With its small, rear-engine 850 model doing well in the marketplace, for 1968 Fiat introduced an improved version, designated 850 Special. The 850, which had been new for 1964, featured an 843 cc water-cooled four at the rear, and a four-speed transaxle, fully-synchronized with Porsche synchros. It developed 34 bhp, 37 in a high-performance version. Seating was comfortable and a top speed of 75 mph was comparable with some 1,100 cc cars like the Morris Minor or Ford Anglia. At the 1965 Geneva motor show a fastback coupe was introduced, a 2+2 with 47 bhp engine. A sporty spider was also available, designed and built by Bertone.
The 850 Special was based on the sedan. It shared the coupe’s 47 bhp engine, and had front disc brakes, revised trim and a sport steering wheel. The effect was that of a small “sport sedan,” of the type then becoming popular at more upscale manufacturers like BMW and Rover. Introduced in Britain in 1969, the Special proved capable of 80 mph and better acceleration than the standard model.
This very cute Fiat 850 was subject to a body restoration in 2016. During the restoration it was possible to keep the original interior, which now displays a wonderful patina and complements its restored coachwork beautifully. Having covered just 81,000 kms from new it had only one owner from new until the 2014.
Offered with a delightful Franza Caravan Gardena from 1967, the duo would certainly make an fun proposition for their next owner. Must be seen to be appreciated.