An impressive piece of automotive history will be present at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed: the Fiat S76, unofficially the fastest car in the world in 1911. The car will turn a wheel for the first time in over 100 years when it goes up the Goodwood hill on June 26-29.
Fiat only built two S76s with the specific aim of snatching the records for the flying kilometer and mile from the “Blitzen” Benzes. The S76 set the mile record with Pietro Bordino behind the wheel at Saltburn Sands in 1911 and was officially clocked at over 135mph (217 km/h) on a 1 kilometer attempt at Ostenede in Belgium. However, the Fiat was 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 World War 1 to prevent rival manufacturers obtaining technical secrets, the other one survived after being purchased by Russian aristocrat Boris Soukhanov. After the war, the car arrived in Australia, where it was modernized and campaigned as a “Fiat Racing Special”.
In 2003, the car was bought by Bristol-based enthusiast Duncan Pittaway, who brought the chassis back to the UK and reunited it with the original 290HP 28.5-liter, four-cylinder engine from the dismantled car.
For the past 10 years, the car has been meticulously restored to its original specification.
“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,” said owner Duncan Pittaway, who will drive it at Goodwood “As the last and largest of the huge-engined Edwardian monsters, it should be sensational to see.”
By Dan Mihalascu