1934 RACING CARS
THE MONOPOSTO ALFA ROMEO TYPE B.
FROM its first appearance in 1932, when Nuvolari won the Italian Grand Prix at an average speed of 104 m.p.h., the single-seater 2.6 litre AlfaRomeo ” P.3″ has carried all before it, and the works’ drivers, Nuvolari, Borzacchini,
Caracciola, and Campari were victorious in every event in which they took part. No monopostos were sold to private drivers. At the beginning of the 1933 season the Alfa-Romeo factory announced their decision not to form an official team, nor to allow the monopostos to be sold to private individuals, and even the Ferrari
stable, which had engaged Nuvolari and Borzacchini, had to be content with 2.3 litre two-seaters bored out to 2.6 litres. Ferrari and Count
Ferrari and Count Trossi, who is the principal shareholder in the Scuderia, continued their efforts to secure the single-seaters, and. were able to do so just in time for the Coppa Acerbo in August. Nuvolari meanwhile had transferred to the Maserati team, and Fagioli took his place. Nuvolari led for the greater par t of the Acerb° race, but was delayed by a pit-stop, and Fagioli, who was in close pursuit, took the lead, and began the new series of victories for the single -seater. He and Chiron between them won the remaining Grand Prix events of the season. It was announced in October that twentyfive single-seaters were to be built for next season ; then the programme was cut down to a batch
of eight, which were to be supplied exclusively to the Scuderia Ferrari. The latest information we have is that the six 1932 monopostos owned by the Ferrari stable will be bored out to 3,000 c.c., and will be run again in 1934, and
that the construction of the new cars which will only be sold to Italian drivers, is about to begin, but that delivery will not take place’ much before May. Particulars of the new cars, which are called “Type B,” are available, and they differ from the original series principally by reason of their greater weight and increased track and wheelbase.
The cylinders of the straight-eight engine have a bore of 65 mm and a stroke of 100 mm, giving a capacity of 2,600 c.c.
They are cast in two blocks of four, with the camshaft drive coming up between them, and the blocks, crank-case, and sump are made of light alloy, elektron being used in the last named. Two overhead camshafts are used, and are driven at their mid-points by a train .of gears from the crankshaft. There are two valves per -cylinder, set at approximately 90° in a hemispherical head, and they seat, direct on the aluminium. The cams bear on caps screwed on to the valve stems:
The sparking plugs are disposed centrally between the valves, and the magneto is carried on the offside of the engine. The monoposto differs from the twoseater Grand Prix type in having a double Roots-type supercharger, each b41f of which supplies four cylinders. The unit is gear-driven from the crankshaft by a central pinion, and draws its mixture from two Solex carburetters. The fuel is pressure-fed from a 28i gallon rear tank. An additional gravity tank on the dash was fitted to the original cars. The blower pressure is given as 81 lbs., while the compression ratio is 6 to 1, figures which seem to be surprisingly low. The crank-shaft is in two parts, bolted together, with the pinion driving the camshafts in the centre. Each half is supported in five• maim-bearings, making ten in all. Plain bearings are used for the
crankshaft and the big-ends. The maximum revs. are “8,500, and 200 h.p. is developed at this speed. The magneto, the water pump and the two oil pumps for the dry-sump lubri cation system are carried on the off-side, driven from the centre gears, and the oil tank, which is carried in front of the
petrol tank, holds 5f gallons. The exhaust manifold is also on the off-side, and projects through the bonnet. The drive is taken through a multiple-plate clutch to the four-speed gear-box, which is in unit with the engine. A central gear-change is used, but unlike the Maserati, in which the lever comes up between the driver’s legs, the rod is cranked to bring the knob to the near side, and the body is quite roomy. With characteristic modesty the Societa Alfa-Romeo claim as in speed 122 m.p.h. on top gear, 98 m.p.h. on third and 67 on second, but these must either be at conservative engine speeds or on a car
fitted with an unusually low back-axle ratio, for in 1932 Nuvolari was reckoned to be doing 145 m.p.h. along the straight leg of the course in the French Gran d Prix, and its maximum is
not far short of 155 m.p.h. The famous double carden-shaft final drive has been retained. A housing mounted at the front end of the torque tubes contains a differential and two sets of two pinions by which the power is
transmitted to the shafts. In the backaxle casing there are two live-shafts, one for each wheel, and each of them carries its own crown-wheel. The cardan-shafts run diagonally back to them, and there is a small enlargement of the back axle where each pinion meshes with its crownwheel. The driver sits in the triangle formed by the cardan-shafts and the back-axle instead of being perched up on top of a central propellor shaft. The chassis runs almost straight back from the front dumb-irons to the rear ‘ spring-mountings, where it is swept steeply over the back-axle. Tubular cross-members are used. The springs are straight semi-elliptics underslung
front and rear, damped by large disc shock-absorbers which are adjusted by means of wing-nuts. These will probably be supplemented on the 1934 cars by a set controlled from the driver’s seat, as the 28 gallons of fuel forms a considerable proportion of the total weight of the car. The rear springs are carried on brackets outside the chassis members. The front axle is tubular, and is steadied by torque arms running back to the
chassis. The brakes are mechanically operated, with characteristic narrow ribbed drums 15 inches in diameter. The steering wheel is of course in the middle of the car and the steering box is carried at the back of the engine.
Light alloys are extensively used on the earlier monopostos for brake drums, shoes, back-axle casings, and even shock. absorbers arms. In the end the cars were found to be almost too light, and for 1934, apart from some modification to the steering, the principal alteration is the increase in chassis dimension and consequently weight. It may be anticipated, therefore, that unless some additional power is found the new cars will be slightly slower than the old ones. The chassis weight incidentally is 121 cwt., and the ground clearance 7i inches. Other variations in the dimensions are as follows :
It is interesting to notice that the width of the track is more than half the wheelbase measurement, while taking a well-known sports car as a basis of comparison, the wheelbase of the shortchassis Fraser-Nash is 8ft. 9in. Evidently little space was wasted in fitting the 2.6 litre engine into its chassis. No price is quoted by the makers, but it is understood that it will be 22,500 in Italy, or 23,300 if a model ever reaches this country.