1953 Fiat 8V
|Model History||Auction sales research||Specifications||Body styles and Chassis Data|
Overseas manufacturers were prime targets for the fledgling Italian coachbuilders. Virgil Exner, the head of Chrysler's design department, was impressed with the designs and skilled craftsmanship of Ghia. In the years that followed, a relationship between the two companies was cultivated. The work that resulted was beneficial for both companies - Ghia received steady cash-flow and publicity while Chrysler had the benefit of European design and fashion.
Also in the early1 1950s, Fiat introduced the 8V chassis. Elio Zagato was among the first to prove that custom coachwork could be applied to this new platform. Soon, other Italian carrozzerie followed, approaching Fiat with ideas and proposals for limited-production 8V models. Ghia was one of those trying to attract the attention of Fiat. Luigi Serge, the Commercial Director of Ghia, had an idea for the 8V that was based on the designs by Giovanni Savonuzzi, the company's new Technical Director. Savonuzzi had begun his career in Fiat's aeronautical sector where he worked closely with Dante Giacosa, the man responsible for the 8V project. Savonuzzi's first automobile was the Cisitalia 202, a design that helped launch his career to new levels and enhance his reputation.
Savonuzzi's design for the Fiat 8V was a two-door coupe that drew design inspiration from previous projects and experiments. The design comprised of contemporary and modern trends in aerospace and featured streamlined forms, subtle tail fins, and a swept-back roofline. It was referred to as 'the Supersonic' and it had a radical figure that was graceful, elegant, and slightly flamboyant. It was one of the first cars to feature designs that would later become known as 'jet-age' styling.
Late in 1953, Luigi Serge was visiting Detroit to meet with Chrysler executives. While there, he showed pictures of the Savonuzzi designs to Exner. Another individual who had the pleasure of seeing these designs were Paul Farago, a designer and engineering who was involved in Chrysler's styling department. Impressed by the designs, Farago (with support from Exner), place the first order for a Ghia-bodied Fiat 8V Supersonic. That vehicle was chassis number 106.000035.
This vehicle, the first 8V Supersonic produced by Ghia, features a number of distinct differences that is not found on the other 14 examples of the 'Supersonic.'
When the car was completed, it remained in continental Europe for some time, perhaps put on the show circuit and displayed at various events. When it arrived in the United States, it continued to amaze and inspire on-lookers. It was featured in several automotive publications and even spent time in Chrysler's design department.
In 1955, the car was purchased by Mr. Lazaros, who remains as the cars caretaker in modern time. The car was used for many years and shown at numerous events. It was later stored in his garage and used sparingly. In 2011, the car was brought to auction, having just under 17,000 miles on the odometer. It is a highly original car that has been well cared its entire life.
The car was offered for sale at the 2011 Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was estimated to sell for $1,100,000 - $1,400,000. After several minutes of bidding, only two bidders remained. Both wanted the car, and they each bid strategically over a great length of time, in hopes of winning the car. It was one of the highlights of the auction, and certainly the most entertaining bidding struggle of the event. When the victor emerged, they were $1,705,000 (including buyer's premium) lighter in their wallet.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2011
|Auction Sales Information|
|Auction||The Scottsdale Auction - Gooding & Company|
|Auction||Gooding and Company - The Amelia Island Auction|
|Gooding and Company - The Amelia Island Auction||1950-1960|
|The Scottsdale Auction - Gooding & Company||1948-1956|