Lot 255: Fiat 508 Balilla Sport Mille Miglia Replica
Based on the highly successful 508 Balilla saloon - the first FIAT of the inter-war years to be named as well as numbered - the 508S Balilla Sport competition version was inspired by an original design by Carrozzeria Ghia. FIAT purchased the rights and manufactured two versions: the Coppa d'Oro (Gold Cup) and lightweight Mille Miglia, named after successes gained in these demanding long distance events. Clothed in stylish open two-seater bodywork with finned tail, the original Balilla was powered by a tuned version of the saloon's 995cc four-cylinder sidevalve engine. The latter drove the rear wheels via a three-speed gearbox and was installed in a cruciform braced chassis equipped with Lockheed hydraulic brakes and wire wheels. Introduced in 1934, the second series improved on this successful formula, adopting a four-speed synchromesh gearbox and an overhead-valve engine producing 46bhp. Despite its age the Balilla Sport was still winning races in the immediately post-war years, adding to a formidable reputation built on numerous victories in classic events in the pre-WW2 era, including the Mille Miglia, Monte Carlo Rally, Targa Florio, Spa Francorchamps 24-Hour, Ulster TT and Le Mans. This FIAT 508's Italian documents list the car as an open two-seater and it is assumed that originally it was a convertible that at some time has been re-bodied as a Balilla Sport. It is not known when or by whom the conversion was carried out. A matching numbers example finished in red with black interior, the car was restored in 2011 and is described as in generally very good condition. Offered with ASI papers and Italian libretto, this very pretty pre-war roadster represents an affordable entry into the modern-day Mille Miglia.
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