In the unsurpassed Italian magazine Quattroruote I found a letter sent in from a reader who, with some friends, wanted to build a Formula Libre based on Fiat parts.
This he wrote:
In 1977 me and a group of friends started building a "Formula Libre" with a Fiat 850 engine and Fiat 600 gearbox.
Using the different directions of rotation of the two engines, we thought of building a longitudinal mid-engine car.
So I went to my trusty junkyard and we came out with two wheelbarrows full of parts for which we had to strip some cars.
To keep costs down, we opted for the front and rear suspension of a Fiat 600. The engine we chose was a 903cc 50 hp of the latest Coupé model.
The frame is made up of 3 cm square cross-section tubes. The total cost of the work was LIT 305,000. The number of hours we worked on it is unknown, but high.
From the moment we started, we were faced with a flood of small and big problems that frightened more than one of the partners of the project: I remember, for example, the complicated machining to reverse the rotation direction of the Fiat 600's starter motor and its freewheel.
For almost two years we worked in our spare time in the courtyard of my house and, despite everyone doubting the success of the project, we achieved the goal.
Enthusiastically and to the surprise of the neighbor, I tried the car for the first time near my house on the outskirts of town and on a dead end street. Everything worked perfectly. But later that street became unusable for us. A long time has passed since then, some of us are married and have children, the car has been pulled over but kept in good shape for use in better times. Now that I've been introduced to projects similar to ours, I'd like to know if the owners have found a legal way to use their car. This writing is also meant to be an ode to the quality of Fiat products and their adaptability, even after many years and on different models: from the ashes of his cars being scrapped, the 'phoenix' can be reborn
R.L. from Novi Ligure (AL)
And this was what they built:
Not only the rotation of the starter motor, but also the engine is turned 180 degrees. Quite a job.