Fiberglass fantastic: Francis Lombardi 850 Gran Prix


Fiberglass was the main material used (steel was used as well) for the body of this car which was built in order to provide clients with a cheap but funny vehicle.


Indeed this car weighs only 1,400 lbs and, although the 43 hp of the 850 cc Fiat engine are not much, they are enough to move this car quite quickly. Then, if you’re still not satisfied, an engine swap with a 900cc Abarth unit from an Autobianchi A112 will give you 70 hp and that is where the fun begins.


This particular car is said to be a pre-series car with perspex widows and it has been fuly restored: body, interiors, engine and every other mechanical component including the Mille Miglia mag wheels which actually shine like new. By the way: the seller says also th engine has been tuned with the adoption of a two throat Weber carburetor and some special parts. Find it for sale at €39,000 (today $44,000) here in Agazzano, Italy.

6 thoughts on “Fiberglass fantastic: Francis Lombardi 850 Gran Prix

  1. Hey Virus; Really nice Grand Prix! I owned the Abarth version of this (Scorpione SS). The only fibreglass bits were the rear body panel and the dash/instrument panel. Perhaps more fibreglass would have helped avoid the inevitable rust issues. Still a cool car!!


  2. Virus; mine was a Scorpione SS, the higher spec version, so some of this may not apply. However, the main difference was obviously the 1280 pushrod engine (running “backwards” to work in a rear engine car) and the different bellhousing to mate it up to the 850 gearbox. The rad was mounted in front, with 3 vent openings cut into the lower front valance panel. Wind-up glass windows in the doors along with swinging vent windows. The rear deck panel looks similar to the Grand Prix with 10 vent openings with black plastic grills. The fiberglass back panel I mentioned had 10 similar vent openings/grills below the “bumper” line (the “bumper” being a strip of black-painted fiberglass U-channel – purely cosmetic). Removing 6 screws, the back panel itself could be removed from the car giving great access to the engine, etc. Normal Scorpiones may have had similar suspensions to the 850, however my SS front suspension had Fiat upper A arms with alloy Abarth lower A arms pivoting on an Abarth alloy cross beam bolted to the chassis. At the back, Abarth tubular trailing arms with articulated drive shafts each side. Disc brakes on all 4 wheels.. Inside, it looks the same as the Grand Prix, except for a nice Abarth steering wheel and simple suede-upholstered bucket seats. Looking at the above Grand Prix and recalling my Abarth (sold in 1990) reminds me what a cool car it was (is!). Though some tall owners claim they can get comfortable, I found it a real challenge at 5″11″ (~180cm). The roofline was basically waist-high on me! Still, do I wish I still owned it? Of course!!


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