The Shape Of Racing/Sporting Cars



The racing/sports car is very much a thinly disguised Grand Prix car and bears little resemblance to production sports cars as sold to the public for use on the roads. This selection of 1956 racing/sports cars not only illustrates the point, but also serves to identify the various models. To the left is the works DB3S Aston Martin with the latest type of bodywork prepared for Le Mans and other races. Below it is the 2½-litre four-cylinder Ferrari, with bodywork by Carrozzeria-Touring of Milan, showing the full-width perspex windscreen enforced at Le Mans. This model has a Testa Rosa chassis, with coil-spring i.f.s. and one-piece rear-axle unit on coil springs, the normal TR being a 2-litre and having a body by Scaglietti of Modena. Below right is a larger works Ferrari, this one being a 3½-litre V12 with Scaglietti body. This model also takes a four-cylinder 3½-litre engine, the only outward identification being twin tail pipes on each side in place of a big single pipe. This car has i.f.s. by coil springs and a de Dion rear-axle layout, with transverse leaf-spring suspension, and it formed Ferrari’s spearhead for winning the Manufacturers’ Championship in 1956, being first at Sebring, Mille Miglia, and in Sweden. On the left of the Ferrari 3½-litre is the latest small Maserati, having a tubular chassis frame, i.f.s. by coil springs and de Dion rear axle by transverse leaf spring. It has a five-speed gearbox and can be fitted with 1½ or 2-litre four-cylinder engines, known as the 150S or 200S depending on the power unit fitted. Lower down the page we see another Italian 1,500-c.c. racing/sports car, the Osca, this being the latest works version, being rare in having left-hand drive. It has i.f.s. by coil springs and a one-piece rear-axle assembly also sprung on coil springs. Osca have also been noted for their smooth bodywork and the new car is no exception. It is interesting to note that all five racing/sports cars illustrated are fitted with headrests for the driver and have covers over the passenger seats, being very much “single-seater two-seaters.”

At the foot of the page are three 1½-litre racing/ sports-car engines, that might appear in Formula II. Left is the works Maserati 150S unit, with twin distributors driven off the timing gears. Centre is the simple and tidy Gordini four-cylinder 1,500-c.c engine with one plug per cylinder fired by a Scintilla Vertex magneto, and right is the works four-cylinder 1,500-c.c. Osca unit, its eight plugs fed from a single distributor. Note that all three engines use double-choke Weber carburetters, as in fact do all the other cars illustrated, an indication that Edoardo Weber Co. know something about racing engines.