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Fiat S76


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#1 john medley

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 01:32

Between races at Historic Winton over the weekend I saw the recent Motor Sport article which said that Duncan Pittaway in the UK had almost reunited the chassis of one of these cars with the engine of the other, with the intention of running it in the future.

What particularly caught my eye was the information that he had found the chassis in Australia where it had lain idle following an alleged race accident in 1924 when powered by Stutz

Further research yesterday indicated that Duncan Pittaway appears to have acquired the chassis and the rest at least 5 years ago, that the chassis came from the Bob Chamberlain collection, and that I could find no record of the car's presence in Australia or of its Stuz-engined 1924 accident. I also noted that we on TNF were advised of the find in an oblique sort of way back in 2002( put Fiat S76 into Search BB)

All of this I find remarkable, although perhaps not as remarkable as some of my friends who are aero-engined car freaks like Frank Cuttell and Paul Armstrong will, nor as remarkable as John Cummins does-- seeing he was apprenticed to Chamberlain's all those years ago and regarded Bob Chamberlain as one of his mentors

Among the questions I'd like to raise are
can anyone add info to this story?
are we able to identify at this distance how and when Bob Chamberlain got the car/chassis?
how did it get from its N Hemisphere location to Australia(Russian Revolution and a World War perhaps playing a part?)?
did it actually race in Australia? In what form?
I note Bob Chamberlain actually raced at Aspendale and elsewhere in 1924, but not in this car. Is that when he made contact with it?

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#2 cosworth bdg

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 03:41

This will turn out to be a very interesting thread............ :up:.............. Many thanks ,regards, PN.

#3 dbw

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 05:02

isn't mr pittaway the chap that assembles edwardian chassis and ww1 aero engine specials ?

i did in fact track a fiat airship engine [actually two] of a similar type used in the car. advertized in aero magazine, they disappeared into canada fifteen or so years ago....

interesting thread indeed. :wave:

#4 john medley

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 07:30

Bob Chamberlain of course had several large Edwardians or parts thereof, some of which he returned to fine fettle and then used: several Prince Henry Benz' and the Napier "Samson" to name just three. He did accumulate bits and whole cars, so it is quite conceivable that he could have done likewise with the S76 Fiat. But how is it that there has never(to my knowledge, anyway) been mention or sight of " The Beast of Turin" in Australia prior to this recent magical appearance?

GM Hutton crashed his Hispano Suiza engined Minerva at Aspendale(Victoria) on 15th March 1924 -- but a Minerva isnt a Fiat, this car retained its distinctive Minerva radiator, its aero engine was Hispano Suiza not Fiat or Stutz, and the car was soon sold to NSW where in 1925 Don Harkness exceeded 100mph in it at Gerringong Beach. I cant find any other car closer in style than that to "an S76 which crashed in Australia in 1924"(or 1923,1925,1926...).

One cant say there were plenty of Edwardian monsters in Australia, but there were some, some well known some less so. How can it be that the greatest monster of them all is until now completely unknown?

#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 19:48

Our motor club was very fortunate to have Duncan Pittaway come along in March to give us a talk on this amazing car - his talk is reported here.

Unfortunately it doesn't answer any of your questions - according to Duncan he was on the track of other Edwardian bits in Australia when he received a tip-off that there was an interesting chassis in the Chamberlain collection, but no-one seemed to know how it had got there.

#6 john medley

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 22:35

Thanks Tim. I had discovered that article in my looking around the internet 2 days ago. Love the photo of Duncan Pittaway with the giant conrod.

On 5th May 1924 at Aspendale G Austin drove a 90hp Stutz in only one event, a Consolation Handicap(so what was he being consoled about?) to finish 2nd. Described only as"a big car", the Stutz could only just outpace his co marker a 10hp Talbot. No other details. Could this be the Beast?

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 00:46

No G Austins in a Stutz in other events in the same era?

Any other drivers ran a 90hp Stutz that day and weren't in that race?

Methinks the picture illustrates your view of this whole affair...

#8 john medley

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 05:41

No other Stutz racing(though some roadgoing cars in hillclimbs/trials), no G Austin anywhere else just in that one consolation handicap race.

I think the Motor Sport article says that the car that crashed in 1924 Stutz engined ran as a Fiat Special. The only Fiats I can find racing in Australia at that time were small engined

How easy I wonder would it be anyway for anyone to positively identify one of the only two S76 chassis? Can you imagine your own reaction if you were a keen European Edwardian Monsters enthusiast if you were casually told" Oh, that over there under the dust and rubbish. That's been there since 1924. It's a Fiat S76 chassis". OF COURSE you'd want to believe it, but would you?

If you type Fiat S76 into this forum's Search BB, you'll find some fascinating stuff. Can any of those contributors to that thread add stuff to this thread?

#9 bradbury west

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 11:10

Originally posted by john medley

If you type Fiat S76 into this forum's Search BB, you'll find some fascinating stuff.


I have just done that, and having read through lots of the postings, it is a classic endorsement of Colonel Capps' comments on another thread about just how much historical information is to be found on these threads. Nuff said.

Roger Lund

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 13:31

Wow... this slipped to the third page quickly!

Isn't anyone going to speculate on how all this came together?

#11 robert dick

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 07:46

No infos concerning the shipping of a tipo S76 to Australia.
Is there a photo of the chassis as found in Australia?

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 15:50

Robert, the reality would seem to be:

1. Nobody in Australia ever heard of this car being here before reading of it in very recent times.

2. The supposed race entry in 1924 cannot be substantiated by one of the most avid researchers of the period.

3. Someone who was close to the supposed owner of the car in Australia and who could reasonably be expected to know of the car or chassis if it existed here has never heard of it.

4. The present owner supposedly was able to identify an almost unique chassis while rummaging through a bunch of other cars and parts. No matter how unlikely it might be he was familiar with that chassis' detail and how imponderable it might have been that such a chassis might be in that pile of scraps.

5. The reward for finding such a rare and famous chassis, one that's known to have been missing for some sixty or more years, in some far-off dungheap would be immense.

#13 dbw

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 16:07

of course...and i expect it to be running by goodwood 2009...... :rotfl:

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 16:48

Of course...

Complete with FIA-verified history and log book.

#15 dretceterini

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 16:56

Although it is possible that an S76 went to Australia, as did a number of other "monster cars" of the same period, I find it very difficult to believe it would show up out of the blue and have someone able to identify it. I would love to see photos of this "find"..

#16 Duncan Pittaway

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 10:29

The Fiat S76's

I've never had the experience of being accused, tried and sentenced without an opportunity to defend myself before....and am amazed by the passions that can be inflamed and conclusions of "undoubted certainty" drawn from the briefest of information.

Familiar to every pub and bar across the globe are the local "experts" discussing, gossiping and generally deliberating on all manner of subjects both inside and outside their area of expertise. Complex world problems resolved in minutes by people who "don't know what all the fuss is about" and, "if only they had the chance", could tell the world leaders where they are going wrong! ......"hear hear"......I hear you cry... "what's wrong with that"......"what harm can it do".....long may it continue.

During the last few years, the growth of the internet has been a fabulous thing enabling vast quantities of information and opinion to pass freely round the world in seconds. Chat rooms and forums have become a sort of global pub or bar where deliberation and discussion can continue unfettered by opening hours. Except, unlike the pub, the information and opinion remains written down and archived long after the hangovers have faded.....indefinitely in fact....and before very long that "opinion" is incorporated into someone's "research" which soon becomes someone else's "fact", before finally being endorsed by the phrase ..."well it's got to be true...I read it on the internet"!

Having been e-mailed a link to this site by a friend, I don't intend to set out the whole story here .....that will be published with all the photos for everyone to see when I've finished the car......but think it important to at least correct some of the more significant misunderstandings.

1) There were certainly two cars built during the winter of 1910/11 not one.
2) They were NEVER fitted with an airship engine, which was the same capacity but an entirely different design.
3) One of the cars broke the world flying mile record in 1911, was sold to a Russian Prince in 1912, and exceeded the flying kilometre record (in only one direction!) in 1913.
4) The other car was kept by Fiat in Turin until being scrapped at the end of 1919 (standard Fiat policy for ALL obsolete racing cars after WW1), NOT mysteriously shipped to Mexico never to be seen again.
5) Neither of the cars went to America or exceeded 180 mph at Daytona beach.

How Prince Soukhanov's car made it to Australia after WW1 I have yet to establish, but make it it did, as I have post WW1 Australian photographs of the car after it's rebuild from what was then a hopelessly outdated ten year old design into a more modern racing special of the early 20's. Edwardian racing cars turning up post WW1 in the Antipodes is not so unusual, as I have similar period Australian photos of a Fiat S74, the Fiat "Mephistopheles", a Lion Peugeot racer, a Gobron Brillie, Sunbeam, etc, etc, even the remains of the Napier Samson turned up in Oz.

It was NOT Bob Chamberlain who found the chassis. Stuart Middlehurst, an inveterate early car enthusiast acquired the bent engineless rolling chassis in the 1950's of what he was told had been a Stutz engined Fiat racing special which 30 years before had crashed at Armadale in the early 20's practicing for a race to the coast and was thought to be a modified Fiat S74 racing car. Stuart apparently held no particular store by this and simply robbed the chassis of it's Rudge wheels and hubs (standard fitment to an S76) to restore one of his many beloved Hispano Suiza's.

The bent, rusty and by now very incomplete remains stayed with Stuart Middlehurst until the early 1980's when it was acquired by a Fiat enthusiast sure of it's S76 identity and determined to undertake the mammoth task finding the missing bits to restore the car. After 15 years the enthusiasm had waned as the realisation of the size of the task had dawned and after a great deal of research but very little work had been done, I acquired what was still just a rusty bent rolling chassis.....albeit without wheels and hubs!

It was not until the discovery of an S76 car engine, after years of perseverance and round the world trips, that the project became a viable rebuild, since which time original wheels, hubs and a myriad of smaller chassis fittings have also followed.

Is it really a Fiat S76?.......I'm certain it is! Long gone are that days when you could swing open the doors of an abandoned shed and find a complete unmolested WW1 racing car. The best I can do is piece together as many original S76 components as possible and restore the car to it's original specification. The engine certainly is S76, from the car which was scrapped in 1919, and the very distinctive rolling chassis is certainly original, certainly Fiat and the same size length and dimensions as an S76, which was unique to the S76, and quite different to that of an S74 and the standard touring cars of the era.

I won't be troubling the FIA........or any other esteemed body for that matter..... and apart from people knowing the facts, am not particularly troubled by what they think. Personally I'm absolutely delighted with what I've managed to acquire over the last 15 years, particularly the engine, and will continue unabated with the huge task of restoring an extremely authentic Fiat S76 constructed from just about every surviving original S76 part, from either of the two cars, that I can find.

Finally......something I can't resist ........ someone sarcastically questioned whether such a thing was likely to "just turn up" in a "dung heap" after so many years! The fact is that nothing "just turns up"!! Similar to my project, I know of an original Fiat S74 chassis, early Peugeot GP remains, a 1903 Paris Madrid Brasier engine, a Wolsley Beetle chassis, and many more fabulous componants, all of which have survived and are being cared for by enthusiasts in the hope that some other parts may one day come to light to enable the restoration of a complete car to become viable. Then and only then will the cars "Turn up"!......after all.......who's going to be interested in just a rusty bent old chassis......no matter how spectacular the car may have been in it's heyday?

#17 Steve L

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 11:25

Hi Duncan,

Welcome to the board and thanks for posting details of your fantastic project.

I personally can't wait to see it finished. It may be a bit dicey getting it around the hairpin at Mallory Park if you enter it in the Edwardian race though!

It would be fantastic if you could post some pictures to whet our appetites until then?!

I hope you are recovering well from your recent accident.

#18 James Page

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 16:12

Duncan,

Dad went to the motor club talk you did in Bristol (and which Tim Murray mentioned earlier) and was raving about the car for weeks afterwards. Good luck with the project.

#19 dbw

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 18:52

duncan;thanks for the update!

as my old friend the late robert sutherland [no stranger to rare old race cars] used to say..."a picture is worth a very long novel"

you can check with doug nye as he is our reigning "techspert" on image downloading.

looking forward to a few piccies.


edit; i'm not sure a parallel can be drawn here but i reread a few articles on bucky boudeman's restoration/recreation of the miller golden submarine...a very famous race car...powered by a automobile version of an aero engine... totally unique as a one off vechicle...raced into oblivion...well. you know the rest. bob southerland would [and did] send us miller guys poloroids of his finds as they happened..i still have a shot of the gwenda stewert front drive miller's rusty front axle tube thrown in the back of a pickup in a rainstorm in the UK the same day it was unearthed....bob was like that.

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 09:23

I think that those of us with a concern for the history of cars in Australia, particularly racing cars, would like to see any "post WW1 Australian photographs of the car after it's rebuild from what was then a hopelessly outdated ten year old design into a more modern racing special of the early '20's..."

For my part, too, I would much prefer to be regarded as someone with a healthy skepticism about something with so much yet to be proved than as someone resorting to or believing bar gossip.

Knowing that the likelihood of any 'Armadale to the coast race' ever having happened (or been planned) is so remote as to be ludicrous helps in this. After all, the Australian Grand Prix wasn't held at Phillip Island for nothing.

#21 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 17:54

I'm with Ray on this intriguing subject, healthily and inquiringly sceptical after having seen so much make-believe created from so little reality so many times...over so many years.

Sometimes those who create these things are really good guys with their hearts in the right place and only their critical faculties in suspended animation.

Other times principals in these stories have been the most devious and deceptive charlatans with a smattering of interest and technical ability but otherwise little in mind beyond future commercial profit, hoping and determined to find someone who is mug enough to believe a pack of blatant lies, and who will buy, buy, buy. What other motive could there be for claiming that a wonderful replica is 'the original'?

In every proven case I have ever traced through from 'then' until 'now' there has always been a traceable background chronology and an evidence-string which withstands all inspection. Right now I'm not at all sure where this S76 story might stand in all this, and I haven't got the time to wield a shovel...but even a working S76 REPLICA would be a wonderful thing for someone to build - and for enthusiasts to see. It would just be nice - if that is the case - for an owner/constructor to declare as much.

DCN

#22 Squire Straker

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 09:59

I agree that the sight and sound of the big Fiat would be fantastic for us all to see and a great testament to Duncan. It occurs to me that perhaps the chassis of the F76 may not have been made specifically for the car. My reasoning is based on one of those horror stories that one tries to forget. In the early 1980s I knew about an old chain driven Fiat lorry chassis lying outside Omagh in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Did not even bother to go and see it, who wants an old lorry chassis? However I did not realise that the this had originally been a 1906/7 touring car sharing the same chassis and mechanicals as the Targa Florio racing car!!!!!! Anyone who has seen the car as rebuilt by Graham Rankin will understand my dismay and tears. My point is did the F76 use an otherwise production chassis and if so I do not see a problem with Duncan using one if that is what he found in Australia.
SS

#23 275 GTB-4

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 12:02

The Armadale to the Coast....the Armadale about 29 kilometres south-east of Perth’s CBD Western Australia??? :

#24 David McKinney

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 15:31

The other Armadale is in Vic, a suburb of Melbourne and virtually on the coast
Maybe Duncan means Armidale in northern NSW?
And anyway, he doesn't mention a race from Armadale to the coast - he says the car crashed at Armadale practising for a race to the coast. A race from ?

#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 21:15

Nevertheless, David, it undoubtedly is a phurphy...

Look at the history. Accepting, by the way that it must have been Victoria because Armidale NSW was a very long way away (1000m or so) and Armadale WA much further.

Phillip Island only got to have races on public roads because somebody conned the Police into believing that it wasn't part of 'the mainland' and therefore the rules about racing on public roads didn't apply. Roll forward to 1936 and see what happened at Benalla, or 1939 and what happened in the parklands at Albert Park.

No public road races were allowed. Not even considered. This is nothing short of excrement of the bovine.

#26 David McKinney

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 22:00

I've just re-read my post and can't see at any point where I said there was a race.
I meant to say that there could well have been a reliability trial, which the uninitiated might call a 'race' - then as now.

How do I see what happened at Benalla in 1936? Or Albert Park in 1939?

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 08:33

I would have thought you were aware of those efforts, David...

Reading about them is the only way, of course. A race meeting was planned for Benalla, practice was held and the police shut it down before the races began. Attempts by the LCCA to get permission to run races at Albert Park met with consistent brick walls.

#28 Catalina Park

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 09:16

I thought the Benalla race was canned because an angry farmer ploughed up the track on the saturday night? :|

#29 David McKinney

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 10:44

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Reading about them is the only way, of course

I'd like to do that
Where?

#30 robert dick

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 11:38

Seems that all photos are kept secret. Maybe we can get some informations in written form.

I would like to know
- the wheelbase of the chassis in question,
and
- why "there were certainly two cars built during the winter of 1910/11 not one".

Is this the engine from the Politecnico di Torino:
http://www2.polito.i...01/42010301.htm
(click on the 4-cylinder)?
To what extent was the airship engine "an entirely different design"?

"The other car was kept by Fiat in Turin until being scrapped at the end of 1919 (standard Fiat policy for ALL obsolete racing cars after WW1)" is unclear.
According to the legend, Agnelli decided to scrap the racing cars in 1927, after the appearance of the tipo 806/406. Has this legend to be reversed?

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 12:12

Originally posted by David McKinney
I'd like to do that
Where?


I think you might be right, David... no surprise, really...

I don't see any reference to it in any books I have here that I thought might. Blame John Medley, he must have told me about it. Unfortunately he won't be online for another week or so.

#32 seldo

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 13:11

Being one who has grown up under the mantra that the BS stops when the flag drops, I find the excruciatingly complex and befuddled 50/60 year history of this car amazingly convenient - especially if it is being touted on the conveniently diametrically complete opposite side of the globe. I do hope that the purveyor of this story is correct - because I am the first to admit that I know absolutely nothing of its supposed history, except that 60 years' sceptical experience has shown me that if a story needs some help, and sounds far-fetched - add a bit of royalty and a dash of European history, a smidgeon of intrigue, a fair dollop of obfuscation. Throw in a few red-herrings, some home-grown tall-tales, a few old-wives tales, and then set the whole scene in a far-distant land where the crows fly backwards to keep the dust out their eyes. Mix very gently and subtly slip in a few half-truths over several years with a little dash of huge potential profit........and VOILA!!!...... A new legend is born.........
No, seriously....I do hope that the verifyable truth emerges and that the promoter actually has resurected an old gem and saved it from oblivion........but I have my doubts...

#33 dbw

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 17:14

"seems all the photos are kept secret..."

i think we're about done here.

#34 john medley

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 22:58

At Lord Woftam's Speed on Tweed a month or so ago I was in conversation with various
other historic desperates about various matters including the Fiat S76 story. I was told that Des Dillon, owner of some former Stuart Middlehurst stuff would be present the following day, and that as an old friend of Stuart Middlehurst's would perhaps be able to comment on this story. Unfortunately, the next day we didnt get to meet

Do we have any on TNF who can contact Des Dillon?

Are there any more questions and answers out there?

#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 23:19

John, nice to see you back on deck...

There's a little unfinished business a couple of posts back about Benalla... David McKinney would like to know where he can find out more about it. Anything you found in your library visits? Other stuff in print?

#36 john medley

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 01:01

Benalla Centenary 100 Easter Monday 13 April 1936:
Most readily available resource is probably Terry Walker's "Fast Tracks" Pp 28-29 with map, description of circuit, race description, (confused) results, and current condition of the roads used in "Australia's First Race on the Mainland". Neither Terry Walker nor any contemporary source mentions the irate road-ploughing farmer. I know I and others have mentioned this previously in print, but I no longer recall the origins of the tale
Melbourne"Argus" April 14 1936 described the race, as did "The Referee" April 14 1936, both with follow up items re the lap scoring confusion that gave the race to Vin Moloney(MG Magna), from Barney Dentry(Riley), Les Murphy( MG P), Bob Lea Wright(Terraplane), Jack O'Dea(MG P), Merton Wreford(Riley Imp), Harry Beith(Terraplane), Lyster Jackson(Riley Imp), Ben Tinckham Bugatti T30),,Jack Phillips(Ford V8), and W Hope(Singer), Lea Wright with fastest time in this handicap race.

#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 01:08

Hmmm... where did I get the idea that the race had been called off?

Good information there, John, much more than I've ever seen!

#38 David McKinney

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 06:27

Thanks John (and Ray)

#39 Pavel Lifintsev

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 15:08

While we are eagerly waiting for Duncan Pittaway to release the period and restoration pics he posses (together with the ''whole story'' of course!) I thought I would post here some of my recent guesses. They could possibly serve as a food for the new discussion which I personally don't see as a plain ''pub talk'', especially with those very prominent experts involved and so much information and pictorial stuff on the car and its background unearthed exclusively on TNF.

1) Why not merge this thread with an elder one? It would make sense as both threads are on same subject, identically named and nicely complement each other.

2) Michael Sedgwick in his 1973 ''FIAT'' book states that Prince Soukhanoff was involved in the S76 venture from the very beginning – as a sponsor. But the more I think the more I doubt this... Seriously, why such a large company like Fiat would have needed financial backing from some private person to build an LSR car? I believe it wasn‘t so expensive back then compared to the latest projects. And Soukhanoff most probably appeared on the scene to purchase the car as late as in the winter 1912/13, having read of it in the press. Never being driven by Bordino at Brooklands in 1911 – that's for sure.

I remember my 3-years-old promise to search through the contemporary Russian newspapers with the aim to find out more about Soukhanoff/Fiat deal and his record attempts. I did five or six visits to our State Library and managed through the two titles, ''Moskovskiy listok'' and ''Russkiy invalid''. Both reported on motorsport events, although very briefly and with a lot of mistakes. I didn't find anything related, but then some issues were missing. Pre-WWI motoring magazines aren't still accessible since they were damaged by water almost 20 years ago, so my hopes to see them someday are continuously disappearing...

3) According to Duncan Pittaway ''there were certainly two cars built during the winter of 1910/11'' and the main visible difference between the two chassis would be the number of stub exhausts (two for #1, four for #2). I assume Mr. Pittaway knows what he's talking about as he was in contact with factory for car's drawings and history. But then almost all pictures posted here on TNF are of one and the same car, with two exhaust ports! To me it seems acceptable despite (as was already pointed out) the cars on photos differ in some details:

a) Radiator: polished on the early photos, painted red on the later ones.
b) Bonnet louvers on car's left side.
c) Chain wheel (occasionally covered with protective shield), both early and later version are shown:

Posted Image Posted Image

Not quite unusual, actually. They could paint the radiator after it was smashed in some small accident. And change the shape of the bonnet in order to install the muffler necessary for public road drives. Then we have two pictures of the S76 with Prince Soukhanoff at the wheel – one with the polished radiator (from the book ''Vitesse illimitée'' by William Huon, posted by Jean-Maurice Gigleux, now disappeared) and the other with the painted (posted by me). Apparently it's the same car!

Good. But what about the second chassis? The only photo of it we have (from Sedgwick's book, posted by Hans Etzrodt, now disappeared) is dated 1916. Apart from the four exhausts the car has longer bodywork in the cockpit area, but the radiator, the louvers and the chain wheel look pretty much the same as on the first chassis in its latter (modified) form. Many questions are raising. Why there are no known earlier pictures of #2? And if the two cars were built at the same time, why they weren't photographed together? Finally, why the second car was never used for record attempts? According to Duncan Pittaway ''it was kept by Fiat in Turin until being scrapped at the end of 1919''. Pretty strange fate, I find.

4) A little bit on the pictures we had in an elder S76 thread. I'm still puzzled about the one from John Tennant's book ''Motor Racing: The Golden Age''. To be precise, about the words ''AVTOMOBILI F.I.A.T.'' painted on the wall. We agreed that this shot was taken at Turin. However it's AUTOMOBILI in Italian! And ''avtomobili'' is Russian word for ''automobiles'' written in Latin. I looked through Fiat advertisements in contemporary Russian press yet they never wrote it in such a way. I even went to Bolshaya Dmitrovka street in Moscow to see if the building where the Fiat showroom was located looks similar to that on the photo, but it doesn't. So, the mystery remains unsolved?

A small correction concerning one of the pictures posted by Jean-Maurice Gigleux, entitled ''In the works''. It's reversed! The exhausts are on the ''wrong'' side and the steering wheel is not seen, although it should be visible in this view.

Any comments please?

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#40 onelung

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 21:40

Very new to this BB, so please be gentle with me.
1) I heartily endorse ru's suggestion for merging the threads: it would facilitate information (and opinion) sharing.
2) In the "other thread" there are several images which fail to load (red "x's"). Why? - other images load ok.
3) This S76 discussion could turn out to be as lively as that for the HealeySR.
4) Though nowt to do with this thread, I insert an image of an engine about which I'd like to know more.
Taken from "The Automobile Engineer's Year Book for 1914". Inserted here since there are those of you out there who would seem to take a keen interest in motoring things pre-1918, let alone pre-1970. I'm not aware of any vehicle it was used in. Please enlighten me.
If the thread/forum moderator wishes to relocate this latter, please go ahead.
Posted Image

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 21:54

Originally posted by onelung
Very new to this BB, so please be gentle with me.


Okay, will do...

1) I heartily endorse ru's suggestion for merging the threads: it would facilitate information (and opinion) sharing.


I think that would fall within Twinny's guidelines for merging.

2) In the "other thread" there are several images which fail to load (red "x's"). Why? - other images load ok.


Several reasons...

The one who posted the photo has taken them from the webspace they were on.

The webspace provider has gone belly-up or changed the name of the webspace.

If on Imageshack, a year passing without a view will automatically eliminate it.

Things can go wrong on the internet!

3) This S76 discussion could turn out to be as lively as that for the HealeySR.....


Could do, indeed.

#42 gwk

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 22:20

While trying to satisfy my curiosity on Duncan Pittaway, I came across this, from the Manchester Evening News (http://www.mancheste...ash_horror.html)

Vintage car crash horror


The article describes Mr. Pittaway's overturning an 8.2 l GN Vitesse at the Vintage Sports Car Club's Hawthorn Memorial Trophies Meeting at Oulton Park on Nov. 7. It is hard to tell for sure from the article but Mr. Pittaway does not seem to have been seriously injured, although the car came to rest on top of him. I hope that is true and wish him a quick recovery from whatever injuries he sustained.

#43 Allan Lupton

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 09:04

Originally posted by onelung
4) Though nowt to do with this thread, I insert an image of an engine about which I'd like to know more.
Taken from "The Automobile Engineer's Year Book for 1914". Inserted here since there are those of you out there who would seem to take a keen interest in motoring things pre-1918, let alone pre-1970. I'm not aware of any vehicle it was used in. Please enlighten me.
[/B]

That Hisso engine has the layout used in their aeroplane engines, later adopted by Wolseley (and via that, MG) who built them under licence.
The 60 h.p. H-S was similar IIRC but with a different bottom end.

#44 Tim Murray

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 09:40

Originally posted by gwk
The article describes Mr. Pittaway's overturning an 8.2 l GN Vitesse at the Vintage Sports Car Club's Hawthorn Memorial Trophies Meeting at Oulton Park on Nov. 7. It is hard to tell for sure from the article but Mr. Pittaway does not seem to have been seriously injured, although the car came to rest on top of him. I hope that is true and wish him a quick recovery from whatever injuries he sustained.

The accident happened in early June. I understand that Duncan, amazingly, suffered only a broken collar bone and mild concussion. The video of his accident is on YouTube:



#45 onelung

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 11:29

That Hisso engine has the layout used in their aeroplane engines, later adopted by Wolseley (and via that, MG) who built them under licence.



Appreciate the response, but the H-S & Wolseley motors had in line valve arrangements (2 valves per cylinder?) - not the inclined arrangement shown in the image posted.
Don't want to get too far from the Talbot-Lago thread so won't elaborate on the problems which plagued the Wolseley motors as a result of the different bottom end arrangement (fork & blade cf staggered big ends).
Thanks again.

#46 Ivan Saxton

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 07:58

I knew Bob Chamberlain reasonably well, and gave him spare Napier wheel centres, good 895 x 135 rims for his replica construction around the original engine of Samson, which he bought from the pottery people who brought it out here for a racing boat before the first world war. Bob re-drew everything from notes he copied from A J Rowlege's original design notebook. In most respects you could say it was authentic though not original. I also gave him an inertia starter which he and Alan Morgan adapted (minus the high speed internal flywheel) to "plug on" to start the engine; because obviously at his age Bob could not cope with an armstrong starter. I never saw anything like a racing FIAT chassis, nor did Bob ever speak of it to me. I'll give Alan Morgan a ring, but I know what his answer will be.
Stuart Scarisbrick Middlehurst I knew far better. I have given his full name because it is a link to one of the early aero-engined monsters. Stuart was the namesake of his godfather Stuart Scarisbrick, by or for whom the car was built which Stuart saw when he visited Peter Helck about 20 years ago. Someone else will have knowledge of that car and its history.
When I came home at weekends while I was at Melbourne University, I often used to go round to Stuart's place where he was working on one of his cars (either the first Alfonso Hispano Suiza or the 37.2). It made a lot of sense to go round and help him and learn, because he had lights in his garage while I was rebuilding my first car, a 1927 Cadillac, under the wattle tree in my parents' backyard. We would talk about interesting cars or parts that became available, and at a time when most peole would not touch anything taht was not a complete running car with a good body, we started to buy such things in joint ownership. Of this I now have enough to rebuild a 6 cyl 6 litre cuff valve Peugeot. That should be enough to show you that I knew pretty much what Stuart had. The chain drive FIAT chassis he had was a fairly short wheelbase truck on solid rubbers. We knew of a correct engine in Hughes Wreckers in Coburg which had a price of 50 pounds on it; but when we went back for it they had been annoyed by someone who had been trusted in there and pilfered some bits, so a lot of stuff including that FIAT truck engine with its bronze crankcase had been scrapped. Stuart had a 1923 FIAT tipo 510 with Rudge 62 wheels . This is a 75 x 130 6 cyl sidevalve. We also had most of the engine from General Grimwade's Tipo 5, which had powered a sawmill at Longwarry for years. From memory Henry Formby and I picked this up from where it was lying on its side with no sump. I eventually traded it to USA for a good 1919 L-head Mercer engine. Stuart had basis of 7 or 8 Hispanos which still exist or are on the road, but I can assure you he had no S 76.
Arthur Lang was told of a big FIAT up over the Queensland border, model undefined, by an old bloke Lou Lang who had known it. Unfortunately for Arthur he died, which was a very inconsiderate thing to do.
I have a local 1918 motor magazine account of a man who was visiting here from Italy, being a description of his road impressions of an S 76, when he was taken for a ride by one of the race drivers, most likely Pietro Bordino, who also let him drive it. I shall ask my son if he can work out how to post this here for you. It does show that one of the cars was still in Torino at that date.
The best source of contempory racing FIAT photos and information I have seen is two lots in Horseless Carriage Club Gazette. Many of the photos came from the photo albumns of George Hill, who was driver an mechanic for FIAT and Mercer. It is prudent to study this material before one makes rash pronouncements of whether an S76 went to USA or not. There are underbonnet photos from both sides. There is also stated the location in Mexico where an engine was seen in the '20's running the pump of an oil well.
Regards, Ivan Saxton

#47 john medley

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 09:00

Ivan Saxton
What an astonishing post. What astonishing first hand detail. What a bolt from the blue -- and after all this time.What a remarkable thing this Nostalgia Forum continues to be

As the person who started this thread, using the skimpy information then available to me, I was certainly interested in finding out more info and in the verification(or otherwise0 of some of the claims made.I note that some of the claims have not yet been addressed, but your post certainly tidies up much of the puzzle

Can I thank you most sincerely for your fascinating post, welcome you to this Forum, and encourage you to keep contributing

#48 robert dick

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 10:18

Many thanks for the first hand details.

The name of George Hill even brings into play Barney Oldfield and Harry Miller.
Hill was mechanic for Oldfield in the 1914 Vanderbilt/Santa Monica when their 450-inch Mercer finished second behind the Mercedes of DePalma and mechanic Tom Alley. Oldfield's comment regarding Hill: "The best man I ever had at my right".
In April 1919, Hill was "discharged as captain in the army air service and resumed his original position in the Miller sales department."

= = = = = =

Hispano drawings :
This Hispano OHC engine appeared in the autumn of 1913 (Paris Salon), and was to be used in the 1914 touring car range.
It was available as 2,6 liter (80x130 mm), 3,8 liter (90x150 mm) and 4,7 liter (100x180 mm).
According to Paul Badré, who wrote a book about Hispano, a rebored 2,6-liter OHC block (85x130 mm - just the block, not the complete engine) was mounted into the famous "Sardine" driven by Léon Molon in October 1913 in a Brooklands meeting and the Gaillon hillclimb. The Sardine was a single seater based on a 1912 Coupe de L'Auto chassis (Hispano did not start).

#49 onelung

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 11:40

This Hispano OHC engine appeared in the autumn of 1913 (Paris Salon), and was to be used in the 1914 touring car range.


Re post #48, very interested to read this - any source for me to follow up, please?
Was to be used .. did any of these engines actually go into cars sold to the public, or did WWI get in the way, perhaps?

Interesting connection here with Paul Badrè: I have a 1909 Sizaire et Naudin, and guess who wrote the definitive story of the Sizaire chapters (S-N, S-Berwick & S-Frères)! Btw - I was privileged enough to have a ride in Jean Badrè's Hispano Suiza not long ago: WOW - what a car!
I'll try to chase up the (Paul) Badrè book you refer to.
Thanks.

#50 Ivan Saxton

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 12:01

Stuart Middlehurst effectively owned two 3 litre ohc 85x130 Hispanos. One had been an original car that suffered the depredations of enthusiasts. He restored it. I did not work on it with him, and rode in it only once; and it just didn't seem to perform as impressively as the Alfonso 80x180 T-head did. The other which he sold as a project to Brendan Dillon was a composite of parts from a 1915 car which was dismantled at Balmoral in Wester District of Victoria; and remains of another which was lost over the edge of a forrest road near Woods Point. We had long known legend of this car, then someone found and hauled it out. Brendan has diligently copied a lot of parts from Stuart's later but identical car in his restoration.
Rgards, Ivan Saxton