Acclaimed auction house RM Sotheby’s have an array of Italian cars going under the hammer on the 25th May at Villa Erba, Lake Como, Italy. However among the lot list which includes classic Ferrari’s, Maserati’s, Lancia’s and Lamborghini’s is this stunning 1955 Fiat 8V Coupe Zagato, a true Zagato and Fiat masterwork, one of the most celebrated cars of the decade.
Of the many beautiful designs that emerged from Carrozzeria Zagato during the 1950s, few were as
timelessly elegant as the berlinetta coachwork built for the Fiat 8V. Celebrated for engineer Dante
Giacosa’s two-litre V-8 engine and Fabio Luigi Rapi’s voluptuous factory coachwork, the Otto Vu was
publicly introduced at the Geneva Salon in March 1952. Zagato initially had no plans to work on the
model until the company received a commission to clothe a private car for Milanese Fiat dealer Ovidio
With Zagato’s lightweight aerodynamic coachwork mounted on the Otto Vu’s high-performance engine
and advanced chassis, the 8V Zagato prototype showed great success at racing events over the next
two years, prompting the company to consider a production run. At the Turin Salon in April 1954, the
coachbuilder introduced a modified version of the prototype and just 26 coupés were built with Zagato
coachwork in total.
Though the Zagato-built 8V berlinettas were ostensibly produced in series, the cars were hand built to
individual customer order with a host of available features and a palette of different colours, essentially
making each car a unique example. The class winner of five Italian Sports Car Championships during the
1950s, the Fiat 8V Zagato has since evolved into one of today’s most desirable coachbuilt berlinettas,
offering rarity, racing pedigree, and breath-taking aesthetics.
This mid-production iteration of Fiat’s most celebrated post-war sportscar boasts an early life of gentle
use, free of period competition, and a recent sympathetic restoration, resulting in a splendid example.
Dispatched by Fiat to Zagato in early May 1954, chassis no. 000076 was painted emerald green and is
authentically finished in that colour today. As demonstrated by a file of period registrations with the
Automobile Club d’Italia, the 8V received a certificate of origin in early August 1955 and was licensed
five days later to an address in Turin in the name of the Societa Nazionale Olii Minerali, a national energy
company based in Turin. The car has remained in Italy ever since, passing through a modest chain of
documented owners residing in cities from Rome to Padova.
Although there is no evidence that the 8V Zagato was raced in period, by the 1970s the car was
enjoying use in vintage competition events, including the 1976 Bressanone Sant’ Andrea; the 1977 Coppa
Città di Varano Trofeo Caschi; and the 1978 Coppa Velocita at Monza. The Fiat passed to Gianfranco
Pittarel by the mid-1980s, and he retained possession for approximately 30 years, running the Mille
Miglia Storico no less than eight times, and presenting the car at the 2013 Zagato celebration sponsored
Recently acquired by the consignor, the Fiat has since been reunited with its original engine and has
been treated to a full restoration, including a new two-tone interior and a refinish in the original factory
colour of emerald green. This sensational coachbuilt Fiat has accrued less than 500 km since
restoration, and it continues to be eligible for the world’s finest touring and exhibitive events, including
the Mille Miglia Storica and the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza. Chassis no. 000076 is an exquisite
example of one of Zagato’s most brilliant creations, offering a crowning complement to any collection.
*images courtesy RM Sotheby’s