SPORTS CARS AT THE MILAN SHOW.
I N connection with the Milan fair, a motor show has been in progress in the big Italian city from the 12th to 27th April. All the more important Italian manufacturers of chassis and bodies exhibited as well as a few foreign firms, although the number of cars imported into Italy is not large.
As might be expected, the largest stand at the show was occupied by Fiat, who showed a complete range of models. As well as the F.I.A.T. Sports model which has been introduced into England, there was also on view a new super sports edition of this famous small chassis. This model has a higher and narrower radiator than the standard car, fitted with a wire guard, and a beautifully streamlined 2-seater body with the seats considerably staggered. Rudge-Whitworth wheels and a flexible steering wheel add to the attraction for the sporting driver. The bonnet of the car shown was locked, and our attempts to discover whether it was fitted with a supercharger were ineffectual. We elicited the information, however, that it was capable of 120 k.p.h. (75 m.p.h.) and then went off to inspect two other cars of exactly similar external appearance, shown by Silvani, whose O.H.V. conversion for the 10-15 h.p. model is well known in England, and the Balbo coach-builders of Turin. On these two cars the bonnets were not locked and there was no sign of a supercharger inside ; and as they both claimed a speed of 120 k.p.h., it is to be supposed that the supercharged edition has not yet appeared. On this new model there is a petrol tank in the tail, fuel being conducted to the carburettor by means of a Weymann exhauster. Enthusiasts in this country will probably await with eagerness its arrival in England.
The only other sports cars on the Fiat stand were an ordinary 9 h.p. sports model and a sports edition of the 12 h.p. with a 4-seater body of attractive appearance and fitted with a curiously shaped radiator cowl.
The chief attraction on the O.M. stand was the three cars which recently won the Brescia 1,000 miles race. These scarlet veterans stood among the other showfinished cars exactly as they had come off the road, with their glorious dust and grime still adhering liberally to them. It was noticed that the winner was the dirtiest, and the second dirtier than the third. (N.B. Those who consider their paintwork when engaged in competitions.) The chassis are of course the standard 6-cylinder 2-litre type, but the bodies are of curious design, with a big degree of overhang behind the back axle. This is the outcome of building 4-seater bodies only to hold two people, as the back seat is unused and the front one is well in the centre of the chassis. Interest on the Bugatti stand centred round the recently introduced Bugatti ” baby.” This new model is exactly similar in externals to the well-known 2-litre racer, but is only about 4ft. in overall length ! The body is of the single seater order and has comfortable accommodation for those up to about 6 or 7 years old. The famous Bugatti aluminium wheels are used with Michelin tyres, the design of the steering gear is similar to that
used on the larger models, and the hand-brake operates shoes in drums on all 4 wheels. Under the bonnet one finds, instead of the usual Bugatti straight-eight I.C. engine, an electric battery, which is capable of propelling the car at over 6 m.p.h. and for about 20 miles without a recharge. Such is the pram of the future !
As well as this the new 2,300 c.c. model was on view, fitted with a very neat 4-seater body with a streamline tail. This car, which is exactly like the 2-litre model in design is said to be capable of 120 m.p.h. A change was noticed in the aluminium wheels on this and the 2-litre car, as those shown at Milan had two rows of spokes instead of one, and were not cast integral with the brake drums.
A small Italian sports car which is not well known in England was on view in the form of the C.A.R. This machine is very similar in external appearance to the Senechal, and has a transverse front and elliptic rear springs. The engine is of 1,000 c.c. and has push rod operated overhead valves.
A REVOLUTIONARY ITALIAN CHASSIS. The 1,000 c.c. S.A.B.A.
THE Italian motor industry is in rather a curious position in that one firm, the F.I.A.T., manufactures such a very large proportion of the cars produced in the country. The great firm of Turin makes a complete range of models from 9 to 40 h.p., and as only 5% of the cars in Italy are of foreign manufacture, the averave Italian simply chooses the Fiat model which fulfils his requirements. The other Italian firms on the whole manufacture cars of the exceptional order, that is to say machines which can command a market owing to special characteristics which appeal to various classes of drivers. Thus one finds that most other Italian firms produce one or perhaps two models in comparatively small quantities.
A new model, which is certainly of an exceptional character, is the 1 litre S.A.B.A. Its designers have set out to produce a car distinctly out of the ordinary and of extremely advanced design. Briefly their object has been to produce a car with four independently sprung wheels, all of which shall both drive and steer. Few people will any longer deny that independently sprung wheels will be found on all cars in the near future to the exclusion of classic suspension systems and axles. Anyone who has experience of cars such as the Sizaire or Cottin et Desgouttes will agree that very much higher average speeds can be maintained over indifferent surfaces with these cars than with others of equal or higher maximum speeds and classic suspension systems ; while any doubts which may linger in the sporting driver’s
mind as to their freedom from rolling, etc., when cornering fast will probably be dispelled when the new Cappa designed Itala racers finally consent to show their prowess.
Of late years also it has become increasingly plain that to use the back wheels only as driving wheels is wrong in theory and in practice. Thus attempts have been made by enterprising people such as Alvis, Miller, Buc and Itala to remedy the defect by driving the front wheels instead. It is obvious, however, that for maximum efficiency the power developed by the engine should be distributed among all four wheels, thus reducing losses due to lack of road adhesion to a minimum. Hence the second item on the S.A.B.A. programme. The final scheme for steering with all four wheels is perhaps the most interesting of all. A car with inde
pendently sprung wheels and two sets of driving wheels, each of which can propel the car if the other cannot get a grip, is obviously a go-anywhere machine, and the increased manoeuverability given by all four wheels steering is certainly useful when off the beaten track. The S.A.B.A., in fact, has a wheel-base of 7ft. Gins., and can turn in a circle whose outside diameter is 26ft. A point which is certain to interest sporting drivers, also, is that those who have experience of this car on the road, state that with the 4-wheel steering it is possible to take corners very much faster than when only the front wheels are used for the purpose. The engine of the new S.A.B.A. is exactly similar to that used on the earlier models, with a bore and stroke of 59 x 90 mms. (1,000 c.c.) and overhead valves. The
power unit is built up in one unit with the clutch and 3-speed gearbox. From this is driven on a lower plane, a cardan shaft which runs the whole length of the chassis, and terminates at each end in a differential gear. From these is driven a short cardan shaft to each of its pair of road wheels, having a Hardy disk near the inner, and a spherical joint on their outer ends. The wheels are sprung on two transverse cantilever springs each, mounted one above and the other below the cardan shafts, and attached at their inner ends to the differential casings. The steering has controls to all four wheels and is so arranged that when cornering the front and back wheels of the outer and inner pairs are moving along the circumference of a circle of the same radius. With a full load of four passengers the S.A.B.A. has quite a normal speed for a 1 litre car, of 50 m.p.h. Its
chief attraction, however, should be its ability to go anywhere, across country as well as on the road. It will climb hills with ease where the ordinary back-wheel drive car could not possibly get a grip ; and the brakes which are on the single longitudinal cardan shaft affect all four wheels through the reduction gearing of the differentials, and are thus very powerful. The car in fact should be ideal for the super reliability trial expert ; it is sincerely to be hoped that some of the new S.A.B.A.’s will make their appearance in this country shortly.
THE BRESCIA 1,000 MILES RACE.
TWENTY-FOUR years ago, the Paris-Madrid race was stopped at Bordeaux by order of the French Government, and the last of the town-to-town races seemed to have been run for all time. It remained for Mussolini’s Government in Italy, however, to revive what is certainly the most attractive form of motor sport. On March 26th and 27th a race was held for cars of the ” touring-racer ” variety, over a course of no less than 1,000 miles to a lap, starting and finishing at Brescia. Starting from that town, the route led by Parma, Bolog
na and Florence to Rome ; thence across the Appenines to Ancona on the Adriatic, and back by Bologna, Padua and Feltre to Brescia. The idea of being allowed to race of a circuit of this nature is so astonishing to us in England, where we cannot close 10 miles of deserted roads for a motor race, that the Italian competition has been referred to in the English press as a ” high speed trial,” while in reality it was a genuine race. The winner of this magnificent contest proved to be a 2-litre 6-cylinder O.M. of the same type as last year’s Rudge-Whitworth cup winner, driven by Minoia and Morandi. This car covered the 1,000 miles course including all controls in towns, etc., in 21 hours 4 mins. 481 secs., averaging 48.27 m.p.h., and was followed home by two other similar cars. As well as the general classification, the cars were divided into classes according to piston displacement, the various winners being as follows :—
1. 1Vfinoia and Morandi (0.M.) (ay. 48.27 m.p.h.,’ .
2. T. Danieli and Balestrero (0.111.).
3. M. Daniell and Rosa (0.M.).
UP TO 8,000 c.c.
1. Maggi and Maserati (Isotta-Fraschini) (ay. 45.74). UP TO 5,000 c.c.
1. Silvani and Minozzi (Fiat) (ay. 40.89 m.p.h.).
2. Weber and Menchetti (Fiat).
UP TO 3,000 c.c.
Strazza and Varollo (Lancia) (ay. 46.86 m.p.h.).
Pugna and Bergia (Lancia).
Mercanti and Sozzi (Alfa-Romeo).
UP To 2,000 c.c.
General classification winners.
UP TO 1,500 C.C.
Binda and Belgir (Bugatti) (ay. 43.6 m.p.h.).
Cattaneo and Beccaria (Ceirano).
Rossatto and Tarsara (Ceirano).
UP TO 1,100 C.C.
Moalli and Ferrari (Fiat) (ay. 41.77 m.p.h.
Ricci and Gay (Fiat).
Zampieri and Bertoldi (Amilcar).
UP TO 750 c.c.
Cazzulani and Monferroni (Peugeot) (ay. 30.05 m.p.h.). Dupetit and Thouais (Peugeot).
Lavergne and Laubergne (Peugeot). The interesting feature of these results is that this race seems to have proved that for high speed touring, the medium powered car is faster than the machine with a very big engine. Thus the 2-litre O.M. and Lancia Lambda beat all the bigger cars including the big Isotta,
whose maximum speed is in the neighbourhood of 100 m.p.h. The other hero of the race, besides the 0.M., is the little 9 h.p. Fiat, which put up the very creditable average of 41.8 m.p.h. for 1,000 miles. It is sincerely to be hoped that if the race is held again next year, there will be more foreign entries, so that one can see whether other nations can make cars capable of standing up to this very gruelling test, from which the Italian industry has come out this year with flying colours.