The Fiat 2800 was a conservative and highly prestigious automobile, destined to all sorts of formal transportation, from bourgeosie families to state affairs. Dante Giacosa, the "father" of many great Fiats, designed the 2800 in 1938. Although he envisioned this elegant motorcar with a transversally-mountd rear engine design, he was "forced" by the board of directors to follow a conventional layout of the front engine and rear wheel drive type. Although Giacosa in his book "Forty Years of Design at Fiat" dedicated only few words to the 2800, facts proved Fiat's decision for a traditional layout, right. Due to its destination to well heeled families and state officials, it was best to go with proven technologies, in order not to risk to produce an unreliable motorcar.
It was styled to look massive and to command presence, with its looks characterized by a tall and raked front grille. Its 2.8 liter straight six proved reliable and sturdy, and produced 85 hp at 3.000 rpm, enough to propel this 2,5 tonnes giant to 130 kph. In particular, such a powerplant proved ideal to be used at walking-pace speed, as the 2800 accompanied quite a few marches of the Regime at the time in Italy.
With WWII at the gates, the 2800 was born in the worst time possible. Until 1944 it was produced in 621 examples of which 12 were bodied in record time as "Torpedo Reale" (or Royal Torpedoes), just in time for Hitler's visit in 1938. The remaining chassis were sold as: saloons (288), Military Torpedoes (210) and the remaining 111 had quite an adventurous life. On one of these last chassis, Bertone was able to make a stunning Cabriolet and Stanguellini built in 1939 a "Sport" type motorcar with which was able to achieve important victories in the 1500cc class after the war.
Whether it was carrying important heads of state, proving its worth on the battlefields of Europe or even being admired on the streets, the Fiat 2800 has been a remarkable automobile.