1935 Fiat Balilla Sports Spider 508S

Make: Fiat
Model: Balilla Sports Spider 508S
Type: “Coppa D’Oro” or Mille Miglia
Year: 1935
Chassis #: 508S 082606
Engine #: 108047147
Coachwork: Carrozzeria Ghia
Color: Red

Model History:

The Balilla Sports Spider was a unique collaboration between Fiat, Ghia and Siata to create a successful small displacement sports car. It had cycle fenders and a lighter chassis. The “S” in the chassis number indicates it is a factory-built competition car with the tipo 108S Siata engine. A 995cc overhead valve inline 4-cylinder with 46hp, which was modified by Siata for better performance. The transmission was a 4-speed. It was named after race and rally successes in the Coppa D’Oro – gold cup and Mille Miglia.

The Balilla Sports Spider was known for its good looks and lightweight nimble handling, proven by winning many races throughout Europe between 1933-1937. It raced in the 1,000cc class and won races against the Singers, Rileys, MG Magnette K3s, Amilcars, Salmsons, and Ulster TT’s. Because the Balilla Spider was a 3-main bearing engine, it normally outlasted most of its opponents on the race courses throughout Europe. Enzo Ferrari had a team of four black Balilla Spiders under the Scuderia Ferrari badge that raced under the prancing horse from 1934-1935.

The racing Balilla Spiders participated in the Mille Miglia, Goodwood, Le Mans, Monte Carlo Rallye, and other famous racing events of their day. Italian documents show that his car was first registered on November 6, 1935.

Condition: Previous owners stated it was restored in Brescia, Italy around 2000.

Engine: A Fiat based Siata modified 4-cylinder pushrod, with overhead valve cylinder head, 3-bearing crankshaft, of 995cc capacity. Compression ratio is 7.1:1, output is 46bhp at 4,400rpm. Unique to the Spider Sport.

Gearbox: 4-speed and reverse. Unique to the Spider Sport.

Ignition: Lighting and starting: Marrelli 12-volt coil, with belt driven dynamo, 12-volt battery.

Brakes: Hydraulic on all four wheels; handbrake working on drum.

Steering: Worm and roller.

Wheels: Fiat bolt-on 4 bolt detachable wire wheels.

Tires: “Stunner” Race P 109, 4.00 X 17.

Dimensions: Wheelbase 7’ 6”, track 3’ 10”.

Weight: Unladen – 1,377lbs

Most recently in 2021, the radiator was rebuilt, a new fan, new engine mounts, hoses, clamps and general service.

Awards: Best of Marque – Concorso Italiano 2006
Best of Class – Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance

Events:

The plaques attached to the car would indicate it took part in these events:

  • XI Coppa Monza – 1st Trofeo, Monza, Italy
  • 3rd Rallye Auto D’Epoca Toscano – Italy
  • International Jubilaums Treffen July 2002 Celebrating 70 years of the Balilla 508 in Bad König, Germany

Documents:

The “Gold Plate” from the Fiat factory is a sign that it is registered as a Coppa D’Oro or Corsa Spider. It is registered with the Fiat Archivos Historic Cars Registry and the Italian Historic Club Vehicle Registry as a “Sport” Mille Miglia. Documented as a 508S Balilla Sport Spider Mille Miglia through the Registro Storico Nazionale.

  • Registro Fiat Italiano
  • Pubblico Registro Automobilistico – Certifico Cronologico
  • Automobile Club Storico Italiano Registro Fiat Italiano
  • Gold plate #1622 Certification of Authenticity
  • Associazione Amatori Veicoli Storici
  • Associazione Fra Collezione Veicoli d’Epoca
  • Certificato Di Omolgazione
  • Various Newspaper and Magazine Articles
  • Manuals

Equipment: Tool kit, jack and spare. Owner’s Manuals.

Of Note: A rare Italian prewar sports car with an interesting build where Fiat, Ghia and Siata collaborated. Although the car has a lot of documentation and has won several concours, the ownership is not known prior to 1999, so its provenance is not verified. It is possible that it was born as a normal Balilla Spider and then converted to a Coppa D’Oro or Spider Sport.

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