1952 Fiat 8V Vignale "Demon Rouge" Coupe
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Vignale offered various bodies for the Fiat 8V: five coupes, one spider and one coupe Corsa were built. As one of the last models, the aggressive looking 8V 'Demon Rouge' was presented in 1954, however the chassis is dated 1952.
Fiat's V8 was derived from two four cylinder blocks mounted on a common crankcase. To keep the engine compact, the angle between the cylinder banks was just 70 degrees. A centrally mounted camshaft operated the valves by pushrods. Breathing through two Weber Carburetors, the engine was good for 105 bhp and with an extra Weber 115 bhp and eventually 127 bhp could be achieved. Fiat's potent V8 proved to be a good match for Maserati's straight six, Ferrari's V12 and Lancia's V6.
An extremely unique and distinctive design by Giovanni Michelotti, built by Vignale and based on the famous Fiat 8V. Michelotti demonstrated his creativity and inventiveness with this Démon Rouge (red devil) at the Turin motor show in 1953. The semi-circular, vertical rear window under the extended roofline is one of the most striking details. It was an aerodynamic trick intended to keep the rear window clean and dry during heavy rainfall. Something similar would later be applied to the Ford Anglia and the Citroën Ami. The roof itself is largely made of Plexiglas, to give the impression of an open car. The door handles are ingeniously incorporated into the rear pillars. The car doesn't have any bumpers and the headlights are framed by the grille.
In 1955 the design won the first prize in the 'Coppa Campione d'Italia' Concours d'Elegance. Nearly fifty years later, in 2004, the car won the 'Best of Show' prize at the Concours d'Elegance at palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn, the most prestigious motorcar event in the Netherlands.
The Fiat 8V - 'Otto Vu' in Italian - is the only eight-cylinder built by Fiat. The sports car was launched in 1952 in order to participate in the Mille Miglia. It was very expensive: in America it cost $ 6,000, almost twice as much as a Jaguar XK120. Exactly 114 8V's were built, some with special Zagato,Ghia and Vignale coachwork.