1956 Fiat 8V ZAGATO
Why am I an Automotive Masterpiece?
G. Team cars
Scuderia Sant’Ambroeus (I)
L. Limited edition cars
no. 24 manufactured. No. 24 manufactured, 18th bodied by Carrozzeria Zagato.
In the postwar period, Fiat was working on an eight-cylinder engine internally known as Tipo 106. The engine was originally designed by Dante Giacosa for a luxury sedan, but that project was stopped. Rudolf Hruska, at the time working at the S.I.A.T.A., was given the task to design a car around the V8 engine. The development took place in absolute secrecy. As not to stress the experimental department of Fiat, production of the chassis was also taken up by S.I.A.T.A. Styled by chief designer Fabio Luigi Rapi, the Fiat 8V or “Otto Vù” was presented to the Italian press in February 1952 and first exhibited the following March at the Geneva Motor Show. The car shapes saw several changes in time: the prototype used an art deco grill that extended into the hood. A second series was made featuring four headlights with some of the later cars having a full-width windscreen. A high-performance coupé, destined to compete in the GT class: the 2-liter 8V model was a departure from the usual Fiat production. It was really welcomed by Italian private drivers, it inspired the tuners and it was, in a word, the car to beat in the 2-liter class, also thanks to the special versions built by Zagato or Siata. The Fiat V8 had a 70° V configuration of 1996 cc of displacement, at 5600 rpm the engine produced 105 hp (78 kW) in standard form with double two-barrel Weber 36 DCS carburetors, giving a top speed of 190 km/h (118 mph). Some engines were fitted with huge four-throat Weber 36 IF4/C carburetors offering 120 bhp, but the intake manifold was very rare. The Fiat 8V is the only eight-cylinder built by Fiat. The engine was connected to a four speed gearbox. The car had independent suspension all round reworking the Fiat 1100 ones and drum brakes on four wheels. As the body was welded to the chassis it was a semi-unitary construction. Only 114 of these high-performance coupés had been produced, 63 with a “Fiat Carrozzerie Speciali” body, 34 first series and 29 second series. It was made available anyway in different body styles, offered by the factory and by various coachbuilders like Zagato, Pinin Farina, Ghia and Vignale. The production ceased in 1954.
The first 8V Zagato was built in 1952 for the well-known Italian gentleman driver Ovidio Cappelli who was looking for a car that was lighter and faster than the production 8V designed by Fabio Luigi Rapi. The Cappelli victories convinced Zagato to build a small series of the 8V, a leader in the GT class. Carrozzeria Zagato bodied 30 cars, only six were built with double-bubble roof.
1954 Fiat 8V Chassis 106.000078 is a Zagato bodied car. It’s one of the only six OttoVùs built with the “double-bubble” roof. They were Elio's 000084, Giancarlo Bonetto's 000083, 000082, 000081 which had a boot lid for limited luggage and 000078, The sixth car, 000026, was a Zagato transformation carried out in 1956. Counting up in chassis numbers, we find 000078 as the second 8VZ that featured the double bubble roof. This, however, doesn't mean that it was the second 8VZ-db built. First known owner was Mario Muselli from the province of Piacenza. The car participated in the 1956 Mille Miglia in the hands of Ferrini/Rabuffi finishing in 47th position. No other competition is known about this car other than a contest for first place at the Concorso di Eleganza di Rimini where it was entered by Sanzio Nicolini from Ancona. A period Auto ltaliana article called it the most beautiful car of the show. 000078 featured the same details as 000026, i.e. the large 8V in the grille and the air outlets in the front fenders. This car however only had three aluminium flashes while 000026 had four. The car had a major change at the beginning of 1960s. The images of the car racing in 1962 portray a considerably different nose, with a wider grille and a more modern line. It is not known, but it is easy to suppose an accident in races that led to rebuild the nose with a new shape. The one that the car is still showing nowadays. We can say that this car has an everlasting career, since, right after a long lasting competition activity, immediately began its participation to re-enactment events, from early 70s until today.