The Fiat S76, the fastest car in the world in 1911 (unofficially), will turn a wheel for the first time in over 100 years when it tackles the famous hillclimb at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 26-29.
History of the Fiat S76 – ‘The Beast of Turin’
Just two Fiat S76 cars were produced by the Italian manufacturer, with the aim of snatching the records for the flying kilometre and flying mile from the ‘Blitzen’ Benzes. The S76 achieved the mile record with Pietro Bordino at the wheel at Saltburn Sands in 1911 and was officially recorded at over 135mph on a kilometre attempt at Ostenede in Belguim, only to be denied the record as it was unable to complete a return run within the specified one hour.
While one car was dismantled by Fiat after the First World War to prevent rival manufacturers obtaining their technical secrets, the other was purchased by Russian aristocrat Boris Soukhanov and eventually made its way to Australia after WW1, where it was modernised and campaigned it as a ‘Fiat Racing Special’.
Restoring the Fiat S76
Bristol-based enthusiast Duncan Pittaway, who will drive the S76 at Goodwood, brought the chassis back to the UK in 2003 and reunited it with the original 28.5-litre, four-cylinder engine from the dismantled car. The machine has spent the past 10 years being restored to original specification with Roach Manufacturing of Southampton helping with the bodywork.
Duncan Pittaway said: “After restoring a Bugatti T35, I was looking for a new challenge and the S76, which is one of the more maligned cars of its generation, fitted the bill nicely. All of the original S76 components that have survived have been restored, from the chassis and engine down to the suspension, axles, pedals, steering box, etc, with the gearbox, radiator and bodywork being created using the original Fiat drawings. As the last and largest of the huge-engined Edwardian monsters, it should be sensational to see.