Gordini 18S

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Gordini was a sports car manufacturer and performance tuner, established in 1946 by Amédée Gordini, nicknamed "Le Sorcier" (The Sorcerer).

Amédée Gordini tuned cars and competed in motor races since the 1930s. His results prompted Simca (the French assembler of Fiat) to hire him for its motorsport program and to develop road cars. Their association continued after World War II.

In 1946, Gordini introduced the first cars bearing his name, Fiat-engined single-seaters raced by him and Jose Scaron, achieving several victories. Five Gordini barquette sports-racers Type-11 chassis with 1022cc engine built in 1946 and 1947.

In the late 1940s, the company opened a workshop at the Boulevard Victor in Paris, entering sports car and Grand Prix races. Gordini and Simca started to diverge in 1951 because of political conflicts.

Gordini competed in Formula One from 1950 to 1956 (with a brief return in 1957 with an eight cylinder engine), although it achieved a major success in Formula Two during that period.

After its Formula One program ended, Gordini worked with Renault as an engine tuner, entering Renault-Gordini cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1962 and 1969. It also tuned engines for Alpine, a rival sports car manufacturer also associated with Renault. In 1957, Gordini and Renault manufactured the Dauphine Gordini, a modified version of the Renault Dauphine which was a sales success. Gordini-tuned Renault cars also won various rallies during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1963, the Gordini company planned to move its headquarters to Noisy-le-Roi. At the end of 1968, Gordini retired and sold a 70% majority stake from his firm to Renault. Renault-Gordini was moved to Viry-Châtillon in 1969 and became a sport division of Renault, before being merged with Alpine to form Renault Sport in 1976.[3] On 1 January 1976, René Vuaillat became director of Gordini.The Gordini company name became wholly owned by Renault in 1977.

Just two new Type 18S Gordinis were built. The tubular chassis, numbered 020 and 021, were fitted with Type 15 Dubonnet suspension at the front and torsion bar suspension from the Type 45G and Type 16 Formula 1 models at the rear.

Designed and built by Gordini, the bodywork was highly original, made entirely from Duralumin and with great care taken over its aerodynamics. It had a full underbody fairing and, no doubt for the first time, the rear wheel arches were integrated within the interior of the car, while the wide door pillars merged into the curves of the bodywork. The rear screen, made from Plexiglass, came from a Djinn helicopter and was modified to fit perfectly. So that the driver would be as close to the centre of the car as possible, his seat was relocated right next to the transmission tunnel; the filler pipe for the engine oil was routed between the centre tunnel and the passenger seat, which was positioned against the right-hand door. With a very short 2.22m wheelbase and an overall length of 3.61m, the car was remarkably agile. It weighed just 550kg, which was welcome news, given González' portly build (an estimated 102kg!).

The 1491cc Type 15C engine was fitted with a Wade RO15 supercharger made from magnesium and was rated as equivalent to a 2982cc naturally-aspirated unit. Chassis no. 020S (S for Sport), fitted with engine no. 16, was allocated to Fangio and González (no. 33), while chassis no. 021S, with engine no. 18, was assigned to Trintignant and Manzon (no. 32). In Formula 1 spec, the 15C engines developed 138-140bhp at 5500rpm. But in Le Mans trim, their power was reduced because of the ACO regulations which stipulated the use of commercially available 80-octane petrol. This did not prevent Fangio from reaching 235kph on the Hunaudières. Simca asked that neither its name nor its swallow logo should be painted on the two berlinettes, unlike the other five naturally-aspirated Gordini roadsters entered in the race.

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