Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fiat 850 Sport Spider - a highly successful 60'ties sportscar

On today's streets you very rarely can spot a Fiat 850 Sport Spider, despite the fact that they built 124'660 of them between 1965 and 1973!
It shared most components with the family version of the 850 and the coupé produced in parallel. With this is had its 843 or 903 ccm engine mounted in the back and was of course rear wheel driven. Independent suspensions for all wheels, disc brakes in the front made it fairly safe and controllable (for the time).
What was though unique about this car was the shape designed by G. Giugiaro (working for Bertone at this time). The Sport Spider was a very lovely two seater convertible car.
With a bit more than 700 kg and roughly 52 HP it was not extremely fast (0-100 km/h in around 16 s), but it was fast enough to overtake the Volkswagen Bug or other mainstream cars of that time. And it was affordable, which was a key success factor. It was cherished by women and therefore often called the "assistant's Ferrari".
The 850 Sport Spider was the first "classic" I owned. The blue one was a real wreck, I drove it only for a week and had then to get rid of it. The second one (in red) was already much better, but even this was in need for a restoration. When I owned it in the early 80ies people still greeted each other from convertible to convertible. One of the best things about these cars was the engine noise. The blue one could be heard much before it actually could be seen, it was so noisy.
Today Fiat 850 Sport Spiders in good condition fetch serious money in the five digit range.


John L said...

......and convertible drivers don't greet each other anymore?

Bruno von Rotz said...

No, of course not. They couldn't take the hand down anymore given the high share of convertibles in the Swiss traffic ;-)