Thursday, January 25, 2018

1953 Fiat 8V Zagato Elaborata

Fiat's first, and only, V8 engine debuted at the 1952 Geneva Auto Show powering a sleek two-seater intended to dominate Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia in two-liter sports-car racing. The car was designated the 8V, or Otto Vu in Italian, because Fiat had mistakenly thought that Ford held a trademark on V8. Fiat's legendary design engineer Dante Giacosa mounted the upper portions of a pair of 70-degree V4 engines on a single crankcase to make the 1996-cc, OHV V8. Topped with a pair of twin-choke Weber 36 DCZ3 carburetors, the tiny eight put out 110 hp at 6,000 rpm. 

A traditional steel tubular frame was used and the car was independently suspended all-round. For homologation purposes, Fiat intended to build 200 8Vs, but only 114 chassis were produced from 1952 to 1954. Fiat's chief designer Fabio Luigi Rapi was responsible for the factory bodyTo rev up interest, Fiat sent chassis to various coachbuilders, including Carrozzeria Zagato, famed for its stunning lightweight-bodied Fiats. Zagato took delivery of 32 8V chassis; including five with Rapi-design bodywork. Zagato then produced a run of around 25 Zagato custom bodied 8Vs and one spyder. The five "Elaboratas" were destined to become the most famous and collectible.

Called "Elaboratas" because Zagato “elaborated” on what was done by Rapi at Fiat, they distinguished themselves in racing competition and by being the first cars to bear the iconic Zagato double-bubble roof, intended to add rigidity and also allow headroom for racing helmets. Although the Elaboratas were distinguished by lowered rooflines bearing the double-bubble and single headlamps, no two are exactly alike. ( &

Chassis 106*000022

It was the third 8V to be customized by Zagato, by modifying the factory Fabio Rapi design. Among its weight saving features are a completely aluminium body, lightweight bumpers and plexiglass side windows. The car's owner acquired the car in 1998, had it restored to its original Zagato green, and installed a five-speed Alfa Romeo gearbox for use in classic-car rallies. The car has also been shown at Pebble Beach. The green-painted dash presents a classic array of toggle switches and knobs. An oval-shaped instrument panel is dominated by a speedometer and tach that read upward in opposing directions. A slight pull of the knob that activates the fuel pumps, followed by an equally gentle twist of the ignition key brings the V8 to life. Ease on the throttle for a slow but smooth getaway, then add force as power builds from 3,000 to 6,000 rpm. (

A Florida-based collector purchased the car in 2011, stripped and repainted the Elaborata in Grigio Fumo. (photos below) (

Two other Fiat 8V Zagato Elaboratas

(Photos from,, &

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