According to Fiat folklore, from the 600 was born the new Fiat 850.

Carrying on the original design theme, the 850 was still a two-door, rear-engined car and it retained many of the mechanicals seen on the 600; however, apart from the new, more spacious bodywork.

The 850 compact sedan also packed a lot more power thanks to a new 843cc (51 cu in) four-cylinder water-cooled engine.

Despite the engine being rear-mounted, the 850 handled very sweetly, plus it offered much more room than the cramped 600 on which it was based.

Two versions of the saloon were built, the Normale, which produced 25kW (34bhp), and the Super, which generated a robust 28kW (37bhp).

In 1965, better-looking and sweeter-handling models of the Fiat 850 followed with the launch of the Coupe and the Spider.

The Coupe was developed in house by Centro Stile Fiat and produced by Fiat, while the Spider model was designed and produced by Bertone.

The Coupe's tuned engine produced 35kW (47bhp) and the Spider's engine 37kW (49bhp), while front disc brakes replaced the former drum items.

In 1966, a semi-automatic transmission was made available which did without the clutch pedal.


A Familiare model was also offered in the range, replacing the old 600 Multipla, but again using three rows of seats.

One of the earliest versions of Fiat’s iniquitous people carrier, the Familiare, was introduced in 1967.

The Fiat 600 Familiare was very much the “ugly duckling” of the series with an ungainly box-like body into which were crammed three rows of seating.

Fiat’s marketing department claimed that the Familiare could hold seven passengers, which was ostensibly true.

In practical terms, four or at most five adults could expect to make any journey 'in comfort.' and not a form of torture the longer the journey continued. Ironically the Familiare lasted longer than its parent, remaining in production until 1976 three years after the saloon was discontinued.

Better looking and accordingly better received was the Sports Coupe that made its first appearance in 1965.

The Sport Coupe featured four round headlights; both models were equipped with the new 903cc (55 cu in) engine, producing 52bhp meaning that the compact roadster could reach a top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h) enjoying good acceleration along the way.

In 1965 Fiat announced the launch of the Bertone-designed 850 Spider featuring flowing lines and a smart hood that easily folded beneath a rear flap. The Sports Spider variant also stood out for its two upright headlights.

Revised for 1968, an 850 Special went on sale, and this was a saloon which had the Coupe's engine and disc brakes.

The release of the Fiat 850, combining several body styles with identical mechanics was indeed a breakthrough, marking another important step in Fiat's long march towards becoming a fully fledged member of the international car manufacturers fraternity.

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