CISITALIA 202 Cabrio - Page 20 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #286 of 287 (permalink) Old 01-24-2016, 11:22 AM
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Nardi manifold for Fiat 1100 and/or Simca

In 1978, my father purchased the Siata 300BC coupe ST*434*BC. It had a similar Nardi manifold fitted, as well as a cracked Nardi cast-iron exhaust manifold that mated to it. I drove the car more than 1500 miles in order to take it home and got 40 miles-per-gallon with the Solex carburetors that were fitted. It was quite economical while racing as well. I do not know when the manifold was fitted but I am 100% certain it was not original to the car. Siata made their own manifolds and (logically) fitted their own manifolds when building and selling their own cars. There was one exception. There were some cars (fewer than thirty) in the early production of the 300BC that were supplied without engines when delivered in the USA and the choice of which manifold to use on the engine (normally Crosley) was up to the person who purchased the car and the mechanic who was installing the car's first engine. And many were changed over time. But a Nardi manifold was not supplied by Siata except through circumstance. One car in the 300BC series (ST*411*BC) was completed by Siata with a Crosley engine in order to be displayed March 1952 at Geneva with a transparent polycarbonate engine lid for display purposes. The Crosley engine came from Nardi already prepared with a Nardi manifold. That is very likely the only Siata to have been delivered new with a Nardi manifold up to 1955 or later.

Cisitalia made their own manifolds (single carburetor and dual carburetor) and fitted them on the cars they made and sold. Some argument can be made that a somewhat routine use of Abarth manifolds was not unlikely during later Cisitalia 202 production. Since Abarth's operation was born out of spinning off Cisitalia's racing team, it is easy to see how there was perhaps some continuing collaboration at times. Nardi was, pure and simple, a competitor. Even if they were friendly competitors, it makes no sense whatsoever to believe that a Nardi manifold was fitted from new. I am well aware that the first owner could have changed the manifold and carburetors when the car was essentially new. I appreciate the use of the setup today as an historical acknowledgement of how the car was when discovered. If you wish to claim that the manifold is original, please tell us why chassis 118SC is an exception to routine Cisitalia practice?

Nardi made very few 1100 powered cars but sold a good number of manifolds (in more than one version) to owners of Fiat and Simca cars. It is not difficult to think that more than two Cisitalia cars were fitted during their lives with Nardi manifolds. But from new? Not unless you have a genuine piece of period evidence or even a good story as to "WHY?".
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post #287 of 287 (permalink) Old 01-25-2016, 12:01 PM
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Vignale (not only) and Cisitalia

I have prepared a document that describes what is known (and a bit about how much is not known) about individual cars that were bodied (and some that were "perhaps bodied?") by Vignale. There are quite a number of cars that are described historically from documents thank in large part to research done by Lorenzo Boscarelli, Corrado Bellabarba and others, myself included. For many of those cars, we have no photographic evidence yet in hand to help us in identifying the body builder. Hence, I am quite certain that there are additional Vignale bodied cars that do not yet appear in the attached listing and some may be partially described historically.

Some caveats are necessary before you attempt to read the attached document. There is a huge amount of "data" (from older sources) that has proven to be highly flawed and it is quite likely that some errors remain. Some errors of the past are relatively minor. Some cars were listed with the chassis and engine numbers reversed. Others had incorrect suffixes. Some were not even close to being numbered as reported. Some bodies have proven to be different than described.

Some cars were overlooked or identified incorrectly seemingly because an assumption was made that two cars could not have the same chassis number ... which we now know is very possible with Cisitalia cars. I haven't made a precise count in quite some time, but there are clearly more than (I am confident that it is "many more than") twenty examples of two cars (or more) bearing the same chassis numbering. Sometimes there are changes in the suffix (or the addition of a suffix) and sometimes they have the same suffix. More than any other 1940's/1950's builder, Cisitalia set the stage for us to become highly confused if we pretend that a chassis number alone can describe any car adequately.

An Abarth book ("The Scorpion's Tale") was released recently that includes some of the highly flawed listings of the past. I saw some early proofs of the book and argued forcefully against their inclusion. They were a "new beginning" to a study more than 40 years ago and were somewhat useful ... even if confusing. Today, I consider them to be so completely misleading that they should be ignored. We have much better data! Even my own listings of 1994 (which corrected some of the errors) are hugely improved and expanded today.

I am now of the opinion that we MUST report the chassis number, engine number and coachbuilder (and the body number, if possible) to be certain we are discussing the same Cisitalia car ... if the car is not in front of us as we speak. Even then, if we wish to speak about it a day later when the car is not in front of us, there is a chance of becoming confused if some data from another similarly numbered car is accidently injected into the conversation.

Some Stabilimenti Farina bodied cars have triangular box-section structures supporting the engine lid ("cofano") that is typical of Carrozzeria Vignale work on other cars. Vignale did not always use that structure, but it is noticeably "Vignale" ... until one sees a few cars that bear Stabilimenti Farina body numbering and yet have the same structure. This requires more study but I can guess that the often-told story of some cars being started at one coachbuilder and then being wheeled to another for completion might help to explain this?

The owner (or a former owner?) of Cisitalia 202 0118SC sent some information and photos about four years ago and, for that reason, I am quite confident that it is a Vignale numbered car. If the car was wheeled from Vignale to Stabilimenti Farina for completion, this might explain Stabilimenti Farina badges on the car today ... except ... there is no indication it had those badges when the restoration began.

There is a lot more to learn about all of these cars, in part because of confusion that was perhaps intentional when Cisitalia was first building many of these cars. It does not help our studies when we continue to add to the confusion today.
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