Thanks again to all, and special thanks to ERault and JohnB for the wiki link. Courtesy of Wiki’s instant translate button I offer this fuller version of the article (further translated from the Wiki literal by me):
‘After four races (Buenos Aires, Sebring, Mille Miglia and Le Mans) rankings in the World Sports Car Championship saw Lancia only 8 points behind Ferrari (22 points, Ferrari, Lancia 14) with two races still to go (Tourist Trophy and the Carrera Panamericana). The title is absolutely open. So, even though sports-racing activity in Turin House is focused more on the development of Formula One (the D50) than on the preparation of the cars and engines to be used in sportscar races, it was decided to enter four machines to counter Ferrari in RAC Tourist Trophy, scheduled for Dundrod in Northern Ireland on 'September 11 1954.
‘The "expedition" beyond the Alps, contrary to Lancia custom, seems somewhat botched and improvised. In the event two new D25 3.7-litre cars made their debut (entrusted to Alberto Ascari/Luigi Villoresi and Juan Manuel Fangio/Eugenio Castellotti) But, fortunately, two "traditional" D24s of 3.3 litres were also sent. It should be noted however that even the two D24 3.3-litre cars, allocated to Piero Taruffi / Roberto Pioda and Robert Manzon / Luigi Valenzano, were changed: apart from a few small tweaks to the suspension, the largest differences were in the lubrication system, with the consequent elimination of the air intakes that were present on the right front bodywork. Visually, apart from the elimination of those air vents, the two D24s show a more rounded grille and the louvers on the sides have been closed.
‘Despite the Ferrari team is decimated by defections and race remains a single machine "official", the 3-litre 4-cylinder Mike Hawthorn/Maurice Trintignant [I found this sentence so delicious in literal translation that I couldn’t bring myself to change it –Mal9444].
The four Lancias could not match the pace of their single rival and had to settle for the runner-up positions. The regulations did not permit driver changes from the official Lancia nominations (Fangio "coupled" to Taruffi, Castellotti to Manzoni). [In fact and as we have seen, they did, and Fangio moved into car #3 with Taruffi: I think Wiki and I may have mistranslated the original Italian: “A nulla servono i cambi di pilota (consentiti dal regolamento) che in casa Lancia vengono messi in atto (Fangio “accoppiato” a Taruffi, Castellotti a Manzon).”]
The two are forced to retire their D25s (Fangio to engine failure, transmission failure for Ascari) and the D24s cannot do better than 2nd and the 3rd place on the scale of absolute speed behind the 3-litre Ferrari (which, with Mike Hawthorn, also makes the fastest lap of the day). Along a timed stretch of the circuit known as the Flying Kilometre the Lancias have a respectable result: the best of the D24s, led by Piero Taruffi, slightly exceeds the 226 km per hour, while the D25 of Alberto Ascari touches 233 kph.
‘The final outcome of the race greatly disappoints Gianni Lancia. Right after this race, with the title now mathematically out of Lancia’s grasp, he decides not to participate in the Carrera of Mexico, despite being in an advanced stage of developing an engine for about 3 and a half litres specially for that race. In the end, the disappointing TT marks the end of Lancia’s efforts in international sports car racing.’ [But in fact, it did not, because surely Piero Taruffi won the '54 Targa Florio in a D24 - see link below.]
Going back to where we began, it would now – thanks to you all – appear unlikely that Ascari’s Mille Miglia-winning D24 was one of the two D24s sent to Dundrod and I must content myself with a model of a car I never saw, and start again in a search for the one that I did. But that is a subject for another day – and indeed another place, Talk Of Model Cars having now been banished from mainstream TNF to its own little place beyond the Pale.
The model in question:
A real, live D25 – but not ex-Dundrod, either:
While this one:
sports the above-mentioned air scoop but the registration does not match any of those pulled together by Jean L and others.
John Moore’s TT booklet, by the way – normally reliable because written from original Ulster Automobile Club documents (I realise Doug and possibly others may have difficulty with a sentence conjoining the words ‘reliable’ and ‘Ulster Automobile Club’) – does not discriminate between D24 and D25, giving no model designations, but does gives the engine capacity/ no of cylinders as 3750/6 for all four cars. This may, of course, have been taken from an early entry form and the cars described above were the ones that showed up.
Edited by Mal9444, 06 February 2010 - 10:12.