Final bodywork on my Fiat 850

After the frustration of last month (a few days of extra work to get everything to fit perfectly in the bodyshell) almost all Saturdays in January were spent finally getting the body ready for spraying. Lots of filling, sanding, filling again and sanding again and finally blocking out to get the perfect smoothness. On January 31, a final wet-on-wet coat was applied in preparation for the color coat.

After sanding the filler layer, a layer of black powder is rubbed on the car. After that layer has been sanded, hopefully no dark spots will remain; if it does, you have to fill and sand again.

Schuren-1 Schuren-4

To check that there are really no flaws, the sheet metal is wet with degreaser. The shine you see makes it easier to find the imperfections:

Schuren-2 Schuren-3

Nothing to see, so perfectly prepared for painting. All that sanding does create a lot of dust, by the way.

As the last action before the color is sprayed, the 850 first gets a wet-on-wet layer that will ensure that the paint "settles" better. We do that on Friday evening and let it air dry at low temperature. Not only the body but also all separate parts receive this treatment.

Spuiten-2 Spuiten-3

And then the time has finally come: we are going to spray on color! And as a bonus: Glasurit was one of Fiat's paint suppliers in the 1960s and 1970s.

Spuiten-1 Spuiten-5

Spuiten-6 Gespoten-1

Two layers of Basecoat and two layers of transparent lacquer have been applied. After a whole weekend of air-drying this 850 is finally ready to come home!


TLC for the Fiat 850

TLC, Tender Loving Care, that was what we needed for the final stage of the prep. To my horror, when we mounted the doors and boot lid in the body, it turned out that not all seams were perfect and that the boot lid was a little too high in relation to the fender edges. Probably as an effect of the year in the rotissery, the body had started to sag a bit. Good advice was needed(as in: a few days extra work to get it straight again) but in the end it finally worked and the car is ready for the first real color: Azurro 491. Baby blue. What we have been doing lately:

  • All seams made as tight as possible: fill and sand again.
    voorbewerking-naden (1)

    voorbewerking-naden (2)
  • Body completely blackened and sanded again to find irregularities (pits, etc.). If there were any they were filled and sanded again.

  • Vehicle primed again.
    voorbewerking-naden (4)

  • Inside sanded for color and masked where necessary.
    voorbewerking-naden (5)

  • Everything in the spray booth this weekend. To be on the safe side, put the car on supports so that the underside could also be sprayed.
    voorbewerking-naden (6)

  • And then finally: color. Inside first.
    voorbewerking-spuiten (1) voorbewerking-spuiten (2) voorbewerking-spuiten (3)

  • After a short drying period the lift is lowered and the bottom is painted twice.
    voorbewerking-spuiten (3) voorbewerking-spuiten (6)

  • The engine compartment is now also blue and that looks good. Next time it is the body's turn!
    voorbewerking-spuiten (5)

Mucking about? No, my Fiat 850 gets water proofed

Kitten Kitten

Mucking about? No, not at all! Spent a whole morning with two men preparing the body for the paint job. For this we have treated all seams, all welding spots and all cavities (potential storage places of water) with special compound. And that not only in the wheel arches, but also in the engine bay and trunk, in the interior and under the floor. My "rotisserie" came in handy again. After letting it dry for a while the bottom and wheel arches will covered in Bodyschutz and after that the car wil get its color: Fiat 491, Baby blue

Kitten Kitten

In the meantime, the left half of the bottom panel is also covered in damping mats so that the noise level inside while driving is more acceptable.

Ready for paint. The Fiat 850 gets its color.

Ready? Well, almost because at least one layer of primer has to be applied first. After sanding again a few times, the bodywork is finally ready to spray primer. We only do the exterior, interior and wheel arches. The bottom has been given two layers of epoxy and that is an excellent basis for the layer of bodyschutz that we are going to apply. After some preparatory work, the 850 can finally enter the spray booth again and then, finally, we can start.


Primer2 Primer5









Off/On. Two coats of epoxy on the Fiat 850

The first layer of epoxy was sprayed in mid-March and was allowed to harden for a few weeks. After that my paint masseur started sanding and filling. A long job that should form the basis for a perfect paint job that is impervious to the enemy of each and every Fiat of the last century.

Voorbewerking  Voorbewerking

Voorbewerking  Voorbewerking

Voorbewerking Voorbewerking Voorbewerking

After 3 months, today it was finally possible for the second epoxy layer to be sprayed and despite the small photo you can already see on the rear wing that a lot has been improved:
16 maart 2013   

6 juli 2013


Treating the Fiat 850 to a new coat

It may seem nothing has happened to the 850 for a long time, but nothing could be further from the truth. Since the purchase of the rotissery, the entire underside has been made even cleaner than during the sandblasting. You can clearly see the difference before and after cleaning.

The last sheet metal work has also been done and, very important, the headlight edges are finally there. Typically a job that you dread for a long time, but when it is finally done it turns out to be better than expected. The "A" posts are tinned so that the seams are permanently closed

Koplamprand A-stijl

To reduce the sharp edges of the blasting, the car had to be completely sanded with 180 grit, but then it could happen!



Now we'll have to wait for the epoxy to cure (can take up to a week) and then we can start sanding. Before we can apply filler, the doors, bonnet and trunk lid have to be mounted to make sure that everything fits nicely. But first we'll spray on more epoxy again to permanently isolate everything from the outside world.

Round and round she goes, the Fiat 850

With a new year ahead of us, we have some good resolutions. Because the 850 has been stripped and emptied according to plan, we have the opportunity to thoroughly spray the bodywork with epoxy primer and thus lay a foundation for a long life without rust. You only get the primer and paint in the right spot if you can work all around the car. That's why I've been looking for an affordable tilt bridge (also called rotissery) for a long time. You might be shocked seeing what people ask for the most simple constructions. Or, if the price is acceptable, you have to go drive the other side of the country. But I eventually found one and I didn't even have to leave the province for it. Professionally made and, although not cheap, still good value for money because it's very solid and, very importantly, unused. After some adjustments to be able to hang the 850 properly (because of the center of gravity), this was the result:





The underside of the car is perfectly accessible to be able to do the final work: some grinding, removing the last traces of paint and undercoating and repairing holes that were created during blasting: apparently there were some thin spots that had not yet rusted through. And, also important, blasting grit is able to fall from all kinds of cavities due to the rotation.

2012. A year of work on the Fiat 850 in a nutshell

2012 is over and unfortunately it was a year in which we did not do much. All kinds of causes, but in the end we did not make much progress. In addition, this site was hacked in November and I had to rebuild it, almost from scratch, to make sure all intrusions were gone. Anyway, 2012 in a nutshell. The "A"-posts are back in place and we made a start with the insertion of both front wings. This again required the necessary test fitting and measuring to ensure that these line up well with the doors, the front and the boot lid. Meticulous work, but we don't want to do it antoher way. Some hammering and beating still needs to be done here and there, but in the end everything fitted well and welding can be done.

Passen Passen

Lassen Gelast en geslepen

Gelast en klaar

Then nothing happens for a while but finally we have another sprint in December! There is another (in my opinion definitive) appointment with the blaster. He can blast the car with the separate parts during two weekends and ensures that we can pick up everything before Christmas. So we need to keep working. Scrape the old bitumen off the bottom and remove sealant wherever we can. This ensures a better result because the blaster doesn't have to stay in the same spot for too long. The non-original headlight edges are a source of misery: we have one NOS part and copy the dimensions to the imitation part, but that's not a success. Fortunately Martin Willems still has two pieces for an Autobiaanchi A112 and he guarantees that they will fit. When they arrive they turn out to be the same as the original one so we have to start from scratch. This means that the headlight edges are not yet in it when the car is blasted, but that's not a big deal. The blaster now can get the wings clean on the inside and the front  will be more accessible when the epoxy is sprayed on. We will weld in the edges after the first layer of epoxy. We remove the front and rear suspension and the rest of the small parts from the car and then the car goes on a rolling bed to keep it moveable and on December 15 the car leaves for the blaster.

Leeghalen Effe proberen (niet de echte!)

Klaar om te stralen

Of course we will take a look during the blasting. The roof appears to have 4 layers of paint, so it has to be stripped first. The same goes for the boot lid.


Unfortunately I can't pick up before Christmas because of the bad weather, but just before New Year's Eve I have a van where the 850 fits; then the weather doesn't matter that much anymore.


Back in the workshop it turned out that kilos of grit have been left in the car. So we vacuumed and blowed clean and then as soon as possible put the shell under plastic wrap to prevent greasy fingers from getting on it. Fortunately, there is help from my brother.



Let's hope 2013 will be a year with more action.

Blasted! Shiny parts for my Fiat 850

Little or nothing has happened to the 850 since the end of October. The metal surgeon had other priorities and we can't do much without him at this stage. Well, for a while I had been thinking to have a lot of small parts blasted, but the relatively high costs of outsourcing this made me have a look at Marktplaats. Well below the cost of outsourcing I found a new blast cabinet. The choice is surprisingly large, but I held back. Add a bag of grit and then wait whether the delivery would be on time for the weekend.
On the last day of 2011 we started blasting. After a few minor modifications to the box (dust filter, adjustment of the hoses) we made good progress.

Nieuwe straalkast

The first set of parts we worked on were the front and rear brakes and the supports for the rear shock absorbers. The results?



We are now blasting parts of the front suspension and after that the metal doctor will hopefully be available again for the final actions to finish the body. When that's done we can have the entire car sandblasted. 

Nose job...... My Fiat 850 gets a new face

Today we finally arrived at the front end. After some preparatory work on the right "A" -post and the galvanizing of the front sheet metal, it was finally possible to start fitting the fenders and the front panel.

puntlassen (1) puntlassen (2) puntlassen (3)

Here you can see how big a spot welding machine is compared to an 850. The amount of sparks here is too much. So we did a bit of a reset. On the right inner wing an original parts sticker was still there:


Before fitting the sheet metal, the entire front was first sprayed with zinc spray. That way I'll know for sure that there is protection between the parts and I will not have to search for parts again in a few years. The rest of the sheet metal will be dealt with after blasting: the metal will be covered in epoxy primer, so for the time being it will remain untreated.

zinked (1)

zinked (2)

And then finally the front is on the car (fitting only, welding is planned for next week)

aangezicht (1)

And with a door in place, it starts to look a car again.

aangezicht (2)

Welderup. The Fiat 850 gains strength

Before the new front can be finally welded on, some preparatory work had to be done. For example, the "A"-post on the right was rather brittle and the inner wings near the windshield needed some attention.


How we started


Removed and cleaned


Why does it rot as deep as this?


Proper cleaning before welding


All the rot has to go!


Welding time


The basis for the new "A"-post


New "A"-post in position

In the meantime, the construction of the new radiator has also started. This one was free but I don't know yet if this will be it ... A bit large.


More progress on the Fiat 850

The metal surgeon is still on vacation so very few major things happen to the body. We try to keep up with progress and so we grind, grind, grind. Week in, week out we grind.
Fortunately it is nearly competed, so after two hours of noise the front is ready to be welded up.


To make it even more beautiful, we went over the "A"-pillar again with a flap disc; saves a lot of filler later! The pillar in the car is still a bit too crispy in my opinion. Because I had an extra one taken off the demolished Special, I decided to cut that open (it was new part welded in by the previous owner) and with that new part we are going to make our car much more beautiful. The left frame is for sale.


Tough job in the Fiat 850

Today it took more than 3 hours to further grind the but welds of the new roof. In the previous session I had practiced so today it went a bit faster. Now the right side is also finished and the top edges of the front and rear window are nice and smooth again. Continued with the inner fenders where, long ago, we inserted new tops (which came from the Special)


Nothing has been ground on this yet, but it does show about the amount of weld we are talking about. The intention is that it is not visible on both the inside and the outside of the wings that welding was ever done. Then no mud can get stuck on it, which in turnprevents rust problems.

The roof is on fire. A new roof for the Fiat 850

After two Saturdays of fitting and welding the roof is on. Because the car had been without a roof for a number of weeks and it had been pushed back and forth a number of times, we first made sure that the doors fit neatly into the "window frames" again. For this the car had to be jacked up, after which two men gently pushed on the corners of the body. If the fit of the door was good, a number of welds were made. Then fit, push and weld again until the roof plate was tight enough to weld the rest. Then on to the other side for the same process.

Lasrobot aanhet werk

In the meantime, we used just about all the welding clamps that could be found in the workshop:

Heleboel lasklemmen

The welds on the window sills:


The welding robot has done its best! What do you do when you have nothing to do? You clean up! The engine compartment and interior are now completely empty, except for a few hoses. The wiring harness has been completely removed and the heaterhousing has also been put into storage.

Lasrobot aanhet werk

Lasrobot aanhet werk

Today we spent grinding the but welds around the perimeter of the roof. There are a lot of them but it is certainly worth it. It is not photogenic work so there are no pictures of it. We do have a few of the results:

Glad geslepen

The Fiat 850 roof is welded back on!

What better thing to do on a rainy day than to have a roof over your head? Or get one! So that was today's task. There was some debate as to whether it wouldn't be better to glue back the roofing sheet. This results in a guaranteed watertight connection. But the metal doctor is a welder, not a gluesniffer, so it was going to be done the traditional way. It doesn't make much difference in terms of preparations. So everything had to be cleaned well and the edges of the old roof had to be removed. When that was done, the old roof was temporarily put back to mark the cutting edges and then the precision work could begin:

Voorbereidingen voor afborenThe sealant edge of the gutter is "rolled away" here. This is done with a small rubber disc.

AfborenEach and every spot weld must be drilled out without piercing the underlying plate

Pasmaken nieuw dakEverything has to be in place before you can put the saw in.

Pasmaken nieuw dak
En als je gaat zagen moet het vast zitten.

Pasmaken nieuw dak
Cutting out the interior sill

Pasmaken nieuw dak
Saw cutting through old and new roof sill

Dakrand in zinkspray
All parts that are exposed are sprayed with zinc spray. This is "weldable" so that everything remains protected even after welding.

Oplassen frame voor beugels van de hemel
Because we want to install a headlining later, the frames for it (from the Special) now have to be welded.

Oplassen frame voor beugels van de hemel
After all that work, the roof is in. Only welding is still needed.

Beugel voor hemel ingelast

The headlining frame on the left with the roof plate.

Next time we will weld and grind again. So we are finally getting closer to the end of the metalwork!




The roof of the Fiat 850 has to come off!

Today, after a month of standstill, finally we worked on the car once again. At least, the metal surgeon. Yorn could not do much because of a bruised foot and me because of another appointment in between. After a short session in which we tried to fit the headlight edges, it was decided to do the roof first.

Next week we will be without an expert and we want to continue. So there had to be work available for that day. That is why a start has been made to drill off the roof sheetmetal of the 850 Special: tap raingutters, drill and loosen spot welds. Then drill out the mounting frame for the headliner and dispose of what remains as scrap iron. Curious about the large photos? Click on the images below.

Losboren Losgeboord

Ook hier roest Frames voor hemelbekleding

But the roof metal also has to go somewhere. Here:


So the saw had to be put in:

De zaag er in De zaag er in

De zaag er in De zaag er in

Next week, the excess rim will be drilled out of the 850 and then the roof from the deceased Special will be welded on.

Nice, but no cigar for the Fiat 850!

We started this week's work with optimism but ended on a low note. The reason? The front right screen does not seem to fit properly.

But first the run-up: My metal surgeon started with finishing the sill on the left (had an strange dent and nobody knew where it came from...) and Yorn and I sawed the opening for the front radiator. Then we could get started with the front. To be able to dent the sill, a special piece has been welded on, after which it can be pulled with a multi-fingered hook and a chain. With that tool you pull everything in a nice straight line.

dorpel links



As can be seen in previous photos, we started the construction of the front of the 850 with the right front wing. This wing was temporarily put in place with sheet metal screws so that we could fit and align the other parts. And with the sawn-out front ready, the fitting could begin! No lack of clamps.


After all that fitting and measuring, we appeared to have problems on the right side to get the headlight edge neatly into the screen. On the left, everything fit exactly. Strange sensation.


The cause is probably the shape of the wing. It is exactly right at the tip of the boot lid, but not on the outside; as if there is too little "meat" on it. We will examine that next time! Fortunately, I kept the old wings.

Welding up the windowframes on the Fiat 850

After last week's preparations, neatly welding in the rear window frame was a breeze. A whole collection of welding techniques was used to get the frame attached as beautifully as possible: but welding, spot welding, MIG welding. Then grinding, planing and sanding the welds, after which the 850 looked "original" again. Quite accurate work:

hechten ruitframe achter hechten ruitframe achter

Heavy job too:
puntlassen achter puntlassen achter

But quite fulfilling:
schaven-las rechtkloppen goot

Then it was time to start on the front left wing. To do this, the door had to be put back first:
portier pasmaken portier pasmaken klaar

And next time? Then we'll try to get the wing on the left on and the front in.

Keep calm and continue (with the Fiat 850)

There are days when everything falls into place. Today was such a day.

Started early with fitting the right front wing. Imitation, so that hardly fits. It was even necessary to cut the inner edge (on the "A" -post) all the way and knock it into shape. Once that was done, the screen went well, although there will still be a few things to be done to get the body lines beautiful.

pasmaken scherm

scherm gemonteerd-klein

While our metalsurgeon was working on this, it was decided that extra cooling would be installed in the front. There will eventually be a radiator fitted with a 12 volt cooling fan. The front panel gets an opening (still to be made) and to get rid of the hot air I made extra cooling holes at the back of the spare wheel well. In the photo above you can already see such a hole, but it looks like this from close up. There is of course also one on the right. Maybe I'll put hoses on it to prevent splash water from entering


Because I was working at the front, the metal doctor started with the frame of the rear window. It was very crunchy. After sawing and drilling the original bottom edge, it turned out that the inner frame had competely rotted away. Making a new inner frame is very difficult because of the profile.
However, we had the roof from the demolished Special. It still contained the upper inner frame and no water stays at the top, so no (well, little) rust. We therefore decided to drill out the top frame to see if we could use it.

Although it was slightly shorter than the lower frame, it turned out to be very usable, so we continued to work with that. After cleaning and welding the frame and spraying all loose parts with zinc paint, the outer panel could be bonded just before 12 o'clock. We will finisch the spotwelding next time.


A set of photo's can be viewed in this album

In the meantime, I also worked on the wild idea for the rearpanel. This could be roughly like this:

And the rest of the time? We were sanding metal like it has to be ready tomorrow.

Slowly progressing with the Fiat 850

Lately things are progressing well! Today the top halves of the inner wings have been replaced. The inner screens that we had cut from the donor Special have now been neatly "sawn" into the rotten inner wings of our 850. Then they are welded, always small welds at a time to keep the metal from getting too hot. Result? Very tight.

Let's go back in time: the 850 was like this not so long ago:


Todays pictures:




Binnenscherm links

Once we got that far, of course, we had to test-fit:

Nieuwe hoop-1 Nieuwe hoop-2

The spare wheel well has also been repaired and the reinforcement bar for the hinges of the boot lid has been drilled out and cleaned.

Reservewielbak links verstevigingsbalk-2

Next the gearbox has been disassembled because it is moving elsewhere. To Geleen in the south of the Netherland where a revised other one is waiting for me.

Versnellingsbak-1 Versnellingsbak-2

What do you do to a Fiat 850 with a metal surgeon?

We take advantage of the situation! Today we have made significant progress! Not only with "skin grafts" but also with the preparations for future transplants. The donor sill of the windshield has been made completely bare: everything that was welded was drilled out and removed, after which the inside was cleaned for welding. We did the same with the rear window sill.

de onderdorpel voor de achterruit

The metal surgeon then sawed out pieces and welded them back.

nieuw dorpel 

Click on the photo for an album

The donor roof being prepared so that it can be welded back on the car soon.



Finally, a new panel was welded to the left inner wing and the panel of the spare wheel box was repaired.



What can you do to a Fiat 850 without a metal doctor?

Because our sheet metal doctor was not available today (problem with his washing machine) we only were able to do some alternative work. We have brushed the inner wing on the right in preparation for the sheet metal transplantation that will hopefully take place soon.


I myself applied some fantasy on the rear panel. My idea is to make something (for the summer months) like the panel of a Ferrari F40. After a first cutting and grinding session I had this:


A little while later:


And it has to become like this. For the winter period there will of course be a normal intermediate panel.



Sanding, sanding, sanding parts for the de Fiat 850

Nothing photogenic this time. Spent the whole morning preparing for the next welding day. All sheet metal parts that we will need next time have been extensively brushed clean so that we do not lose time during welding. The window sills for the front and rear window, the inner wings at the front and some small stuff. The front spring has also been cleaned.

I still have doubts about how we will lower the front suspension. The intention is to get the car about 4 centimeters lower on the front. I can have a new leafspring made with the spring eyes reversed or I can replace the mounting plate with a U-profile.



I already know what to do about the rear springs. I cut off about one and a half turns there. With that I have that 4 centimeter lowering without much effort. Only I don't know yet whether I can fit 175/50 13" tires or whether it should be 165/65 13". Choices? Far too much for such a project. But that makes it fun.

2011 starts well for the Fiat 850

After the deconstruction (execution is such a nasty word) of the Special, we have worked hard. Every weekend we worked on the 850, not only on the body but also on the parts stock. The left rear inner wing is completely finished, including a new jack stand. The sill and the "A" -post on the left have also been finished. So we are approaching the front!

In preparation for this, I completely removed the old front and laid the loose sheet metal of the Special bare.


Another alternator emerged from the stock of parts. It has been completely disassembled and is going into overhaul. The dynamo housing has been cleaned and sanded and then painted. Everything sprayed neatly in matt silver gray, the pulley in a slightly dark color. In the meantime we have started sanding loose sheet metal and I found new frames for the vent windows on Marktplaats. Unfortunately, the lowered front spring was missed.

From the old front fenders I have kept usable parts and from the Special also the longitudinal beams. They will later go to Marktplaats.
Photos? Here and they speak for themselves.

An A112 Abarth has also sneaked in between. My brother Constant is building such a car and sometimes it requires a real workplace with good tools

a112 a112
a112 a112

shift-delete. Exit Fiat 850 Special

The Special has left the building! Because this car was bought as a donor, it was not allowed a long life in Breda. It had to be cut up. Deconstruction started at 8am and we were sweeping the dust off the floor at 11am. If you click on the picture you will see the execution.

begin van het einde

The Fiat 850 Special has arrived

After an snowy adventure in the pitch dark, the 850 Special finally arrived in Breda just before Christmas. The car and its parts were in a shed in the middle of a meadows near Wijdewormer. The amount of snow on the path leading to it was humongous, so the cartrailer had to stay in the farmyard. And we had to push the Special through the snow to get back there.

The body was good where it needed to be good and rotten in places where ours was fortunately good. We will cut up the body in consultation with our metaldoctor.
What remains can be removed as sheet metal (rear fenders, inner / outer door sills and floor panels).
The amount of parts was greater than advertised. It was supposed to be 3 boxes, but the van we were traveling with was filled with parts over the entire surface up to a height of almost one and a half meters. That is why we were forced to leave things behind.

Not everything we took with us was usable because they came from scrapped bad cars, but there were still things that make me happy: an alternator, a compete set of disc brakes, window rubbers, a reasonable floor mat, headlining, expansion tank in new condition, lots of sheet metal, alloy wheels (Cromodora CD29's from a 128 Rally) and rear lights, lots of rear lights. Furthermore, windows, gaskets, water pumps, chrome frames, revision sets and bumpers. We will spend the coming weeks on further expanding the stock and then the photos will be published. Maybe there are also a few things going to auction sites, so keep an eye on those.

850 Special 850 Special 
850 Special 850 Special