Sixteen sweet pages…
By Brandes Elitch
A few years ago, the organizers of the Pebble Beach concours, in an effort to dispel the image of the entrants as so called trailer queens, initiated a drive for the entrants around the Monterey Peninsula.
In the event of a tie in class, the car that has completed the drive gets the nod in the judging. As part of this procession, the cars are parked in downtown Carmel for a few hours in the middle of the day, and in the middle of the street, for everyone to see. As I was threading my way through them, I saw something I had never seen before. It was obviously an early fifties car, obviously Italian, and the script said “Cisitalia.” I approached the owner, Urs Jakob, and said, “I’ve never seen a Cisitalia this big before,” he replied. “This isn’t a Cisitalia; it’s a Ford!” Boy, was that a shock.
He went on to explain that in the early 1950’s, Ford was considering the idea of what we now call a personal luxury car, which later became, of course, the two-seater Thunderbird. Keep in mind that, unlike GM and Chrysler, up until then, Ford did not really have any dream cars except the three cars made for Edsel Ford for his own personal use, which were never displayed for the public to see. In the early 1950s, Ford commissioned the building of six prototypes: two were bodied by Ghia, and four by Vignale, including Mr. Jakob’s car. Ford shipped 6 stock Ford chassis to Vignale; this particular car had a straight six, some of the others had the V-8. The current owner told me that he owns two of the cars, and he is hot on the trail of a third.
By Pete Vack
Was it even remotely possible, that one of the rarest and most treasured Italian race cars ever built had been hidden from sight for over 40 years, and was only one hour from VeloceToday Headquarters? Since moving to Williamsburg, we’d helped rediscover an Iso Marlboro Lele built for Howden Ganley, found a rare TVR whose owner had no idea what kind of a car it was, the only true Intermeccanica Formula Junior in the world, and a few odds and ends.
But this mystery car would top everything we had ever dreamed of finding.
In January 2007, the phone rang and I heard a familiar voice. “A friend of mine says she has a Cisitalia D46 in need of restoration. I was wondering if you could come with me to check it out.”
By Robert Pauley
For 25 years Robert Pauley worked as a design engineer for Chrysler’s Research Department and spent many years on the gas turbine program. What follows are some remembrances of the time he spent on the Chrysler turbine program with the Italian engineer and designer Giovanni Savonuzzi. Part 1 describes meeting Savonuzzi at Chrysler and the circumstances surrounding Savonuzzi’s position and his idea for a gas turbine-powered Indy car. In the lead image above, Savonuzzi poses with George Huebner along with the Chrysler Turbine Car.
Designing the Chrysler Turbine Powered Indy Car
Savonuzzi had collected some Indy car drawings and an Indianapolis 500 rule book and I began making a large, roll-size layout drawing of the proposed race car. The drawing had no part number but was dated July 31, 1963. That concept drawing, now lost,* showed the car in three views, side, top and front, at one-quarter scale. The cockpit was located slightly forward of the midpoint with two Chrysler A-831 gas turbine engines behind the driver. Large air intake scoops were located on each side of the driver’s headrest feeding air into dual plenums, one for each engine. The internal engine components were to be production parts but the four regenerators were to be eliminated. That change required redesigned “regenerator covers” to separate the compressor air from the exhaust gasses. Four rectangular exhaust ducts passed upwards through the engines’ top cowling with the outlets facing aft. The two engines were mounted side-by-side and aligned fore-and-aft with the output flanges bolted to a transverse housing that incorporated a transmission and the final drive to the rear wheels. The car had a long, pointy nose somewhat similar to that of the Lotus 58 that raced at Indy in 1968. The nose of the Chrysler proposal, however, was broader, flatter and not as long. Savonuzzi said he wanted it shaped that way for aerodynamic reasons. In one corner of my layout I had included a perspective drawing of the proposed race car and as a final touch had drawn a large Chrysler Pentastar logo on the flat surface of the nose. Savonuzzi became quite excited as the design evolved on my drawing board over a period of several weeks. He exuded optimism and appeared confident that with the aid of my drawing he would be able to sell the proposal to Chrysler management. [Read more…] about Giovanni Savonuzzi’s Detroit Odyssey Part 2
By Pete Vack
During a career that spanned all facets of automobile design, mechanical innovations and inventive research, Giovanni Savonuzzi was not only a superb stylist but also a brilliant engineer…a rare combination of technical prowess and design artistry fused by his training in aeronautics. [Read more…] about Savonuzzi the Designer Part 1