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FIAT S76 - Beast of Turin trailer

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Published on Dec 5, 2014

FILM UPDATE: I'm afraid I was a bit optimistic in suggesting February for a completion date. The car has still to be driven and proper paid jobs keep getting in the way. Hoping the full-length film will be done by the Spring - but there will be another small film of it being driven soon! :)

The two FIAT S76 cars were built in 1910/11 to take the land speed record from Mercedes' Blitzen Benz. In this prewar period the thinking was that 'bigger displacement is best' and there was an amazing range of monstrous machines. There was the 25 litre V8 Darracq in 1905 (which was the first car to do two miles in a minute), Mercedes built a comically long car called the flying Dutchman which had two huge engines, one behind the other. At 28.3 litres (and only 4 cylinders) the FIAT S76 has the largest car engine ever built. (There are a few cars around with larger engines - but they're aero engines) You may think that 300hp isn't great for such a big engine - but it has more torque than a Bugatti Veyron! . With the development of the aeroplane - and lessons learned in motor racing - engine design changed dramatically over the first world war - and it spelled the end for these behemoths.

The big FIAT tried to set records at various venues. At Brooklands it nearly went over the banking, they then drove it to Saltburn sands in the North of England on the public roads. The sand was in poor condition but it still reached 116mph. It was at Ostende in 1913 that the final attempts were made. It did reach a record speed of 135mph - but failed to do the return run needed to make it official - a new rule at the time. There's a clip here...
http://youtu.be/jZtkw-hJODg
At the wheel was racing driver Arthur Duray. He reckoned that first and second gear were okay, that third gear called upon all of his experience as a racing driver and that fourth gear needed the courage of a hundred men!

The cars - and the Russian Count who owned one of them - disappeared and were seemingly lost forever until Duncan Pittaway traced the engine of one and what he believes is the chassis of the other. For over 10 years he worked laboriously to reconstruct as original a car as he could - his one goal being to drive the beast which he'd seen in period photos. Using copies of the original FIAT plans, Duncan and his assistants Bruce and Tucker set about reconstructing the car - with specialists helping with the new bodywork and gearbox.

The video shows the first time the engine had started in over 100 years. The next task will be to take the car to a large open space for the first test-drive. I imagine there will be some fettling to be done before the car is used at VSCC (Vintage Sports Car Club) events - and driven on the road. It is hoped the car will take part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed - and will revisit Ostende later in the year.

The film is a trailer for a short documentary which will tell the story of the original cars and also the rebuild.

Stock media provided by: mellowstu/pond5.com
(apologies to those missing the Ólafur Arnalds' music - I never heard back about whether it was ok to use it and so have decided not to risk it)

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