HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1971 Fiat 850 Spider

Pick of the Day: 1971 Fiat 850 Spider

Less is more in this 850 Spider


Sometimes in the world of classic sports cars less is more. Less size, less displacement, and lower performance can sometimes be packaged in such a way as to be perfect.

A great example of the less is more concept is the Fiat 850 Spider.

The 850 Spider is a rear engine sports car powered by an inline-4 engine displacing depending on the year 811, 847 or 905cc, with a 4-speed manual gearbox. The 850 Spider is a masterpiece of design by Giugiaro while he was working for Bertone. The car has stunning lines and is quite small, so much so that it can make a Mazda Miata look like a big car. What is hard to believe is that this diminutive sports car is comfortable for drivers as tall as 6’4”, even with the top up.

The Pick of the Day is this 1971 Fiat 850 Spider located at a dealer in Torrance, California, available at ClassicCars.com.

The little 850 is not a fast car, but somehow still feels fast from behind the wheel. It is the kind of sports car you can drive near the limit all day and rarely be in danger of getting a citation for excessive speed. That being said, the 850 Spider is still capable of a top speed of 92 mph, and though 0-60 mph takes 20 seconds, it makes for a stunning backroads roadster.

According to the seller this is a completely rust free example of an 850 Spider as these cars are known for serious rust issues with reports that some had signs of rust when they were delivered new. The seller goes on to say that this car has been mechanically restored a few years ago and everything works as it should. The car is also said to run extremely well with no signs of overheating or rough running.

With an asking price of only $16,500 this little 850 Spider is a great buy for a rare Italian sports car that was designed by a one of the greatest automobile designers in the world. A car that you are not likely to pass in traffic unless you are going to Concorso Italiano in Monterey this August.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


  1. I have owned two Fiat 850 one for me other for the wife… 850 is idle RPM

    I wouldn’t pay $16 for one. Break down rate was every 500 miles. Chance of a engine fire is high.

    • When I was in highschool in mid ’70’s Indianapolis, a neighbor had one of these in a vivid yellow. It was a spiffy little ride when it was running; alas, it was a Rodney Dangerfield car, more miles vertically than horizontally from going up and down on lifts and jacks. Two engine fires that I know of, well. Perhaps this red model would benefit from rear installed modern 4cyl/transaxle, say the turbo from a Cobalt SS- oh, and an entirely new wiring harness set from, say, Painless.

  2. This was my first car, it was fun but it broke down a lot. If I were a car modifier It would be fun to put a VW flat four and trans axle in the back of one of these cars.

  3. had a 1969..850 fiat spyder when I was 24 in 1985…looked just like this one…$750 I paid..sold it when I went in the US ARMY and miss it to this day…what a fun little sports car

  4. My first car. Bought used by a very young and stupid kid. So rusted out that wife could lift floor mat and see the road go by. Radiator was so clogged we had to run the heat year round to prevent her from overheating. Tons of fun to drive but what a POS.


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