I loved my 850--my first car.
Unfortunately I didn't understand the need clean out the centrifugal oil filter and ruined the engine.
I welded a Camero glass pack muffler onto the exhaust, installed an electronic ignition and did other tweaking so it had a little bit more power than most.
I had it parked in the street during the Great Chicago snow storm and thought, what the hell, it has rear wheel drive with the engine weight on the rear tires so lets see if I could drive. At the time the snow was about two feet deep. It readily pulled out of the gully it was in and I was off. The bottom of the car off course dragged a slight bit on the snow, but with no problem. So I went around town and since no other vehicles were out, I had a blast spinning out and and doing all sorts of crazy stunts to the shock of every one who dared be looking out their windows.
I lived in Italy in the early '70's - everybody drove Fiats and nobody seemed to have any problems. So in early 1974 I purchased a used 850 Spyder -it was GREAT until I took it to the dealer for service - never ran right again. It truly lived up to it's name - Fix it Again Tony. I got rid of it after only about 6 months and purchased a new Datsun 710.
It's a very cute little car for it's time. It was a shame to see them rot. The carb needed two fuel filters for them to run right. Are there any still for sale from california.
I've had my 2nd Fiat, a '69 850 coupe, since getting it in 1983 for $850.00 in Joshua Tree California. I had fun with it; drove to Phoenix and back, and took a tour of California making a loop from 29 Palms, to Idyllwild, to Reno, Nev, to Marysville, to near San Jose and back to 29 Palms (that trip is destined to become a short chapter in the upcoming saga). Worked on it a lot (how to change a head gasket in three easy lessons). And I occasionally autocrossed her; once getting her up on two wheels in a large turn.
By the end of 1986 she was out of commission. Don't recall just why. But she's called a 'Towd' for good reason... I've towed that car everywhere I've moved since - and that's a buncha moves - 29 Palms, Calif > Sedona, Ariz > Tucson, Ariz (three locations) > Hemet, Calif > Pacifica, Calif > Albany, Calif > and finally to Santa Rosa, Calif.
That's 22 years of 'going to get around to' fixing her. So what did I do? November '03 I bought another '69 coupe that was already running and in fairly good condition... just to hold me over until I can do an overhaul (home shop restoration). Hey it was cheaper than the resto is going to cost me. The original was a desert car; the only rust being superficial 'patina'.
And I'm not surprised by the comment in the "October, 19, 2007" contribution here that their coupe "never ran right since" having the dealer work on it. You know why they say F.I.A.T. stands for "Fix It Again Tony"... 'cause only a "Tony" can fix 'em right. Most dealers commonly don't have a clue how to fix 'em (new kids on the block with 'plug & play' skills only. It takes someone who knows the cars (and, I swear, that the cars like in return). In the '80s I made some extra bucks working on Fiats in the desert (Yucca Valley to 29 Palms, CA). And all of them came to me after a dealer or pro shop tried (often many things) and failed to get the fix right. They worked right when I was done with them.
Do I love Fiats? Well, in my Fiat fanaticism days (the '80s), I had as many as eight at a time (Spiders, Coupes, and one 124 wagon - '65 or '66 I believe, with a total of thirteen cars all tolled. Now I only have the two Fiats, but am now actively into Early Datsuns. I had eight of them (411 Bluebirds), am now down to five, and again had 13 cars (now down to 10).
Little orphan cars... gotta love'em.
I was sorely tempted by a coupe waaaay back in the 1980's. Even went so far to put a deposit on one.
Was reasonably impressed with the performance, as it nudged 120kph with more in store had I been prepared to push it.
The drivers door swung open on a sharp left, so I should have been suspicious, but these were more innocent times. My dad, being suspicious of all things foreign, said no and even shelled out for a mechanical inspection for me, which revealed not a lot of points where a magnet would stick. So the deal was off. Had some trouble getting my deposit back as well I recall.
Anyway I eventually opted for a 125, which proved to be fantastic. Once, on a trip I shot past an 850 as if it was standing still, and there was a whole lot more metal to rust away before the doors might fly open. That's my story.
I still do a double take if I ever see a coupe these days, though here in Aotearoa, by and large, they are goneburgers. Funny thing is I'd be tempted if I were to see an absolute minter. Unlikely, and I'd also call my dad again, and get a psychiatric evaluation. Bottom line is it might be a bit hard to go back from my AR 166 though I'd say..
Have owned an 850 coupe for a couple of years now.
It is a 69, and I drive it everyday, about 60km a day in Auckland traffic.
I believe the fact that it has always been driven is what has kept the car in amazing condition.
Has had a couple of trips on a tow truck, but considering the mileage I do in it, I think it is very reliable.
The bodywork on the 850 coupe has some of the best lines on a car. It sits on Cromodora wheels, which just finish off the look.
I get heaps of looks, and people are always coming up to me and looking at the car, and remembering a time when there were a lot more of them on the roads.
Would love to see more of them driving around. I have never seen another driving on the road.
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