Fiat 850 Spider was released alongside the 850 Coupe by Fiat and was popular for being a sleek sports car that was also cheap. The car was manufactured in different styles, but the sports car is the most iconic one.
The 850 Spider lasted from 1964 to 1973 and was a small rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive two-seater car, although it is not as sporty as you would expect. If you’re curious about the car before you collect it, our article below has got you covered.
- 1 Overview of the Fiat 850 Spider
- 2 Features and Specifications
- 3 Why Drivers Love the 850 Spider
- 4 The 850 Spider Today
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 Conclusion
Overview of the Fiat 850 Spider
The Fiat 850 Spider is a 2-door roadster car. It was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, a famous auto designer that also made the Maserati Ghibli and DeLoreon DMC-12. The car was powered by a simple 843 cc engine which offered 49 horses and a top speed of 90 miles per hour.
Fiat 850 was produced from 1964 to 1973, and they were provided in various body styles, including 2-door sedans and 4-door minivans. The Spider was a 2-door roadster with a folding fabric roof underneath a rear metal body panel. The design is attractive to collectors today with the simple and smooth details.
Some of the features on the Spider include the recessed headlamps with plexiglass covers to go with the adjacent wings and dihedral side panels. It was similar to the 1963 Chevy Testudo. The Spider was released with the Coupe and Sedan, but they were designed with less capacity to meet the emissions regulations in the US.
The 850 Spider came with sports seats, a round speedometer, a sports steering wheel and a unique instrument panel. At the front and rear, it has disc and drum brakes. There were also limited editions of the Spider, like the Racer, which came with a metal hard top, and the Racer Berlinetta with the black vinyl hardtop.
Features and Specifications
The Fiat 850 Spider is a sports car with different engine options designed to be placed in the rear and 4-speed manual transmission. The design and light weight makes it a masterpiece among other sports car.. Despite the small size, the car is still ideal for taller drivers, even with the top installed.
The Spider was fitted with an all-wheel independent suspension, pretty impressive for the mid-60s. In the interior of the car, drivers could enjoy the sports seats, leather padded steering wheel, and redesigned instrument panel and speedometer. The 1968 model was called Sport Spider, with a brand new engine, radial tires, and improved alternator and brakes.
The 850 Spider was powered by an inline-4 engine with 811cc, 847cc, or 905cc displacement, depending on the year. The main engine was the 843 cc L4 cylinder engine with 48 horses and 45 pound-feet of torque. The fuel system was also a carburetor, while the fuel was gasoline.
The maximum speed was 90 miles per hour, and it went from nothing to 62 mph in 16.2 seconds. This was more possible with the rear-wheel drive and 4-speed manual transmission. The car comes with disc and drum brakes on the front and rear.
The exterior styling of the 850 Spider was one of the best parts of the car. There were distinct design elements on the car, including the Bertone styling, with sunken headlights, plexiglass covers and a brand-integrated Spider headlight. The exterior was also revamped for some of the model years.
The dimensions of the 850 Spider were 148.9 inches, 59.1 inches and 48 inches for the length, width and height, respectively. The wheelbase was 79.8 inches, but the ground clearance was low at 5.3 inches. The front and rear tracks were 45.6 and 47.7 inches. The cargo volume was 3.5 cuFT, while the aerodynamics was 0.42 Cd.
The gross weight limit of the car was 2,017 pounds, while the unladen weight was 1,620 pounds. The fuel economy was 29 mph for the city, 34.1 mpg for the highway and 33.6 mph combined. In the 1960s and 70s, the car was sold for $2,100 at the base level. But the price increased if features were added.
Why Drivers Love the 850 Spider
Although the Fiat 850 Spider did not come with technical innovations, it offered a thrilling experience and a charming exterior that appealed to car lovers in the mid-60s. It is one of the most popular classic cars around the world, and since it was mass-produced, it’s not hard to purchase too.
In the early 60s, Fiat wanted to produce a car that would offer great power and a fashionable look but at an affordable price. That’s where the Fiat 850 came in. The Fiat 850 was sure to succeed due to the popular Fiat 600. Aside from the Spider, the Fiat 850 line-up consisted of the Special, the Coupe and the Familiare.
Unique Exterior Styling
The Giugiaro-inspired design is one feature of the car that drivers and the car collectors of today really love. If you like the design of the Lamborghini Miura, Aston Martin DB4 GT Bertone, DeLorean DMC-12 and Maserati Ghibli, then you have seen the work of Giugiaro.
This caused him to add some unique design elements to the 850 Spider when making it. The Spider Bertone, which was used aggressively in the marketing approach, is a good example.
On the Spider, the headlamp was joined into the fender, which was unique. By 1968, the 850 Spider went through a face-lift. The headlamps were moved forward a bit, and the glass covers were removed, making the lamps look like frog eyes. It had a modern roof mechanism, as an early version of the tonneau cover.
Lightweight for Speed
The 850 Spider was a pretty light car, making it easy to drive and maneuver on the roughest roads. It featured a gross weight limit of 2,017 pounds, while the kerb weight was 1,500 pounds. Compared to the cars of today, the Spider was as light as a feather.
The low weight level was advantageous because it made the 850 Spider very nimble and easy to maneuver. The Spider was different from other Fiat cars because of some features it had.
These include the sports seat, round speedometer, sports steering wheel and disc brakes at the front. There was even a new instrument panel to make it look more like a sports car. By 1968, there was the Sport Spider with a 903 cc engine and 52 horsepower.
Powerful Engine in a Compact Car
Another highlight of the 850 Spider is the engine, as it was small but also powerful and lively. The 843 cc inline-4 cylinder engine was making 49 horsepower, and although this was low, it could still reach 90 miles per hour. It was not the strongest engine in the 1960s, but drivers still liked it.
It came with one unit for processing the air and fuel, and a carbureted engine. Aside from the power, the engine in the 850 Spider was easily accessible. This made it a top option since anyone could get it. If you’re a car enthusiast today looking to restore a classic car, you will enjoy the Spider. Also, by 1968, the facelift also came with a more powerful engine.
Simple and Comfy Interior
The interior of the 850 Spider was just as amazing as the exterior. It came with interior trimmings and a well-designed dashboard that came in wood-grain adornment. The wood was around the steering and the cockpit gauges, giving the car an upscale look. Also, the instrumentation features and gauges came standard, so drivers did not have to pay.
These included the 120-mph speedometer, fuel level, water temp gauge and oil pressure gauges. The car had a small build and a wheelbase of 79.8 inches, so the cabin space was tight. Some customers complained that it was cramped, but this was accepted by most, especially with the exciting features.
The convertible top could be removed and covered back with one hand. It was placed in the storage behind the rear seat. But when the roof was up, the cargo space was available for luggage. The design came with different compromises for comfort and style.
The 850 Spider Today
Although the Fiat Spider was widely produced, it is not as common as it used to be. One reason is that, since the Fiats were very cheap in the mid-60s and built with inexpensive materials, there was an issue of rusting. Fiat manufactured the cars with low-grade steel, leading to rusting, so it would be hard to get a quality Spider model today.
Despite this, you can manage to get a used 850 Spider from the secondhand market, and it can cost as high as $25,000 but might require some touch-ups. If you want a fully restored Spider 850, the price can be as high as $45,000 depending on factors like the mechanic’s fees and the features you add.
Frequently Asked Questions
– How Much Horsepower Was in a 1971 850 Spider?
There was between 34 and 52 horsepower in a 1971 850 Spider Sport. The horsepower was low for its time but it came with a lively engine. The 1971 model came with independent suspension and a transverse leaf in the front, while the rear had coils and trailing links.
– How Many Fiat 850 Models Were Produced?
Nearly 2.3 million Fiat 850 models were produced and sold worldwide. Out of this, 140,000 were Spiders. The production ended in 1971 for the coupes, 1972 for the sedans and 1973 for the spiders. A sizable portion of these cars were sold in North America.
– Why Was The 850 Spider Discontinued?
The 850 Spider was discontinued due to reliability issues and recalls. Many of the Spiders were recalled by the company because, by the time they were transported to the United States by sea, the elements had caused rust. It was discontinued in 1973.
With our complete guide on the Fiat 850 Spider, you can enjoy this car if you decide to collect it or restore it and take it for a ride. After reading this guide, you now have all the information you need regarding this vehicle, so
check out this summary before you go:
- The Fiat 850 Spider is a rear-engine sports car designed to be a 2-door roadster and was made for those on a budget.
- The car was released from 1964 to 1973 and offered a maximum speed of 90 miles per hour.
- The Spider was known for its Bertone design, a unique exterior styling done by a popular automobile designer called Giugiaro.
- The Spider came with full instrumentation and interior features without customers having to pay extra.
- The 850 Spider was recalled because of rust and reliability issues and was finally discontinued in 1973.
If you’re lucky enough to add an 850 Spider to your collection, it’s important to keep it well-maintained because of the steel construction. Although this vehicle did not continue production for a long time, it is still timeless and considered an important and iconic part of Fiat’s history.
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