FIAT Balilla Coppo d'Oro Spider 1934
Formerly part of the Collection of L Scott Bailey, founding Editor and Publisher of Automobile Quarterly
Chassis no. 021030
•Early FIAT sports car
•Purchased from the FIAT Museum
•Professionally restored in the late 1970s/early 1980s
•Present ownership since 2004
•Eligible for the Mille Miglia and many other prestigious events
Based on the highly successful 508 Balilla saloon, the 508 Balilla Sport competition version was inspired by an original design by Carrozzeria Ghia. FIAT purchased the rights, manufacturing two versions: the Coppa d'Oro (Gold Cup) and lightweight Mille Miglia, named after successes gained in these demanding long distance events. Despite its age, the 508 Balilla was still winning races in the immediate post-war years, adding to a formidable reputation built on numerous victories in classic events in the pre-WW2 era, including the Mille Miglia, Monte Carlo Rally, Targa Florio, Spa Francorchamps 24-Hour, Ulster TT, and Le Mans.
This rare 508 Balilla Sport 'Coppa d'Oro' Series 2 was known in the UK in the early 1970s and is believed to have been imported into the UK post-war. The original chassis and engine numbers (as shown on the chassis plate) align with a 1933 production date, while the current engine probably dates from 1935. '021030' formerly formed part of the collection belonging to L Scott Bailey, founding Editor and Publisher of Automobile Quarterly. The car was restored from the ground upwards in the late 1970s/early 1980s by Wilkinson & Sharp of Philadelphia, PA at a cost of $50,000, with the advice and help of both Augusto Constantino and Antonio Amadeli of the FIAT Museum Centro Storico, and of Dr Veniero Molari. An album of restoration photographs and correspondence is available for inspection together with L Scott Bailey's full account of the rebuild.
Upon purchase from the FIAT Museum Curator, and before restoration, this car had been loaned to Pininfarina, assisting in the launch of the FIAT Dino ('FIAT's first sportscar; FIAT's newest sportscar.') and after completion in 1984 guested at the Meadowbrook, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Arts Automobile and Culture Exhibit. It has also been invited to the Mille Miglia. After some 20 years in the Bailey Collection, the FIAT was offered for sale at Bonhams' Goodwood Festival of Speed auction in June 2004 (Lot 791) where it was purchased by the current vendor. Since then the car has benefited from maintenance carried out on the engine, brakes, and wheel hubs, the latter being renewed recently.
A substantial quantity of related literature is included in the sale including a copy of '508 Balilla' (Editor, Giorgio Nada) depicting this actual car (pages 52/53). It is also pictured in accompanying copies of 'Linea FIAT' and 'La FIAT Mille Miglia', the latter showing the car prior to restoration. Various other books, an owner's manual (in Italian), and a copy of Automobile Quarterly (Vol. 5 No. 4) are included in the sale.
Offered with a UK V5C registration document, this car represents an opportunity to acquire one of the rarest, most charismatic, and highly sought after of FIAT's pre-war sports cars, eligible for a wide variety of prestigious historic events.
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