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 Fiat 508 Balilla was a very important car for Italy and even more so for the Fiat company, which had a market share of 90% at the time. The car 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 very big success. A song about the Balilla even became very popular in the 1930s.
The Balilla was available from the factory in 4 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 licence, there were numerous variants of the car.
In 1933, the sporty Sport Spider was introduced, which had the type code 508S 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. This doesn’t sound like a lot of power at first, but the cars were very light and had correspondingly good performance. The success of the sports versions of the Fiat Balilla successfully proved this and gained the model a lot of respect.
Another important stage of development was the move from side-valve engines to overhead-valve engines, which are still standard in car manufacturing today.
Our 508 S Sport Spider is a very special example with an exciting history that makes it one of the most famous and important Fiat Balilla.
In 1936 it was delivered to England with a special 1,100 cc engine. In addition to the special engine, the car also already had a four-speed gearbox when delivered new, which was not available in series production until later. The Sport Spiders sold in England were also bodyworked in England. 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 and
After delivery, the car was used by racing driver Elsie Wisdom. She was an experienced driver and her husband was a very well known English motoring journalist. She successfully competed at Brooklands in 1936 and finished 3rd overall with her ladies team. And she did this with the highest speed of 75.12 miles per hour. 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.
Among other things, he set a driving record at Monza in Italy in 1962 and undertook an amazing endurance run with the car at Goodwood in 1964. He drove 421 laps, i.e. 1000 miles with an average of 55.52 miles (approx. 88 km/h) per hour. Presumably he wanted to recreate the 1000 km Brooklands record of a Fiat Barilla with this action and since Brooklands no longer existed, he swerved to Goodwood. Another well-documented action was the trip with the then already 30-year-old car to the Fiat factory in Turin, where the car, at the head of a large group of Fiats, circled the circuit on the roof of the company headquarters.
The history is well documented by an extensive photo album, various correspondence, and an old 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 basically registered for the Mille Miglia.
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.