And How! is a new regular feature in VeloceToday, just right for those stories which are too short or too little or news items that don’t qualify as full length articles.
Life, Death and Rebirth of a Simca 8. But is it the same car?
By Pete Vack
As Graham Gauld has written, Gordini’s racing prior to the 1950s was both significant and interesting. Here we’ll take a look at a few of the prewar Simcas modified by Gordini.
While he had not yet given his name to his cars, Gordini’s modifications to the Balilla Sport, the Simca Cinq (Fiat Topolino) and the Simca Huit were very successful – in fact one might argue Gordini was almost as successful before the war as he was after!
Although having established his Suresnes Fiat garage in about 1927, Gordini didn’t gain much traction until 1935, when the Balilla began to come into France in numbers. Before that, Gordini had struggle to derived speed from the Fiat 514, introduced in 1929. It was a solid if not stellar replacement of the 509; with 1438cc, the four cylinder flathead would allow the production car about 55 mph. More or less representing Fiat, Gordini prepared a 514 Torpedo much like the one in the photograph, to enter the Course de cóte de Suresnes, a trial up the Mont Valérien. The prize was given to the slowest car! Not only that, he won the event in both 1933 and 1934, gaining him the title “The King of Slow Drivers”. But even then, Gordini realized that any publicity was usually good publicity.