Posts Tagged ‘Vittorio Jano’

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Gino Valenzano’s Lancia D24 passes Reg Parnell’s Aston Martin DB3S in the early morning Brescia fog, the action captured by Louis Klemantaski aboard the Aston as both navigator and ‘snapper. Mille Miglia 2 May 1954…

It wasn’t to be a happy event for either car, they both failed to finish as a result of accidents. The competitiveness of Vittorio Jano’s newish D24 design was underlined by Alberto Ascari’s win in another of the cars in a time of 11 hours 26 minutes and 10 seconds. Vittorio Marzotto’s 2nd placed Ferrari 500 Mondial was 34 minutes in arrears.

Piero Taruffi’s Lancia led the race early from Brescia, that year fog replaced the more usual rain, he was first into Ravenna with a lead of 1.5 minutes. Castellotti retired his Lancia by Rome, soon Piero’s car developed an oil leak so he too retired. Ascari then assumed the lead but on the home leg north his throttle return spring failed, a rubber band provided a temporary repair. By Florence he was ready to retire but was prevailed upon to continue, then by Bologna all of the quick Ferrari’s had retired so the final 200Km into Brescia was a ‘cruise’ if the final hours of a race lasting 11 plus hours can be so described!

Gianni Lancia and Vittorio Jano created some stunning sports and racing cars in the early 1950’s, at least the Lancia heir could look back on them as a legacy when he was forced to cede management of the company such was its parlous financial state into 1955.

The new D24 ended 1953 with a stunning 1-3 in the November Carrera Panamericana in Mexico; Fangio won from cars driven by Piero Taruffi and Eugenio Castellotti. Felice Bonetto’s death in a D24 during the event somewhat muted the joy the team felt in victory, to say the least.

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Brescia 1 May 1954: Lancia D24’s are islands in a sea of people. #541 Valenzano DNF distributor, #602 Ascari’s winning car and  #540 Castellotti DNF accident (unattributed)

The D24 evolved from the D23 Spyder, itself begat by the D20 Coupe design. Jano’s development times were short, the D23 made its race debut at the Monza GP on 28 June (2nd Bonetto) and the D24 at the Nurbugring 1000Km on 30 August (Taruffi/Manzon and Fangio/Bonetto both DNF). The wheelbase of the D24’s tubular steel spaceframe chassis was marginally reduced. The quad-cam, chain driven, 2 valve, triple Weber 46DCF3 fed, 60 degree V6 engines capacity was increased from the D23’s 3102cc to 3284cc with power in the range 240 to 270bhp @ 6500rpm for each of the two engines.

The cars late 1953 speed carried through into 1954 with the Taruffi/Manzon D24 leading the Sebring 12 Hour until an engine failure about an hour before the end. Despite that the car completed 161 laps compared with the 168 of Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd in the winning OSCA MT4.

Wins at the Targa by Taruffi, not a championship round in 1954, and 4th & 6th in the Tourist Trophy gave Lancia 2nd place in the Manufacturers Championship with 20 points to Ferrari’s 38 despite not entering Le Mans.

Lancia did get plenty of promotional rub-off for their considerable investment in Italy with the cars winning a swag of races and hillclimbs in ’54. Castellotti won the Treponti-Castelnuovo, Coppa Firenze-Siena, Bolzano-Passo Mendola and the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo. Taruffi took the Giro di Sicilia, Catania-Etna and Coppa d’Oro di Sicilia and Villoresi the Oporto GP.

Lancia’s F1 program absorbed plenty of resources, the D50’s first race  was the final ’54 championship round on 24 October, the Spanish Grand Prix at Pedralbes, Barcelona. Alberto Ascari’s jewel of a Lancia D50 started from pole and led until clutch problems caused him to retire on lap 9.

Lancia D24 cutaway: essential elements of Vittorio Jano’s car. Multi-tubular steel spaceframe chassis, Pininfarina designed and built aluminium body, 60 degree DOHC, 3284cc 270bhp V6, independent front suspension, de Dion rear suspension, leaf springs and tubular shocks. Gearbox 4 speed mounted at rear. Inboard drum brakes front and rear. Weight 740-760Kg (Betti)

Despite the competing GP car program Jano evolved the D24 design later in the year by increasing the capacity of the V6 to 3550cc for which 300-305bhp @ 6500 rpm was claimed. Two of these cars dubbed D25 were entered for Ascari/Villoresi and Fangio/Castellotti  at the Tourist Trophy, Dundrod in September but both retired with diff and engine failure respectively. Taruffi/Fangio and Manzon/Castellotti were 4th and 6th in D24’s.

The timing of the GP debut was unfortunate as the D24 was a mighty fine, fast car which deserved to have been the primary competition focus of Lancia that year.

The D50 changed the course of GP history in terms of its brilliant design, it’s contribution to Lancia’s fiscal disaster and of course giving Ferrari a car which won the world drivers championship for JM Fangio in 1956. But the D24 could conceivably have won Lancia a sportscar manufacturers championship in 1954 had the necessary, exclusive effort been applied to that campaign.

Wonderful hindsight of course, one of my strengths!…

Credits…

Louis Klemantaski, STF, Bruno Betti

Tailpiece: Alberto Ascari’s Lancia D24 chassis ‘006’ of nine cars built, in Rome and ‘heading for home’ 2 May 1954…

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(STF)

 

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Brivio won the race, 7 laps of the 72Km ‘Piccolo Madonie’, 504Km, in his Scuderia Ferrari entry, ahead of 4 other ‘Monzas’…

He took 6 hours 35 minutes to complete the race at an average speed of 76.3 KMH, an endurance test to be sure!

Scuderia Ferrari had a busy and victorious weekend, running three Monza’s at the Eifelrennen at the Nurburgring, Nuvolari winning and another three in Targa.

Borzacchini lead the Scuderia Ferrari Targa assault in a Monza 2.6 but retired after hitting a wall near Collesano, Brivio winning with Carraroli third in the other SF entry, both 2.3 Monza’s .

One of Vittorio Janos’ greatest designs, the supercharged straight-eight ‘Monza’ is one of the most successful racing cars of all time.

Vittorio Jano…

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Vittorio Jano and Phil Hill later in Janos’ life. Pictured in Maranello in 1962, Jano designed the V6 engine which powered Hills’ 1961 World Championship winning Ferrari 156…the car was a ‘slug’ in 1962, the problem the chassis not Janos’ engine…Jano died by his own hand aged 75, frustrated by illness and his diminishing powers. He was 65. (Klemantaski Archive)

Alfa ‘pinched’ Jano from Fiat, where he was a key designer of their 804 and 805 GP cars. He was the leading figure in the design of Italian racing cars for over 30 years, Fiat in the 20’s, Alfa in the 30’s and Ferrari in the 1950’s, mind you his ‘Dino’ derived V6 engines were still winning rallies in the Lancia Stratos well into the 1970’s.

As soon as he joined Alfa he worked on supercharging the P1 GP car whilst also designing the very successful straight-8 P2 for 1924, the car immediately victorious in the French GP.

Alfa won the ‘World Championship’ in 1925 but withdrew from racing in 1926/7, allowing Jano to concentrate on a new series of road cars, the revered 6C 1500/1750 cars the result.

Alfa wanted to return to outright success in motor racing, the first step was the creation of the 8C2300, ‘unquestionably the ultimate sports car of its time and marked the pinnacle of the era for sports cars with cart-sprung flexible chassis and crash-gearboxes..’ according to marque expert Simon Moore.

Context of The Time…

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The world was still in recession as a consequence of the collapse of the global economy after the 1929 Wall Street Collapse, Bentley were going through liquidation, Mercedes were entering the market for ‘mass-produced’ cars, whilst Alfa introduced this upmarket car.

Alfa themselves were not immune to any of this, passing through and into the hands of government agencies to make grants to aid industry, ultimately being taken over by the ‘Instituto Ricostruzione Industriale’ in 1933.

8C2300 Design…

monza outline

Jano laid down a chassis which was conventional for the period in having channel side and cross members with semi-elliptic leaf springs and friction shock absorbers.

The ‘Corto’ had a wheelbase of 9 feet, and the ‘Lungo’, 10 feet 2 inches. Rod operated drum brakes were fitted of 15 3/4 inches internal diameter and were very powerful by the standards of the day. Knock-off wire wheels were standard competition fare , 5.5 inches wide and 19 inches in diameter.

The rear axle and 4 speed gearbox were of the same design as the 6C 1750.

The engine was both the heart of the car and it’s outstanding design feature.

A straight 8, with a bore and stroke of 65x88mm, the cylinders were cast in two identical blocks of four to allow for a train of auxiliaries to be placed between them. The crank was supported by ten main, plain bearings.

The crank was made of two halves, with two helical gears bolted between them in the centre, one driving the (two) camshafts by two intermediaries, and the other the supercharger, oil and water pumps.

The cylinder blocks were fitted with dry liners, and had separate, alloy detachable heads. The engine was dry-sumped.

A ‘Roots type’ two lobe blower was mounted low down beside the alloy crankcase, fed by a Memini carburettor . The fuel system used two Autovacs from a twenty-four gallon rear mounted tank.

Ignition was by Bosch coil and distributor with the manual control in the centre of the steering wheel.

The engine developed between 165 and 178 BHP at 5400RPM.

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Scuderia Ferrari workshop in 1933. Eugenio Siena left, and Giulio Ramponi right, working on an 8C2300 engine on the test bed. Ramponi a notable figure as a mechanic, riding mechanic and driver for Alfa. He also had a key role in the ascent of  both Whitney Straight, and Dick Seaman as drivers, preparing their cars (@Zagari)

Race Record…

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The ‘Monza’ won 2 championship Grands’ Prix, the Italian Grand Prix in 1931, a 10 hour epic won by Nuvolari and Campari, the victory from which the car took its name, and the 1932 Monaco GP. Nuvolari is pictured in his Monza in that race, he won it over a duration of 3.5 hours from Rudy Caracciola, by only 2.7 seconds!, in a similar car. (Unattributed)

The 8C2300 sports cars were incredibly successful winning Le Mans 1931-4, the Spa 24 Hour in 1932/3, Targa 1931-3, and the Mille Miglia 1932-4.

Alfa developed the P3 as it’s pure racing car, during the same period, a straight 8, twin-supercharged , fixed cylinder head car which was incredibly successful in 1932-5. As a consequence the 8C2300 based racing cars won only two championship Grands’ Prix (Italian GP in 1931 and Monaco GP in 1932) as well as many second tier events, not bad for a ‘sports car’ all the same!

Minoia was also crowned European Champion in 1931 driving ‘Monzas’.

Production History…

188 or 189 cars were produced from 1931 to 1934, in three series, with ten ‘Monzas’ officially built by the factory. The number built by Alfa according to Simon Moore is greater than that, ten works racers and a number of customer racers built to similar specifications…where definition of a Monza is ‘ a 2.3 racer with a narrow body, outside exhaust pipe, short front springs and a tail comprising a fuel tank with a pointed crush cone’.

Without doubt a landmark car and one of the very few to be both a great sports car, sports racer and Grand Prix winner…a GP car in which to do the shopping!

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Antonio Brivio beside his Monza. He won the Targa twice, in 1933 and ’35, the Mille Miglia in 1936 and Spa 24 Hour race in 1932. He was also a world class bobsledder competing in the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch. (Pinterest)

Etcetera…

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monza engines by 2

Both sides of the 2.3 litre DOHC straight-8 and 4 speed gearbox. Roots type 2 lobe blower mounted low on RHSide, fed by Memini carburettor. Engine comprised 2 blocks of 4 cylinders with centrally mounted drives from 2 piece crank visible (Alfa Archives)

monza engine cutaway

Section of the 8C2300 engine showing how it was divided into 3 levels; one piece cast crankcase, 2 blocks of 4 cylinders in line, and the heads. Both the cam drive, and 2 piece crankshaft are clearly seen (Simon Moore/ Alfa Archives)

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Photo and Other Credits…

‘The Legendary 2.3’ Simon Moore, ‘Alfa Romeo’ Hull & Slater

Pinterest unattributed, tintoyslife, @zagari, Klemantaski Archive, Alfa Romeo Archive

Finito…