Thursday, 24 October 2013

Fiat 8V Vignale Mille Miglia

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Fiat's 'Otto Vu' was a game-changing little sports car for the firm, its diminutive V8 engine being basically two 1.0-litre four-cylinder engines from lesser Fiats, artfully Sellotaped together. Ford owned the 'V8' name, so Fiat thumbed their nose at Dearborn and went with the name '8V'. The car wasn't a remarkable commercial success, but it did very well in racing; however, the real lure of the 8V these days is in the Top Trumps one-upmanship of spotting the coachbuilt specials that were crafted in period by various carrozzeria.

We'll be looking at a Zagato example in the near future, but today we have this, Vignale's 1953 Mille Miglia effort. It's one of ten such Fiats that were bodied by Vignale, and features the trademark two-tone paint and chromed bonnet scoop. The wraparound screens must have seemed ultra-futuristic in the early fifties, and with over 120bhp in a car weighing comfortably under 1,000kg, performance was impressively sprightly. It's a world apart from the V8s of Detroit, isn't it? And doesn't it look beautiful, glinting jewel-like in the British summer rain...?

Spotted at the 2013 St. James's Concours - click here for more photos.

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