Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

One of Fourteen: 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia

Not a barn find? Not quite. In fact, this spectacular Fiat “Otto Vu”, or 8V as we call it in the US, was found completely disassembled in a garage, its parts in cardboard boxes and Ziploc bags. Now brought to auction in impeccable condition by RM Sotheby’s, this 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia bears an estimate of $2.1 to $2.6 million. The auction will be conducted on December 8th at Sotheby’s headquarters in New York City, New York. You could drive it home, but I’d probably go with a trailer what with it being winter and all. Our friend Araknid78 submitted this tip – thanks for keeping us abreast of the exotics!

The story of the 8V began in 1945 with Fiat’s efforts to produce a luxury sedan for the American market. The car was cobbled together but Fiat’s eco-system was dedicated to producing 569 cc 13 hp Topolinos, not an engine capable of propelling a large sedan. From this effort, management realized that a larger engine was a necessity. Too, dealers were agitating for more powerful cars, so after some debate with management, Fiat’s chief engineer, Dante Giacosa, developed the Tipo 104 narrow-angle V8. He knew that a ninety-degree angle was preferable but throughout Fiat’s history, its cars had been constructed with narrow, short engine bays – a significant influence on this engine’s configuration. With a seventy-degree angle, a compression ratio of 8.5:1, and optional twin Webers, the compact 2.0 liter eight produced about 115 hp. Fiat eagerly tried the engine in a sedan, but alas, performance just wasn’t up to snuff. Rather than scrap the effort, management decided to build a lightweight sports car around the engine – and the 8V was born. Our subject car has had just four owners, with the consignor responsible for commissioning this meticulous restoration by one of Italy’s finest restoration shops.

Fiat produced 114 8Vs, perched on the Tipo 106 chassis developed with Siata. Independent front and rear suspension, drum brakes all around, and a four-speed manual rounded out the specs. Tuned 8Vs could reach 120 mph; the cars were substantially successful at racing in the 1950s. But there’s beauty behind that competence, too. This example, in blue with a terra cotta interior, shows off the attention to detail and style that distinguishes Italian workmanship. The footrest, the grab handle, the Ghia crest on each door cap, that fabulous combination speedometer/tachometer with opposing needles. Everything is just so.

After bodying 34 8Vs in-house, Fiat couldn’t tolerate the financial pain of its low-production exotic any longer. It sold chassis to other coachbuilders – Vignale, Zagato, Ghia. Ghia produced fourteen copies of the fabulous Supersonic – based on an Alfa-powered car built for the Mille Miglia by Virgilio Conrero – each of them different. Rarely driven but often shown, these incredible cars come up for sale surprisingly regularly. This example sold in Monterey in August for $2.26 million. This wasn’t even the only 8V in Monterey. So if you miss this one, do not despair – another will be along any day now!


  1. Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rack Member

    Another beauty from Ghia reflecting the introduction of the jet age with the lines emulating intake and exhaust, supersonic body style.
    Maybe it’s the camera angle however that make it look as though it’s gathered it’s bustle to hurry down the street-it seems to have a lot of ground clearance in comparison to some of the others of the era. Was that typical?

    Like 6
    • Martin Horrocks

      This does seem to ride a bit high. Seems like the wheel/tyre combination is tall.

      But it is also a style where the cabin seems low like a top chop 49 Mercury, which may have an effect.

      In any case, it is a work of art.

      Like 4
  2. Mark

    It looks like a Jag E-type had a baby with a Corvette or a P1800! Bellisimo

    Like 6
  3. Howie

    At least it is not on Craig’s List.

    Like 15
  4. Terry

    Italian opera housed in a car. Couldn’t be better!

    Like 5
  5. RichardinMaine

    I vote E-Type/ P1800 love child.
    Were I in the tax bracket to win that auction, I would have to drive it home to Maine. Value be damned.

    Like 4
  6. Hound59

    Now that’s a split bumper!! Unbelievable style and class……

    Like 2
  7. Martin Horrocks

    The same body also appeared in period on Jaguar XK chassis.

    Even stranger, late in the 60s a 427 Cobra got rebodied with redundant Supersonic coachwork by UK Cobra/GT40 racing team Willment. At the time, neither was worth much money nor very desirable but that car sold at auction in Monterey for over $2 million.

    Like 3
  8. Jimbosidecar

    I ee a little bit of Alfa there along with the Lamborghini 350 GT

    Like 4
  9. Marshall Belcher

    Drug king pin would have no problem buying this. Penny’s to them

    Like 0
  10. SaabGirl900

    This looks amazingly like the 1955 DeSoto Ghia Adventurer from 1955….right down to the taillights. The front end was slightly different, but not by much. The minute I first saw this car, the Chrysler/Ghia partnership of the 1950’s leapt into mind……….

    Like 4
  11. Mark Mitchell Member

    Years ago, I heard about a Fiat 8V (Rapi bodied 4 headlamp version) sitting in a wrecking yard in Georgia. It was incredibly rough and incomplete but I felt the need to rescue it. I flew there, purchased the car, and hauled it back to California in a Ryder rental truck. Good times…

    Like 9
  12. John

    What a thrill to just sit in the thing!
    $2.5 million? Let me check my change drawer

    Like 4
  13. Danny Vernon Johnson

    I’m an automotive artist. That 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia is spectacular.

    Like 3
  14. CCFisher

    The same design theme was applied to the much larger 1954 DeSoto Adventurer II, built by Ghia. Someone at Ghia really liked this look.

    Like 4
  15. V12MECH

    Art on wheels, but still less than the Mona Lisa.

    Like 4
  16. Frank Sumatra

    The original owner probably had a Riva speedboat also. It appears the mid-1950’s was the pinnacle of Italian industrial design.

    Like 3
  17. Araknid78

    LOT 13
    New York
    1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia
    $2,425,000 USD | Sold

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.