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Vehicle Overview

Fiat’s first, and only, V8 engine debuted at the 1952 Geneva Auto Show powering a sleek two-seater intended to dominate Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia in two-liter sports-car racing.

The car was designated the 8V, or Otto Vu in Italian, because Fiat had mistakenly thought that Ford held a trademark on V8.

For homologation purposes, Fiat intended to build 200 8Vs, but only 114 chassis were produced from 1952 to 1954. To rev up interest, Fiat sent chassis to various coachbuilders, including Carrozzeria Zagato, famed for its stunning lightweight-bodied Fiats. Zagato took delivery of 32 8V chassis; including five with Fiat-design bodywork that were destined to become the most famous and collectible.

Called Elaboratas because Zagato “elaborated” on what was done by Fiat, they distinguished themselves in racing competition and by being the first cars to bear the iconic Zagato double-bubble roof, intended to add rigidity and also allow headroom for racing helmets. One chassis was used to build a Spyder.

The remaining 27 chassis were fitted with all new lightweight alloy bodies. This small Coupe was simply called 8VZ. Only five of these Coupes feature the famous double-bubble roof. As each car was hand-built to customer order until 1959, each Zagato-bodied 8V Berlinetta was unique, representing a bespoke automobile with subtle variations noted from one car to another.

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