1946 Cisitalia D46 Monoposto
Red with Red Interior
The name Cisitalia is derived from “Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia” a business conglomerate founded in Turin in 1946, and controlled by the wealthy industrialist and sportsman Piero Dusio. Dusio participated in a World Championship Grand Prix, driving a car made by his company, a Cisitalia D46.
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 parts down to the smallest details because he had designed the legendary Fiat 500 “Topolino” before WWII. The 1100cc engine and suspension were derived from Fiat’s production models, but were extensively modified for racing. The engine received modifications such as dry sump lubrication, a custom cylinder head, forged crankshaft, lightweight connecting rods and higher compression pistons which increased the power output to 60-70 bhp. With a light-weight space frame chassis the entire car weighed less than 400 kg (880 lb) so the available power was more than enough for competitive performance. The D46s started to dominate the voiturette series. Highly talented drivers like Tazio Nuvolari, Ascarai, and Taruffi, piloted D46s to multiple successes against more powerful but less efficient and older racing cars. One such success of Nuvolari was famously photographed in a D46 after finishing the Coppa Brezzi driving the car by the steering column, clutching the broken steering wheel in his hand!
The D46 is an absolutely gorgeous early post war racing car and holds many aesthetic features in common with the ultra-sought after and expensive Grand Prix Maseratis of the era such as the 4CLT and the 4CM. Stunning details such as the convex brookands screen, aero covered suspension arms, and the beautiful protruding horizontal grill ribs make the D46 an absolute joy to look at, even when stationary.
Indeed the D46 represented the most successful period for Cisitalia’s single seater racing efforts, and the company shortly withdrew from racing when the D46s successor, the Cisitalia 360, proved too expensive to finish.
This particular D46 monoposto is factory chassis 007 (later amended to 007/2 when it was exported to Czechoslovakia); and is one of the original 7 factory race cars pictured in a now famous photo outside the factory, and campaigned by the factory with famous drivers of the day behind the wheel.
This history of s/n 007 is fastidiously documented and undoubted, a distinction that is somewhat unusual due to a number of factors including spotty period records, casual record keeping, the large number of widely available Fiat-derived parts that comprise any Cisitalia, the intrinsically rough lives led by racing cars, and the sheer number of years elapsed since they were built. In addition to the fact that the car has all of the proper paperwork (factory and otherwise), there has never been a question as to its origins, and no other car has claimed to be s/n 007. Perhaps most importantly, some of the original body panels and the original seat frame, which are still with the car, show the original factory stamping of just “007” without the “2” added. Further, the chassis stamping clearly shows that the “2” was added later (appears to be a different font, and is not in line with the other numbers). The theories put forth by the experts, which seem logical, is that either Cisitalia or the Czechoslovakian authorities stamped the 4th number when it was exported for one of the following reasons: by Cisitalia to decommission it as a works racer, by Cisitalia for tax avoidance reasons, or by the Czech “DMV” or importer because the Czech officials may have required 4 digits.
Additionally, on the original chassis, a faint stamping of “066” can be seen on the front cross member. This number, which has nothing to do with Cisitalia, is evidence of its participation in racing events in Czechoslovakia where, in 1962, technical inspection required a control number be stamped within the engine compartment area, and a reference confirming this also exists within the documentation on file.
Interestingly, this car is believed by the founder and President of the Cisitalia Club North America and Dr. Sergio Lugo, a marque expert in Argentina, to be THE EXACT car driven by company founder Piero Dusio to victory in the 1946 Coppa Brezzi. In other words, one of the first, if not the first, race car to win a sanctioned race after World War II in Italy. Lugo wrote an article that was published in Argentina making this claim. Even without this specific claim to fame, this remains the best documented, most-raced D46 extant.
Dr. Ed Godshalk, who is a leading Cisitalia expert and restorer in the United States, and the US representative of the Cisitalia International Club, has studied the original car closely and compared it to numerous period archives. In his opinion the car is certainly one of the factory team cars that raced in the 1946 Coppa Brezzi. Based on studied details, the car is believed to have been driven by either Sommer (#6) Chiron (#12), Taruffi (#32) or Dusio (#56).
Included with the car is a massive collection of documentation which leaves little doubt as to this car’s history, achievements, or significance. There are many original programs and period photos, the original Cisitalia invoices from the factory showing the sale from Cisitalia to the Czech concessioner in 1947, as well as restoration process photos, and more recent documentation in the form of the Historic Technical Passport and previously-issued FIA papers. Also present are photos of the car on the show stand at the Prague Motor Show that year, a series of comprehensive race photographs, race entries, original GP race program, magazine articles, race results, and much more tracing the car from Cisitalia all the way to the present day. Most recently, it was owned by Richard Pilkington, the well-known English collector. A local Czech car historian, Michal Velebny, also compiled two bound dossiers of its Czech history from the car’s existence there between 1947-1963. There are zero questions about this wonderful D46 monoposto’s originality or its origins.
s/n 007 competed in dozens of races in period, and while there may be even more to learn about its very early race history in Italy (late 1946), the Czech history beginning in 1947 is wonderfully documented. Among the most stand-out of s/n 007’s historical attributes is that it competed in the 1949 Czech Grand Prix, making it eligible for all the historic Grand Prix’s events including Monaco, making it among the world’s most cost effective and easy to operate entries to such prestigious events. In its more recent history as a vintage race car, s/n 007 has raced at Pau and several other historic GP reenactments with the prior owner Mr. Pilkington, including 2 years ago racing at Brno during the Czech historic GP races.
For safe and reliable participation in current historic racing venues, and in fact to conserve its existence as an operable historic racing artifact, the car saw a comprehensive and exacting restoration while under Mr. Pilkington’s stewardship, which is well-documented in photographic form, and well-understood by the Cisitalia historian community.
The original chassis, the original engine, the original pre-selector gearbox, some of the original body panels and the seat frame, and a few other spares have all been preserved and are sitting in a wooden crate alongside the complete race car. Mr. Pilkington had an exact reproduction of the chassis made for safety and soundness on the race track, and he used the nose and tail sections of the original car with this new chassis. He built up a new, period correct race motor and a period correct gearbox to race with. It has the virtually unobtainable original Allemano gauges in the dash as well. s/n 007 raced at the Czech Historics in July of 2014, and completed those races without incident. Mr. Pilkington maintained the car regardless of expense. Today, with a compressive fluid change and battery service, and the normal pre-event preparation, the car will be event ready.
We are proud to offer this wonderfully documented and prepared monoposto from the golden era of single-seater motorsports. Its history is undoubted, and its eligibility to premier events is absolutely superb. For the collector or racing enthusiast in search of a bullet-proof prewar race car, this will be the needle in a hay stack.
Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA
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