemen (who had lost control and fell over a steep bank) had that he could not control this very responsive automobile. Did it go from 0-60 in 3seconds? NOOOOOoooo. Yes, it could reach speeds of 100mph, but when entering a freeway one had to hope that the cars behind you were able to go around. My mother bought me a key-chain that said, “Give me a break; I’m peddling as fast as I can!” Once it reached the desired speed, however, it was fine. Mine was not new and so had its problems. I learned to pop a clutch going backwards, down a hill… in that car. It was a requirement for that Fiat. But any problems it had were surely made up for in aesthetics! That was truly one cute car! People used to tease me and say that my car could fit into their trunks. Once a woman said, “If I could put a handle on it, I could use it as a purse.” I miss that car. (By the way, your spell check in this site is confusing as it does not seem to recognize conjunctions.)
4th Apr 2007, 23:39
In 1984 I spent $900 for a Taxicab yellow 1973 850 Spyder while attending college in San Diego. The climate was perfect for a convertible and the roads were seldom slippery. That little car cornered like it was on rails and it revved to the rather high red-line without a problem.
I had my share of problems; 4 exhaust systems, 2 fuel pumps, new carb and tune ups every weekend, plus a stalling problem when it was hot and a stuck right caliper, but I really liked that car.
Since then, I've owned nothing, but Honda's and Toyota's which are reliable, but I'm never as passionate about them as I was about the 850. I supposedly "sold" it to a brother who "sold" it to a friend, but no money every changed hands so I probably still own it. I just don't know where it is...