Fiat’s legendary 8V, or Otto Vu in Italian, was built for two years only, in 114 examples, and it remains one of the marque’s most legendary motor cars to this day. Out of the 114 built, 63 were penned by Fiat’s chief designer Fabio Rapi, 34 first series cars and 29 second series cars. It was the star of the Geneva Salon in March 1952, and it goes without saying that this new Fiat got lots of attention from the motoring press. With its potent new power plant developed by Dante Giacosa, the 2.0-litre Tipo 104 all aluminium engine featured a finned aluminum sump, forged crankshaft, polished intakes and ports, and tubular stainless-steel exhaust manifolds. With a tubular chassis and independent suspension all round this was truly a very special automobile. Envisioned for competition use from the very start, it proved highly successful and the car to beat with some notable results including winning the 2.0-litre class of the Italian Championship in 1954.
Chassis number 000104 has spent the majority of its life in the U.K., the country from where it is offered today. Having been originally delivered to Austria, it was shipped new to Steyr after being completed by Fiat on June 22, 1954. It remained in continental Europe until 1965, having been exported to the U.K. from Germany. Upon its arrival, it was registered in the U.K. by Anthony Roy Nichols of Norwich on January 11, 1965. Amazingly, the car’s original 1965 logbook is included in the history file, describing it as a red coupé fitted with engine 104.000 000156 (the engine fitted to the car today).
By 1971, the 8V had passed to a Commander Allison in Berkshire. That same year, the car was purchased by David Baldock. According to correspondence in the history file, the 8V was painted silver-grey and not running at the time of his purchase, but he was able to return it to running order without much effort. Keeping the car for two years, he sold the car onto Peter Gant, a classic car dealer in Hastings, who in turn sold the car to Robert Mansfield. Mansfield kept the car for thirty years, before selling to John Baker of Cheltenham in 2003.
In 2007, the 8V was acquired from John Baker, which had been partially restored by Baker and was still in need of completion. The car was sent to specialists IN Racing in Nottingham to be finished and was completed roughly a decade ago. Intended to be restored and enjoyed as a road car, the consignor’s chance meeting with the now Duke of Richmond at Donnington resulted in an invitation for the car to be raced in the Fordwater Trophy at Goodwood Revival in 2015, where it placed 15th. The following year, the car was driven by the vendor to Italy where it competed in the Vernasca Silver Flag hill climb and driven home, a round trip of over 3,000 km and testament to the car’s reliability. Prior to its participation at the Goodwood Revival, the car was fitted with a custom-made, synchromesh gearbox for ease of use, and the original unit is included in the sale.
Enthusiast owned and enjoyed for decades while in the U.K., including in the thirteen-year custodianship of it consignor, this 8V is in great condition and offers a range of possibilities to its next owner, as it would surely be ripe for entry into a variety of vintage races and tours, or for spirited road use.
This lot is one of over 80 on offer in RM’s Open Roads, The European Summer Sale online auction. Lots are open for bidding now, and begin closing 21 July.