Wow. Just wow.
It looks like you can get a LOT closer to the stars at the Maranello Ferrari Museum than I would have thought. Mattia Merli shot this remarkable collection of F-car details three years ago, so they might have come to their senses in the meantime. Then again, this footage looks like it pre-dates the newer architecturally marvelous facility. I’m not sure I’d be able to resist climbing into the pilot’s seat without at least a symbolic barrier between me and these gorgeous prancing horses.
As we embark on Maserati’s centennial, this chart tracking the genetics of the 1950s Maserati Grand Prix cars is fascinating. At the time, this might have demonstrated the storied history of Maserati in contrast to the post-war upstarts who’s garages started producing racing machines. Today, however, we can look back at this as quite the opposite: The slow death of Maserati’s monoposto efforts.
Imagine if we could have added another 50 years to to this dynasty of single-seat Maserati racers.
I spent last evening at the cinema watching Gravity. I was particularly struck by several scenes shot from the main character’s point of view inside her helmet with her breath fogging the faceshield and the noise of each exhale filling the auditorium. The experience felt so claustrophobic and close. It reminded me of what it must have felt like for Romolo Ferri ducking into the lid of his bright red Lambretta Record and settling in for his record-setting run on a stretch of road between Munich and Ingolsdadt.
Look at this little thing. Like the Munro Special or a bellytank hot rod, the aerodynamic bodywork of surrounding this anything-but-stock Lambretta motorscooter must have felt so tight… and hot. It’s easy to see why the scooter was called “The Red Bullet”.
Sure, Romolo was competing against Vespa, but as any salt flat driver will tell you, the real competition was himself, his previous record, the engineering limits of the 2-stroke engine underneath him.
So how did he do? 201 kph. 124.8 mph. In a 1951 Lambretta. Wow.
More on Romolo Ferri and his record-setting Lammy at Italian Ways. Thanks for sending this one in, Karp.
My usual sources aren’t turning up specific race history for this chassis number but given the solid history of Stanguellini in FJr, there’s a strong chance that there’s some fun stories back there. While this example is unlikely to have any laps turned by well-known Stanguellini racers like Bandini or Von Tripps; with only a touch over a hundred of them made I suppose it’s possible. At least that’s what I would tell myself while I sat in this one in my garage, goggles strapped on and mouthing high revving Fiat 1100 noises.
Yesterday’s Siata card from the Topps World on Wheels series reminded me of this trading card that our pal Cliff picked up on eBay a while back. The card was shipped to him from Canada, but he has no other information about the card or whether it’s part of a larger set. The dual French-English text on the card’s back might suggest that it is indeed Canadian in origin… but then the imperial measurements in the card’s text throw me (I just realized that this card would obviously pre-date Canada’s conversion to metric in the 70’s). Does anyone know anything more about this card or the set it’s part of?
Pretty badass little car too. The Moretti is definitely one of those barchettas that it’s difficult to visually scale without something in the image for reference. In this illustration the Moretti looks like a decidedly Italian sport tourer, sharing much in common with Ferraris of the era. Take a look at one with a driver, though, and you realize what a tiny little machine it truly is. I love it.
From the card’s reverse: This little sports car is made in Italy, and it is a lightweight model sports car weighing only 1120 lbs. It is made by Fabrica Automobili in Turin, Italy. The new model delivers 75 bhp and has a top speed of 111 mph. It gives an amazing 39 miles to the gallon.
Pull the card box from under the bed, it’s time to flip back through the Topps World on Wheels trading card series. This time a personal favorite: Siata.
From the card’s reverse:
The Siata Company began life by manufacturing equipment for increasing the speed and power of cars already on the road… “hop-up” equipment. Now, however, the company has turned to making its own sports cars. They use many standard parts, get as much horsepower as possible from a stock engine, and have attractive bodies.
More cards from the World on Wheels series in the archives.
Here’s a video you can show your muscle car friends when they claim anything packing less than a 427 is just a dainty little commuter. This Abarth 2000 Sport Prototipo piloted by Max Comelli is a rabid wolverine. 2 Liters… a mere 122 cubic inches. This is why I so love these little lightweight racing machines.
1st in class for this run up a Brescian mountainside from Marone on the shore of Lake Iseo to Zone.
Man, I’ve really shortchanged hill climbs. I’ve always treated them as second class to wheel-to-wheel racing. I was wrong. This is thrilling.
Even if it weren’t chock full of fantastic Alfas, this video from Petrolicious would be worth watching just for Manuel’s story of his father catching him taking a turn with a bit too much verve.
Keep up the good work, guys.