Home » Something About Those Eyes: Cold Start

Something About Those Eyes: Cold Start

Cs Fiat850
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I really like the Fiat 850. Honestly, I like all the rear-engined Fiats, but there’s something especially fun about the little 850 Sport Spider version that’s just so engaging and charming. It has a similar feel to something like a Honda Beat: absolutely minimal, but what is there remains because it can help you have some fun. That said, I’m not sure I’d join a cult around one, but something about this old 1970 brochure picture says maybe there are some who would.

I mean, sure, both of the models screened into the background there are lovely people, but there’s something about the attractive yet eerie blankness of the woman’s look that’s weirdly haunting. She looks like a person on pause, a lovely yet frozen cypher. What’s going on here? Does that little Fiat have the power to command minds? Is that what we’re seeing?

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Cs Fiat850 2

The other images don’t do much to dissuade this idea, like the singing up there. And that guy in the background – what does he know? What’s going on here?

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Demagnetized
Demagnetized
1 year ago

Too bad you couldn’t include a picture of a pre-1969 model with covered headlights. Much prettier.

I still own a turbocharged 850 Coupe. Not factory. Still slow, just not as slow as stock.

I once test drove an 850 Spyder that had a 124 engine swapped by PBS engineering. Very cool car but the clutch was extremely heavy.

ProfPlum
ProfPlum
1 year ago

In high school, one of my friends had an 850 Spider. He need to replace most of the engine gaskets, so we pulled the motor, drained everything outside, then put it on his mom’s kitchen table (we had a tarp down on the floor and table), and were in the midst of finishing the head gasket replacement when his mom showed up early. She was not impressed by our engine repair acumen or our (successful) attempt to keep engine fluids from meeting any part of the kitchen.

We really didn’t get any mess anywhere than the tarps, and we cleaned up everything, but his mom gave me the “stink eye” for a long time after that. As an adult I realize how lucky we were to get away with that.

Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
1 year ago

She looks like she should sing, “Master Jack” by Four Jacks and a Jill. It popped into my head. I don’t know why.

Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
1 year ago

That is some awfully suggestive-sounding copy for an ad featuring a man cheek-to-cheek with a girl 30 years younger than him.

Michael Sharp
Michael Sharp
1 year ago

“beginner’s car”….. is that like… a starter car? Uh oh.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wDs-0hH7hg

Steve Rickly
Steve Rickly
1 year ago

My Dad had a red spyder when we were stationed in Pearl Harbor circa 1970. Yes, in. Quarters 109 Ford Island. 1st car I ever drove. He drove us to the old seaplane area and we switched seats. Never used a clutch with my foot, but had plenty of bike experience. Staring straight ahead, Dad told me to push in the clutch , start it up and put in 1st. “Don’t stall it” Still his gaze was straight ahead. Of course I stalled it! Bam! Down came his closed fist on my right knee. “Start it again. Don’t stall” Revved it WAY up and slipped the clutch too much, but we were rolling! Got to use the convertible often until Dad retired in ’74 and we moved to Michigan. Pretty reliable, but it did need 3 head gaskets. They all failed while Dad was driving it. He never questioned me about my driving habits, but I revved the wee out of that thing on just about every gear change. Had to! I think the chassis saved my life a few times with the roadholding. Good times/memories.

Justin Short
Justin Short
1 year ago

Father: I bought you a convertible
Daughter : oh daddy!
Father: it’s a fiat 850
Daughter: (catatonic stare)

NAMiata
NAMiata
1 year ago

The stare? Having just bought the car she now realized what a whole 58 hp felt like. Had a yellow Spider. Too bad the performance never lived up to the looks. I’ve seen they are electrifying them now. Maybe finally that will not be a problem, as long as they can find a non-rusty spot to connect the ground.

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
1 year ago

I think Fiat 850s may well have the power to command minds. I’ve owned a Fiat 850 Sport Coupe as a daily driver, had it strand me regularly after breaking down, but I regret selling it and would have another one in a heartbeat. Not something ex-Fiat owners usually say!

Marlin May
Marlin May
1 year ago

My first car was an 850 Sport Coupe in that wonderful almost-but-not-quite safety orange shown on the spider in the top illustration. I was in the San Fernando valley at the time, so when the temperatures soared in the summer, the tiny radiator wasn’t quite up to the task of cooling the also tiny engine. I also had to remember to regularly check the distributor. For some reason, perhaps heat, perhaps the amount of NO2 and O2 in the air at the time, the plastic distributor cap would crack, leaving me stranded. So I carried a spare in the car along with a toolkit.

Still, it provided many a fun drive along the Angeles Crest Highway.

XLEJim700
XLEJim700
1 year ago
Reply to  Marlin May

I had a ’71 Spyder, also in that near-safety-orange. On a decent two-lane with the top down and the revs as high as I dared, it was my own little Ferrari. I was 22 with a good imagination. Wrecked the car, but still have the imagination–and grateful for it!

Lokki
Lokki
1 year ago

1. I am old enough to remember when these were new, and I am an Italian car club member (Alfa Romeo) but I have never, once, seen a Fiat 850 Spider moving under its own power. I have often seen them, though, in their natural habitat which is behind a barn or garage half hidden from the elements by a blue tarp.

2. The look in that girl’s eyes is easy to interpret. At a Friday night party, after several drinks, she agreed to weekend driving trip with (Not-Paul-Newman) upon hearing that he owned ‘an Italian Sports Car’. It is now Saturday morning and she has been awakened from her hangover by the crack-of-dawn arrival of “Fiat-Romeo”. He is whispering in her ear in a way that makes her wonder exactly what she agreed to participate in….

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
1 year ago

Ha, shades of Stepford Wives…
And what the heck is redacted in the brochure?? Hard to make out but looks like “full carpeting” so maybe they ended up not making that as part of the standard equipment since such a feature might not necessarily be ideal in a convertible where exposure to rain is pretty much inevitable?

TooManyHobbies
TooManyHobbies
1 year ago

My dad’s first car was an 850 Spider. The floor was so rusted that he put in a sheet a plywood to bolt the seat to. This raised the seating position so he had to hunch over when the top was up.

Jon Myers
Jon Myers
1 year ago

Classic old time advertising with the 40+ year old guy and the at most early 20’s woman. I guess at least back then automakers were assuming it was the guy buying the car.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
1 year ago

She reminds me of Peggy Lipton

Larry B
Larry B
1 year ago

I went car shopping with my Dad and he test drove an 850 and Ford Maverick. Guess which one he bought? Reality sucks.

chris.clarke.fly
chris.clarke.fly
1 year ago

I have a Fiat 124 Spider and would gladly trade for an 850 with a rear engine.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
1 year ago

Can’t say I’ve ever seen anything advertised as a “beginners car”.
I knew a guy who had one when new. He was the neighbors son.
As a child I’d hang around and watch him in awe as he swapped an Olds Rocket V8 into..something and did a nice job painting his fathers ’59 Bonneville in the driveway. Anyway – later in life he showed up in an 850 Spider.
I didn’t get it but he was all about the disc brakes and independent suspension.
Must have been a fun car to drive.

RedWing
RedWing
1 year ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

Great fun to drive, but made out of paper mache. Everything broke at one time or another. At once the most fun, and most hated car I ever owned.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
1 year ago
Reply to  RedWing

You must not have owned an E9X BMW.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 year ago

“Performance is the pleasure”

Reads like an ad for condoms.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
1 year ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

They even encourage switching positions

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
1 year ago

The more I look, the ickier I feel. Thanks, Jason.

HonkeyfromtheCIA
HonkeyfromtheCIA
1 year ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

That image is…alarmingly rapey

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 year ago

That first ad is wild. It says to explore the world before it becomes the moon’s old neighborhood, which reads to me like a Cold War reference to getting nuked. That combined with the blank stares gives off serious death cult vibes. “Enjoy this Fiat until we all ascend to Mother Moon !”

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 year ago

Maybe they were planning an Italian version of “Space 1999.”

JRW
JRW
1 year ago

If so, we would no longer be in the Moon’s neighborhood.

Dusty Kornphartz
Dusty Kornphartz
1 year ago
Reply to  JRW

COTD

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 year ago
Reply to  JRW

Exactly, we’d be in the moon’s old neighborhood.

Not THAT Florida Man
Not THAT Florida Man
1 year ago

Looks like Harrison Ford in the top pic.

Douglas Lain
Douglas Lain
1 year ago

If Harrison Ford and Paul Newman had a baby together, yes.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 year ago
Reply to  Douglas Lain

I was thinking Newman, too.

Jeff Gillio
Jeff Gillio
1 year ago

That was my very first thought.

HonkeyfromtheCIA
HonkeyfromtheCIA
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Gillio

He’s definitely got Roman Polanski’s eyes.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
1 year ago

Well the tagline says Fiat 850 Sport Coupe, Making it young. Maybe the Fiat promises eternal youth in exchange for your soul?

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
1 year ago

Drugs, Jason. It was 1970. They were all on drugs.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
1 year ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

Pupils are to small for drugs

Larry
Larry
1 year ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

Bright lights in the photography studio cancels out the dilation . . . maybe.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
1 year ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

Depends on the drugs. Some contract the pupils, some dilate.

Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
1 year ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

Eyelids are correct for a smoker.

Michael Sharp
Michael Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

The singers definitely are.

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