1955 Fiat 8V ZAGATO
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no. 24 manufactured, 3rd built. no. 24 manufactured, 3rd built
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 106.000062 had been Zagato bodied. It’s the 3rd one of the 24 produced with the flat roof. It features several extras, mostly from the origin: alloy floor and belly pans, extra wiper (added in 1955) and lights, no trunk opening, plexiglas side and rear windows, Borrani steel (sport) rims, knee-support on driver’s door, hand grip on tunnel, Jaeger rev-counter, Abarth race exhaust, lightweight jack support. It was ordered and owned by Lumir Leo Vesely, the entrepreneur founder of Yomo in Milan and a gentleman racing driver, who raced it intensively. The car was 12th in class at the 1955 Mille Miglia, 13th in class at the 1956 Mille Miglia and 13th in class at the 1956 Coppa Intereuropa at Monza, among other events. By 1958 the car went to the U.S. owned and raced by Robert Turner and his wife. In 1958 and 1959 it ranked in the first positions, in class¬ and overall, at a number of racing club events in southern California. Used as a daily driver in early sixties, it was set aside by 1970s’ in the Turner’s backyard and rested there for over 20 years. In 2001 the new owner discovered it with still 21.000km on the odometer and started a complete restoration, refreshed in 2011, which has led this Zagato to a renewed splendor.