Between 1966 and 1979 the "Formula 850" was raced in Italy, which had to use Fiat 850 technology. Apparently it was a popular (because affordable) class because no fewer than 205 racers were built in those years (source: http://www.registroformula850.it).
Little is documented about many of these cars, but I do my best to find and post as much information as possible.

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More on the Formula 850

The Formula 850 was a continuation of the Formula 500 series in 1966. The Formula 850 (otto e mezzo) was raced with monopostos that had to meet the following requirements:

GENERAL:

The cars were of the single-seat racing type with engines derived from an Italian make car approved in the Touring series category (Group 1)

  • Maximum cylinder capacity: 850 cc
  • Minimum track width: 105 cm
  • Minimum wheelbase: 180 cm
  • Minimum weight roadworthy and without fuel: 300 kg
  • Maximum external width of the body: 90 cm
  • The use of movable ballast was prohibited.

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ENGINE:

The engine had to be strictly standard like that of the homologated car from which it was derived and only the following modifications, replacements or deletions were allowed to the engine:

  • Exhaust manifold and silencer:
    A proprietary exhaust system was allowed to replace the manifold and muffler.
  • Carburettor:
    The air filter could be removed or replaced.
    The carburettor that was normally mounted on the engine could not be replaced or converted.
    However, it was allowed to change the parts that control the dosage of the fuel and air.
  • Cooling:
    It was allowed to replace, move and / or modify the radiator, the water pump, the associated pipes and supports with parts from other brands.
    Change or removal of the fan and thermostat was allowed.
    In the case of an air-cooled engine, it was allowed to modify or relocate the ventilation system, but not to remove it.
  • Electrical system:
    It was allowed to remove the alternator and the voltage regulator.
  • Instruments:
    It was allowed to replace, remove or add sensors on the engine for odometers, tachometers, thermometers and water and oil pressure gauges.

GEAR BOX:

  • The gearbox had to be of the same make as the engine, even if it belonged to a different car model.
  • Gear ratios had to remain standard.
    The gear ratio replacement was only allowed if it had been approved by the manufacturer, also for another type of car belonging to group 1.
  • When mounting a gearbox other than the original, this modification allowed the fitting of an intermediate flange on the engine and gearbox.
    This flange could support the starter motor support and the intermediate shaft between the clutch and gearbox.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS

  • Body:
    The open single-seat body had to be fitted with a roll bar at the driver's height, which should be at least 3 centimeters higher than the driver's head when behind the wheel and wider than the driver's shoulders.
  • The driver had to be able to get in and out without moving any moving element, including the steering wheel.
  • Mandatory automatic start:
    With built-in starter motor that could be operated by the driver behind the wheel.
  • Fire protection:
    In addition to the protection already provided by art. 125 of the C.S.I. was required the car had to be equipped with an electrical main switch or with automatic control, or be operated by the driver.
  • Brakes:
    A separate (dual) braking system was required in such a way that, in the event of loss at one point of the braking transmission, the brakes continue to operate on at least two wheels from the same axle.
  • Oil collection:
    It was mandatory to install a device designed to accommodate any oil return through the crankcase fill port.
    No oil supply is allowed during the races.
  • All engine and oil reservoir filler openings were to be designed so that filler hole seals could be fitted.
  • Fuel:
    Commercial fuel only as defined by the F.I.A. was allowed.
  • Certificate of origin:
    Every Formula 850 (F. 8½) car that appeared for a race was required to have a certificate issued by the C.S.A.I. that confirmed the origin of the basic elements.

The requirements were updated from 1967 to 1979. For example, the permissible dimensions and weight of the car were adjusted and there was more freedom for the manufacturers to choose parts. These changes may be discussed later in another article.

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Another Formula Fiat 850

Nothing beats working on cars in a father-son team. I know because my youngest son and I worked on (now) my Fiat 850 many Saturdays since we bought it.

In Italy there also was such a team in the 1950s, Gino and Lucio De Sanctis. The family owned a Fiat dealership in Rome and when Junior wanted to race with a car of his own design, the step to their  own racing brand was quickly undertaken. Especially in 1959 they were the team to beat. This was mainly due to the advanced design of their cars. The De Sanctis brand existed until about 1970 when it had to give up due to financial problems. Until then, 29 cars were certified, although (as I described in another article) that could also be related to recertification of existing cars due to technical changes.

The beautiful copy below has been sold by Franco Lembo and has an 843cc engine that first passed through the Abarth workshops. With this car the new owner can participate in Formula 3 races for classic racing cars. Lucky person.....

Fiat 850 deSanctis Formula 3

Fiat 850 deSanctis Formula 3

850 deSanctis Formula 4

850 deSanctis Formula 5

All images in this article were originally published on Franco Lembo's site

Teams in the Formula 850

A lot of information can be found on the site of the Italian Formula 850 register, especially which builders were working on the Formula 850. From there, further information can usually be found; Google is your friend. In the book "Fiat 850 Fuoriserie" Formula 850 cars are briefly described. I imagine there is a lot more to be found.

A good starting point is the list of manufacturers and their cars.

Below is an alphabetical list of the Formula 850 manufacturers who applied for the certificate of origin from the CSAI at the time and the number of copies certified by each.

It must be said, however, that many cars have been certified several times; this happened in the vast majority of cases because the owners modernized the cars with new bodies, new and higher roll-over bars, modified the suspensions and chassis, even shortened the wheelbase, all this always required new certification.
So how many have actually been built cannot be determined.

Manufacturer/Team Cars certified/built In the book  "Fuoriserie"
A.M.S. 4 Yes
A.T.E.CAR 2 No
A61 1 No
AGOSTI 1 Yes
ALESSANDRINI 1 No
ANDREOLI 1 No
AUTOSPORT 1 No
AUTOTECNICA 1 Yes
AZ 2 Yes
B.W.A. 7 No
BARELLI 2 No
BELLASI 2 Yes
BIGNAMI 2 No
BIRAGHI 9 Yes
BIREL 1 Yes
BONETTI 3 Yes
BRANCA 1 No
BROGAM 1 No
BUGLIONI 1 No
C.R.M. 1 No
C.V.R. 2 No
CARENA 1 No
CICERI GMS 2 No
D.R.M. 1 No
DAGRADA 5 Yes
DALGO 1 No
DE SANCTIS 29 Yes
DEALGO 1 No
DEL GIOVANE 2 Yes
DEMA 1 Yes
DIANA 1 No
E.L.E. 1 No
FAGIOLI 7 Yes
FALCONE 1 No
FELISATI 1 No
FERRAZZI 1 No
FIDE 2 No
FIORETTI 1 Yes
FOGLIETTI 1 Yes
FRABER 1 No
GDS 1 No
GIANNINI 1 No
GIGLIO 1 No
GILI 1 No
GIULIANI 2 Yes
GPD 1 No
GRASSELLI 2 No
GSC 1 No
GSM 1 No
GUARNIERI 1 Yes
IPPOCAMPO 2 No
JACO 1 No
L.G.A. 1 No
L.P.T. 1 No
LUCKY 11 Yes
M.Z. 8 No
MACO 2 No
MANTISSA 1 Yes
MARRAS 1 Yes
MONTAGNA 1 No
MONTEVERDE 1 No
NEISSE 1 No
NIPAMA 1 Yes
OL-GA 1 Yes
PAPARUSSO 1 Yes
PATRIARCA 1 Yes
PRAT 1 Yes
PRATALI 1 No
PULVIRENTI-BRACCINI-PT 1 No
RENZINI 2 Yes
REPETTO 3 Yes
RESIDORI 1 No
RRE 1 No
SACE 1 No
SANETTI 2 No
SCA-BRU’ 1 No
SELENE 3 No
SILVA 1 Yes
SINIBALDI 1 No
SPICAR 1 No
STELLINA 1 No
STYLAUTO 1 Yes
TABI V.D.R. 1 No
TAGLIANI 2 Yes
TECNO 13 Yes
TONY KART 4 Yes
VACCARI 2 Yes
VIALI 1 No
VICO 1 Yes
VIGEZZI 1 No
WAINER 2 Yes
Z.A.M.B.A. 1 No
ZANI 2 No
 Total certified 205  

Fiat 850 Formula Libre

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:

850 formule libre

Not only the rotation of the starter motor, but also the engine is turned 180 degrees. Quite a job.