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Fiat – 8V Vignale


Vehicle Overview

Among the most beautiful, dramatic, and certainly unusual bodies on the 8V chassis was the Demon Rouge, a unique show car designed by Giovanni Michelotti and built by Vignale. It was one of only five coupe bodies produced by Vignale for the 8V.

A demonstration of Michelotti’s almost unbridled creativity, the black-and-crimson “Red Devil” featured a long, tapered nose, with the headlamps moved within an oval grille at the tip. No bumpers were fitted, preserving the smooth aerodynamics of the design. The most unusual and controversial feature was the roofline, a Plexiglas panel that at the rear extended to form a lip over the wraparound backlight, helping to keep the glass clean and dry in poor weather.

Demon Rouge made its debut at the 1953 Turin Motor Show, where its aggressiveness was very well received. Vignale took notice, and Michelotti followed up with a subtler variation on the same theme, this car, constructed on 8V chassis no. 106.000080.

The rather unconventional and polarizing roofline treatment was replaced by a conventional design with a more dignified wraparound rear window and very narrow front and rear pillars, similar to Michelotti and Vignale’s work on several Ferrari berlinettas of the time. The front-end treatment was the same as the Demon Rouge, including the headlights moved within the oval radiator shell, the gorgeous curves of the doors, and Michelotti’s trademark chromed air intake fitted into a single bold, tapered stripe along the top of the hood. The tail was sharply cut off, with the rear fenders forming small fins on either side of the sloping fastback rear deck.

Within, the interior was very simple, almost spartan, with the driver facing a conventional, fully instrumented dashboard, lacquered red, and a wood-rimmed steering wheel. The two seats were competition-style buckets upholstered in pleated leather, with a luggage shelf behind. Typical of Vignale, the hardware throughout is elaborate but beautifully wrought, including door handles that fit smoothly into the doors, released by push button à la the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, and aggressive coachbuilders’ badges.

Technical Specifications

  • Body
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  • Photo credits
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  • Designer
    Giovanni Michelotti

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