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An (American) Fiat mystery

An (American) Fiat mystery

Tim Ruth sent an email about his car he is trying to identify. The brass place has f-7041 on it and he is pretty sure it is an American Fiat.
Wheelbase is 140 inch, a 7 passenger car. The engine is a massive 9 liter 4 cylinder and has dual ignition by Bosch. The engine has 10-8-16 stamped on the block.

His email: '22 yrs ago I saw this car in a barn. I checked on it 2 years ago and the lady said her dad owned it [the man pictured]; she said she would only sell it to someone in the family. The family came from Italy in late 1800/s and they were farmers. The man got this car through a business deal from one of his customers.
After her father passed away, the woman kept it in her barn but never sold it. 2 Years ago, when I visited her, she said her cousin wanted it and my heart sank. But just a month later she called and said he was dragging his feet and if I wanted it; she would sell it to me. So I bought it July 2015 and I've been working on it since and am trying to get info. The lady I bought it from said it's always been called a 1918 but she doesn't know why. When I bought the car the lady said she had a registry that stated 11 of these were built before they closed the plant in Poughkeepsie, NY cause of the war. She also had a title but her sister had Alzheimer's for 11 yrs and during that time it is believed that unawares her sister threw these documents away. I honestly believe this car is the only one left, at least there is no other one pictured on the internet and I've been unable to find anyone in this world that has one like this or can even tell me the year.
The brass id plate on the interior firewall has f-7041 which mean nothing to anyone in this world. Why would fiat put a stamped brass plate on a vehicle and it means nothing is beyond me.'

Who can help Tim with more information about this impressive car?

Monday, 18 September 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The land speed record that never materialised

The land speed record that never materialised
What do you think of when you hear "land speed record"? An early PreWarCar fanatic will immediately think of Jenatzy's "La Jamais Contente", while others might think of Campbell's Bluebird(s) or the Salt Flats of Bonneville. The records most people remember are the ultimate, overall records broken by "four wheeled planes" rather than cars.

Around WW II, small automobile manufacturers started focusing on a different kind of record attempt: the quest for the highest speed with the smallest displacement! Records were broken with as little as 500, 350 or even 250cc. A name closely associated with these record attempts is that of Giovanni "Johnny" Lurani, whose Moto Guzzi engined Nibbio(first photo) was the first 500cc car to break the 100 mph barrier (... and more than eighty years later, the freshly restored Nibbio won the Coppa d'Oro at this year's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este (second photo)). In the 350cc class, competition was also fierce, with Cecchini's Moscerino (third photo) setting the bar at 146,9 km/h in 1939, the USSR-built Zvezda 2 (fourth photo) raising it to 159,6 km/h in 1947, only to be beaten by the Nibbio II (fifth photo) of Lurani in the same year. The battle between these small displacement cars continued until late in the sixties.

As often in history, some side-notes are as fascinating as the main story, and one of these side-notes could be admired at Chantilly Arts & Elegance last weekend: the Siata 500 Record Car (sixth photo). Built in 1938 on a customized Topolino chassis with a modified Topolino engine (capacity reduced to less than 500cc, fitted with a Siata Super-Testa cylinder head and a compressor) and with an aerodynamic alloy coachwork by Motto, this "mighty mouse" saw its record-breaking attempts thwarted by the start of WW II. Siata's small factory was even flattened by allied bombing, but luckily the record car survived. After the war, Alfredo Bosi, Citroën dealer in Milan, tried to fulfil Siata's prewar record dreams, but unfortunately for him automotive technology hadn't stopped evolving during the war. The car succesfully competed in some smaller competitions of the 750cc class, but didn’t succeed in what it was made for: make history as a record-breaker.

Luckily, the car has been more successful in very recent history, winning 1st prize in the Etceterini Barchetta class in Chantilly. It's now well on its way to build a successful concours palmares.
… and why not try to break that prewar record, almost eighty years later?

Words and photos by Vincent Mahy, Marreyt Classics.
Sunday, 17 September 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About What is it? Quiz #453

Whatisit quiz #453

Congratulations to all contributors, as everyone identified the car as a Bellanger, built by the former Paris agent of Westinghouse, Delaunay-Belleville and Pilain. Most of you also agreed upon the prewar origin of this specific model, but then it started to diverge And I agree, it is difficult to find information on the prewar Bellangers. Officially and with a mouthful this model is designated as the 2CH 20 HP 3.3 litres sports torpedo type 'Lyon' from 1913. Yes, several prewar models had been given European city names. Other examples were the 'Londres', the 'Madrid', the 'Bruxelles' and even the 'Christiania'! Before the war, all were equipped with a Daimler Knight engine and a chassis which according to some sources came from Belgium. Hence the 'international' designation. The initial models were the 15 HP 2.6 litres and the 20 HP 3.3 litres. Only in 1914, the range was extended with a 38 HP 6.3 litres. A small catalogue image of our quiz model can be found in the excellent article by Michael Worthington-Williams on this make, which appeared in the April 2016 issue of The Automobile.

But back to our quiz-contributors: Fried Stol sent in a good overview of the make, as did Robert Vierbergen, but none of the contestants was really spot on with the model. Closest was Philippe Becret, who was correct in the 2CH 20 HP 3.3 litres, but thought it was a 1914 model. And, as for me the model identification puts more weight on the scale than the extras, I congratulate Philippe with his win this time!

Saturday, 16 September 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

6 reasons I love my Model Ts

6 reasons I love my Model Ts

6 reasons I love my Model Ts, need I have to say anymore???? Oh, yes! once they get in they don't know how to open the door/

by Warren Henderson
Friday, 15 September 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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1925 Nash 6 cyl. Touring
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