The Fiat 8V Elaborata Zagato, the American bet
The Fiat 8V Elaborata Zagato came out in 1953, the fruit of a brave bet placed by the Turin-based carmaker a few years earlier: to create a car that was technologically suitable for rich, American drivers.
Engineer Dante Giacosa, one of the best directors Fiat’s Engineering Division ever had, never warmed up to the endeavor, which he knew was rife with the technical challenges of making luxury vehicles according to very different technical standards compared to European models.
Finally, in order to focus on more popular market segments – at the time, the 500 and other compact cars took the lion’s share – the company decided to entrust Siata (Società Italiana Auto Trasformazioni Accessori) with prototyping the 8V.
Later, Fiat halted production due to sub-par sales, and sold the chassis to various body shops, including Zagato.
The famous Milan-based company – established by Ugo Zagato in 1919 and still in business today – bought 25 unsold cars from Fiat and altered their body and engine just a little… just enough to create a legendary model that would go on to win a number of races all around the world.