The Fiat Balilla

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Sir,
“D. S. J.” has his wires a little crossed on the Fiat Balilla sports family.

Officially, I don’t think the car he photographed is a “Coppa d’Oro”. The o.h.v. 995-c.c. sports model introduced at the 1934 Milan Show was made in three body styles—the Spyder, the “Coppa d’Oro”, and the Berlinetta aerodinamica. The two open variants were appreciably different, “Coppa d’Oros” having lighter and narrower competition-type bodies with cycle-type wings and no running-boards, whereas D. S. J.’s Messina-registered example has the full-flow wings found on off-the-peg Spyders.

One hesitates to be dogmatic: by our reckoning some 1,200 of these engaging little cars were made between 1934 and 1937, and it seems unlikely that there ever was any such thing as a standard 508S in those days, let alone today, when spares are drying up and pieces break from time to time. I know of at least two cars which by their chassis numbers should be three-speeders with side-valve engines, but now have the four-speed synchromesh box and o.h.v., while another, which started life as a push-rod 508S goes about its business with a late s.v. unit. Far the safest way out is to call the thing a 508S, as this terminology will be understood both sides of the Alps.

And don’t ask me exactly how many were made—Fiat themselves don’t know, chassis numbers running concurrently with the side-valve 995-c.c. “Cooking” model.

Michael Sedgwick.
Hon. Historian,
The FIAT Register.
Midhurst.