Recreating History

1912 fiat s76[starbox]
Thanks to the Internet we can enjoy a wide variety of “news” stories without leaving the comfort of our desks. For racing enthusiasts like me, the appearance of rare, “milestone” cars is likely to spark hours of discussion and bring out previously unknown photos and stories.

Recently, video surfaced of a giant 1914 vintage Fiat land-speed-record-car — known as “The Beast of Turin” — being fired up for the first time. The Type-S76 has a four-cylinder engine that displaces 1,729 cubic inches — or roughly ten times the size of the modern 3-liter automobile engine. The car was the result of decades of research and effort by enthusiasts working from original factory drawings and newspaper stories. The people involved were not easily discouraged and they have produced a wonderful example of automotive technology just before it abandoned the big and slow strategy of steam engines for the light and fast plan still followed today. (

I have written before about the loss of historical artifacts from the gear industry. We haven’t been very sentimental about test pieces and equipment that were important in getting the trade to where it is today. It doesn’t help that our stuff tends to be big and bulky; the scrap drives of two world wars swept up every bit of metal not actively protected. Old computers and consumer electronics also get little collector respect; try to even give away a big cathode ray tube television set these days.

So I salute people who can muster the knowledge, energy, and discipline to pull off a project as big as The Beast of Turin. It is good to know there is a capability to start with little more than a newspaper story and scrap metal and end up with a functioning motor vehicle.

About Charles D. Schultz 634 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

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