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Information wanted on coachbuilt Fiat

Information wanted on coachbuilt Fiat
Our friends at Marreyt Classics stumbled upon something interesting recently. It’s a barchetta built on a widened Fiat 508C basis, which they are restoring at the moment. Now, the car’s chassis may date from pre-war days; the body is a 1950s creation, made in Brussels. But it remains surrounded with some mystery: “We have been told that it was designed by Umberto De Mola, a coachbuilder of Italian descent who lived and worked in Brussels, and who is mostly famous for the Alfa Romeo 6C, which he coachbuilt in 1940. While we see certain similarities between the lines of his 6C and our barchetta, our researches show more similarities with the creations of another Brussels-based coachbuilder: F.J. Bidée.

If there’s one characteristic that all his creations seem to have in common, whether it’s an Alvis TB14, an SS Jaguar, a Talbot Lago or another Alfa Romeo, it’s their pear-shaped radiator grill. And that’s the one distinct feature that our car doesn’t have! It does, however, feature the four holes around the grill, just like on the Alfa Romeo, the Jaguar SS and the one-off Alvis. We wonder to which extent 1950s coachbuilders in Brussels found their inspiration by looking at their neighbour’s creations? The 508 came with very few photographs, but perhaps someone in the PreWarCar / PostWarClassic community can provide more information on this Brussels mystery car?”

(Words and pictures Bernard Marreyt)


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