Fix It Again Tony

Does anyone out there want to buy a FIAT 850 racing engine?

I've been reminded I have one to get rid of. In storage for 30 years.

I saw a red Fiat 850 Spyder yesterday.

We crossed each other, Each of us turning left at a stoplight, moving opposite directions, I in my silver '86 Volvo 740,

my wife beside me. He, my age, with a good looking blonde passenger, though aged like the sports car, still well maintained.

Two images came into my mind- How SEXY that little car was when I first saw one back in '60's

...and a sign over the urinal in a local bar that says “ Just remember- No matter how good she looks, SOMEONE is tired of putting up with her shit”

It fleetingly crossed my mind to wonder if he was?

I never owned a Fiat 850 Spyder- though I would have bought one in a heartbeat had the price been right. I owned an 850 sedan.

Among other beasties. I also owned a Porsche 356C , A Morris Mini, a Volvo 544, a Plymouth Valiant, and a Chrysler Newport. A girlfriend gave me access to her Datsun 240Z and an MG TC. In the Late 70's, “Cars” was what I did when I wasn't doing Photography.

The unspoken commonality between Photography and Fast cars is Sex.

Photography and Cars both have their own appeal, but they both have the added benefit of being Babe Magnets. I can't really fathom the sensuality, the sexuality that can be produced in a willing young lady by taking her for a fast ride in a sports car to some secluded place in the country where you can take tasteful pictures of her and gradually convince her of the necessity that she shed her clothes for the sake of art and beauty. We didn't plan anything “naughty”. It just happened. And a good and guilt free time was had by all

I never understood it, I just highly appreciated the fact that it worked.

The 850 sedan wasn't so much a “Sports Car” as an enclosed Go Cart. Or maybe a 4 wheel motorcycle.

850 cc's isn't a big engine, but if you attach it to what is essentially a 2 seat skateboard, and hop it up a little, it goes like stink. Not exactly what you take the budding “model” out in the first time, but it has it's own attraction. The car itself was kind of an off yellow, highlighted by rust. No appreciable rear floorboards to speak of, I've heard it said that on a quiet night , if you sit and listen to your FIAT you can hear it rust. But thats part of the advantage of a “beater” car. It was cheap to buy, and no one cars if you “ding” it a bit.

It takes a certain sort of lady to get turned on by a ride in such a cheap thrill. The girlfriend who owned the 240 Z was one of that sort. We DID plan to go out and “Get Naughty”-- Rat Racing her in her 240 with my souped up FIAT on the winding river road of RT 62 north of Columbus. Looking down at the speedometer and realizing we were taking some pretty hairy curves with the FIAT speedometer hovering around the 100 MPH mark. ( one wonders, since a stock 850 would never see the high side of 80- Who was fooling whom about what with a speedometer that went to 120?)

The short and nasty on the FIAT 850 was that it was impossible to keep running. It broke. Constantly. ( FIAT, in case you were wondering stands for Fix It Again Tony) Finally decided it needed an engine rebuild. Got the parts, got the machine work. Meanwhile had sold the car with a stock engine I put in it “For temporary”.


The girlfriend also seems to have gone the way of the FIAT. High performance, good looking, - expensive and unreliable.

At some point, my first allegiance, the Volvo, won me back.

Essentially a farm tractor engine in a converted hay wagon. Safe as ( can we say safe as houses anymore?) anyway, safe, reliable, inexpensive and easy to fix. A wife, not a Girlfriend.

Sexy enough for me.

Still, I wonder, when I see A guy my age that seems to have kept both the car and the girlfriend.

I should have chased him down and asked him if he needed a racing engine.

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