Fiat, Stanguellini or Ala d’Oro?
It should be clear that something special is parked here in front of a hardware store. But what exactly is it? Through a deep dive into the internet we discovered the following.
A streamlined, very elegant carriage – clearly from a bygone era – with the year ‘1947’ on the side and a Mille Miglia sticker on the back: there is something special here, that is clear. However, there is no logo or any model designation, so we turn to a license plate check for a first clue. It is a Fiat 508C, says the RDW, from 1947. Bingo. In 1947 it would take another 43 years before the first AutoWeek came out, so for cars like this a deep dive into their own archive is not sufficient.
Step two. ‘Fiat 508C’, ‘Cacciari’ and ‘Fabri’ in the search bar. Bingo number two. We come across the website ‘Historic Automotive Promotion’, the page of a Greek who collects information about all kinds of historic cars – we thank him for his efforts. Because what turns out? Simply stating that we are dealing with a car from 1947 here is not entirely justified. It seems that we are dealing here with a car that originally started life in 1934 as a Fiat 508, after which its chassis was given a second life in 1947 – shortly after the war – for Mille Miglia purposes.
Chassis from 1934, registration in 1947
At that rebirth, a 1.1-liter powertrain from the later 1100 series, which would not come on the market until 1937, was installed in the chassis. The designation ‘508C’ used by the RDW therefore belongs to the 1100 series, but given the rebirth that took place in 1947 – a year in which the 1100 series was also produced – it is not surprising that the Rijksdienst registered the vehicle as such .
But, we are not even dealing with a Fiat here. According to Historic Automotive Promotion, it is an ‘Ala d’Oro’, a coachbuilder that existed only from 1947 to 1949 and whose brand name literally translates as ‘golden wings’. The origin of that name is clear: in wartime it was an aircraft manufacturer, but in 1947 there was no longer any need for that practice.
Yet the expertise did not have to go into the trash, as you can see from the spotted old-timer. The streamlined hood, which is removable, seems to have been plucked from an airplane. However, the car on which the hood resides seems to come from another manufacturer: Stanguellini, a sports car manufacturer. If we google that name, we find a similar model, but in red and without the hood. Are you still following?
In summary, the following seems to be correct: this Fiat 508C ‘Ala d’Oro’ started life as a Fiat 508 in 1934. A Stanguellini coach was later placed on the chassis, in which the powertrain of a Fiat from the 1100 series (but then with two Weber carburettors, for an output of 60 hp). On top of the coach was another streamlined hood by Ala d’Oro, which is the name under which the car was finally registered by Alberico Cacciari and Fernando Fabbri ahead of the Mille Miglia in 1947.
Was he successful in that? Certainly not, the finish was not reached, but the Fiat survived and is therefore still driving around – on Dutch registration. Good, because it seems that a second one was never built.
We thank Jean Marc van Zwieten for the photos and Historic Automotive Promotion for the background information.
– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl