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Is anybody able to help on the Chiribiri please


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#1 mariner

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 21:23

I have only discovered this forum recently but I am amazed by the level of knowledge of historic motor racing on it.

I am looking for some information about a racing car from the 1920's called a Chiribiri, it was an Italian make which was ( I think) a 1.5litre car. The reason that I am asking is that my great uncle, a Jack Scales, was I believe partially responsible for its construction despite being an Englishman.

I also think he drove for the Sunbeam Talbot Darracq french team but I am not sure of the details.

I appreciate that the 1920's are well before most of this subjects in this forum but if anybody can point me in the right direction I would be really grateful as out family history is, like many peoples, all verbal so I have no written information

many thanks

Tony

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#2 David McKinney

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 21:52

Jack Scales seems to have spent a lot of time in Italy. He raced a Fiat in the 1914 French Grand Prix and after the war raced an Eric-Campbell (an English make) in Italy before his involvement with the Chiribiri family. He also raced Talbots in France in 1924, so may have moved there.
I'll dig out more when II've got more time

#3 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 23:17

Scales lived in Turin and before joining Chiribiri had been a tester/driver for FIAT. He scored Chiribiri's first ever win in 1922 - the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo hillclimb. As David mentioned, he also drove an Eric Campbell, taking part in the 1919 Targa Florio. This was the first major race after WW1 and happened only two months after the Eric Campbell had been launched.

In 1924 he drove a Talbot to win the first long distance race at the new Montlhery autodrome - the Grand Prix de l'Ouverture.

There's a picture of him in a Chiribiri in Nick Georgano's "Encyclopaedia of Motor Sport".

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 12:17

A little more digging uncovers the following:
Jack Scales worked for the English Fiat distributors as a young man and was sent to the parent company in Turin about 1909, when he would have been 23. He apparently raced motorcycles, though whether that was in England or Italy is not clear. He was certainly still a Fiat engineer in 1914, when he contested the French Grand Prix.
His name next crops up in 1919, in connection with his Eric-Campbell drive in the Targa Florio, and then the following year he was a member of the Grégoire factory’s Indianapolis team (though he didn’t get to race).
Scales then returned to Italy and joined the staff of Chiribiri, before becoming chief tester of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq combine in 1923 or 1924. The fact that all his drives for that team were in France suggests he was based there rather than at Wolverhampton.

#5 mariner

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 17:28

Thank you both so much for this information, much of it is new to me ( espeically the Targo Florio part and working for FIAT.

His brother Frank Scales was my paternal grandfather. Both of them trained as engineers, in the machinist sense, in London although they came from rural Norfolk. They set up some sort of motorbike manufacturing business together for a while using proprietary engines. I was told that at one time their bike held the Brooklands hill record although I have no written validation of that.

As you say he raced for Sunbeam Talbot Darraq so I guess he went from FIAT to STD via Chriribiri. Again the family story is that he had a part in the Chiribiri design but that may not be true.

Jack Scales retuned to England in the 1930's and set up a garage/engineering business in South London where he did wartime sub contracting ( like many similar pre WW2 english job shops). He died in the early 1960's

Again many thanks for this information, it is much appreciated.


p.s I wonder if he knew Enzo Ferrari at FIAT!

#6 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 19:35

Originally posted by mariner
Thank you both so much for this information, much of it is new to me ( espeically the Targo Florio part and working for FIAT.

His brother Frank Scales was my paternal grandfather. Both of them trained as engineers, in the machinist sense, in London although they came from rural Norfolk. They set up some sort of motorbike manufacturing business together for a while using proprietary engines. I was told that at one time their bike held the Brooklands hill record although I have no written validation of that.

Jack Scales retuned to England in the 1930's and set up a garage/engineering business in South London where he did wartime sub contracting ( like many similar pre WW2 english job shops). He died in the early 1960's

Again many thanks for this information, it is much appreciated.


Mariner, in turn, thank you very much for this biographical information.
I've been interested in your great uncle's life & times as he also attempted, but didn't qualify for the Indianapolis 500 race in 1920.

The passenger list for his sail to New York is interesting. He went from Turin to Cherbourg and from there to New York with his wife (and obviously your great aunt) with their address listed as Via Falo 6, Torino, Italy.

But he was more famous for his Brooklands & FIAT efforts, which have been well listed above.

I have a few questions, though if I may..

The passenger list says that he was born in Leyton around 1886. Looking through the birth index around that time of the family records centre's indexes, I always presumed that it was Leyton, in London, as there is a Jack Elson Scales, born quarter 2 1886, and nothing listed for Norfolk, but you said he was from rural Norfolk? Do you know whereabouts?

Also do you know any more precise details about his death (ie a year etc)? It would help enormously and be much appreciated, though it doesn't matter if you can't.

It's only as he listed on my website here and I'd like to know more about him:
http://www.oldracing...y=Indy500starts

#7 mariner

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 09:00

to richie jenkins

To avoid clogging this forum with family history I sent you a reply via the message facility.

Did you get the message? I am new to this so I am not sure if I did it right!

Also to any others who read this I have a newbie question - I wanted to find out about the Lotus 40 but when I use the search facility it will not recognize "40" as it needs a minimum 3 character search string. Using " lotus 40" as one string does not work either.

Am I doomed to start any Lotus research at the Lotus 101 or am I missing something?

Any help much appreciated.

#8 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 09:03

Threads on Lotus models numbered below 100 have been prefixed T: try searching for T40

:)

#9 mariner

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 19:06

I first posted this thread way back in 2007 when I first joined this forum and I am still grateful for all the people who helped me learn more about my great uncle Jack Scales.

Since then I have done what research I can via the internet and at the British Library newspaper archives ( for Motor Sport)

I have learnt he was a riding mechanic with Felice Nazzaro in the 28 litre FIAT s76 " monster".

Also he drove for FIAT in the 1914 French GP as well as winning the 1924 race at Monthlery for 1.5 litre cars in an STD car.

All this has sort of whetted ny appetite to do more research but the Internet is the limit of my historic research skills.

I think I need to acess records in Italy and France but I dont speak either language!!

Has anybody got any suggestions e.g does FIAT have an archive in Turin and would anybody there speak english etc?

Also has any very detailed history of FIAT or Sunbeam Talbot Darraq or the 1914 French GP ever been published in English?

As our family records were 99% verbal any suggestions about how I could do more research would be greastly appreciated.



#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 19:43

Try contacting the Fiat Centro Storico in Turin who certainly have English language capability...most of the time. You could perhaps first try contacting Fiat UK, asking for their press office, and explain your family connection with former Fiat Grand Prix driver Jack Scales. Tell them what you would like to know, suggest there might be the essence of a story in it for them...and go from there. Fiat people have generally been very friendly and accommodating over many years, try it on, wing it, and the best of luck... You never know, you might just strike lucky. It is worth asking.

DCN

#11 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 19:46

The most comprehensive history of FIAT in English is the one by Michael Sedgwick, published by Batsford in 1974. STD history is covered in "Motoring Entente" by Nickols & Karslake (Cassell 1956). However, neither of those really concentrates on the racing side. "Sunbeam Racing Cars 1910-1930" by Heal is a better bet, but there's not really anything on the racing FIATs.

Standard work on the Grand Prix is "Grand Prix Racing 1906-14" by TASO Mathieson.

Apart from the Sedgwick book, none of them come at prices that could even be considered remotely cheap. However, I have both the Nickols & Karslake and Mathieson and I'm sure other people have the other two!

#12 Michael Ferner

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 20:01

For what it's worth, there is a very nice portrait picture of Jack Scales sitting in his Grégoire in the Karl Ludvigsen book Indy Cars 1911 - 1941, and of interest is the riding mechanic in this picture, it is Herschel McKee, about whom a book was written not that long ago (I forgot the title). There just might be an outside chance that this book contains something about your great uncle.

#13 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 13:45

For what it's worth, there is a very nice portrait picture of Jack Scales sitting in his Grégoire in the Karl Ludvigsen book Indy Cars 1911 - 1941, and of interest is the riding mechanic in this picture, it is Herschel McKee, about whom a book was written not that long ago (I forgot the title). There just might be an outside chance that this book contains something about your great uncle.


It is called "The Man Who Wouldn't Die, but having a copy, and having looked at it, Jack Scales only gets a passing mention.

#14 mariner

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 10:36

As ever thank you for all the help.

I will get in touch with Fiat UK and take it from there.

One thing I didn't mention is that one of my original sources was the Denis Jenkinson book "the racing car pocketbook " published in 1962 by Batsford.

I bought it damaged for 5 shillings (!) and it covers a wonderful range of cars like the Appleton special and the Arzani-Volpini as well as the Chiribiri.

I had always wondered how true the family stories of Jack Scales were but once I saw DSJ knew of his existence I stopped doubting!

#15 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 10:57

I'd been trying tp remember where I'd seen pictures of Jack Scales recently. Yer tiz! Scanned from Mathieson's "Pictorial Survey of Racing Cars 1920-1939" (MRP 1963). Top picture is credited to Scales himself, who is also mentioned in the acknowledgements in the preface.

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