Why We Love The Fiat 8V Supersonic

Occasionally, an automaker or two or a slew of them creates one thing to present us an concept of what cars will appear like sooner or later. The Ghia-designed Fiat 8V Supersonic was certainly one of such creations within the Nineteen Fifties. Based in Turin, Italy, in 1916 and named after certainly one of its founders Giacinto Ghia, Carrozzeria Ghia is an Italian agency specializing in car design and coachbuilding.


Keep in mind the 1955 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia and the Volvo P1800? Ghia has constructed our bodies for such large names, together with Alfa Romeo, Ford, Ferrari, Jaguar, Chrysler, and Fiat. Giacinto Ghia was now not alive when the corporate made Supersonic, that includes a ‘jet age’ bodywork on the two.0-liter V8-powered Fiat 8V “Otto Vu” chassis.

It positioned the ‘8’ earlier than the ‘V’ to keep away from copyright infringement in opposition to Ford. Notably, Ford would later purchase the design home in 1970 and commenced utilizing the ‘Ghia’ identify on its vehicles targeted on the European market by way of Ford Europe. With simply 114 examples inbuilt its two years of manufacturing, the Fiat 8V has a uncommon basic high quality to it, however even rarer is the Ghia-designed Supersonic coupe with simply eight examples constructed.

Associated: 10 Issues Everybody Forgot About Fiat And Its Vehicles


Overview Of The Fiat 8V

With the sedan venture shelved, the Italian automaker determined to search out its narrow-vee engine a brand new dwelling in a coupe as a substitute. Propelled by the engine initially constructed for the scrapped luxurious sedan, the Fiat 8V might make a humble 105 horsepower, permitting it to denominate its race class. However that didn’t cease the automaker from pulling the mannequin after simply two years and 114 models produced.

It wasn’t sufficient to search out success on the racetracks; the 8V needed to be worthwhile too, which it wasn’t. As its identify vaguely suggests, the Fiat 8V was a V8-powered sports activities automobile unveiled on the 1952 Geneva Motor Present and produced between that yr and 1954. Apart from the differential, the 8V did not share any elements with different Fiat fashions.

Totally different coachbuilders common the physique, and so they embrace Carrozzeria Zagato who made 30 examples labeled ‘Elaborata Zagato, Vignale, Ghia, and naturally, Fiat’s personal Particular Our bodies Division (Dipartimento Carrozzerie Derivate e Speciali). The 8Vs had been out there as largely coupes and some cabriolets.

The Fiat 8V Engine

A 1,996 cc V8 mill that includes two twin-choke Weber 36 DCF 3 carburetors and an 8.5:1 compression ratio produces the preliminary 105 horsepower within the Fiat 8V. Technically, it might make 104 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and a prime pace of 118 mph. The engine was later up to date to an 8.75:1 compression ratio with various camshaft timing to make 113 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. A subsequent revision of the gasoline system and camshaft timing introduced the utmost energy output to 125 horsepower at 6,600 rpm.

The primary engine iteration was fitted on the Kind 104.000 Fiat 8V, whereas the up to date mannequin got here with the Kind 104.006. A 4-speed handbook transmission delivered energy to the rear wheels supported by unbiased suspension borrowed from the Fiat 1100 small household automobile. It additionally had drum brakes on all 4 wheels. Getting withdrawn from manufacturing did not cease Otto Vu from successful the Italian yearly GT championship successively till 1959.

Associated: These Are The Coolest Fiats Ever Made

A Detailed Look At The Fiat 8V Supersonic By Ghia

Why did a 1952 subject of Street & Monitor describe the Fiat 8V as “the largest shock of the yr?” Maybe as a result of this was the one and solely V8 Fiat, particularly at a time the marque was synonymous with small engine underpowered ‘workaday’ vehicles just like the 569 cc Fiat Topolino or the five hundred Bambino. It was just like the Italian marque out of the blue woke as much as the truth that they may really make vehicles for the US market dominated by 6-cylinders and V8s just like the Fords. In any case, they have been constructing vehicles there for the reason that 1900s.

Really, Fiat erroneously believed Ford had a copyright of the V8 identify due to how in style the American marque’s flathead V8 was in America. However such powerplant would solely cater to the wealthy in post-war Italy. Fiat first considered venturing into the US market with a V6 Berlina sedan, switched as much as a V8, earlier than scrapping the entire luxurious sedan factor earlier than they received too deep within the gap. They salvaged what they may. They’d later develop the brand new Otto Vu on the Kind 104 V8 engine and Kind 106 chassis salvaged from the failed sedan venture.

In that interval, small, agile sports activities vehicles had been gaining candy traction within the US. Fiat will need to have thought that if Italian makers like Maserati and Alfa Romeo might make it in America, it might even do one higher. And so, Fiat’s decision-makers tasked Fabio Luigi Rapo – Fiat’s Head of Design – to provide you with a V8-powered 2-seat Berlinetta coupe.

Fabio had a neat plan. The semi-monocoque chassis from the failed sedan and aluminum physique panels wouldn’t solely enhance the automobile’s light-weight (2,198 lbs curb weight) but additionally enable the nation’s teeming coachbuilding abilities to make customized our bodies on the Kind 106 chassis comprising a central ground pan welded to a tubular metal body, versus unibody building.

Thus, Italian designers like Zagato and Ghia received rolling chassis of the Otto Vu, however probably the most well-known of such freelance creations was undoubtedly the “Jet Age” Supersonic, the handiwork of Giovanni Savonuzzi of Ghia. They had been the preferred Fiat Otto Vus exported to the USA.

Such copy with chassis #000049 believed to have been imported into the nation by Chrysler chairman Okay.T. Keller, who then offered it to powerboat racer Lou Fageol, fetched a whopping $2 million and a few change at a current RM Sotheby’s Monterey public sale. Notably, Ghia replicated the Fiat Supersonic’s Jet Age bodywork on a couple of Jaguar XK120 and Aston Martin automobiles.

Leave a Comment