Cisitalia D46 Monoposto

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D46 Monoposto





Cisitalia was an Italian sports and racing car brand. The name "Cisitalia" derives from "Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia", a business conglomerate founded in Turin in 1946 and controlled by the wealthy industrialist and sportsman Piero Dusio. The Cisitalia 202 GT of 1946 is well known in the world as a "rolling sculpture".

Using Fiat parts as a base Dante Giacosa designed the D46 which made its successful debut in 1946. Giacosa had a vast knowledge of Fiat bits and pieces as he had designed the legendary 500 Fiat Topolino before WW II. The engine and suspension were directly derived from the small Fiat but extensively modified for racing. The engine received dry sump lubrication and further tweaks considerably increased the power output to 60-70 bhp. With a spaceframe chassis and weighing under 400 kg (880 lb) the available power was more than enough for competitive performance. Dusio's dream of a one model series came to nothing, but instead his D46s started to dominate the voiturette series. Highly talented drivers like Tazio Nuvolari piloted the D46 to multiple successes against more advanced but older racing cars. The Cisitalia D46 made its debut in Turin in September 1946 with Dusio winning and the great French Champion Louis Chiron third. Later that year Tazio Nuvolari finished second place in a D46 at Mantua. In 1947 Taruffi won 1100cc class Italian Championship in a D46, Felice Bonetto was almost as successful in the cars, and other D46 stars included Achille Varzi and even Britain's George Abecassis. Dusio ran an all-Cisitalia race in Cairo, Egypt, which saw Franco Cortese victorious from Alberto Ascari and Taruffi.

The fleet of D46s continued racing in Italy through 1948 but early in 1949 Dusio's empire collapsed. Carlo Abarth was prominent in keeping some D46s active into 1950, while Frank Kennington brought the first D46 into England, racing it in Goodwood.

This successes led to a much more ambitious single seater project that would prove too much for the small company. Ferdinand Porsche was commissioned to design and construct a full Grand Prix car which led to the innovative but complex Cisitalia 360. With a mid engined layout and four wheel drive the Type 360 was far too expensive for Dusio to support and the attempt essentially killed any further racing cars.

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