1933 Fiat 508S Balilla Coppa d’Oro

The 508S Balilla Sport competition version was a product of FIAT’s inspiration drawn from an original design by Carrozzeria Ghia. It was developed based on the highly successful 508 Balilla saloon, which marked FIAT’s transition to naming its models with both a name and a number, a trend that persisted into the inter-war years. The sportier variant built upon the foundation laid by the Balilla saloon, enhancing its performance and appeal.

FIAT took ownership of the design and produced two versions: the Coppa d’Oro (Gold Cup) and the lightweight Mille Miglia, named after the renowned long-distance races where FIAT had achieved remarkable success. These variants were designed to excel in competitive racing, showcasing FIAT’s commitment to performance and innovation on the track.

The original Balilla Sport featured an elegant open two-seater body design, characterized by its distinctive finned tail. This stylish exterior was complemented by a modified version of the saloon’s 995cc four-cylinder sidevalve engine. Despite its compact size, this tuned powerplant delivered impressive performance, propelling the rear wheels through a three-speed gearbox mounted on a sturdy cruciform braced chassis.

In addition to its striking design and potent engine, the Balilla Sport also incorporated advanced features ahead of its time. These included Lockheed hydraulic brakes and wire wheels, which provided unparalleled control and handling both on the road and the track.

The adoption of such innovations not only enhanced the driving experience but also contributed significantly to the Balilla Sport’s success in motorsport competitions. Its superior performance and reliability on the racing circuit quickly established its reputation as a formidable competitor, further solidifying its status as an icon in automotive history.

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Expanding on the triumph of its predecessor, FIAT launched the second series of the Balilla Sport in 1934. This updated model refined the winning formula with notable upgrades, including a four-speed synchromesh gearbox and a powerful overhead-valve engine generating 46bhp.

These enhancements not only boosted performance but also elevated drivability, offering drivers a superior experience on the road and track. As a result, the Balilla Sport became highly coveted by both racing enthusiasts and collectors, cementing its status as a timeless classic in automotive history.

The 508S Balilla Sport remains a symbol of FIAT’s legacy in motorsport, representing a blend of elegance, performance, and innovation that defined the brand during the inter-war years. Its timeless design and remarkable engineering continue to captivate enthusiasts, highlighting FIAT’s enduring commitment to excellence on and off the track.

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