First Impressions of the 1971 Fiat 850 Sport Spider

First Impressions

So, it is a 1971 Fiat 850 Sport Spider that hasn’t ran for 20 years. First order of business will be to get the motor running. I am going to put some Marvels Mystery Oil in through the spark plug holes and try turning the flywheel by hand first. I did get the top down and put a battery in about midnight last night. When I flip the switch to turn the power on to the ignition system I can hear the fuel pump prime. It only has 52k miles on it.

I was surprised that all the lights work except for one taillight. The radio didn’t work but there were two more in the boxes of spare parts. There was an instrument cluster in the extra parts.

The picture definitely made it look better than it did in person. It looks like it had started to get a little rust and someone sanded down those spots and painted over the whole car with the burgundy color and then parked it. It also looks like they never wet sanded it as it almost is like a matte finish but it did stop the rust. The whole underside is really solid and there aren’t any holes in it anywhere. I can see in hidden away parts and in the couple of scratches on the quarter that it was originally bright red (the id plate says 120 red) The chrome is in good enough shape to leave it alone for now.

One of the seats is pretty tired but the other looks fairly new. The dash only has one very tiny crack in it that is so small I missed it the first time. The top is brittle and the rear window is really dirty. I will have to see if a little plexi cleaner will fix that up. A brand new top is like $300. Not too bad for a 3 ply version. I’m not worrying about it now because once I get it running I won’t be driving with the top up! The whole interior looks like it is complete and just in need of a good clean up. I found a set of door panels on ebay for like $30 so I can try an idea on them.

There are some fitment issues but hey, it 29 years old. The engine deck lid is a little off, the passenger door doesn’t close all the way and the drivers side window doesn’t roll up. There were 3 window mechanisms in the spare parts.

There were some original warranty docs in the glove box along with the 6 step procedure to start it using the manual choke. It has a 2-barrel Weber on top of .9 liters of “power”. The barrels are so small you could just barely get a c-cell battery into them! Awesome!

The body is really sound and I think it will look really great when it is painted in the two-tone black on red that I have in mind. Probably paint the steel wheels black and clean up the chrome half moons that are on it.

I am also thinking about making my own real wood dash inserts. I think that would look really good. The insert on the passenger side has a hole cut into it for a speaker, an old oil change reminder system and and non working radio. I have read a couple of things about putting some Fiero seats into it with the speakers in the headrests. I don’t know about the seats but to put speakers in the headrest sound like a great idea. I have a friend who repairs and re-covers boat cushions and the like who may be able to make a new set of covers for the seats I have. I would hate to lose the cool push button eat releases.

I am going to start tearing into it on Saturday.

Here are the pictures while still on the trailer in the warehouse.