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Mr_Estrotica New Reader
7/10/13 12:20 a.m.

I figured it's about time a start a thread on this old girl. I've had her for about three years now, one year of that was lost in full due to relocating. I found the car via Portland Craigslist, for the paltry sum of $275, I assembled my away team and made a bee line for Vancouver, Washington where I found a this Fiat 850 "running when parked" with floors and crossbrace intact. SOLD! We loaded the old girl up, and headed for Hopworks Urban Brewery, because when in Rome and all...

I am notoriously bad a record keeping, the first few months of ownership are lost to time. So, let's just jump in midway with a few photos chronicling various items and modifications that have been made along the way. This post will largely be a place holder until I can organize my thoughts, and mix what few photos I have of it's earlier days into the omelette that is this thread.

This appears to be the earliest photo I have of the thing. First step: add wheels, hit with lowering stick. Sounds like me.

The engine had either crapped it's ring land on #3 and #4, or something had worked it's way down the toilet-esque intake manifold and wound up in the combustion chamber, so out she came. (Awesome photography, Erick, just tops!)

Make shinier.

Wobble bolts, Smart car tires, E30 "Euroweaves", looking classier.

That brings us up to April 2011. Next up, engine rebuild and some go "fast" bits!

SnowMongoose Reader
7/10/13 12:23 a.m.

You had me at "sub-liter beater"
bonus points for being in WA (though the wrong end)

ditchdigger SuperDork
7/10/13 1:03 a.m.

In because after a year in my driveway I am excited to see it on the road.

Mr_Estrotica New Reader
7/10/13 1:16 a.m.

SnowMongoose: Ha! If it's one thing I can do it's come up with limericks and bad, bad puns.

Ditchdigger: You and me both, pal. This weekend is a wash, and I can't seem to get much done on week days, but I'm hoping I'm only a couple weeks off from a somewhat mobile vehicle. There's a really big annual cruise-in in Vancouver that is 4 relatively flat blocks from my house in 2 weeks. Depending on how things go, I might just roll it on down there so all the kiddies can get tetanus.

ransom GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/10/13 1:21 a.m.

I love that car... Looking forward to seeing it getting up and running!

Mr_Estrotica New Reader
7/10/13 1:43 a.m.

So, there's nothing good on the idiot box and this 10 Barrel IPA is acting as a muse. Let's continue on a bit.

I won the mail about this time. MSII on a V3 board, NOS 65mm Pistons (IIRC), GSXR Front Calipers, and a John Deere Gator Alternator. That's performance, folks.

Thanks to what ever entered the combustion chamber, a small amount of material had to come off the head. Queue the flycutter!

By this time the block had been sent off to have the bores opened up to match the "new", bigger pistons. I sent it to a machine shop that said "Yeah, no problem. We do stuff that small all the time." (that's what she said) Turns out, no, they don't. They farmed it out to another machine shop across town. All is well that ends with me paying the figure we originally agreed upon.

I suppose at this time I should note that I'm kind of a queer fellow (not like that, the original sense of the word). I'm not a huge fan of normal colors. I'm not a flat-billed hipster with nightmare-inducing retina-searing wheels, but I do enjoy a ill chosen color here and there.

Bring on the Celery. I'ts worse in person. With all the journals looking good, and a slim budget in mind, I forged on with old bearings, a used crank, and a few lengths of plastigauge. A new timing gear set and chain were also used as I'm not a gambling man. I sourced an alloy oil pan from a friend. I proceeded to bead blast it and clear coat that bad boy.

The top end was assembled with the valvetrain from my '69 Sport Coupe. Should rev out pretty nice.

What's left to do but plop the new lump into it's home?

Next up we have modern brakes, EFI parts, and the rest of the family.

Mr_Estrotica New Reader
7/10/13 2:34 a.m.

Let us switch gears a bit a this point.

"This was the largest auto I could afford. Am I therefore to be the subject of fun?"

I'm a rather tall individual. At a little over 6'2", I don't fit very well in your average Italian microcar. Yet I still own two. To get my rather lengthy frame into this lilliputian auto we are going to need to make some leg room.

Here's how we make a steering wheel adapter for scrap prices:

Take your stock Fiat steering wheel. Maybe it's worth a couple of clams on eBay. Maybe you don't give a berkeley.

Stock steering wheels are for housewives and little girls! Cut that berkeleyer up.

Stick that bad boy in the lathe to roundificate 'er.

Find yourself a nice off-cut from a random industrial project from who knows when. Turn ID. Turn OD. Give a decent polish.

Part yer part. Bead blast.

Fire up that TIG welder, you coffee powered implement, you!

Center the wheel on your new hub. Transfer punch. Drill & Tap.

Not bad for a community college dropout.

Apply paint and install. Nevermind the Wolfsburg hornbutton. Leftovers from a long past Scirocco project.


914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/10/13 5:36 a.m.

Nice job! Wish I could TIG.

JoeyM MegaDork
7/10/13 5:45 a.m.

Wow! That is really nice work

NOHOME UltraDork
7/10/13 7:18 a.m.
914Driver wrote: Nice job! Wish I could TIG.

Learning to TIG weld is easy, its all in how you go about it.

Next time you are at the welding store buying grinding disc and waiting to pay, cassually tell the checkout person to just toss that Lincoln 185 TIG welder in the back of your car. After all, thats what CCds are for right?

They will be very helpfull and even toss in a free mask.

Then when you get home make sure to declare your purchase with pride.

You now have three months in the garage to practice as much as you want before she gets over it.

Worked for me.

icaneat50eggs Reader
7/10/13 7:55 a.m.

Awesome project!

Couple of questions, Anyway you can snap some pictures of the rear and front suspension? Also, whatever is right behind the seats and in front of the firewall?

Any idea on weight? Did The wobble bolts let you put on 4x100 rims onto the 4x98 pattern?

gamby UltimaDork
7/10/13 11:06 a.m.

I love that the muffler is larger than the engine!

Great looking car.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/10/13 11:13 a.m.

In reply to Mr_Estrotica:

Cruisin' the Gut? I've been considering dragging the old Jav down there, too. We can have a tetanus section!

sethmeister4 HalfDork
7/10/13 11:15 a.m.

I must be the most clueless person ever about Fiats...totally didn't know these were rear engined! Looks awesome, I love vintage beaters (I have one of my own)!!

DoctorBlade UltraDork
7/10/13 11:15 a.m.

That engine will move that car? You have a vid of it moving yet?

Kenny_McCormic SuperDork
7/10/13 1:13 p.m.
sethmeister4 wrote: I must be the most clueless person ever about Fiats...totally didn't know these were rear engined! Looks awesome, I love vintage beaters (I have one of my own)!!

IIRC, they're swing axle too. That and rust killed most of them, look at some old Nurburgring public day crash footage, every other Fiat 850 made must have died there or on some other scary corner elsewhere on earth.

ditchdigger SuperDork
7/10/13 2:23 p.m.
Kenny_McCormic wrote: IIRC, they're swing axle too.

Semi trailing arm actually. Pretty much like every other european car of the time. Mercedes, BMW and other rear suspension looks pretty much the same.

The camber curve isn't exactly ideal but it is better than a straight swingaxle setup

SnowMongoose Reader
7/10/13 3:12 p.m.

Damnit, first Jav, now you have me wishing I lived at the bottom of the state.

CLynn85 Reader
7/10/13 5:57 p.m.

Nice, looking forward to more updates. I really need to start finding more budget-oriented project cars like this!

Mr_Estrotica New Reader
7/10/13 6:35 p.m.

NOHOME: I like the way you think! I'd get murdered by a certain special lady friend if I pulled a move like that. I'm half tempted to get a cheapy scratch start inverter machine for the garage just to keep somewhat in practice.

icaneat50eggs: No idea on the weight. The best I can do on suspension pics will be atomically crappy cell shots in a poorly lit garage. Anything in particular you want to see? The wobble bolts will let you run 4x100 wheels, but I had to shave a millimeter off the front hubs as they measured out at 58.1mm. The majority of BMW wheels and VW wheels have a centerbore of 57.1mm. The rollbar? I sold it long ago on eBay to fund other aspects of the build. A better, more modern one will be made before too long.

Jav: Cruisin' the Gut, indeed! I'm on 25th and F, so it's almost literally out my front door.

In other news. It moved under it's own power today for the first time since I mothballed it over a year ago! It was only a couple of feet total, but it moved dammit!

Thanks for all the kind words, guys! It's certainly better received than I thought it was going to be.

icaneat50eggs HalfDork
7/10/13 7:30 p.m.

I'm trying to figure out where the po changed the rear end from fiat to vw/made up stuff

viking Reader
7/10/13 10:23 p.m.

If you need anything I have a basement full of used 850 parts----

Mr_Estrotica New Reader
7/10/13 10:49 p.m.

Interesting. I am without a few key pieces. I have no drivers door vent window glass or frame. I also need convertible top latches; both the windshield side and the top side. Any luck in either of those? Green Bay is awfully far away from Vancouver...

icaneat50eggs HalfDork
7/10/13 11:18 p.m.

Are the latches on the hard top? I have the hard top shoved in my attic, but since the previous owner sliced off the windshield, I never even looked took it out of the huge plastic trash bag it was in before I stuck it upstairs.

Mr_Estrotica New Reader
7/10/13 11:46 p.m.

Yeah, I need both. I have a hardtop, but no latches on either the car or the top itself. I don't thing ratchet straps are much of long term solution.

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