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The real genius of the Tipo B?


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#1 angst

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 11:24

Sorry for the terrible title of this thread, but I couldn't think of any better way of putting it. Just re-reading Classic Front Engined Grand Prix Cars by Mr Ludvigson and it struck me that the fact that the Alfa Roméo Tipo B ever beat the massed ranks of the German teams was an absolute miracle - somewhat akin to Minardi beating a modern day Ferrari.

When the 'Monza' (the basis in so many ways for the Tipo B) was originally designed , Jano had to do so within very strict budgetary constraints. He built a dandy of an engine, but also ensured that the production of said motor could be performed as efficiently as possible. The Tipo B, likewise, had to use as it's base the 'Monza'. No clean sheet design for Jano.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because I feel that the accomplishments made by the two German outfits of the time are viewed with awe (and to some extent, rightly so), what would they have achieved given similar constraints to the Italian and French builders of the time?

I just wanted to flag this up and perhaps give Jano his due, to place his achievements of this era into some sort of perspective. Perhaps modern F1 has something to learn from this.

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 11:27

Fabulous title to the thread, angst...

But what about the real mystery of the Tipo B? It was this question that brought me to this forum so many years ago. Still unanswered, is there anyone here who can answer it now?

Or is it as I have surmised... that Jano didn't actually know what he was doing?

#3 angst

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 11:39

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Fabulous title to the thread, angst...

But what about the real mystery of the Tipo B? It was this question that brought me to this forum so many years ago. Still unanswered, is there anyone here who can answer it now?

Or is it as I have surmised... that Jano didn't actually know what he was doing?


You got my curiosity going there. I take it you're talking about the split drive shaft thingy (you can tell I'm incredibly technically minded ;) ). I'd always been lead to believe it was to lower the driver's seating position, but......

maybe with the Tipo A Jano noticed something (he felt was) advantageous, maybe something akin to the electronic/variable diffs used in F1 today. Hmmm... I can see this is going to be another odyssey into trying to understand another aspect of mechanical engineering. Damn. Cheers mate, thanks alot. ;)

EDIT: As to the point about Jano not knowing what he was doing, I think you may have a point, to an extent. I think the expenditure of the German teams, and the scrupulously scientific approach taken, was something of a departure. In general terms (as I'm sure Jano had as sound a mechanical understanding for the time as any automotive engineer), the Italian and French tradition was one of intuition. I think it would only be natural if a perceived mechanical advantage was 'discovered' by chance, whether the reasons for that advantage were fully understood or not one should not look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak.

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 11:57

Read all about it!

#5 dretceterini

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 11:58

I would think by triangulating the rear by adding a second drveshaft would make the whole rear end more rigid. It might also help with torque steer.....but the additional weight would probably cancel out any advantage...

#6 angst

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 09:11

Here's a question, one that some 'purists' may feel is irrelevant, so look away now.

What if there was no grant available to the German teams (for whatever reason) from the Government? Would Daimler-Benz have entertained Grand Prix racing, would Porsche have found a backer for his designs? If they had, how much of what they eventually came up with would they have introduced? And, while the Bugatti had absolutely no chance against the German teams, against the Italians they weren't so far off - might there have been more development on their part? Would the rate of development between the Italians have been so forced? Would there have been the hastily developed Tipo C? Would the V8-RI have been seen as a much bigger step forward than it has been?

Without the huge sums spent by the Nazis, would the 750kg formula have been viewed as something of a success, continuing the close competition between the competitors that existed, and the rate of development that that competition was engendering?

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 12:01

It has been said, however, that the money put into the German teams by the government wasn't any more than a fraction of what they spent...

#8 ensign14

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 12:08

By Chris Nixon in particular. But he did not take into account the contracts MB/AU got as a knock-on effect. I don't think Hitler went around in an Opel.

#9 Patrick Italiano

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 12:54

May I wonder what this thread is about actually?

I mean, we have been as far as we could, years ago, in discussing the rear axle layout, especially in the thread highlighted by Ray. I would be delighted if someone could add to that discussion, but so far I haven't seen a more educated discussion on the facts: what, how and why.

Jano was an old-school engineer who deserves the greatest praise for his achievements, including the post-war Lancia-Ferrari stage. No doubt. Yet, a more experimental/theoretically minded generation arose in the late 30s, including the Germans and Ricart at Alfa. We shall as well discuss whether he "built castles in the air" and his designs had the slightest chance of being successful, had he got enough time and finance to develop them, or they were flawed and irrealistic. At Alfa, the postwar survivors can be read commenting in both ways according to the person (Sanesi and Satta against Ricart, Busso pro-Ricart).

But I fail to see what kind of better/new understanding we can have from a discussion on what would have happened if the German teams had got less or no money. :confused:

#10 angst

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 08:50

Originally posted by Patrick Italiano
May I wonder what this thread is about actually?

I mean, we have been as far as we could, years ago, in discussing the rear axle layout, especially in the thread highlighted by Ray. I would be delighted if someone could add to that discussion, but so far I haven't seen a more educated discussion on the facts: what, how and why.

Jano was an old-school engineer who deserves the greatest praise for his achievements, including the post-war Lancia-Ferrari stage. No doubt. Yet, a more experimental/theoretically minded generation arose in the late 30s, including the Germans and Ricart at Alfa. We shall as well discuss whether he "built castles in the air" and his designs had the slightest chance of being successful, had he got enough time and finance to develop them, or they were flawed and irrealistic. At Alfa, the postwar survivors can be read commenting in both ways according to the person (Sanesi and Satta against Ricart, Busso pro-Ricart).

But I fail to see what kind of better/new understanding we can have from a discussion on what would have happened if the German teams had got less or no money. :confused:


Good question. From my point of view, I'm trying to get my head round a few questions. I think there are a few assumptions that have been made that may be incorrect, and that only by taking into account the part the German teams played can one question those assumptions.

A few examples. It's generally regarded that Bugatti was dogmatic in his design concepts and thus never took on independent suspension for his Grand Prix cars because of that. But is that true? Didn't he use independent suspension on his T53 4WD? Or was it more a case of being so off the pace of the Auto-Unions and Mercs that there seemed little point in developing such systems? (This would make the later intransigence on the design of the T251 even more ridiculous than it already was).

I also think that the relentless pressure of the spending of those teams forced Jano into some seriously panicked designs. The 8C-35 always seemed to me a terrible hotch-potch of ideas, not at all in line with his, up to then, quite refined thinking.

The CSI are generally derided for getting it so wrong with the Grand Prix regulations for this time, and Ludvigson in his aforementioned book questions whether the formula might not have died the same death as those that had come before it. I wonder, though, whether that's unfair on the CSI. They could not possibly have predicted at that time that any manufacturer would be in a position to spend what the German teams did. And the rules seem to me, given that, pretty enlightened - taking on board the 'Formula Libre' mentality while restricting, effectively, excessive engine size.

And what was the position of those German teams? If the grants weren't available, or if the German electorate had rejected the National Socialists would they have considered going racing? And if so, on what level?

Oh, and as I said at the beginning, just to put the competitiveness of the Tipo B into some sort of perspective against the W25 and Auto-Union, given the differing design parameters that spawned them.

#11 ensign14

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 09:09

I'd forget Bugatti, to me they're overrated. Their greatest successes came when literally no-one else was competing. That could be because they were so good they frightened everyone off, but given that a Blower Bentley roadcar beat all the GP Bugs bar one at the French GP one year (and that one needed an Etancelin to beat Birkin) I dunno whether that's true.

#12 Patrick Italiano

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 10:23

angst, I would not question your approach, yet, for what I know and how I figure out Alfa Romeo in the 30s, I still feel uncomfortable. I think you take the problem the wrong way round, if you don't mind me saying so.

Jano was the kind of engineer to inspect the state-of-the art engineering, then try to follow the winning lines, adding, from his experience proper detailing in order to avoid design flaws, and so on.

The evolution of the concepts in chassis and engine design from the mid-30s forced him to look into new fields for him. His approach would have needed the means to build prototype cars, then have some time ahead to sort them out.

Alfa Romeo has been on the bank of bankrupcy many times over its life, including several times in the 1932-33 period. Afterwards, Alfa was re-financed, but only to suit the military supply demand: trucks and aero engines. Figure out that Alfa, in 1936, produced 10 (ten) cars. From 1935-36, aero engines activity accounted for 70-75 % of the activity, trucks and busses another 20% and cars roughly 5%.

When Jano needed the experimental department to cast or machine the parts for a new racer, he had to wait for months before getting anything. The same was going for having designers to execute the detail drawings, and so on. That's where the task was impossible. You cannot produce a winning car in a competitive environment if you haven't even a designer tu put your ideas on paper.

So the problem is not, in my opinion, what would have happened without the German's money, but what would have happened if Jano were been granted decent funding, support and staff.

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 10:30

Like McLaren and Williams versus Ferrari today?

I think you do sell Jano a little short. His work on the first bimotore was groundbreaking and revolutionary. As I've said before, I think he found he was onto something here and he simply didn't understand what it was.

#14 angst

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 11:30

Originally posted by Patrick Italiano
angst, I would not question your approach, yet, for what I know and how I figure out Alfa Romeo in the 30s, I still feel uncomfortable. I think you take the problem the wrong way round, if you don't mind me saying so.

Jano was the kind of engineer to inspect the state-of-the art engineering, then try to follow the winning lines, adding, from his experience proper detailing in order to avoid design flaws, and so on.

The evolution of the concepts in chassis and engine design from the mid-30s forced him to look into new fields for him. His approach would have needed the means to build prototype cars, then have some time ahead to sort them out.

Alfa Romeo has been on the bank of bankrupcy many times over its life, including several times in the 1932-33 period. Afterwards, Alfa was re-financed, but only to suit the military supply demand: trucks and aero engines. Figure out that Alfa, in 1936, produced 10 (ten) cars. From 1935-36, aero engines activity accounted for 70-75 % of the activity, trucks and busses another 20% and cars roughly 5%.

When Jano needed the experimental department to cast or machine the parts for a new racer, he had to wait for months before getting anything. The same was going for having designers to execute the detail drawings, and so on. That's where the task was impossible. You cannot produce a winning car in a competitive environment if you haven't even a designer tu put your ideas on paper.

So the problem is not, in my opinion, what would have happened without the German's money, but what would have happened if Jano were been granted decent funding, support and staff.


The point I made about the Tipo B stands, though. There was a great deal of good engineering went into that car, including the efficiency of production. The German teams essentially came in with a blank cheque and moved the goalposts massively. Would the Italian teams have stressed their engine designs to such a huge capacity, for starters? Would the 8cylinder from Alfa have been stretched to 3.8 litres? I doubt it. Would the V8-RI still have existed? Possibly, but with a much lower engine capacity. And it's competitiveness against the Tipo Bs and, perhaps, a more modest W25 might have made a project worthwhile pursuing. And, as I said, without being utterly overwhelmed might Bugatti have put a little more effort into producing a half effective Grand Prix car together? He had a lot of potential customers, after all.

Basically, what I'm suggesting is that a far more interesting technical battle might have come about without the great influence of the massive sums spent by the German teams. There was a pretty healthy and fierce rivalry ongoing between Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Bugatti. The 'invasion' of the silver arrows just seemed to swamp Grand Prix racing into a battle of who could fit the biggest engine into their car while remaining under the 750Kg. Indeed it was exactly that (monster engines) that the 750kg formula was intended to stop.

#15 Patrick Italiano

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 12:52

OK, you are of course totally free to spend your mind at another "what if..." Take ANY race, remove the winner and you will find that the second placed would have won. You can also remove the first two, etc.

The Tipo B was an exceptionally successful racing car, no doubt. Jano did a great job with it. And Jano was not a "squeezed lemon" when he resigned from Alfa in late 1937 either. The switch from cart-sprung, flexible chassis - where Jano excelled - to independent sprung cars might be looked at, even 70 years afterwards, as a progress in automotive design, isn't it? And Jano din't anything more than buying the Porsche patent and adapting it to his wishes. His first layout was indeed, er, weird, as Busso explains in Anselmi's book on the 6C2500.

I could agree that excess of available money leads to some nonsense technical evolution. I would rate the current F1 that way, indeed. But instead the German GP teams DID introduce new techniques which turned out useful in the post-war car production: a 1972 Alfetta features a DeDion rear axle (M-B 1937), a rear mounted gearbox (TipoC 1935), front torsion bars (Porsche), etc. Alfa developped three leading shoes drum brakes for the Giulietta Sprint Speciale in the late 50s from Ricart's Tipo 512. The specific output of racing engines, at Alfa and among competitors has been analysed by Borgeson in "Alfa Romeo tradition" in a convincing way: Jano didn't improve his specific output from the 1924 P2.

I completely fail to understand the "efficiency of production" issue, instead. :confused:

Ray, the Tipo A featured as unexpected side-effect a better motricty. Otherwise, as Busso rates it in his memories, it was an engineering horror, sorry. You go nowhere with two standard production engines side-by-side in a racing car...

And I am not playing down Alfa Romeo's achievements, you know...

#16 dretceterini

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 20:26

I believe Busso was a genius, and the actual force behind getting the Ferrari Tipo 125 done, rather than Colombo!

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 20:58

Wow, Patrick! What a list you give!

Those torsion bar suspensions, in my opinion, held back suspension development in German road cars rather than advancing them. The use of a de Dion rear end and unitary transmission, as in various front engined GP cars of those decades and the Alfetta was hardly revolutionary.

Look back to some cars, like Oaklands and Regals, of the earlier part of the century and you find similar experimentation. Not the same, not blending the front engine/rear transaxle/de Dion rear end together, but putting the transmission in unit with the final drive and separating it from the engine.

3-leading shoe brakes were, again, merely evolutionary. And, probably as much as anything, used in a production Alfa because it would give good copy to those writing about them on their release. After all, disc brakes were already a reality.

And yes, I know the Tipo A had one serious deficiency in the way its driveline was set up. But like I said, I feel that Jano saw something good in there and tried to recapture it in a design without that deficiency. But I also believe he overlooked the actual reason for the advantage.

#18 angst

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 09:11

The Lancia D50 is an example of where Jano might have started taking his designs. Using the engine as a part of the stressed structure of the car, the 'pontoons' between the wheels - neither of those were 'learned' from the Mercedes or Auto-Union teams. There were other designers like Colombo already thinking about a rear engined racing car (I wonder how much of the T251 was based around his earlier, pre-war thinking). There were plenty of avenues of development that, I believe, were subsumed in the chase to copy the Germans, and in some cases lost because that challenge was such a hopeless cause.

The German teams are applauded for bringing independent suspension into mainstream Grand Prix design, but as they were used in the earlier cars they were probably no better than the solid axles, due to the lack of rigidity of the chassis.

Necessity is the mother of invention. What happened, imo, with the coming of the German teams was a chase for bigger engines, a chase to copy the Germans' new technology, a chase, in effect, to parody the successful German cars. In doing so, though, on much lesser budgets, their own innovationsa were smothered. So, while the Germans increased engine size and engine efficiencies, the Italian teams could only keep pace with the expansion of capacity, lightening their chassis to such an extent that they weakened them, fitting independent suspension with little knowledge as to what made them work. While the German teams could channel a ton of money at understanding these issues the others could only try and keep up.

It seems to me that some quite strongly held beliefs have grown up from this era, and maybe they need to be put into context. That Jano was so flawed for one. I'm not arguing that he was perfect but.... "Jano was the kind of engineer to inspect the state-of-the art engineering, then try to follow the winning lines..." seems entirely based upon this era. "...And Jano din't anything more than buying the Porsche patent and adapting it to his wishes. His first layout was indeed, er, weird, as Busso explains" ; "...Jano didn't improve his specific output from the 1924 P2..." . And yet, against the amount of money spent by the Mercs and Auto-Unions his Tipo B still won - not often, but.... And how does one explain the D-50 in terms of the first quote?

Another is that Bugatti was dogmatic in his approach to design. Maybe to an extent, but...again I think this comes down to this era. His 4WD, the U-16, the aerodynamic experiments in the Twenties and on his sportscars don't seem to me to be someone shying away from innovation. The idea that Bugatti were overrated, again imo stems entirely from this era.

#19 Patrick Italiano

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 10:48

Ray:

1) the torsion bars had their advantages, well identified. Then a greater amount of development, including in metallurgy, allowed the coil springs to have the edge.

2) Of course racing often uses original ideas developped elsewhere. Look how much the cars owe to aviation. Racing allows to sort them out and see if they actually work. The DeDion was recognized as a major improvement over the swing axle for IRS, until more efficient layouts were developped. Remember that Ferrari tried again a DeDion in 1973 on a 312 F1, albeit without success.

3) The three leading shoes drum brakes were not a marketing trick, sorry. Alfa sent back to Dunlop the first disc brakes with an ignominous rating, where instead the Alfa drums stood the tests. It's documented by many Alfa insiders, from Busso to Sanesi.

angst:

I agree that Jano proved after the war he was not a squeezed lemon, I've already stated so above. But he designed the D50 15 years after the era we are discussing about.

That's another "what if" I fail to see where it would lead us: take any racing project, consider it would have appeared some years earlier and you have a formidable winner...

And, sorry, the sentences of mine you quote about Jano result from a deep analysis of mine of the circumstances of his activity at Alfa and those of his resignation, as well as of the projects of his followers. You are entitled to disagree, of course. But I fail to find in Borgeson text any anti-Jano bias, for instance.

Another point: the Tipo C had an excellent handling that allowed it to have the edge on the German cars on twisty courses. That's the evidence Jano was not such a bad engneer even at building independently sprung cars, nor that the chassis had to be too flexible.

The Tipo B was built under Gianferrari's management at Alfa, before the creation of IRI and hiring of Gobbato.

Your act of faith toward Jano makes me uncomfortable. I have a great respect for him after studying the archives. His cars are arguably the greatest of the prewar era, at least as far as sports cars are concerned,a nd his GP cars were as well outstanding in most cases. But this last post of yours sounds more the expression of a supportership than a sensible historical analysis, IMHO.

It' is not a rating bias of the era to keep in mind that Jano had no engineering degree, just as Merosi had also none, nor Bruno Trevisan or Giuseppe Busso. Jano's theorical preparation was certainly lower than that of many other technical directors, but he compensated with intuition, experience, sharp memory and hard work. Jano didn't invent, he improved existing designs. And that's not little.

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 11:23

Patrick, I have no qualms about commending the individual items...

Torsion bars are still useful. It's the way that the torsion bar suspensions were used at the time that I feel was bad. And they continued to be less than ideal until VW did away with them in the sixties.

They were rugged and acceptable, but they weren't ideal and could never emulate what double wishbones could do. Double wishbones with torsion bars, on the other hand, had advantages all their own.

I would never criticise the de Dion rear axle. But you mentioned it in the Alfetta, uniquely similar to the GP cars in havit it in concert with a transaxle. I have (wrongly?) taken it that you meant the two together, but as you mention the one car that did so this is the way I've understood your meaning.

I'm surprised about the brakes, but again I look at the purpose of the design. I'm told that duo-servo shoe designs self-energise to a greater degree than any twin leading shoe type, so it wasn't the be-all end-all of inclusions.

I'm sure there are many other things that the pre-war German racing development contributed to road car design. Many would have been superseded by now, of course, but they did make contributions.

Alfa too, undoubtedly their use of the Dubonnet front suspension on the later Tipo Bs helped sell that patent to other manufacturers, for instance.

#21 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 12:13

Thank you very much to all involved in this fantastic debate.

I would like to ask you a question, if you don´t mind. How would you compare Jano and Colombo ??

#22 angst

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 12:28

Originally posted by Patrick Italiano
Ray:

1) the torsion bars had their advantages, well identified. Then a greater amount of development, including in metallurgy, allowed the coil springs to have the edge.

2) Of course racing often uses original ideas developped elsewhere. Look how much the cars owe to aviation. Racing allows to sort them out and see if they actually work. The DeDion was recognized as a major improvement over the swing axle for IRS, until more efficient layouts were developped. Remember that Ferrari tried again a DeDion in 1973 on a 312 F1, albeit without success.

3) The three leading shoes drum brakes were not a marketing trick, sorry. Alfa sent back to Dunlop the first disc brakes with an ignominous rating, where instead the Alfa drums stood the tests. It's documented by many Alfa insiders, from Busso to Sanesi.

angst:

I agree that Jano proved after the war he was not a squeezed lemon, I've already stated so above. But he designed the D50 15 years after the era we are discussing about.

That's another "what if" I fail to see where it would lead us: take any racing project, consider it would have appeared some years earlier and you have a formidable winner...

And, sorry, the sentences of mine you quote about Jano result from a deep analysis of mine of the circumstances of his activity at Alfa and those of his resignation, as well as of the projects of his followers. You are entitled to disagree, of course. But I fail to find in Borgeson text any anti-Jano bias, for instance.

Another point: the Tipo C had an excellent handling that allowed it to have the edge on the German cars on twisty courses. That's the evidence Jano was not such a bad engneer even at building independently sprung cars, nor that the chassis had to be too flexible.

The Tipo B was built under Gianferrari's management at Alfa, before the creation of IRI and hiring of Gobbato.

Your act of faith toward Jano makes me uncomfortable. I have a great respect for him after studying the archives. His cars are arguably the greatest of the prewar era, at least as far as sports cars are concerned,a nd his GP cars were as well outstanding in most cases. But this last post of yours sounds more the expression of a supportership than a sensible historical analysis, IMHO.

It' is not a rating bias of the era to keep in mind that Jano had no engineering degree, just as Merosi had also none, nor Bruno Trevisan or Giuseppe Busso. Jano's theorical preparation was certainly lower than that of many other technical directors, but he compensated with intuition, experience, sharp memory and hard work. Jano didn't invent, he improved existing designs. And that's not little.


This is not about some blind, slavish support for Jano. It is a 'what if', but one with a purpose. It seems to me that Jano's work pre this era, and post this era seem to be very respected. And, yes, I'm sure that on a deeper level he had his shortcomings. But..... was his intuition and technical nouse really any less than that of the engineers/designers working for Merc and Auto-Union? Likewise, Bugatti were genuinely competitive throughout the Twenties and early Thirties. They experimented with aerodynamic bodyshapes on their sportscars (as well as some of their earlier Grand Prix cars), they had developed a U-16, the 4WD T53. And yet they have a reputation for being over-rated and dogmatic in their design approach - out of their depth, if you like. Same goes, to a lesser extent, for the Maserati brothers. On even less money than Alfa they produced cars that kept them on their toes (forcing the recall of the Tipo Bs with their 8CM, for example).

It seems to me that the engineers at both Auto-Union and Mercedes made some leaps into the dark themselves, and only the availability of massive budgets made the difference between their engineering and that of their competitors. For example, the use of independent suspension with flexible chassis. This was discovered after exhaustive testing.

In fact, let's take Jano's name out of it to avoid muddying the waters. The engineering team at Alfa made no significant strides in specific output. That may very well be true, but what I'm saying is that seems to me to take no account of the reasons for that. What they knew of the German cars they tried to emulate, but within much more stringent budgetary constraints. So they were building bigger and bigger engines. Come the 3.0 litre regulations weren't there improvements in this area? That to me suggests that they over-stretched themselves on trying to keep up with the increased engine capacities of that formula.

While Alfa were being egged on by Mussolini there was no such pressure upon Bugatti. Bugatti, perhaps wisely, probably saw the money being poured into the German teams and buggered off elsewhere knowing there was no way they could compete. Bugatti, of course, never recovered post war, so their reputation is more entrenched in their final years.

I suppose the question I'm asking, indirectly through a 'what if' is were the Italian and French engineers of the time given less than their due because of the overwhelming superiority of the Germans - without really taking into account the factors limiting and leading their development? Or, perhaps, were the German engineers of the time over-rated, for the same reason?

Perception is everything, after all.

#23 aldo

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 14:47

I don't want to enter the mainstream subject of this thread, leaving it to Patrick and other knowledgeable guys like him (if any other exists!).
I'd like to add that the T53 Bugatti mentioned by someone was commissioned by patron Ettore through Meo Costantini to Giulio Cesare Cappa, who is responsible of the design, delivered all drawings and sent someone from his consulting office in Turin to Molsheim for assisting in the construction. Therefore, the T 53 is not a Bugatti to be used as a reference model.
I acknowledge the merit of such an unknown (to me) story to Ms. Donatella Biffignandi, the curator of the Historical Archives at the Turin Automobile Museum and one of the top motor historians here in Italy.

#24 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 14:53

Originally posted by Arturo Pereira
.....I would like to ask you a question, if you don´t mind. How would you compare Jano and Colombo ??


I have no idea on this, Arturo... I know very little about either, really...

#25 dretceterini

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 15:16

Jano was a superb engineer, it appears most of his problems were caused by politics, and not lack of talent.

As to Colombo (I assume you mean the Ferrari Colombo and not the Gilco Colombo) the stories from him and Busso almost opposites of each other, and I would tend to believe Busso over Colombo.

#26 AT Cooke

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:34

Racing success in a given era is all about the package, not just the individual technical details. Early on, a good driver (Chiron, Nuvolari) in a Tipo B could dump the German cars while using less power because the Tipo B was so driveable, or do I say raceable? It was reliable, could put its power on the road and had pots of usable torque (it only had a three speed box!) - this obliged the Germans to go on a massive technical spending spree, since they were committed not just to racing but to winning. Once they broke through that barrier, they were more or less untouchable, until beaten by the Dreyfus Delahaye at Pau in 1938 - the lovely new Benz wasn't the right package on that circuit, where useable torque and a canny driver won the day. It's the same on bikes - it took the multis ages to get the Manx Norton out of the way, outdated though it was by the 1950's, and singles like Velocette went on winning distance races and setting distance records well into the 60's because they were so well sorted and well balanced - given an extra 35 BHP they would have eaten their tyres and chains and clutches for breakfact and tied their own frames in knots. This is a cardinal principle of design excellence at any given time, and much of the fun and the tension of motor sport arises out of the conflict between old, perfected and new, experimental technologies.

#27 David Beard

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:56

Originally posted by Patrick Italiano
Ray:

1) the torsion bars had their advantages, well identified. Then a greater amount of development, including in metallurgy, allowed the coil springs to have the edge.

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I don't understand. What well identified advantage does a torsion bar have over a coil spring, other than compactness in some installation configurations? A spring is a spring.

And a coil spring is but a helical torsion bar...

#28 Patrick Italiano

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 15:38

Originally posted by David Beard


I don't understand. What well identified advantage does a torsion bar have over a coil spring, other than compactness in some installation configurations?


Less unsprung weight. And when the steel is suited for the configuration of a coil spring (thickness, elasticity), or when the shape of the coil does matter (progressive action), you have the edge over the torsion bar. Now if you afford having exactly what you want manufactured for you, like the rear suspension of a modern F1, the torsion bar gets back the edge in saving space.

Otherwise, I agree that the whole package wins the race...

From the top of my memory, the Tipo B gearbox went down to 3 gears instead of 4 when it needed being strenghtened to cope with the increased engine power and capacity. But all the Roots-blown engines of the era had plenty of torque. The "infamous" ;) Tipo A, with its two 6C1750 engines had the peak torque at 1500 rpm according to Fusi's book.

Arturo, the question on Jano and Colombo deserves a longer reply I can't afford now. Hopefully, I'll try to come back to that later.

#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 22:09

There are some who would argue on the unsprung weight advantages of a torsion bar, but I certainly won't... definitely ahead there...

But my issue, that raised the point, was with the type of suspension they tied to the torsion bars.

As used in a Morris Minor, perfect.

#30 Patrick Italiano

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 13:02

Originally posted by Ray Bell

But my issue, that raised the point, was with the type of suspension they tied to the torsion bars.

As used in a Morris Minor, perfect.


I agree, but I would rather refer to a 1940 Alfa 512 or a 1972 Alfetta. Oh, BTW, I drive daily a GTV6 :cool: