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 Post subject: Fiat 850 drive in front
PostPosted: May 9, 2017, 12:29 am 
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I have an 850 Fiat Spider & a spare trans & 2 engines. It's a rear engine car. I was just thinking about how cool it might be to move the engine & trans up front. Build a front wheel drive with the engine in line. Unlike so many that are transverse mounted. Requiring a wider body. No more problem of the drive line tunnel. Just the reverse of what Lotus did with the Europa. The R16 Renault was a front wheel drive with the engine ahead of the trans. They just moved it to the rear & had a mid-engine set up. These days with so many front wheel drive cars & 4X4s. A set of front uprights shouldn't be hard to come by. Could do the same with an old VW bug engine & trans.


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PostPosted: May 9, 2017, 12:35 am 
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Kind of a cool idea. I've had similar thoughts trying to imagine a restomod Citroen Traction Avant. The main issues that I'd be concerned about are

-Is a motor that wimpy worth all the work to pull it off?

-Will you be able to get the shift linkage dialed in a non-spongy way?


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PostPosted: May 9, 2017, 4:44 am 
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Joined: November 11, 2013, 4:47 am
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Location: No. Nevada
I had a lot of fun with 850's back when they were plentiful and cheap.
Used to see them running against the Sprites in H Production and going very well.
Had one I hot-rodded and de-cambered, drove like a go-cart, blast to drive.

Your FWD idea seems, hmm, odd?
No offense, just my first reaction.
I've been sort of looking for a Fiat 850 donor to use under one of my Tatum bodies, I suppose you are on the other side of the country from Nevada and not interested in a trade or selling. :BH:
I once cut a Fiat down to the floorpan for a kit build and found that a scratch built chassis would work better.
It should be possible to flip the ring gear as Fiat made transaxles to run engines in different directions depending on displacement, an Italian tax thing.
So making your 850 a rear mid-engine should not be too hard.
Just make a very light chassis and cover it in fiberglass, maybe one of the Abarth bodies mentioned on this site?
If you look hard enough there are some trick head$ for 850's available.

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PostPosted: May 9, 2017, 5:28 am 
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Location: Cotswolds - UK
Richard's immediate reaction to building it as FWD is understandable, but the advantage you identify of no transmission tunnel can be substantial with some aesthetics: particularly if you're trying to replicate a 1940's/1950's front engined racer.

Here's a one-off special I came across here in the UK, that I personally think looks fabulous. It's based on the aforementioned Renault components (sourced from a small hatchback called the Renault 5; not sure if it made it to the States):

Image

Image

My only comment would be that it would seem a whole lot easier to simply stick with the Renault components - which then give you a complete, single-donor drivetrain package that has already been adapted to a FWD installation - rather than go to the trouble of working out solutions for the Fiat.


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PostPosted: May 9, 2017, 11:32 am 
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Richard as far as I know. The Fiat trans can't be flipped (ring gear). Actually I'm in So. Cal. What of the Fiat parts do you need? I have a full rear suspension.

Sam Renaults are not very common over here in the States. But other front wheel drives are.

All in all I get these rambling ideas to use up some of the spare parts I have laying around LOL I've got a couple of complete rear driveline & susp. for a Lotus Europa. pieces & parts, pieces & parts LOL Parts is parts?


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PostPosted: May 9, 2017, 1:34 pm 
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Location: No. Nevada
Fiat 850 engine runs one direction and (Real) Fiat 600 the other but both have four forward speeds and are nearly identical except for displacement and sheet-metal.
I should ask a guy I know how he put an 850 engine into a 600.

I want to build a street Tatum using almost anything but the original VW Bug engine.
Being originally intended for Bug parts it is rear engine, like the 850.

Not sure if I would want a full suspension but looking for a complete engine and trans.
This is my on - off again musing for a very light wood or CF monocoque chassis build.
Ex Europa trans has higher HP possibilities than Fiat.
The Renault trans to find is the Fuego five speed, I gave one away with the Europa I foolishly sold several years ago. :BH:
Fiat's are simple to work on and I still have manuals for them.
Cool you are not on the other coast, too bad you are in a state that does not allow the sort of firearms toys I build.

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PostPosted: May 9, 2017, 2:05 pm 
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The 850 you can get the cams with reversed distributor gear. That turns the engine in the opposite direction. That's how they used them in sport racers like the PBS cars. The race engine I have in the crate. To go in my 850 spider is actually set up that way. But I have a new cam to turn it back in stock direction. But that's also how they were done for the 600 (the guy I bought it from. Was going to put it in a 600).
Yeah there's too many kill joys in this state. But I have my share of "toys". LOL


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PostPosted: May 9, 2017, 11:18 pm 
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Hi guys,

As you can tell from my avatar I have an interest in old Fiats. I've owned a 1959 Fiat Abarth 850 (932cc full race engine in a 600 sedan body, an old FAZA Abarth kit car) since 1974. I also have a garage full of old Fiat 600/850 race parts including complete engines, high comp pistons, cams of various lift and duration, intake manifolds, modified (ported and flowed) heads, anti-roll bars, camber compensators, reverse eye leaf springs, wheel spacers, headers, etc etc. If you need something drop me a line.

Bill

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PostPosted: May 10, 2017, 9:47 am 
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Personally Im looking at putting a fwd motor in the back of totally different car. Front drive is not the way I would go unless the car already came in that state :BH: torque steer, understeer, braking/turning/accel with the same tires just don't seem like something to strive for imo but if it's what makes you happy go for it :D


Your project idea makes me think of the below project somewhat. A unique idea but one that may have unexpected nuances.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/proje ... ey-sports/


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PostPosted: May 10, 2017, 10:12 am 
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Location: Cotswolds - UK
jere wrote:
torque steer, understeer, braking/turning/accel with the same tires just don't seem like something to strive for imo but if it's what makes you happy go for it :D


Torque steer hasn't been a problem for some years, now. Ironically, it was Lotus who established a lot of the ground rules for curing it, with the M100 Elan, back in the '80's.

... but in any case, torque steer rather depends on having an engine that delivers an appreciable amount of torque, which is unlikely to be an issue for a Fiat 850!

A lot of the best and most fun driver's cars here in Europe (from the original Mini through to recent 'hot hatchbacks' like the Renault Clio Sport 200 Cup) have been FWD for decades, but the US market is so addicted to bloated boulevard cruisers that I guess many of them will have passed you by - the manufacturers simply won't bother exporting their more extreme models to the states?


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PostPosted: May 10, 2017, 10:24 am 
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FWIW that Berkeley build was pretty well a failure due to inadequate track width. They could never sort out the handling gremlins. Certainly cool and inspiring though.


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PostPosted: May 10, 2017, 10:30 am 
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Sam_68 wrote:
jere wrote:
the US market is so addicted to bloated boulevard cruisers that I guess many of them will have passed you by - the manufacturers simply won't bother exporting their more extreme models to the states?


Thanks for the low-blow there! There is a bias against FWD performance cars here, but that doesn't mean that we're addicted to pony cars. We just prefer our performance run through the rear wheels or all of them.


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PostPosted: May 10, 2017, 11:53 am 
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Location: Cotswolds - UK
kreb wrote:
We just prefer our performance run through the rear wheels or all of them.


It wasn't intended as a low blow: you've got big distances, lots of (comparatively) wide, straight roads and new, grid-pattern cities. It makes sense to have cars that prioritized for comfort over handling.

Europe has a lot of narrow, twisty, challenging roads, and we seldom travel long distances. If FWD was so terrible for handling, don't you think that the bias would run the other way around?

Sure, there's an inherent disadvantage in terms of weight transfer with FWD for traction-limited acceleration, but that's seldom an issue on public roads unless you're dragging away from the lights.

Incidentally, Jere, RWD cars are understeering most of the time, too: the difference in feel is that RWD cars are designed so that they diagonally transfer weight onto the rear (driven) wheels (ie. they lean diagonally backward when cornering), whereas FWD cars are designed to pitch diagonally forward onto their driven end. In extremis, a RWD far will lift its inside front wheel, a FWD car will lift its inside rear wheel. It's largely this that your inner ear is interpreting as a difference in feel, not understeer-oversteer.


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PostPosted: May 10, 2017, 12:20 pm 
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Sam_68 wrote:
It's based on the aforementioned Renault components (sourced from a small hatchback called the Renault 5; not sure if it made it to the States):


It was called "LeCar" here. There were magazine reports of turbo R5's here, but mostly they were considered slow, unsafe, unreliable and expensive to maintain.

BTW, I had a '73 R12. Was a great car if you wanted to start collecting metric tools and learn how to work on a car.

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PostPosted: May 10, 2017, 12:59 pm 
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Front wheel drive cars can be extremely fast and good handling. A few years ago there was a video going around that had a guy in a Honda S2000 verbally giving a Civic driver a rough time, exclaiming that RWD was the only way to go, and that the (FWD) Civic wasn't a real performance car. Subsequent to that, the S2000 driver overcooked a corner at Willow Springs race track and had a very bad off, damaging his car. The Civic driver smiled and waved :wink:

In my high-school drivers ed course the teacher got bored one day and showed us two films: One was the Monte Carlo rally, and the other is what we call an autocross. There was a double-bubble Abarth as well as a Mini-Cooper that to my young eyes seemed to run like shifter Karts, or like sped-up film. Weight-distribution-wise they were polar opposites, but both tore it up. The lesson was clear...


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