Tipo 163 16C - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 09:34 AM
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I'm going to blow a thick layer of dust off of this topic. As I intent to build the Autostile 1/43 scale model of this car, I've started to look closely at (pictures of) the original drawings of it and to compare them with the scale model and the later drawings by Rens. And I'm really wondering about all the glass on the car. What strikes me is the fact that the windscreen is split in four parts, basically to be able to use flat pieces of glass for it. Compare this to the complicated curves of the glass on (especially) the top of the car, over the driver's head. Was this even possible back in 1940? Even if it was, it doesn't seem to make much sense combined with the way thew windscreen was designed.

Aren't the "windows" over the engine actually meant to be something like a (metal) hood, split in two on each side to enable them to be hinged in the middle, like they usually did back then when the engine was in the front? And why would they have wanted a glass roof on the car? Was it going to race airplanes? How would a glass roof make it faster? Couldn't steel be much thinner and thus much lighter? Sure, on the drawings you see some outlines looking like windows, but then there's also outlines for the bumps on the front of the car and over the wheels and for various removable parts. Those are not windows either.

Does anybody know if there's any further info about this car apart from that in the Fusi bible, that might have some answers here?
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 10:10 AM
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I think about 2 years ago Elvira Ruocco did a review of this car for Cozzi museum. You can find it online in Italian. The most complete article about the car was written by Elvira Ruocco as well, for Italian La Manovella magazine.
This car has never been real, drawings just represent the initial idea

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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 10:16 AM
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Alfa Romeo and Italian coachbuilders in the end of 30s used a Plexiglas for racing cars, it was flexible, light and durable material.
For instance windows (except a windshield) of 8c 2900B LeMans made from Plexiglas

I'll ask Rens Biesma, he might know the answer

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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 12:05 PM
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Thanks for pointing out the Cozzi museum review by Elvira Ruocco. Very interesting indeed, but unfortunately nothing on the coach, let alone the windows. I couldn't find the article from La Manovella online, so I guess I'll buy the issue somewhere.

The funny thing is that the 8C 2900 Le Mans car was in my mind as a reference. State-of-the-art car designed only three years earlier. I never knew it had Plexiglas windows (didn't even know it already existed then), however, every window on the car is dead flat...

Thanks in advance for asking Rens Biesma. I'm very curious about what he might have to say about it.
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 12:31 PM
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I think I have a copy of the article, will check at home. I'll post it here if I have
It is mostly about the drawings that were found in the Alfa Romeo Archive. And about a car history during the Second World War and after.

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post #21 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 01:27 PM
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Touring and Pinin Farina used Plexiglas before the war. Touring even promoted it in adv as a light material from aviation.

I think we need to think about 163 in a different way. Almost all racing cars those days were open, without roof. Closed aerodynamic bodies appeared in racing in 1937. Because of the shape the visibility was limited. When we read any article about driving experience of 2900LM we understand that the cockpit was tight, noisy, hot and with very limited visibility. However considered that driver had better comfort because he was protected from any kind of weather.
I just can assume it was first attempt to make a drivers life more comfortable

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post #22 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 03:49 PM
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Thanks for pointing out the Cozzi museum review by Elvira Ruocco. Very interesting indeed, but unfortunately nothing on the coach, let alone the windows. I couldn't find the article from La Manovella online, so I guess I'll buy the issue somewhere.
Alfavaganza, see the attached article from La Manovella







Also I added Touring advertisement from 1938 (with Alfa Corsa cars) and Plexiglas Milano from 1940. You can see on the last one how flexible Plexiglas was
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post #23 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 03:53 PM
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Touring and Pinin Farina used Plexiglas before the war. Touring even promoted it in adv as a light material from aviation.

I think we need to think about 163 in a different way. Almost all racing cars those days were open, without roof. Closed aerodynamic bodies appeared in racing in 1937. Because of the shape the visibility was limited. When we read any article about driving experience of 2900LM we understand that the cockpit was tight, noisy, hot and with very limited visibility. However considered that driver had better comfort because he was protected from any kind of weather.
I just can assume it was first attempt to make a drivers life more comfortable

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Perhaps... but what I'm looking for is, if the later drawings and scale models have all the windows based on anything other than "Hey, those look like they might have been windows!". Maybe Carlo Brianza had this thought when he created the scale model and others just copied it. It happens.


Thanks a million for the article. I'll try to decipher it tomorrow :-)

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post #24 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 03:57 PM
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Man Ricart must be almost solely responsible for Alfa Romeo running out of money and ending up in government hands.

Did any of his projects while at any company turn into production cars? Even Pegaso made tiny numbers ...

A great theoretical engineer maybe but not at Jano's level.
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post #25 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 07:50 PM
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Man Ricart must be almost solely responsible for Alfa Romeo running out of money and ending up in government hands.

Did any of his projects while at any company turn into production cars? Even Pegaso made tiny numbers ...

A great theoretical engineer maybe but not at Jano's level.
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1. Ricart appeared in the Alfa Romeo payroll in October, 1937. State control began 15 years before, in 1922. Romeo sold his shares on May 28, 1928. This is the date when the government established total control of Alfa Romeo
2. The source is Alfawiki

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Wifredo Ricart was an charming and controversial individual who left an indelible mark on everyone who worked with him. But not everyone liked him: despite the unconditional esteem in which he was held by some, he had many detractors, Enzo Ferrari first and foremost. Even though none of the Spaniard's designs ever passed the prototype stage, the technical history of Alfa Romeo was nevertheless radically influenced by his work.


Wifredo Pelayo Ricart y Medina was born in Barcelona on 15 May 1897. He came from a prominent family of the Spanish bourgeoisie and was immensely well educated. He spoke five languages and was a lover of mathematics and mechanics. In 1918 he became manager of the commercial company Vallet y Bofill, which he bought out in 1920, changing its name to Sociedad Anónima de Motores Ricart y Perez. In 1927, he set up Ricart Espana, a car manufacturer, which was closed for political reasons in 1931. During this period, Ricart had, however, come into contact with the young Ugo Gobbato, who would later go on to become General Manager of Alfa Romeo in 1933.


In October 1936 Gobbato was in search of a 'strong man' to manage aircraft design and called Ricart to Portello with the humble title of Consultant for testing and technical problems. The title was only a front, however, and the technical reorganisation activities carried out by Ricart were immediately made clear in 1940, when he was put at the head of the Special Study Service and the Design Service, which was responsible for both design and “Experiments”, in other words research. Alfa Corse was also answerable to the Special Study Service.

To perform his job, Ricart carefully chose his staff, prominent among whom – due to the role they were to perform in the post war years – were the names of Orazio Satta Puliga and Giuseppe Busso. He was personally responsible for developing the ambitious design for the 162, the 512 and the Gazzella, but also the 1101 aircraft engine. A wave of innovation and a new up-to-date and scientific approach to design had arrived at Alfa. The difficult wartime situation prevented the Spaniard's wealth of ideas from being confirmed on the road or on the track.

The situation was further complicated by the dire personal and professional relationship between Ricart and Ferrari. They were products of two schools of thought and two different social circles who came into conflict with one another when the Italian's wings were clipped - following the establishment of Alfa Corse – by Ricart's authority. Ferrari did not hesitate to implement his own personal boycott, which prevented the proper and profitable development of cars such as the 512, but also led to resentment at a later stage, after he had left Alfa. In his book “Le mie gioie terribili” Ferrari did not hesitate to heap harsh - even libellous - criticism on Ricart's work and personality.

Towards the end of the war, the environment inside Alfa Romeo was changing and its employees were changing too. On 31 March 1945, Ricart's contract came to an end and the Spaniard bid a heartfelt farewell to his colleagues, many of whom subsequently decided to follow him to his new enterprise at Pegaso.

Ricart is remembered as a cultured and sophisticated man who loved music and art in general. He was also passionate about mathematics and astronomy. He was an aircraft pilot and a skilled driver. He had a placid and decisive character, a gift for languages and an impeccable education, characteristics that made him a charming and attractive man. He often used to say: “You own the things that you have not yet said. Think before speaking”.
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post #26 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 08:20 PM
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Ricart's tendency towards complexity

A friend who worked on more than one Pegaso once commented on the unnecessary complexity of a hand-brake mechanism that had apparently well over 100 pieces and described it something like "a hundred clever solutions to problems that should never have existed". Definitely not a Jano. Even so, he clearly managed to be involved with some cool stuff!
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post #27 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 08:47 PM
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Perhaps... but what I'm looking for is, if the later drawings and scale models have all the windows based on anything other than "Hey, those look like they might have been windows!". Maybe Carlo Brianza had this thought when he created the scale model and others just copied it. It happens.


Thanks a million for the article. I'll try to decipher it tomorrow :-)
Below is the link to the web site to fratelli Cozzi museum, seems that Elvira copied the text from La Manovella.
Elvira Racconta: L?Alfa Romeo ?Tipo 163? di Ricart - Museo Fratelli Cozzi

Returning to the topic, agree with you, it might be just a dream of Rens Biesma who painted the car. In his creation rear windows does not make sense at all. He put a firewall behind the seats


By the way Elvira Ruocco and Rens Biesma are on the Facebook, both of them are very active. You can ask directly all questions you want. Probably Elvira will not help as I already asked her about 163. She advised to read her article in La Manovella, as she does not have an access to the archive. So she proposed to talk to Archivio Storico staff.

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post #28 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 09:07 PM
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A friend who worked on more than one Pegaso once commented on the unnecessary complexity of a hand-brake mechanism that had apparently well over 100 pieces and described it something like "a hundred clever solutions to problems that should never have existed". Definitely not a Jano. Even so, he clearly managed to be involved with some cool stuff!
Do not think Ricart was involved in engineering in Pegaso. He retired from management of ENASA, CETA and DBA in 1965 when he was 67 years old and died 19.08.1974

Below are two articles from Autosprint from 70s
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post #29 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 03:59 AM
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Touring and Pinin Farina used Plexiglas before the war. Touring even promoted it in adv as a light material from aviation.

I think we need to think about 163 in a different way. Almost all racing cars those days were open, without roof. Closed aerodynamic bodies appeared in racing in 1937. Because of the shape the visibility was limited. When we read any article about driving experience of 2900LM we understand that the cockpit was tight, noisy, hot and with very limited visibility. However considered that driver had better comfort because he was protected from any kind of weather.
I just can assume it was first attempt to make a drivers life more comfortable

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I see your point, and I might indeed agree. On the drawings in Fusi, there's no explicit difference etween glazed surfaces and metal panels, especially on the roof. Moreover, Biema strangely added a small quater-window behind the doors, which is NOT on Fusi's drawing (attributed to Colombo in Ruocco's text).

I would indeed interpretate the factory drawings without these small windows, and also without roof windows: no need for them, and look at the front view (Fusi p.412): no glazed roof. That confirms that the upper view just shows metal panes on the roof. Same with the cutaway side view p.414: the doors semme toi extend slightly higher, no trace of glazing on the roof neither behind the door.

I would instead believe that the four rear windows over the engine are clear. Not sure about a firewall, and if there was one, it could have had a window for rear view in its top.

BTW, in my own research at the archive, I found definitely mention of a 512 engine modified for fitting into the 163 (along with the 512 gearbox) still in stock in December 1945, not of an S10-derived V12. Also metioned in 1941 is the then ongoing construction of two sets of partts for ungrading 162 engines into 163s, with the planned contruction of 4 reinforced crankcases. Pencil writing, May 1941, indicates a plan for 3 cars plus two further engines.
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post #30 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 09:06 AM
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Since Fusi was mentioned several times, I think it's worthwhile to post the pages from "Tutte le Vetture dal 1910" here.

Whether the rear "windows" were windows or removable access panels probably will remain a mystery forever. If they were windows, the firewall in the Manovella drawing may have been transparent, too (maybe glass instead of fiberglass), as Rens Biesma's color rendering in post #1 suggests.

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