Fiat 806 Grand Prix
Grand Prix car
Fiat special construction department
Tranquillo Zerbi , Alberto Massimino
Fiat 1500 12 U-cylinder
1927 Milan Grand Prix
The Fiat 806 Driven stroke , sometimes also described as Fiat 806 Grand Prix or Fiat 806/406 , was a racing car to be built by the Turin house in 1927 , which represented the first single-seater from Grand Prix ever built. For Fiat it was also the last one.
In 1923 the persuasive ability of Enzo Ferrari , at the time pilot and factotum of the Alfa Corse , had wrested Vittorio Jano and his technical entourage from Fiat, to take him to the Alfa Romeo . After the Grand Prix of Lyon of 1924 , feeling betrayed, Giovanni Agnelli took one of his decisions on impulse: retired racing team from Fiat Grand Prix and suspended the construction of the new car from Grand Prix , designed by the young engineers Quiet Zerbi and Alberto Massimino .However, the choice favored Alfa Romeo which, in the absence of its rival, began to collect a series of important sporting victories that encouraged sales at the expense of Fiat. Determined to break the supremacy of the Alfa Romeo P2 , in 1927 the Fiat management gave order to the Special Construction Department to put in place a car capable of accomplishing this task, demonstrating the continued competitiveness of the Turin-based company.
Moreover, the new international regulation of the Formula Grand Prix had decreased the maximum displacement from 2,000 to 1,500 cm³ and the last version of the previous " 805 " model had now reached the maximum possible evolution. It was therefore necessary to create a completely new car. Zerbi and Massimino revived a previous project, probably made by Giulio Cesare Cappa , modernizing it with numerous modifications.Both the engine and the chassis were designed to overcome, in originality and efficiency, the limits set by the technique of the time.
Two six-cylinder in-line semi-blocks were designed for the engine to be coupled, to form a twelve-cylinder engine with a U-shaped arrangement . The distribution had two overhead valves, controlled by the three overhead camshafts and supercharging was provided by a Roots type compressor .
The most innovative part, however, was in the chassis and bodywork. In order to lower the center of gravity, the two technicians thought of arranging the engine-transmission group no longer resting on the two supporting longitudinal members of the frame, but inserted between them, also conferring greater torsional rigidity. The solution involved a shorter distance between the side members that did not allow enough space for the traditional two-seater passenger compartment, nor to separate the passenger compartment from the engine compartment with the classic dashboard. However, the improved reliability of the engines had by now rendered the presence of the mechanical co-pilot superfluous, at least as far as the short-lived races were concerned, and it was decided to eliminate the seat alongside the driver, thus creating the first Grand Prix car in history. motoring. As for the contiguity between the pilot cabin and the engine compartment, provision was made to equip the concentric canvas bulkhead steering wheel , fixed to the steering column, which protected the rider's face from oil splashes coming from the engine.
In all, four "Type 406" twelve-cylinder engines and one "Type 806" chassis were built.
Compared to the technical specifications of the time, the Fiat 806 was immediately noticed for the height from the ground and the very small front section. The house claimed a power of 187 hp at 8,500 rpm and a speed of about 240 km / h , with an average consumption of about 35 liters per 100 km. Equipped with a 4-speed gearbox and reverse gear, it boasted rigid-axle suspensions with friction dampers and drum brakes on the four wheels mechanically controlled and assisted by power brakes.
Embellished with many technical innovations and with an engine of exuberant specific power, the "806" immediately revealed to the test driver Carlo Salamano , the difficulty of development and the fragility of the engine to prolonged efforts. Not to mention the inadequacy of the components of that time, with respect to performance. It was thus decided to limit the operating power to 160 hp.For these reasons it was decided to register the car at the Milan Grand Prix , over a distance of 50 km, and not at the European Grand Prix , over a distance of 500 km. Both races were held, consecutively, on 4 September 1927 at the Monza Circuit .
The renewal of the challenge at the top of the FIAT and Alfa Romeo brought an overwhelming crowd to the circuit, despite the dense and persistent rainy day. In addition to the return home of Pietro Bordino - returned for the occasion from the USA , where he had moved after the withdrawal of Fiat from the races - he also helped recall the crowd at the Milan Grand Prix of acclaimed steering wheel aces such as Giuseppe Campari , Aymo Maggi , Emilio Materassi and Tazio Nuvolari .The conditions of the track, due to the rain, were particularly unfavorable to the Fiat 806 and to its super-fractioned engine that certainly could not excel in elasticity and smoothness of delivery. However, thanks to the superior stability of the new chassis, Bordino won the elimination heats, ensuring for the final what would be called the pole position today and won the victory, ahead of the Alfa Romeo P2 of Campari and the Bugatti T35 of Maggi, inflicting a more than a minute behind the runner-up and also taking the fastest lap of the entire motoring day, at an average of 155.410 km / h.
For the 1928 sporting season , but Fiat considered the demonstration experience to be over and announced its retirement of the Formula Grand Prix which, that time, was definitive. The order of destruction of the prototype and the accompanying material came directly from Senator Agnelli . The Fiat 806 and the spare engines were dismembered to recover the reusable parts and the rest ended up under the press , destined for the foundry . To document the progenitor of modern Formula 1 cars , only a few photographs remain.
Motor type: 12 cylinders
Engine: Fiat 1500 12 U-cylinder
Power supply: Roots compressor
Displacement: 1,484 cm³
Engine position: longitudinal front
Transmission: 4 speeds
Clutch: multiple discs
Drive Traction: rear
Bodywork: sheet metal
Length: 3640 mm
Width: 1450 mm
Height: 1200 mm
Weight: 700 kg
Top Speed: 240 km/ h
Engine performance: 187 hp @ 8,500 rpm
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