Vignale Cisitalia 808XF 1952
Built three years before the unveiling of the Thunderbird, the Vignale-bodied Ford/Cisitalia convertible was the first sports car built by Ford Motor Company, designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi. The 808XF was the product of a joint venture between Ford and the Italian firm of Cisitalia, based in Turin. Cisitalia was to build the car using Ford chassis and engines with Italian designed bodywork. The intent was to pair the reliability and availability of spare parts with Italian design. Henry Ford II personally negotiated the joint venture and supervised the development of the car. Ford was to market the car in the United States, while Cisitalia was to do the same in Europe.
While initial projections were for around 500 cars per year, only six cars were actually produced, of which only one is convertible. Two examples were built by the legendary coachbuilder, Vignale. One was a coupe and the other a convertible.
In June of 1953, the convertible prototype was shipped to Ford headquarters in Dearborn, MI. Henry Ford II's brother-in-law Ed Sullivan used the convertible 808XF prototype as his daily-driver for a number of years.
The car is powered by a Ford 312 cubic-inch law-enforcement engine that offers 225 horsepower. There is a three-speed automatic gearbox and is left-hand drive.
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