Fiat’s take on the 1950s grand tourer: equipped with a high-performance eight-cylinder V-engine, sophisticated independent suspension and a lightweight fibreglass body, it was perfect for competitions.
In 1952, Fiat decided to revive its sporty image by launching a new car at the Geneva Motor Show. Unusually, the prototype was designed for the American market, as typified by the eight cylinder V-configuration engine, but with a relatively modest two-litre displacement that appealed to the European market. Even if the engine’s architecture was all-American, its size was suited to Italian-style sports car racing.
The first version mounted two twin-barrel carburettors and developed 105 hp, which was soon increased to 115 hp. The classic configuration with longitudinal, front-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive was enhanced with four-wheel independent suspension. The 8V was the first Fiat car to adopt this sophisticated technical solution.
But its appearance was what caught the public’s attention at the time: the elegant and streamlined design was by Fabio Luigi Rapi, head of Carrozzerie Speciale Fiat, the “special bodies department” of Fiat’s Lingotto plant in Turin. The result was a car that cut through the air and went like the wind.