Fiat Group Automobiles, through the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands, is taking part in the second edition of Uniques special ones over this weekend. The brands are being represented by the Mefistofele (bottom) and 8C Spider (top), respectively (both cars seen here in action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed).

Fiat Group Automobiles, through the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands, is taking part in the second edition of Uniques special ones this weekend, an exclusive event that presents and showcases cars and objects which are unique or rare because they have been made in limited numbers or because of their historic value.

The event is organised by MAC Group and is being staged this weekend in Florence against the picturesque backdrop of the Gherardesca Palace, Convent and Garden, that houses the Four Seasons Hotel. At the same time Uniques special ones is a concours, an exhibition and a public relations event.

The heart of the event is the six-category Unique Cars International Concours for one-off cars, rare models remaining from extremely limited productions; prototypes; concept and show cars; famous cars (particularly notable, for instance because owned by celebrities, winners of important championships, protagonists of spectacular events, or coaches built on the first or last chassis produced) and very limited edition cars (of which less than 20 were made or remain). Once again this year, the concours panel is featuring major names from the world of design, art, automotive production, culture and communications, including Lorenzo Ramaciotti, Fiat Group Chief Designer.

Taking part in the concours is the famous Mefistofele, a record-breaking car made by Sir Ernest Eldridge using a 1908 Fiat SB4 Corsa. The history of this unique model is fascinating. Sir Eldridge bought a 1908 Fiat SB4 racing car at the end of its competitive career with the aim of making a record-breaking car that would satisfy his dreams and be in keeping with the pioneering philosophy of the age. He modified the car by lengthening the chassis, using parts derived from a London bus and adding a Fiat A12 aircraft engine (the "A-12 Bis") converted to deliver 320 HP at 1800 rpm (4 carburettors and 4 distributors were added in place of the 2 magnetos). On 12 July 1924, the Mefistofele - so called due to the bangs and puffs of smoke that it emitted when beating the world speed record - burned up the long beaten earth track at the extraordinary speed of 234.980 km/h. Avvocato Giovanni Agnelli purchased the car from the heirs of Sir Eldridge in 1969 and now this unique car belongs to the Fiat historical collection and has been returned to perfect working order after a long and laborious process of restoration.

Not competing, but a certain attraction, is the Alfa 8C Spider which is being displayed in front of the Four Seasons Hotel. Derived from the Alfa 8C Competizione, this convertible Limited Edition (500 vehicles all sold) was designed by the Alfa Romeo Stile Centro. Made completely from carbon fibre, the Alfa 8C Spider is equipped with a 4.7 litre 8-cylinder engine that develops 450 HP, teamed - thanks to transaxle architecture - with a 6-speed sequential manual gearbox. It also features a Brembo carbon ceramic (CCM) braking system.

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