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At Bonhams’ automotive auction this summer, held at Quail Lodge in Carmel, Calif. (part of the Monterey Peninsula’s annual collector car week), among the standout lots was this sleek, streamlined Fiat 8V Supersonic from 1953, with body designed by the Turinese coachbuilder Ghia. The story of this vehicle begins back in 1948, when experiments aimed at making a large American-style V6 sedan led instead to the creation of a powerful V8 engine. Fiat technical director Dante Giacosa later recalled, “The idea of mounting it on a sports car for a small production run was attractive and aroused the keenest interest among the design engineers.” The result, which came out in 1952, was the Fiat 8V, a touring sports car known in Italian as the “Otto Vu,” of which about 114 examples were built with various coachwork. The most notable was done by Ghia, which produced some 30 or 40 examples. Of those, around 15 had the Supersonic body created by Giovanni Savonuzzi, a design star who was later hired away by Chrysler.
The record-breaking example sold by Bonhams, chassis number 106.000049, was exhibited at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1957 and had been in the same ownership for 36 years. It underwent an eight-year restoration that was completed in 2015. It has a 1,996cc OHV alloy V8 engine, a four-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel Alfin drum brakes. With its cream interior and streamlined blue-green body, this Otto Vu is a modernist classic, uniting rarity, mechanical sophistication, and Italian elegance.
Offered at: Bonhams’
Quail Lodge Auction, August 14, 2015
Sold for: $1,815,000