From 1952 till 1954 Fiat made an exclusive sports car named the 8V (Otto Vu) after its compact 8 cylinder engine. Though the car was successful in competition, Fiat found it hard to sell the largely hand-built cars. Traditionally Fiat catered to the masses and it proved difficult to convince more affluent driving enthusiasts to buy an expensive Fiat.
Siata on the other hand was well known and respected in those circles and had a close relationship with Fiat. So a deal was struck in which Siata bought a large portion of 8V engines and chassis (around 70 of the nearly 200 made) and sold them as "Siata derivata Fiat" model 208 S (short for 2 Liter, 8 cylinder Sport). Siata had tweaked the engines a little with some of their tuning parts and had new open and closed bodywork designed and produced by well-known Italian coachbuilders.
Remarkably Siata was particularly successful in selling these cars in the US. Best known was the 208 S spyder styled by Michelotti which sold 35 times, one of them to actor Steve McQueen. The car shown here, chassis CS057L, however has characteristic Bertone berlinetta bodywork and is a one-off. It's also one of the few cars with an extended wheelbase ("Lungo"). Like many of its siblings it was first sold in the US, apparently to a Mr. Walt Eisenstark.
What struck me most about this car is what a stark contrast it forms to the streamlined original Fiat 8V, and the similarities to the Arnolt MG, another Bertone built coupe for an American customer.