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Fiat Balilla history


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#1 david venables

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 17:28

I have a 1936 Fiat 508S Balilla. It was registered in London in June 1936 (reg. no. CYH 567) and it seems accepted by the Fiat cognoscenti that it had a pre-war competition history. Despite many years' research I have been unable to give it a definite attribution or identify a driver. It has been suggested that B.A. Leigh is the most likely name. He drove at Brooklands in minor club events ( JCC and MCC) and was also a class winner at Dancer's End in 1937. If anyone has any photographs of CYH 567 in action pre-WW2 or any information abouts its history I will be extremely grateful.

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#2 Graham Gauld

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 10:29

I have a 1936 Fiat 508S Balilla. It was registered in London in June 1936 (reg. no. CYH 567) and it seems accepted by the Fiat cognoscenti that it had a pre-war competition history. Despite many years' research I have been unable to give it a definite attribution or identify a driver. It has been suggested that B.A. Leigh is the most likely name. He drove at Brooklands in minor club events ( JCC and MCC) and was also a class winner at Dancer's End in 1937. If anyone has any photographs of CYH 567 in action pre-WW2 or any information abouts its history I will be extremely grateful.y



Reference Balillas some of the 508s were modified by V H Tuson in the UK and close on fifty of these were used in various motor sporting events from 1935 and through 1936. Tuson's own car lapped the outer circuit at Brooklands at 92 mph. Then there was LeStrange Metcalfe who raced one at Goodwood in the early 1950s. Also there were one or two in Ulster one driven by ffrench-Davies who was second in the County Down trophy and I believe that Desmond Titterington's first competitive event was with a Balilla
In 1936 no fewer than three teams of Balillas were entered for the Light Car Clubs relay race at Brooklands.They included Elsie Wisdom who finished fourth. Again, in Ulster Sullivan retired his supercharged Balilla but McGrattan finished tenth with an unsupercharged one. The Wisdom car registration was DPL 998 and was to be fitted with an 1100cc engine .
In 1937 there were three Balillas in the Donington TT
For the record most of this information was trawled from good old Michael Sedgwick's book Fiat published by Batsfords in 1974 ISBN 7134 0473 6. A great read by a great storyteller

#3 moffspeed

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Posted 24 March 2021 - 19:39

I have a 1936 Fiat 508S Balilla. It was registered in London in June 1936 (reg. no. CYH 567) and it seems accepted by the Fiat cognoscenti that it had a pre-war competition history. Despite many years' research I have been unable to give it a definite attribution or identify a driver. It has been suggested that B.A. Leigh is the most likely name. He drove at Brooklands in minor club events ( JCC and MCC) and was also a class winner at Dancer's End in 1937. If anyone has any photographs of CYH 567 in action pre-WW2 or any information abouts its history I will be extremely grateful.

 

9 years on and a post resurrection. I don't know what became of David but seemingly he hasn't posted here since 2012.

 

I unwittingly acquired an impressive pile of Fiat ephemera at our local general auction house at the weekend. I was specifically after the old Pickavant valve spring compressor which was the headline act in the banana box of miscellaneous automotive bits but on arriving home found an envelope crammed full of old Fiat photos. Several of these photos depicted Balillas in competition and, yes, CYH 567 features in a few. The photos are post- rather than pre-war and feature D.C.(David) Manning both circuit racing "CYH" and also participating in a Trial in mid Wales.

 

I believe these photos were once the property of George Lister-Young who headed up the Fiat Register in the 1960s as the stash includes a sleeve of negatives with his name on the packaging.

 

Either way, if the current owner of CYH or any other Balilla owner frequents this site I would be happy to forward a stack of period Balilla photos to them.



#4 Tim Murray

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Posted 24 March 2021 - 20:51

David is unfortunately no longer with us. I believe CYH 567 is currently owned by London lawyer Craig Jones and rides around on this neat little Alfa transporter:

E500-B367-EFE4-442-D-B883-54-A733079-A67

but I’ve no idea how to contact him other than through the VSCC.