Right from its foundation in 1899 Fiat served the high volume automotive market with reliable, low cost products. The high performance market, low volume and high cost, was left to others. This policy left tuning firms like Siata, Abarth and Nardi to serve the demand of higher performance Fiats. In 1950 Fiat's policy changed abruptly with the development of the Fiat 8V. In 1951, Fiat designer Dante Giocosa created a new high-performance sports car, the legendary 8V, or "Otto Vu" in Italian, a two-liter, V8-engined two-seater. Some development tasks were outsourced to Rudolf Hruska, at the time working at Siata. Development took place in absolute secrecy. As not to stress the experimental department of Fiat, production was taken up by Siata. The 8V was designed specifically to take on the two litre class, which was a highly contested class of the Italian championship. Fiat faced competition from Maserati, Ferrari and Lancia, who all had a two litre racer.
The Fiat 8V made its debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March of 1952. Fiat was supposed to build 200 8Vs to homologate the car for competition, but the cars were not moving, so the company eventually offered the chassis to coachbuilders. While Fiat did not race the 8V, cars were placed with drivers who did, and the first of these, owned by Franco Auricchio, took fifth in class at the 1952 Mille Miglia.
Presented at the Geneva Autosalon in 1952 the Fiat 8V was a sensation. It was made available in different body styles offered by the factory and by various coachbuilders, both as Fiat 8V and as the slightly modified Siata 208S. Fiat ended 8V production in September 1954, although many were not completed until 1955 and even 1956. Only 114 examples of Fiat's 8V were built and 96 examples were constructed under the Siata name.
This one-off Fiat 8V by Ghia is unique in all respects. Unique detailing and eloquent lines are blended seamlessly with the light and responsive two liter V8 engine. Regarded as one of Ghia's most fluid and sexiest bodies, this is the only 8V by Ghia outside the so called 'Supersonic' chain. Stunning details in the chrome stripping, gauges, door handles and window handles, and gear shift knob, are unique to this car.
Update 23-04-2013 by Erik Nielsen:
There were actually 15 Fiat 8V chassis bodied with what has become known as the "Supersonic" design. Twelve of these cars are presently accounted for.
Ghia's records document 20 bodies were built. The Alfa-Conrero in 1953 being the first. Fifteen Fiat 8V's built between 1953 and 1954, three Jaguar XK120's done in 1954 and lastly the Aston Martin DB 2/4 MkII done in 1956.
The "Supersonic" name was actually first used for the three Jaguar XK120 versions not for the 8V's. That name was adopted many years later. As you probably know, the three Jaguars were rebodied 1952 chassis.
The Desoto Adventurer was certainly based on the "Supersonic" styling theme but, but had more influence from Virgil Exner.
I am not a natural flatterer, I like to think that I "tell it like it is", politely I hope. So when I tell you that I am very impressed by the contents of your website, it is just not English politeness. I of course love the subject matter but you deal with it in an energetic and respectful manner. I am overwhelmed by the research that has gone into compiling the list of coachbuilders/bodybuilders for Europe and North America. I have never heard of the vast majority of them.
Congratulations on an excellent website.
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