1955 Fiat 8V Elaborata Zagato
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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 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. Carrozzeria Zagato bodied 30 cars, only six were built with double-bubble roof. In 1953, Carrozzeria Zagato bought 25 unsold chassis from Fiat and altered their body and engine to create their version of the 8V. In this 25 chassis deal, there were some finished Rapi berlinettas. With this complete bodies, Zagato designed a modified version with different nose, rear-end and particularly the greenhouse. They called “Elaborata”. The position of the new db-roof was lower and featured a one-piece windscreen. The original Fiat front fenders were kept as far as the wheel centers and the front part was modified into a single head lamp configuration. The main idea was to build some prototypes and then offer the possibility to clients to modify existing 8Vs to this specification. Only five Elaborata were built, all being different in details.
1955 Fiat 8V Chassis no. 106.000109 is the last of the “Elaborata”. This car was delivered new in February 1955 as a basic Series II. Its first owner, Emanuele Quartara, raced several times with Chassis no. 106.000109 in this year. Then, In 1956, he had the car modified by Zagato into an Elaborata and continued to race, at least in 1956 and 1957 in important events with good results in its class. In 1961 the car was sold and its story continued in the United States.