The Cisitalia

The Cisitalia has been a sensation from its inception, and rightly so. Rowland has not yet received his example, but we suspect that when he does there will be quite a pilgrimage to Byffeet to see it. Meanwhile, a brief description of this new car will not come amiss. Some very good pictures of it appeared in Motoritalia, Incidentally, it would seem that the way to be able to produce really fine motoring papers is to lose a war!

The success of the Cisitalia will surely depend on its clever chassis frame. This is a very light structure of molybdenun steel tubing — literally a welded-up fuselage. A low radiator is attached to the front, and behind this the very simple front suspension, consisting of a transverse leaf spring clipped to the upper frame member and very light, tubular wishbones pivotted to the lower frame. The rear suspension is likewise light, simple and efficient, with coil springs between frame and axle. A triangular locating wishbone is hinged on the top of the bevel housing and anchored in a spherical mounting on the rearmost cross-membr, and torsion bars and radius arms link the axle with the chassis side-members. In the early cars Bugatti-disposed leaf springs were used in place of these torsion bars and arms. The propeller shaft runs below the hypoid axle, as a double-reduction gearing lowers the transmission, the drive passing through this and a short inclined shaft back to the axle. The engine is a modified Fiat “1,100” 4-cylinder, of 68 by 75 mm., for which 60 b.h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m. is claimed, on in 9.5-to-1 compression-ratio. Such special features as an alloy head, balanced (3-bearing) crankshaft, dry-sump lubrication, machined steel connecting rods, oil cooler before the main radiator and copper-lead bearings, contribute to this useful output. Ignition is by a vertical Marelli M V E.105 magneto on the near side, and there is a Zenith 26 VMF carburetter on the opposite side, fed by mechanical pump from a 10-gallon duralumin tank in the tail. Fuel consumption is given as nearly 19 m.p.g. at racing speeds. The brakes are Lockheed hydraulic. The 3-speed gearbox has ratios of 3.63, 4.9 mid 6.5 to 1 and a clever change is incorporated by which moving the clutch pedal automatically effects the changes between top and 2nd gear. A lever controls bottom and reverse gears. Centre-lock wheels with alloy rims take 4.00 by 15 front and 5.00 by 15 rear tyres, and at 1,000 r.p.m. in top the road speed equals 20.6 m.p.h., or 4,850 r.p.m. at 100 m.p.h. The wheelbase is 6 ft. 6 3/4 in., the front track 4 ft., and rear track 3 ft. 8 1/2 in.; ground clearance is nearly 5 in. The real merit of the Cisitalia is, of course, its low weight, which is quoted as 815 lb. dry. There you have it – 60 b.h.p. from an engine for which spares are available throughout Italy, in a 7 1/2 cwt. car, able to pull high gear-ratios, with automatic upper gearchanges, and efficient suspension. It is backed by a neat all-aluminium single-seater racing body, with four aerofoil cowlings shrouding the front suspension. Front shock-absorption is by fluid absorbers, rear by disc-type absorbers. No wonder Nuvolari has been trying out the Cisitalia. The steering wheel detaches for ease of entry and the driver is confronted merely with oil and water inlet and outlet thermometers and rev.counter.

According to the Swiss Press, the Cisitalia directors intend to tour the world very shortly, taking twenty of their wonderful little cars, to be demonstrated by ten picked drivers, Chiron, Dusio and Taruffi amongst them, and the other ten to be put at the disposal of local talent. There’s a good time coming. America. Australia and Africa are amongst the countries to be visited.

Over here Rowland has the sole British agency and hopes to enter a Cisitalia for this year’s events. His very fine racing-service van is ready. At the moment two racing Altas and a fantastic V16 two-crankshaft sports Maserati 2seater (the fastest road-car?) occupy his premises. Reverting to the Cisitalia, the maker’s claim 109 m.p.h. for the single-seater, and a sports 2-seater and an aerodynamic coupé are to be made weighing about 8 cwt., both of which are expected to exceed 100 m.p.h. It is to be hoped that British manufacturers have already started to unhitch their suspenders — preparatory to pulling-up their socks,