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The Beast Of Turin Lives Again – The S76 Fiat Racing Car Start Up

By Stefan Marjoram:  A ridiculously exciting day yesterday! I’ve been sketching and photographing the rebuild of the 300 h.p. FIAT S76 land speed record car for a few years now. Yesterday, over 100 years since it had last run, The Beast of Turin was brought back to life again. A misbehaving coil caused a lot of head scratching in the morning, and it was a good twenty or so attempts before the best settings for the timing and mixture were found.

But when the engine finally burst into life the noise was spectacular – as were the flames (despite running a bit lean). The first burst from the 28-litre (1729 c.i.) engine shook the whole car, but it soon calmed down and ran smoothly – without losing any oil and without any worrying noises. Duncan, Bruce and Tucker’s patience and attention to detail and hard work has paid off. The next task will be to find a wide open space in which to try driving it.

Editors Note: A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Duncan Pittaway and Company, all of Southwestern England for accomplishing this long-term project. We have been following Duncan’s progress on it since May of 2011 thanks to Stefan Marjoram of Lower Langford, North Somerset, England. You can look back here at all of our coverage and Stefan’s earlier artwork and photography of the Fiat S76 on The Old Motor. 

Below you can see and hear the start-up of the Fiat yesterday in the trailer by Stefan Marjoram for The Beast of Turin, a film that is upcoming in February of 2015.

1911 300 h.p. FIAT S76 land speed record car

1911 300 h.p. FIAT S76 land speed record car

1911 300 h.p. FIAT S76 land speed record car


1911 300 h.p. FIAT S76 land speed record car

1911 300 h.p. FIAT S76 land speed record car

1911 300 h.p. FIAT S76 land speed record car





61 responses to “The Beast Of Turin Lives Again – The S76 Fiat Racing Car Start Up

  1. Fantastico! I can’t wait to see the Beast in the flesh. A great achievement. Congratulations to Duncan and co for resurrecting this historic monster.

  2. Very, very impressive! A weird moment was the long lasting split second after the last turn of the crank and before it burst into life. The moment of seemingly rest before the jump! Good luck to the man who will drive it first !!

  3. What an incredible video!

    Interesting that the FIAT seems to be sharing garage space with a 1st-generation blue Plymouth Barracuda.

    • Not just any 1st-generation blue Plymouth Barracuda. That’s the factory-backed Team Starfish Barracuda from the 1st year of the Trans-Am series. Or a replica of it.

  4. Wow been waiting awhile to hear/see that! Thanks David. Did he bring the beast to just over TDC and then hit the ignition? I hope there will be more vid of it running.

  5. Awakening an old engine is an awe-inspiring step, kind of like creating life. When I brought back an old stationary engine — after how many decades of silence? — it also spewed fire and explosion. No better way to have it happen!

  6. I have to admire those Englishmen for their skill and tenacity in re-building and firing The Beast.

    I also admire their fine taste in garage wear. I have never seen anyone wear a necktie while tightening wheels or hand cranking a motor !

    It is great work on all counts…

  7. That’s sublime. Period.

    Thank you, Duncan Pittaway, for bringing back a car I read of over 40 years ago and had presumed lost until I saw a photo of you holding one of the connecting rods…

  8. They have done something that will never be done again! There is only one of these fabulous cars and they have breathed new life into it. An act of pride that can never be replicated or forgotten!

    Rex Schimmer

  9. eighty years young been around motors 75 never saw anything like that god bless fiat and those lymes who brought it back to life

  10. S. 76 =

    Fiat 1911
    28.353 ccm
    290 CV
    1.650 kg
    Brooklands 1911, driver Petro Bordino 200 km/h
    Ostende; driver Arthur Duray 225 km/h
    // it’s told: Long Island. April 1912 ca. 290 km/h
    // it’s told: GB, December 2014 > car is inhaling kids ….

    Thank you boys, really great job!

  11. Absolutely Fantastic!

    well done to all, that really is a tremendous english appreciation and tribute to the original italian engineering . Only you guys could have done it quite so brilliantly, and i look forward to a lot more to come.
    Keep it up!

  12. Thank you for making that video available, the sound literally gave the chills! I went ahead and posted it on my Facebook page in hopes more people will get to enjoy it……breathtaking!

  13. Thank You David for this posting…thank you Stephan for your excellence in documenting this story. I have watched this video 100 times (!) and will never tire of it!

  14. It would be interesting to know how many engine parts had to be fabricated for this restoration. The crankshaft seems to be machined out of a solid billet. The trans axle looks original, as does the huge water pump. Is there a more detailed description of the engine rebuild?

    • Donald, Other than new replacement connecting rods (He has the undamaged originals) that were replaced in the interest of safety, the balance of the components, including the crankshaft that appears to be built-up are original. I believe that Duncan also changed all the valves and valve springs to be on the safe side.

      The chain drive transmission and differential was missing and was the biggest missing link, so a he built built a new one. The body work and radiator were also fabricated.

  15. Gentlemen, Thank you for sharing the video. I appreciate the quality of the video and the tease of the piano – Right up to the START!

    I shared the video with my Engineering Classes, and tried to explain the importance, the history, the horsepower, the enormity of such a grand project. Today’s youth need explanation of the importance of historical preservation.

    I could swear he was going to break a kneecap starting with the hand crank. I ran back to my amp to turn down the ROAR of the engine as the Beast awoke from slumber. Students looked up to figure the change of volume, only to witness the sparks flying from the exhaust!

    I demonstrate my love for old mechanical machines by maintaining a couple Series Rovers. I would rather ‘work on old cars’ than program a new one.

    Continue the Good Work!,

  16. Complete, hard work and that little used virtue, integrity. No dials, fat tyres, starter added etc. Aluminium or iron pistons? No matter. Today’s oil will protect and preserve the machinery when used in anger.
    Magic. Really well done. With a bit of dirt through usage, and it will be perfection.

  17. Wonderful project. I admire what they have done to bring this historic car back to life. However, am I the only one bothered by the jumping video? Watching the video is mostly ruined for me by this “cool” video technique.

  18. heartfelt congratulations to all who brought this magnificent ‘beast’ back to life – it is a monument to you all to see and hear it again.
    I have to wonder, why doesn’t somebody restore the Golden Arrow and get it running for today’s generation to see and hear what our grandfathers created without 3-d printers , multi-axis cnc machine centre’s etc. the original creators and the ‘recreator’s’ deserve a pat on the back for what they have done for us all.
    thank you – it makes my old heart beat a little bit faster.
    well done.

  19. Looks fantastic. I was eagerly awaiting for when the engine was started 🙂 And I am eagerly awaiting another video!

    I notice some South Australian number plates in the background… I am from Adelaide! Not sure where you guys are though.

  20. I’m really glad to see someone taking the time these very old very rare incredible machines working the way they should. GREAT JOB GUYS!!

  21. The cranks are both in line aren`t they? So how much vibration do you get when on tick-over and then at higher revs? Did that newspaper article say they reached 160? (!)

  22. I apologise re 160 m.p.h. That was referring to actually flying in the article. Even so – doing the ton must have been a fantastic sensation in the big, two cylinder twenty eight litre monster!

  23. Wonderful, was a little worried at first when the guy cranking the engine and the sudden jump, thought for a second he’d lose a leg. And I was a little tickled when the girl walked by the exhaust blast and you guys rev’d it up a bit. But I have one question, why wasn’t the exhaust pipe added like in the old pictures?

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