Ask anyone around you today what they feel about Fiat, and the answers will most definitely not be flattering for the Italian carmaker. For years now, the brand has been sinking into oblivion because of low models, lack of vision, and an expansion policy that left it alone in the dark.
But things were not always like this. Shortly after the end of the Second World War, Fiat was one of Europe’s leading brands, and its models as cherished – if not more – than those of the competition.
Take the 8V, also known as Otto Vu. Introduced in 1954 as a sports car, it had all the romantic traits of the age’s design and a V8 under the hood that was initially created for a luxury sedan that never came to be.
For a carmaker whose main business was to make successful cars for the masses, coming up with a V8 sports machine was quite the revolution. Mostly because of the great design houses of the era, names like Ghia, Zagato, or Vignale, had a hand sculpting the bodywork.
In the two years of production, a little over 114 8Vs were made. About 30 wore a body by Fiat’s Reparto Carrozzerie Speciali, about the same had Zagato written all over them, and Ghia took over the design of around 40. Of these 40, very few (approximately 15) were exceptional, sporting a design that earned them the name Supersonic.
The one in the gallery above is an American-bred 8V. It was commissioned by General Motors designer Henry Lauve of Corvette fame and used as a daily driver.
We’re told the car’s original engine at some point failed, and between that time and the moment, a new one was shipped from Italy, a Chevy 283ci (4.3-liters) V8 was used.
The car is currently waiting to be sold at the hands of auction house RM Sotheby’s. It has been restored to its original condition and now boasts a correct (and completely different than the two Italian powerplants it had under its hood over the years ) 8V engine.
Given its rarity, its condition, and its history, the auction house expects to fetch as much as $2.2 million for it.