12th Mar 2008, 10:50
I bought a 67 (I think) in 1976, at the end of my junior year of high school, for $300.00. It didn't run and the body needed a little work. We got it running the day we bought it with points, plugs etc. My dad and I worked on it for about 6 months and it looked great when we were done.
It was slow, but to this day my friends remember it as a fast car. The only problem I remember with the power was stopping at a stoplight that was on a hill. People behind me would get a little frustrated.
I had no problems with leaking top, or the heater. But I did have some sort of electrical problem that would leave me stranded every once in awhile.
I sold it in 1980 when I needed money for school for $1600. I was sure happy to read everyone's comments here.
25th Mar 2008, 21:47
I had a blue 1969 850 that I bought new and drove for 4 years while in school in Buffalo, N.Y. Only a 20 year old would take this car to Buffalo, and as could have been expected, its 1500 pounds were absolutely terrible in the snow; holding the road was not in in the owner's manual. However I never actually got stuck in the snow or ice since pushing it out of trouble was a snap. The car was tremendously underpowered. Passing a truck on the NY State Thruway took an eternity, and it never felt comfortable driving next to a 16 wheeler at the level of its wheels while very very slowly passing the truck. To climb any sort of hill on a highway I had to get up a major head of steam before trying. Italian cars are not made for NY winters, and when I finally sold it before moving back to New York City, the undercarriage had rusted out so that I could touch the road with my feet. However, let me conclude by stating that my Fiat 850 Spyder was tremendously fun to drive, and I loved it!! A glutton for punishment, I bought a 124 Spyder in 1974.
2nd Apr 2008, 13:17
As a college student, I bought a 68 Spider in August of 1970. I made me into a mechanic in a few short months. The engine for 1968 in the US was dropped to 817cc (49.93 cubic inches) to get under the smog rules. Anything under 50 cubes was a lawnmower engine to the EPA. I learned to carry a full ignition system and a rocker cover gasket along with my tools. Tuneups happened every time I bought gas - look at the tail pipe and adjust the mixture, then the idle. If it is rough, find the time soon to readjust the valves and timing. The car handled like a dream, I just wished for more power. The steering was very neutral and light. My Fiat lived in a perpetual 4 wheel drift. The back end would chase you around every corner. Once I learned to tune the car, I consistently got 43+ miles per gallon, even at 85 MPH. The engine would rev to heaven (it is still the only car that I have ever owned that could pull past it's red-line in top gear). Several times, I shifted it down to third gear and pinned the tachometer at 8000 rpm. My biggest problem was with the generator brushes glazing, so the battery would not charge. I would love to have a joint effort between Honda (or Toyota) and Fiat to bring back this fun little car. I don't miss the mechanical work, but it sure was fun.
17th Apr 2008, 11:28
My dad bought me a 1972 Fiat 850 Spider as my first car in 1975. He paid $500 for it. I was a junior in high school in Germany. I had such a great time with that car, The girls in school loved riding in it with the top down. I think I managed to squeeze three girls in it one time. But alas, nine months after getting the car I was stopped at a stop sign and a drunk plowed into the back of the car and totaled it. I would love to get another one but I think my wife would kill me. Don't' think I want to give my Porsche up for an old Fiat!
26th Apr 2008, 18:06
I bought a 1972 850 two years ago. I drive it only in the summer, as Maine winter roads and cars of this type are incompatible, to say the least (can you say road salt and ice?).
I am Italian and I can assure you that when it comes to Fiats, Italians invented rust. So if you want your baby to last, drive it only in the summer.
The car gets many looks as there are so few of them left.
I love the way it handles, and the fuel economy is fantastic at 47mpg.
My car has two annoying habits: one is that the idle has a life of its own, in which it idles perfectly for weeks and then disappears, which is vexing and slightly dangerous in stop and go traffic, since one is obliged to work three pedals with only two feet in order to prevent the car from stalling.
The other problem is difficult restarting of the warm or hot engine (which also comes and goes) I often sit at the gas pump for several minutes after fueling because the engine turns over but does not start. I have experimented with different fuel pumps, electronic ignition, hotter plugs, and different fuel filtering arrangements all to no avail.
Ah well, the lady is fickle and temperamental, but also beautiful and I adore her.
14th May 2008, 21:13
I bought a brand new 1972 Orange 850 Fiat Spider off the showroom floor for $2700 American! I loved this car! It came with Michelin Radials and stock headers! I lived in the snow belt in Northern Ohio... the top never leaked. In the two years I had it I had to replaced the heating control (twice), the fuel pump (twice), the battery and the brakes, that's it! It could really go, I raced and BEAT a Porsche 915 and an Opal GT!!! It is the "Classic Inexpensive Sports Car"
16th May 2008, 17:07
1968 Fiat 850 Spyder.
Searching for my first car, I fell in love with a 1968 Spyder - green in color and in my price range - $1900 brand new. Anyway as a 17 year old, my dad advised that I might want to get something more dependable - I bought my second love - a 1968 Beetle. I still miss my first love, but sometimes you trade obsession for reality. Have since owned an alfa convertible and a MB SL. I still miss the green beauty though.
2nd Jun 2008, 02:50
My wife had a '69 850 Spider when we first met in 1975. We had a lot of fun in that little car
I bought another '73 850 Spider a couple years ago that had been sitting in a garage in Sacramento for a long time. I have it running and partially restored. I drive it 50 miles round trip to work each day and it is very reliable. It has no problem keeping up with traffic even on the freeway. It cruises effortlessly at 60 - 70mph. It handles just fine. I am averaging about 35mpg. I also have a nice '80 2000 Spider, but the 850 is really a fun little car to drive. I am going to get the front end aligned and have the engine fine tuned soon. That should kick the mileage up into the 40's on the freeway.