Fiat S76 (#1) 28.3 liter 1911
The quest for ultimate speed has led to some bizarre-looking machines, such as Fiat’s elephantine S76. Built in 1911, it tried to wrest the land speed record away from Germany’s “Blitzen Benz.” (21,0 liter). Italian engineers came up with a monumental overheadvalve (just four cylinders) engine of 28,353cc producing 300bhp at 1,800rpm.
At Saltburn Sands, Middlesborough the intrepid factory driver Pietro Bordino forced the S76 to a thundering speed of 187km/h, setting the record for the fastest flying mile time.
The French driver Arthur Duray - sponsored by a Russian Prince Boris Sukhanov – was said to have reached 220km/h with car #1 of the two built, but suspect timing equipment and bad weather prevented two runs within an hour — a requirement for a world record qualification. Sukhanov’s team spent a further six weeks trying in late 1913 before admitting defeat
Black&white photo colorized.