The Fiat 8V model, or Otto Vu in Italian, was built for just two years with a total of 114 examples produced. The 8V wasn't a commercial success, but did well in racing. They were the star of the Geneva Salon in March of 1952 and remains one of the marque's most legendary motor cars to this day. Road & Track called it “the biggest surprise of the year”.
The car would come with a 2.0-liter 70 degree V8. Combined with dual Weber carburetors the engine could produce 110 hp. The engine was connected to a four speed gearbox. The car had independent suspension all round and drum brakes on all four wheels.
While Fiat themselves did not race the 8V, the cars often found their way to owners who would. It was Elio Zagato, the coachbuilder’s son, who really put the 8V on the map. His success in competition was so great that a steady clientele for Zagato 8Vs developed. Around 30 of the 114 Fiat 8Vs were clothed by Zagato.
The potent new powerplant also had bodies designed by other world’s finest coachbuilders. Aside from the Zagato-bodied 8Vs, Pinin Farina produced a coupe version that debuted at Geneva in 1955. No less than fifteen 8Vs left Ghia’s facilities wearing custom coachwork, and 14 of those boasted “Supersonic” coachwork, which was penned by Giovanni Savonuzzi. The fifteenth of those 8Vs was unique in that it was graced with a body designed by Mario Boano.
Chassis number 000042, a 1953 model, was sold new to Ghia on June 10, 1953, and the completed car left Ghia’s facility five months later. The car shows several design cues found on Chryslers that had been designed by Virgil Exner, who was known to work with Ghia in this era and to produce auto show cars for Chrysler.
Admittedly more subtle than the Supersonic, this 8V has the “concentrical” 8V oval mouth grille, which is adorned succinctly with twin horizontal bars. The Ghia “kickup” in the rear wing is muted, but the C pillar treatment displays hints of the d’Elegance style. The car itself displays exquisite Italian craftsmanship in the finest sense. The instrument panel, which has been painted bright red, holds matching white-on-red gauges and a symmetrical half-moon speedometer and tachometer in a binnacle in front of the driver, while the clock and fuel and oil pressure gauges sit in the center of the dash.
It was sold for $946,000 at the 2014 RM Auctions. (conceptcarz.com, wikipedia)
(Photos from conceptcarz.com, rmauctions, autowp.ru, coachbuild.com, flickr.com)