Rusted Out 1970 850 Spider Fix-Up

Discussion in 'Rear-Engine Fiats' started by Daniel Gibson, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    X frame time! But first, let us not lose sight of the wonder I am working on. The tarp blew off before I got out there today to work on it. Isn't it lovely? I may just patch up all the rust, get it running and take it to a car show with the lichen on it. Patina that cannot be faked!
    IMG_0486.JPG

    Time to put my master plan into action! So here is the metal I got today at lowes. The tubes are I inch square. I will need more of the flat stuff.
    IMG_0484.JPG

    So I started by putting the tube in the spot on the drivers side where the old x frame was. Once it is cleaned off, it should weld and hold nicely. I did the same on the passengers side.
    IMG_0487.JPG

    I then marked and cut the tubing up in the front. This is pretty much where the original x member went. The jack and clamps held it all in place for me as I marked where the tubes will be cut in the middle to wed, and to get the overlap correct in the front for maximum strength. I am pretty pleased with how this looks so far! Now I feel like I am making progress!
    IMG_0488.JPG

    It is supposed to rain again tonight. If it is dry enough tomorrow I am going to try and assemble the frame off the car. That includes welding the flat pieces on top. Gonna make my own girders!

    And thanks to all who are reading this. It really helps to keep me motivated!
     
  2. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    My new motto for this project.
    IMG_0489.JPG
     
    khnitz likes this.
  3. tomnj

    tomnj Old fogie stogie

    Location:
    Scotch Plains, NJ
    Inspiration:

     
  4. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    IMG_0515.JPG I had to create a patch for the middle of the tunnel before I fit the x-brace. I want to leave the tunnel uncovered until I am done, as so much runs though it. Fiat for some bad reason decided to run the brake line attached to the bottom of the tunnel, so I nicked it just a bit. I think it is ok, but I will replace it if I have to. Not cool Fiat! Here is the patch with the x-frame up against it. That took most of my time today..

    IMG_0511.JPG

    I also welded the f-frame together while I had it up there. To test the strength of my welds, I threw it around, and it did not break. I will be welding reinforcements anyway.
    IMG_0514.JPG
     
    khnitz and JimD like this.
  5. Daniel Forest

    Daniel Forest True Classic

    Location:
    Montreal,Canada
    I have to admire your courage. I sent better car than that to the crusher... :confused:
     
    Daniel Gibson likes this.
  6. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    Daniel,

    Nobody would blame you either. I am trying to show that anybody can take on a basket case if they are nuts! :)
     
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  7. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    Ok, so here is the final version of the x-frame. I have welded reinforcements to the center, and I have tacked on the plates that will support the floor and add strength. I will weld it all up tomorrow.

    IMG_0534.JPG

    And here is what it looks like in the car. I think it is going to work!
    IMG_0533.JPG
     
    NM850, bpimm, khnitz and 2 others like this.
  8. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    Doesn't look like much tonight, but welding those pieces on the frame took a while. All done though, and I have a frame. Just thought I would show you what it is replacing. Man this car was rusted.

    IMG_0543.JPG
     
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  9. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Location:
    Michigan
    Nice work.

    One suggestion, original floor pans are available as is the original cross brace. The pans are not flat and the cross brace allows for that.

    I have been in a 850 and considered buying an early one with a flat floor put into it and it is not a pleasant car to be in. That seemingly minor loss of space in the footwell area makes the car more difficult to drive and get in and out of. The relationship of the foot to the pedals gets weird and uncomfortable.

    I know your are doing this to just get it together but from the level of work you can do, you will end up with a decent car. Why not try to get it the rest of the way versus a car that is going to be hobbled in the future?

    I don’t mean any offense and apologize in advance for the above, the work you are able and willing to do is amazing and to be applauded so this is just a suggestion to you.
     
    Daniel Gibson likes this.
  10. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    Karl, thanks for the input. It is important to hear from the folks that actually have experience in these matters. Before I install this, I will look at the remains of the original floor pan and mill it over. The biggest reason I have taken this approach is that I have not seen floor pans for sale for less than 1000 bucks, and that is just way more than I could spend on this bucket.
     
  11. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Location:
    Michigan
    Good points. Perhaps looking at the pans and making your own sections where the driver and passenger put their feet would allow you to keep the comfort and apply your X brace or an adjusted version of it.

    You clearly don’t need to foot pockets behind the seats.

    Some pics of what it would be...
    48456A8D-B63D-46F0-B0EC-E05D8DA2BBEC.png

    A rather battered view to the rear, bet that made a noise... FD04D064-FFC1-400C-8685-37FFCF63978D.jpeg
    F558C724-31BB-435B-8C68-88932AE1B2FC.jpeg 83C0B859-71DB-46A5-B63D-741AFB57976A.jpeg
     
    khnitz likes this.
  12. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    Those floor pan shots are excellent. Thank you! I wonder if I could bash those into the metal with a sledge hammer. Hmmm...

    Also, that one x frame picture looks like that car took a serious high center!
     
  13. bpimm

    bpimm Brian Pimm

    Location:
    Washougal, WA
    use a chainsaw and flap sander to shape the recess you want in a round off of a hardwood tree then beat the panel into the recess clamping it around the perimeter as you go.
     
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  14. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    I bet I could do something like this!
     
    kmead likes this.
  15. bpimm

    bpimm Brian Pimm

    Location:
    Washougal, WA
    If you try it don't cut your panel to size first, leave extra metal to draw into the recess then trim to shape after you're happy with the shape.
     
  16. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    X-frame is welded in. Next step will be to make floors. Looking at the pictures above, I am surprised by how much of the x frame does not even contact the floor. I plan on welding mine clear across for as much stiffness and frame support I can get.as much metal as I can get welded to other metal reduces the chance of failure! I hope!
     
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  17. NM850

    NM850 True Classic

    Location:
    Albuquerque NM
    As others have said, shape your new pan before welding in. Then trim the edges to fit. Great progress and thanks for putting in the effort to share. Having a build thread is almost as much work as the build itself sometimes. But from experience it’s really cool to look back on it a few years later and think “I did all That? Wow”.
     
    khnitz and Daniel Gibson like this.
  18. Rod Midkiff

    Rod Midkiff True Classic

    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    And I know from my point in this project the amount of learning I get from seeing the progress and the conversations. It encourages me to think about doing more and more.!!
     
    Daniel Gibson likes this.
  19. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks all, for the encouraging words. I am looking forward to getting the floors put in...to me that is a milestone.
     
    kmead likes this.
  20. Daniel Gibson

    Daniel Gibson True Classic

    Location:
    Texas
    I'm back! Did y'all miss me? ;)

    I am here to tell you that kidney stones are not nearly as much fun as advertised. That and lousy weather kinda slowed me down. But I am ready to get back to it!

    Here is where we left off...x frame welded in. Time to start prepping for floor boards.
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    I need to add a support for the door boards along the rocker where I added the I-beam. I used this 1/2 inch angle iron.
    IMG_0586.JPG

    Cut and welded in. I have also started cleaning off the metal that the floors will be attaching to.
    IMG_0587.JPG

    And here is the floor measurements on the 18 gauge steel I bought. My plan is to wrap up the sides of the floor to compensate for any areas where the metal may be weak. This way it will all be solid metal to metal.
    IMG_0588.JPG

    I was pretty tuckered after that, so I called it a night. Tomorrow...time to cut, bend and bash it into place. Hammer time, if need be!
     

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