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Little Classics Feature: 5 July 2014

A Classic Fiat 850 Restoration in Focus

A Classic Fiat 850 Restoration in Focus

Little Classics will, over the next few weeks, be following the complete restoration of a much overlooked classic – a charismatic 1969 Fiat 850.

Any major restoration is a challenge for even veteran restorers, but this restoration caught our eye because it’s being undertaken by two guys who have never attempted anything like this before. This means we can bring you all the challenges, solutions and lessons just as you may find them on your first restoration.

So why a Fiat 850?

The Fiat 850 is not a well know classic in the UK, having been outnumbered in the UK at the time by many of our home-grown options. However, if you’ve ever watched The Italian Job you might have noticed hundreds of 850s in the Turin traffic jam as Michael Caine and his cronies pulled off the gold heist.

It was the British Mini that was the focal point for the film, but it is thought that Fiat tried to supply all the cars and offered a lot of cash to do so. It could have been so different if 850s had been used instead of Minis.

Our two enthusiastic restorers, at the time however, were not searching for an 850. It was just a chance meeting, when after they saw it sat by the road one day they managed to haggle the price down with its former owner – and soon they were the owner of this pretty little classic.

Not all was as solid as it first seemed

Classic Fiat 850 - Little Classics Restoration Feature

The project got off to a slow start, as the fist common discovery in many restorations cropped up – it got worse as you got closer! In their own words, “the Fiat was a mess.” It had not run in years. A few more months in the elements and it may have tipped past the point of no return.

Back at Bob’s place, where the restoration is taking place, in the cold light of day, they realised what a mammoth task they had. The more they tore it apart the worse it became. In most cases, the rust was the only thing that gave a hint of metal previously being present.

However, in textbook restoration perseverance, they muddled through the early stages, using a rotisserie to get everything apart. This involved the first stages of cutting out all the trust and beginning to weld in new panels, giving a fresh new canvas to start building the classic car back up.

A Classic Fiat 850 Restoration in Focus

The restoration is also being covered through the Cherished Vehicle Insurance blog as the two guys send in their diary entries of the rebuild as they go.


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