Restricted Radiator: 1971 Fiat 850 Sport Spider – SOLD!

by | Mar 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Sports Car Saturday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

April 1, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

The only 850 Fiat Spider I ever encountered up close was a very rusty lime green 1969 example. Owned by Beth, a girl I worked with while in high school, I helped her out several times on cold, damp evenings to get the car started.  I always wondered why Fiat engineers chose to put a radiator directly behind a rear firewall with almost no air circulation. Then again, this was Western New York where it rarely, if ever would get hot enough that it would even be a problem.

While Beth and I never stayed in touch, I can’t help but think she would get a kick out of seeing a nicely preserved, California rust-free example such as this red over black 1971 Fiat 850 Spider originally listed in March 2022 on Craigslist in San Francisco.  In addition to featuring a brand new top, the seller reports that everything works on their 850 Spider.

Currently offered for $7,500, comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Fiat 850 Spider priced between this guide’s #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $4,000 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $8,200.  Similarly, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $5,350 and its #2 “Very Good” appraisal of $8,200.

Fiat produced its small rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 850 in sedan, coupé, and spider body styles from 1964 through 1973.  With upcoming U.S. emission laws applying to engines larger than fifty cubic inches, Fiat circumvented the rules by importing the 850 line with a high-compression engine displacing exactly fifty cubic inches.  Despite having excellent fuel economy, the 850’s 9.2:1 compression ratio required the use of higher-cost premium fuel.

In 1968, Fiat revised the successful Spider and Coupé again and gave them a bigger 903 cc engine producing fifty-two horsepower. The pair were called Sport Spider and Sport Coupé (engine code 100GBC.000). The Sport Spider body stayed essentially the same, but with a restyled front. The headlamps were moved forward slightly and the glass covers were eliminated giving the car a “frog-eye” look, and the original flush front turn indicators were replaced with units hung below the bumper. Several limited special edition versions of the Spider were offered, including the Racer featuring a body-colored metal hardtop and the Racer Berlinetta featuring a black vinyl hardtop.

In what is the antithesis of the eight-minute-long cult film Rendezvous, we came across this Point of View (“POV”) video of a Fiat 850 Spider driving through the streets of Paris at a much more relaxed pace:


The allure of this 1971 Fiat 850 Spider is when nice weather allows you to roll back the top. At only $7,500, chances are good you can add miles to this car and sell it several years from now for what you paid for it.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Hello Up For Sale Is This Beautiful Classic Vintage 1971 Fiat 850 Spider Convertible
This Vintage Classic Car Is A Great Investment That Keeps Going Up In Value And Becoming Very Rare To Find
Everything Works Great Has A New Convertible Top All Light And Signals Work We All The Service Records
Just Turn The Key And It Runs Excellent Has Many New Parts And Running Great
Very Easy And Fun To Car Drive
Clean Title And Currently Registered Please Call Or Text”

Do you have a Fiat 850 Spider story to share?  If so, comment below and let us know!


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