4th Jan 2006, 14:27
In the mid 70's I owned a 1970 850 spider. I bought it in great condition and drove it hard for two years. It never gave me any problems. Power was low, 90 mph downhill with a tailwind, however it would take any curvy road at practically any speed you could pull out of it. I only ever spun it out one time. It floated OK too I found out by accident on a flooded road in South Carolina. Floated right through and never choked down. This was also my first car, bought by me at 16 years old. I loved it and traded it for a 1971 SS Camaro. Big mistake, I still miss my Fiat.
11th Mar 2006, 10:48
Our Blue 1971 Fiat 850 Sport Spider was the first vehicle my wife and I purchased after our marriage. Bought new in early 1972, it was our fun car, and my Summer go to work vehicle of choice. I took it on business trips around the state, and never got stuck due to mechanical problems for many thousands of miles.
As our family grew, many other vehicles came and went, but we still have the 850. It is in good running order, thanks to all of its winters spent in the garage (we live in Minnesota), and the recent ministrations of the guys at F&D Motor Works.
Our 850 Spider spent a fair number of years in disuse while our two sons passed from driving age teenagers to college graduates living on their own - Insurance was just too expensive, though neither of them really had much interest in sports cars. In the spring of 2000, a friend helped me get the engine running (by rebuilding the carb.), whereupon I discovered the brakes were practically non-existent! That was when I located F&D, a small shop specializing in sports cars, with an emphasis on things Italian. A complete brake system rebuild, followed by an engine overhaul when it dropped a valve during a test drive, followed by more fuel system work... and then an enjoyable summer of leisurely cruising the local parkways.
The next Spring I had the top replaced, as the rear window finally gave out (this was the second top in 33 years!), and some wheel bearings replaced. More good Summer enjoyment.
In 2004 I retired, so I could enjoy more afternoons riding in the 850 with my wife... and F&D continues to work wonders whenever something goes amiss... though parts are getting hard to find. Last Fall F&D got the heater working again for the first time in decades, and this Spring the steering gear was replaced/rebuilt.
At the moment we have about 68,000 miles on the car, which I have registered as a Collector Car for license and insurance purposes - limiting me to about 700-800 miles per year... so we won't be pushing that number up too quickly!
14th Jul 2011, 10:52
I bought a Fiat 850 Spider when I was in college. $2600 new. At the time, not many service stations had metric tools. The service at the dealership in NJ was poor. In fact, they once left a wrench in the motor after working on the car. The wrench was found twisted and gnarled. God knows what it did to the engine.
I was good on the clutch, but still went through 2 of them. Also went through 2 starters. The gas filter had to be changed frequently or else the car bucked at 55 mph. The convertible roof had a plastic window. After a while it was difficult to see through it.
I had a love-hate relationship with that car. When it ran - it was cool. When it needed repairs, it was expensive. Sold it after 3 years and 23,000 miles.