A rare 1953 Fiat Otto Vu Tipo 106 Sport Berlinetta with a body designed by Fabio Luigi Rapi could fetch an eye-watering £1,000,000 at auction on 24 October 2019. Sixth in line following pre-production run of half-a-dozen, the Fiat in question is also the third eldest series one in existence.
Italians being Italian, the marque was keen to flex its automotive muscles competing against fellow hot-heads, Ferrari and Maserati and with a chassis designed in a wind tunnel by none other than Fiat’s chief designer Fabio Luigi Rapi, who could blame them.
The all-aluminium V8 engine developed by Dante Giacosa was highly unusual with a ’70° angle’ between cylinder banks, a central overhead cam, over-square combustion chambers and an exhaust with raised tailpipes. The 2-litre engine initially produced 105 bhp, which increased to nearly 130 bhp with the different evolutions. This was a level of power to match Bristol’s 6-cylinder engine which is regarded as one of the finest around.
The ‘featherlite’ sports car, like most Italian sports cars, were influenced by the Mille Miglia, was quick and achieved success in the 1954 Italian Championship, victorious in the 2-litre class, but inevitably money was scarce and the company made the decision to drop the Otto Vu after only 114 examples were produced.
The number built by Fiat with Rapi coachwork amounted to 62 examples and were understandably called “Rapi I”. 5 are said to be either crashed or destroyed, 5 converted to other variants, 1 converted to a Rapi II, 8 cars are completely missing, so today the surviving car tally is thought to be around 13.
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