1955 Fiat 8V Berlinetta - Coachwork by Zagato
Estimate: £1,500,000 - £2,000,000
Originally Delivered in the Fantastic Color of Green Metallic
One of Less than 30 Zagato Berlinettas Built
Documented in Tony Adriaensens’ Definitive Book OttoVu: Siata Derivata Fiat
Gorgeous Example Fitted with Matching-Numbers Engine per Data Tag
Benefits from Restoration Work Completed by Noted Collector and Restorer Gabriele Artom
1,996 CC OHV Alloy V-8 Engine
Twin Weber 34 DAS Carburetors
110 BHP at 6,000 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
Front and Rear Hydraulic Finned Aluminum Drum Brakes
Front and Rear Independent Suspension with Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers
Fiat’s spectacular 8V, or Otto Vu, made its debut at the 1952 Geneva Motor Show, where it was an instant hit, garnering widespread praise for its advanced engineering and stunning coachwork. As its name suggested, the 8V was equipped with an aluminum V-8 engine, ensuring that it was a serious contender in the popular two-liter class. Indeed, the 8V would soon provide Fiat with a proud, postwar competition legacy befitting the esteemed marque.
The aesthetic styles of the 8V were equally impressive, with a remarkable variety of stunning custom coachwork created by Italy’s most distinguished carrozzerie. Zagato, Ghia, Pinin Farina, and Vignale all created special bodies for the 8V. Although the model is best remembered for its unique engine and avant-garde styling, the chassis was arguably the most advanced aspect of the car. Featuring fully independent suspension and innovative construction techniques, the 8V possessed features that made the contemporary Alfa Romeos, Maseratis, and Ferraris seem dated. As a result of this engineering, the 8V offered phenomenal handling, yet retained a degree of comfort unheard of in such a short-wheelbase car.
In competition, 8Vs were driven largely by well-heeled private owners who, throughout the 1950s, campaigned their cars with great success in the great road races, hill climbs, and rallies of Continental Europe. Only 114 of these marvelous Italian gems were built, yet they maintain a reputation as the most important sporting Fiats produced after WWII.
More than any other coachbuilder, Carrozzeria Zagato contributed to the competition legacy of the Otto Vu. After years of producing lightweight bodies for small-displacement Fiats, Zagato welcomed an exciting opportunity to design coachwork for Fiat’s new sports car. Eight months after taking delivery of its first 8V chassis, Zagato unveiled their new Fiat Berlinetta at the 1954 Torino Motor Show. Later that year, Zagato developed the double-bubble roof, and this now-iconic feature made its first appearance on a Fiat 8V Berlinetta. In all, less than 30 Berlinettas were fitted with Zagato coachwork.
According to Tony Adriaensens’ comprehensive book OttoVu:Siata Derivata Fiat, this example, chassis 000076, was sent by Fiat to Zagato in early May 1954, delivered in stunning green metallic. In August 1955, the 8V was licensed to Società Nazionale Olio Minerali, a national energy company based in Torino. A previous description on file recounts the 8V’s later history, noting that by the 1970s it still remained in Italy and took part in several competitive vintage motoring events, including the 1976 Bressanone Sant’Andrea, the 1977 Coppa Città di Varano Trofeo Caschi, and the 1978 Coppa Velocita at Monza. By the mid-1980s, the Fiat was owned by Gianfranco Pittarel, and he kept the car for approximately 30 years, enjoying it on the 1000 Mille Miglia Storica an impressive eight times.
In prior ownership, the 8V was reunited with its matching-numbers engine, which corresponds to both its data tag and the number listed in OttoVu: Siata Derivata Fiat. The car was also treated to restoration work by noted Milan-based collector and restorer Gabriele Artom. This work, which included a new, two-tone interior and a refinish in green metallic, was completed by 2019. As a second-series example, this 8V also features the desirable later-style dashboard, which is at once more beautiful and more user-friendly than the earlier versions.
When new, Fiat 8Vs were at the cutting edge of technology, the top of their racing class, and were a chosen platform for one-off coachbuilt masterpieces. Exceedingly beautiful, chassis 000076 possesses a fantastic combination of desirable attributes: gorgeous Zagato coachwork, a breathtaking color combination, matching-numbers engine, and restoration work by a noted Italian car specialist. Presenting wonderfully today, 000076 is a great representation of one of the most exotic and sought-after cars of the mid-1950s. Eligible for the world’s most exclusive motoring events, including leading concours d’elegance and the 1000 Miglia Storica, this 8V is sure to appeal to those with a passion for rare and sophisticated Italian machinery.
Friday, 1 September at 15.00 BST
Hampton Court Palace
12A Hampton Ct Way
Molesey England GB
Text & Image: Gooding & Company