Balilla 508 Sport Spyder
- extensive history file
- raced in period and throughout the 1960s
- previously owned by the founder of the british Fiat registry George Liston Young
- eligible for the Mille Miglia
The Balilla 508 Sport Spyder was developed by some of Italy’s leading automotive engineers and was presented at the Milan Motor Show in 1932. The name Balilla was taken from a popular 18th-century northern Italian folk hero and the car became a sales success. A song about the Balilla even became very popular in the 1930s! The Balilla was available from the factory in four different body styles: Saloon, Convertible, Tourer, and a Van. In addition, independent coachbuilders offered their own body styles and since the car was partly built abroad under license, there were numerous additional variants of the car.
In 1933, the attractive Sport Spider was introduced, which had the type code 508 S and, in addition to the picture-perfect Spider body, also had a more powerful engine. While the 508 had 20-24 hp, the 508 S had 30-36 hp. While appearing underpowered, the cars were very light and the resulting performance was highly impressive in the early 1930s.
This 508 S Sport Spider is a very special example with an exciting history that makes it arguably one of the most famous and important Fiat Balilla. In 1936 it was delivered to England with its correct 995 cc engine. The original engine was replaced with a faster, 48 HP, 1100cc engine by a mechanic called Derek Collins during the war. The Sport Spiders sold in England were also bodied there and as a result, had slight differences. These cars have a more pronounced fin over the rear but are otherwise very similar to their Italian counterparts. It is also interesting to note that this car was fitted with the sportier small ‘Cycle Fender’ mudguards, which it still wears today.
After delivery, the car was said to be used by racing driver Elsie Wisdom. She was an experienced driver and her husband was a well-known English motoring journalist. She successfully competed at the Brooklands circuit in 1936 and finished 3rd overall with her ladies team finishing with the highest speed of 75.12 miles per hour. The all-feminine team of Miss D. Chaff participated with 3 cars that year. In addition, she came 4th in the “light car club rally relay” at Brooklands.
After the war, the car came into the possession of George Liston Young, who was very well-known in the English Fiat scene and founded the Fiat Register. He used the Fiat with the registration number DPL998 in numerous events and is mentioned several times with the car in the English Motorsport Magazine, for example. Young set a driving record at Monza in Italy in 1962 and undertook an amazing endurance run with the car at Goodwood in 1964. Likely in an attempt to recreate the 1000 km Brooklands record of a Fiat Balilla, he drove 421 laps or approximately 1000 miles with an average speed of 55.52 mph. Also well-documented was the trip with the 30-year-old Sport Spyder to the Fiat factory in Turin, where the car, at the head of a large group of Fiats, circled the famous circuit on the roof of the company headquarters.
This Sport Spyder’s history is well documented by an extensive photo album, various correspondence, and an English logbook from 1961. In 1993, the car moved from England to an important car collection in northern Germany. A few years ago the car moved to the collection of the current owner and is now offered for sale for the first time in years. This particular example of the 508S offers a great introduction to the pre-war racing car scene. Among other things, it is also eligible for the Mille Miglia.
We offer this vehicle for our partner company Collectors Garage from Michigan, USA. Collectors Garage is a subsidiary of the Broad Arrow Group.
The car has a German registration and can be inspected by appointment. A lifting platform is of course also available for this purpose.
Please contact us if you are interested in further information and a detailed description of the car’s condition.
We prepare our descriptions and advertisements very conscientiously and carefully. Nevertheless, we ask for your understanding that the information given here is non-binding descriptions which do not represent guaranteed properties. We are not liable for errors, input errors and data transmission errors and reserve the right to make changes and prior sale.
In this case, the sale is made on behalf of the customer without disclosure of VAT.