The pre-war Fiat 508C was a for its time technologically very advanced sportscar. Based on the small series and very performant Fiat 508 Coppa D'Oro which proved her supremacy on the tough Coppa D'Oro delle Dolimiti event, a series of 508C (C for competition) cars was produced which were coachbuilt by different, mostly Italian, coachbuilders.
Marreyt Classics had the pleasure of owning several of these very advanced 508C in the past of which a couple with authentic ex-Mille Miglia history.
The exceptionality of the 508C lies in the modernist construction and set-up of the chassis but most of all of the for its time state of the art 4-cylinder engine (which later became the internationally much acclaimed Fiat 1100 engine).
From the info we obtained through our contacts with Fiat Classiche, we discovered that this particular Fiat 508C has an early Belgian history. Not only was the car sold new to the Brussels Fiat dealer Auto-Locomotion, but was also discovered in a Belgian scrap yard in the 70-ies. The styling of the at that moment somehow derelict but obviously elegant full alloy barchetta body referred immediately to the Brussels based coachbuilders Bidée and De Mola.
Indeed, both companies had immediately after the 2nd WW (due to shortage of available material) established a fine reputation by constructing several similarly bodied sportscars based on existing top-quality sportscars (Alfa Romeo 1750, Jaguar SS100, etc...) from before the 2nd WW.
The intelligent modification to this Fiat 508 chassis, consisted in widening the chassis by categorically cutting the chassis in a left and right section and adding a 10 cm piece in between both halves. This widening operation was clearly not executed by an amateur, because when one inspects this chassis now, the way in which this 10 cm section has been constructed (still discretely visible) and the finishing-off are of unquestionable professional quality.
This widening not only transformed, even modernised, the poise of this sports car, but certainly also added to the stability and comfort of the car (Fiat 508 Coppa D'Oro sports cars need to be driven by 2 good friends because the only way to drive them is "arm in arm").
The typical Bidée style full alloy barchetta body gives this 508C a very balanced and sexy appearance.
After the car's discovery in the Belgian scrap yard, this 508C was sold to my friend and classic car specialist Paolo Biagi in Pisa - Italy who commissioned a full restoration by the well reputed coachbuilder Faralli.
Before and during the restoration, the Italian ASI officials came to inspect this rarity so that after its completion no questions of authenticity would be raised.
I saw this Fiat 508C Bidée barchetta in "as found" condition at my friends Paolo's garage before the start of the restoration and thus also can testimony the cars' authenticity (several photographs in my possession) and also during trips to Italy when I followed up the restoration at the Faralli workshop.
Everyone who comes to visit our classic car garage likes the looks of this 508C barchetta. That is why we decided with no further delay to finalise the mechanical, electricity and trimming restoration in our own classic car workshop.
Although I tried to find out more about the past history of this Fiat 508C Bidée barchetta here in Belgium, I couldn't yet come up with extra documentation.
Through the Belgian Federation for Historic Cars (BFOV), we are in the process of obtaining proper Belgian documents for this exceptional Fiat 508C barchetta.This sports barchetta represents in my opinion the ideal project for a Belgian enthousiast who, together with our team, would like to follow-up the finalisation of the restoration of this 1938 Fiat 508C barchetta and study the possibilities to participate at exciting classic car events, such as for instance, the Mille Miglia, into which a barchetta of this styling will perfectly fit.
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