Smiles Per Mile: 1966 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe

We’ve all had a car that just made us feel happy. It might not have been the fastest car, or the nicest, or the most reliable, or prettiest. But it made you feel happy. Happy to get in it. Happy to wave at people on the road driving their bologna and American cheese on Wonderbread sandwich cars, while you drive in something that warms the cockles. Wait. Cockles? And why would cockles be warm? Did they get left in the back seat of a rear engine Fiat? And what are cockles anyway? Some kind of vestigial organ that your mother never told you about? No, that’s not right. I know what muscles are and I know that Molly Malone sells them with cockles that are alive (well…she is a fishmonger) so they must be some sorta shellfish or crustacean. Anyway, where was I? Ah, find this 1966 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe offered for $6,500 in Westfield, NJ via craigslist. Tip from Cory.

From the seller

1966 Fiat 850 Coupe
VIN: 100GC070976
condition: good
cylinders: 4 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 10395
paint color: white
size: compact
title status: clean
transmission: manual
type: coupe
Rare 1966 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe in original white, black interior. Originally a California car, the body is solid, in great shape overall with some small areas of surface rust and paint bubbling. The paint shines with a few dings and scratches, it was repainted about 10 years ago.

Everything works on the car! All the lights, signals, horn, instruments, even the gas gauge and wipers. The engine was rebuilt a few years ago, upgraded to a 903cc and runs great. Brakes (disc in the front) work great, transmission shifts smooth, the clutch is good. Upgrades include Abarth Exhaust, steering wheel and cromodra magnesium wheels (which were a dealer option in the 1960’s). Tires are almost new, shocks are good. Steering is tight, the car handles great, no issues. This is a very early car, not many 1966’s out there and more charming than the later 1969-1972 cars with their heavier bumpers and front/rear changes. Lots of new parts, battery, fuel sending unit, thermostat, plugs, wires, carb rebuilt, etc. It’s not perfect, the interior shows some and there are a couple of small dents on the roof from a tree branch falling on it. I’ve kept it maintained and drive it around town on nice days. I’ve had it on a highway a few times, but 65mph is about the max with it’s 4 speed gearing. Has enough pep to keep up with traffic though and a nice growl when the twin choke carb is fully opened and that great Italian Car sound. Runs a little hot on humid summer days, I would recommend a radiator service, something I never got around to. This is one of 3 vintage Italian cars I own and need to let one go. I have been into Fiat’s for 30+ years and have owned this one for 5 years. Rust is minimal, but has a few crusty areas that will need attention. Could be a show car with some work.

See a better way to drive something with Italian flair?