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MOTOR SPORTS
John Bentley
October 10, 1955
IN PARIS AND LONDON THE 1956 MODEL SPORTS CARS ARE GOING ON DISPLAY. HEREWITH A DETAILED PREVIEW OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EUROPEAN CREATIONS
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October 10, 1955

Motor Sports

IN PARIS AND LONDON THE 1956 MODEL SPORTS CARS ARE GOING ON DISPLAY. HEREWITH A DETAILED PREVIEW OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EUROPEAN CREATIONS

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With the Paris salon opening its doors this week and the London Earl's Court show less than a fortnight away, it's time to lift the wraps from some of those gleaming 1956 sports jobs. While in Europe, I got a sneak preview of several new British, Italian and German creations:

Jaguar: The XK140, M and MC versions will continue with only minor changes, using the same body dies, and the SI road-test figures for this fine job (April 25) still hold largely true. However, Jaguar's long-delayed 2�-liter model will be seen at Earl's Court. It is called the "2.4-liter Saloon"—the current model has a sedan body—and displaces 2,483 cc for a bore and stroke of 83 x 76.5 millimeters. The double overhead camshaft engine is basically a cut-down XK140 power unit, which has inherited all the latter's rugged reliability, plus a modest piston speed of 3,011 feet per minute at 6,000 rpm. In its present detuned form, with 8:1 compression ratio and two Solex downdraft carburetors, the 2.4-liter Jaguar engine produces 112 hp at 5,750 rpm. According to Harry Westlake, who for years has designed Jaguar cylinder heads, the new power unit can be made to turn 7,000 rpm happily; with various detail improvements to camshafts, porting, carburetion and compression ratio, 170 hp or better is a certainty.

A LONG-TERM PROPOSITION

The 2.4-liter chassis is lighter than that of the XK140, but similar in suspension, gearbox and brakes. Wheel-base is 5? inches longer to accommodate the handsome four-door body. From the viewpoint of the sports car enthusiast, this new model is a long-term proposition. It won't be available in the U.S. until February of next year.

Triumph: The TR2 for 1956 (SI, Aug. 29) has detail improvements such as softer suspension, still better finish, quieter exhaust and a dash ventilator cowl. Chief novelty is the Laycock de Normanville seven-speed overdrive, now available as a production extra. For added horses, pep and performance, the competition driver still has a choice of factory equipment which includes Al-Fin brake drums, aluminum oil pan, larger (1�-inch) SU carburetors, wire wheels, a belly pan and a metal tonneau cover—forbidden in SCCA races. In addition, there is a new exhaust header with separate, smoothly curved pipes which adds about three hp to the output. No disc brakes yet.

MG: The A type, just released (SI, Sept. 26), won't set the competition world afire in its present form, but there's more coming. The Westlake-designed double-entry port cylinder head used on the EX 182 Le Mans cars this year is almost a sure bet as an optional extra. MG also has a new 1�-liter (90 cubic inches) double overhead camshaft engine which the factory believes can be developed to produce that magic 100 hp per liter. Assuming a conservative output of 125 hp, the rest will depend on the weight of the new tubular chassis and competition body.

Alfa Romeo: In Milan I tested the new Giulietta Sprint—a 100-mph, two-door sedan of beautiful lines with a Bertone body and a twin overhead camshaft 1300-cc engine. This is Alfa's prize exhibit for 1956, due to reach the U.S. in numbers at any time now. Present power output of the Giulietta (65 hp at 6,000 rpm) is modest and represents the detuned version of this tough little engine. Engineer Rodolfo Hruska believes 90 hp is a feasible output with Weber carburetors, racing camshafts and the usual detail changes necessary for high-speed tuning. The Giulia, a 3�-liter luxury model, won't appear for another year.

Maserati: At Modena, the spotless factory was busy with several 1956 cars: the new 1500-cc job; two versions of the 2-liter road racing car, plus a 3.5-liter job. The little Maserati is a box of tricks to delight the speed merchant. Four-cylinder, five-bearing, double overhead cam engine, 81 x 72 millimeters; two Weber side-draft dual throat carburetors; 135 hp at 6,000 rpm for a 1,484-cc displacement with 8.75:1 compression ratio. The tubular frame features a rear transverse leaf spring with radius rods; the gearbox uses Porsche synchromesh on all four speeds. The prototype had a de Dion rear axle, but this is being modified to a solid axle. Top speed, about 132 mph. The car looks like a scaled-down version of the famous 3000S Maserati, which for 19 5 6 will have a 3�-liter, six-cylinder engine with still more power. Of the 2-liter jobs, one is an improved and lightened version of the six-cylinder A6GCS which now produces 180 hp instead of 165 hp at 7,500 rpm, due to some brilliant work on the cylinder head and valve gear by that noted camshaft expert, Pollio Aurelio. The other car is a hush-hush four-cylinder job—185 hp at 8,000 rpm.

A SIX-CYLINDER SHOWPIECE

Ferrari: There are three new models in addition to the handsome Europa 250 (Pinin Farina) Gran Turismo coupe, of which 100 will be built next year. The Europa's 12-cylinder engine—200 hp at 6,000 rpm—is retained, but refinements include a full synchromesh transmission, front suspension by coils (as in the Monza car), replacing a transverse leaf spring, and much less mechanical and tire noise. Of the three racing jobs, the six-cylinder 4.4-liter (4,412-cc) car is the showpiece. The engine—basically that of the Monza with two cylinders added—puts out 360 hp at 6,000 rpm. Unofficially timed along the Castel Fusano stretch of the Rome-Ostia autostrada, this bomb actually reached 200 mph. The other two cars will be a 3.5-liter job with either 12 or four cylinders, and a four which is a much improved version of the 2-liter Mondial with a new chassis. Power will top the Mondial by about 15 hp, and the body by Scaglietti of Modena will probably be a fin tailed aerodynamic concept.

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