Feature Vehicle of the Month
1910 Fiat S76 “Beast of Turin”
Land Speed Record Car
Running after 10 year Restoration!
"The two FIAT S76 cars were built in 1910/11 to take the land speed record from Mercedes’ Blitzen Benz. In this prewar period the thinking was that ‘bigger displacement is best’ and there was an amazing range of monstrous machines. There was the 25 litre V8 Darracq in 1905 (which was the first car to do two miles in a minute), Mercedes built a comically long car called the flying Dutchman which had two huge engines, one behind the other. At 28.3 litres (and only 4 cylinders) the FIAT S76 has the largest car engine ever built. (Editor – 7.5-inch bore x 9.843-inch stroke!) (There are a few cars around with larger engines - but they’re aero engines). You may think that 300hp isn’t great for such a big engine - but it has more torque than a Bugatti Veyron! With the development of the aeroplane - and lessons learned in motor racing - engine design changed dramatically over the first world war - and it spelled the end for these behemoths.
The big FIAT tried to set records at various venues. At Brooklands it nearly went over the banking, they then drove it to Saltburn sands in the North of England on the public roads. The sand was in poor condition but it still reached 116mph. It was at Ostende in 1913 that the final attempts were made. It did reach a record speed of 135mph - but failed to do the return run needed to make it official - a new rule at the time.
At the wheel was racing driver Arthur Duray. He reckoned that first and second gear were okay, that third gear called upon all of his experience as a racing driver and that fourth gear needed the courage of a hundred men!
The cars - and the Russian Count who owned one of them - disappeared and were seemingly lost forever until Duncan Pittaway traced the engine of one and what he believes is the chassis of the other. For over 10 years he worked laboriously to reconstruct as original a car as he could - his one goal being to drive the beast which he’d seen in period photos. Using copies of the original FIAT plans, Duncan and his assistants Bruce and Tucker set about reconstructing the car - with specialists helping with the new bodywork and gearbox."
Photos and Text Source:
Next Club Meeting...
The Florida Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7 P.M. at the Kress Memorial Church of Seventh-Day Adventists, 746 Formosa Av, Winter Park, Florida 32789. Located 2 blocks south of Fairbanks Avenue.
Next Club Activity
April 13, 2015 (Monday)