1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek: - Alfa Romeo Forum
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1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

In 1935, to compete with Mercedes Benz and Auto Union, Enzo Ferrari (Race team manager) and Luigi Bazzi (Designer) built a racer with two 3.2 (3.165 litre) engines, one in the front and one in the rear, giving 6.3 litres and 540 bhp (403 kW).

The drivetrain layout was unusual. The two engines were connected by separate driveshaft to a gearbox with two input shafts, and two angled output shafts, so each of the rear wheels had its own driveshaft. It could never quite succeed against the Mercedes W25 B of Rudolf Caracciola, and was hard on fuel and tyres. The gain in speed was offset by increased pit times.

On May 12, 1935, two were entered in the Tripoli Grand Prix driven by Nuvolari and Chiron who finished fourth and fifth. Chiron managed a second at the following 1935 Avus race.

On June 16, 1935 Nuvolari drove a special prepared Bimotore from Florence to Livorno and set a new speed record 364 km/h (226 mph) with average speed of over 323 km/h (201 mph).

After that it was sidelined in favour of the Tipo C. It was the first racer to use the Dubonnet independent trailing arm front suspension.

A V12 was under development, but was not race ready. It was noticed that the Bimotore had a traction advantage on rough ground, so a version of the Bimotore chassis with the independent Dubonnet front end, and a new independent rear with swing axles with radius rods and a transverse leaf spring was used for the Tipo C 3.8s.
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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

Nuvolari, probably the finest driver ever. One of very few to survive the racing.
Imagine sitting in a "P3" with the diff between your legs. Jano designed this split propshaft to get the driver lower, and reduce individual stress on the shafts. I have a copy of his original sketches for this. The bimotore was always a bit of a risk, but they had little funding compared to the Germans.
I think I saw an Alfa with dubonnet front end at Prescott about 1951.
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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

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Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
On June 16, 1935 Nuvolari drove a special prepared Bimotore from Florence to Livorno and set a new speed record 364 km/h (226 mph) with average speed of over 323 km/h (201 mph).
I know they were true heroes and I love the old stuff and stories. I do just wonder sometimes about how accurate the timings were.

201mph average on mostly poor roads. Over TWO HUNDRED mph across a couple of hundred miles. 1935 technology. Yeah, right. I believe it implicitly.

Still wonderful cars, just a pinch of salt for me.
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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

Amazing!
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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

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Originally Posted by 73GTVJim View Post

201mph average on mostly poor roads. Over TWO HUNDRED mph across a couple of hundred miles. 1935 technology. Yeah, right. I believe it implicitly.
In 1935 they would have had the Autostrada... but even if 200mph did come from a bit of over-optimistic timekeeping, they probably couldn't have been doing much less than that.... Even 150mph average would have been awesome on those skinny tyres..


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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

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Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
In 1935 they would have had the Autostrada... but even if 200mph did come from a bit of over-optimistic timekeeping, they probably couldn't have been doing much less than that.... Even 150mph average would have been awesome on those skinny tyres..


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Absolutely.

It was the first time I'd considered the "accuracy" of such old reports when I read your post. I'd heard the story before, and others like it, then just thought about all the optimistic outputs decalred even up to quite recently and the certain lack of Guinness Book of Records type controls and concluded I needed more salt!
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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

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Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
On June 16, 1935 Nuvolari drove a special prepared Bimotore from Florence to Livorno and set a new speed record 364 km/h (226 mph) with average speed of over 323 km/h (201 mph).
I think this should have been reported as a speed record attempt over 1 KM averaging 193.5 MPH, hitting top speed of 218.4, which seems more likely. The tyres generally lasted between 20 and 50 miles.
I don't remember the event as I was only 2 years old.
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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

Ah.. that'd make more sense.

Mind you...strapped in between 2 engines and however many gallons of aviatoin fuel, with a propshaft (or 2?) just inches from your 'nads, is pretty hairy.. even before moving off!


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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

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Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
Ah.. that'd make more sense.

Mind you...strapped in between 2 engines and however many gallons of aviatoin fuel, with a propshaft (or 2?) just inches from your 'nads, is pretty hairy.. even before moving off!


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no wonder he was in a hurry to get there
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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

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Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
Ah.. that'd make more sense.

Mind you...strapped in between 2 engines and however many gallons of aviatoin fuel, with a propshaft (or 2?) just inches from your 'nads, is pretty hairy.. even before moving off!


Ralf S.
Possibly alcohol/methanol, I don't know, but it was used to keep the valves cool at some time. I have driven with it and a hand pump (air pressure for the fuel tank).
Not so hot if it goes up, but still enough to cook the driver. The big danger was if you wrapped it round a tree, the tank would go up, either side too. Imagine the noise from open pipes, gear trains, 200 mph and just a thin bit of aluminium protecting the driver.
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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

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Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
In 1935, to compete with Mercedes Benz and Auto Union, Enzo Ferrari (Race team manager) and Luigi Bazzi (Designer) built a racer with two 3.2 (3.165 litre) engines, one in the front and one in the rear, giving 6.3 litres and 540 bhp (403 kW).

The drivetrain layout was unusual. The two engines were connected by separate driveshaft to a gearbox with two input shafts, and two angled output shafts, so each of the rear wheels had its own driveshaft. It could never quite succeed against the Mercedes W25 B of Rudolf Caracciola, and was hard on fuel and tyres. The gain in speed was offset by increased pit times.

On May 12, 1935, two were entered in the Tripoli Grand Prix driven by Nuvolari and Chiron who finished fourth and fifth. Chiron managed a second at the following 1935 Avus race.

On June 16, 1935 Nuvolari drove a special prepared Bimotore from Florence to Livorno and set a new speed record 364 km/h (226 mph) with average speed of over 323 km/h (201 mph).

After that it was sidelined in favour of the Tipo C. It was the first racer to use the Dubonnet independent trailing arm front suspension.

A V12 was under development, but was not race ready. It was noticed that the Bimotore had a traction advantage on rough ground, so a version of the Bimotore chassis with the independent Dubonnet front end, and a new independent rear with swing axles with radius rods and a transverse leaf spring was used for the Tipo C 3.8s.
Interesting stuff
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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

there is one at the donnington museum.
 
(Post Link) post #13 of 14 Old 28-09-07 Thread Starter
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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

I'm always amazed how those old crates were so fast! You see them at museums and motorshows and occasionally spluttering along at some parade.. and they just don't look like they'll do 100, never mind 200...

They must have been bloody terrifying to drive (or maybe drivers were heroes then... ). The only thing I can imagine more lunatic today, is going up in a space rocket.


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Re: 1935 Bimotore vs Nuvolari :eek:

Lovely piece of racing nostalgia Ralf. We ought to have a special forum for such historically important stuff. Austin Dobson had one of the ex-Ferrari Bi-Motores, and raced it with some success at Brooklands and elsewhere. It must have been an awesome sight and sound in it's heyday, and typical of Ferrari to be battling against the manufacturing 'giants' of the day. Funny how this theme (obsession?) regularly surfaced through the ensuing decades.
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