And now, for something completely different!

Samas Yeti 850


In the late sixties of the last century, in Italy a lot of work was done on the design of special models and prototypes with four-wheel drive. And sometimes that led to a (limited) series production. This was the case with the Yeti, a small off-road vehicle designed by the designer of the Ferves Ranger. The car had a box frame that showed little aerodynamics.

Samas Yeti 850 ontwerp

The first examples had the engine of the Fiat 850 and the Yeti was the first off-road vehicle with four-wheel drive AND four-wheel steering built in Italy. There was a very small series production in 1968, but despite all the technical innovations, the Yeti was not very successful and actually did not progress beyond the experimental prototype phase. Even when SAMAS (Società Albese Meccanica Autoveicoli Speciali), another company from Alba in Piemonte, took over production, the Yeti was not a success despite many changes to the original model.

Samas Yeti 850 zijkant

Samas Yeti 850 achter

Samas started by replacing the engine with that of the Fiat 127 (903 cc), which was placed in the front in the new version, instead of just behind the rear axle as on the 850. Other technical adjustments were the 4-speed gearbox of the Fiat 124 and the differential of the Alfa Romeo Giulia. There also a power take-off was available on request with which it was possible to drive various equipment (generators, sprinklers, water pumps, winches, etc.). This transformed the Yeti 903 into an industrial or agricultural all-rounder.

Samas Yeti 850 motor

The 4x4 drivetrain had CV joints on both the wheel sides and the differential sides, with a total gear ratio (with two differentials) of 1: 4.555. Thanks to the 4-wheel steering, the Yeti 903 could turn within 3 meters. Average consumption 1 in 12 on the road. When used off-road it was 3 liters per hour. Top speed was approximately 100 km per hour (3 km per hour was the minimum off-road speed). The Yeti could handle slopes of up to 80%.

Samas Yeti 850 helling

There were 5 seats and a maximum of 50 kg of luggage could be taken with 5 people on board, or 2 people and 330 kg. Curb weight was 900 kg and the tank had a 40 liters capacity.
In 1973, Samas also presented a design of a Yeti 6x6 version, but it was never produced.

Samas Yeti 850 6x6

Images from Quattroruote and