1948 FIAT Ermini 1100 Gran Premio by carrozzeria Tafani

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History of the car

Chassis no. 106610  
Coachbuilder Guido Tafani

This car is linked to Pasquale Ermini’s professional and human destiny. As a matter of fact, this is the model Ermini used to begin his activities as a real racing car constructor, trying to cooperate with the best professionals of that time, thereby obtaining his first overall victories, it was also one of the two Gran Premio Sport cars he was driving at the Gran Premio delle Cascine that made him the victim of a terrible accident - an event which almost ended his racing car activities. Between 1947 and 1948, Siro Sbraci asked Ermini to start the construction of two identical cars. They were equipped with a modern tubular Gilco chassis which had a "torpedo" body built by Tafani and both had the new Fiat-Ermini twin cam engine. The Florentine cars, driven by Ermini and Siro Sbraci, debuted triumphantly at the Florence-Fiesole in 1948 finishing first and fourth overall respectively.

During the same year they achieved important results in several track races (some of them were valid for the F.2 international Championship). In order to fully exploit the possibility that was given to the cars in the "Sport" category to compete in formula car circuits, it is interesting to notice how the two Erminis featured a unique conformation. The name "Gran Premio Sport" might be misleading: actually the two cars, which already had four small fairings in front of the front suspensions and rear leaf springs, while maintaining the traditional two-seater setting, which was typical of all "Sport" cars, through the application of a side closed cover, could be easily turned into a single-seater by removing the fenders placed on the four wheels (which were compulsory in road races) and the small windscreen installed on the passenger side. With this "track" configuration (hence the name "Gran Premio"), in 1948 the two Erminis competed for the first time in a closed-track race, the Circuit of Mantova (valid for the F.2 International Championship), followed by the Circuit of Pescara where Sbraci took 5th place in his class and 12th place overall.

The two cars also took part in the 2nd F2 International Circuit of Cascine, where Ermini crashed his car causing the death of five people. This tragedy had a major impact on the public opinion of those days. Criminal proceedings were initiated in order to establish the direct responsibility of Ermini as a driver and constructor. There was a sort of media process in the newspapers and even his own town, Florence, which was directly affected by the tragedy, did not backup the constructor’s recently-born company.

During the trial, scientific tests were conducted at the Leonardo Da Vinci Istituto Tecnico Industriale so as to establish the responsibility of the accused. The expert evidence and the investigation carried out showed that the close proximity of the exhaust pipe and the brake fluid pipe overheated the fluid itself (poor quality), thereby bringing it to its boiling point, which resulted in a momentary failure of the hydraulic brakes. Furthermore, the investigation showed that the track had unsuitable escape routes and inadequate public security. Despite the complete acquittal, Ermini was so exhausted after all these legal matters that he decided to stop being a car racer. He even thought of leaving the world of motorsports altogether. The sporting career of the other Gran Premio Sport was pursued successfully by Sbraci, who competed for the last time on a circuit in Reggio Emilia in 1949. Sbraci’s "Gran Premio Sport" also raced on roads, giving him two overall victories at the Florence-Fiesole and at the 1949 Pistoia Hill Cup, a victory in his class at the Massarosa-Mount Quiesa and other major finishes.

 

Italian specs

MOTORE e CAMBIO: Anteriore 4 cilindri in linea basamento Fiat 1100 con testata in alluminio Ermini Alesaggio 68mm corsa 75mm Cilindrata 1.089cc Potenza massima 82 cv a 6200 giri al minuto Distribuzione a due alberi a cammes in testa Lubrificazione forzata a carter umido con pompa di mandata Raffreddamento ad acqua con circolazione forzata Alimentazione con due carburatori verticali Weber Accensione singola con batteria e spinterogeno Cambio 4 marce più retromarcia frizione monodisco a secco

TELAIO: Tubolare realizzato dalla ditta Gilco Milano a sezione tonda con crociera centrale di irrigidimento.

SOSPENSIONI: Anteriori a ruote indipendenti con triangolo inferiore, braccio oscillante superiore, molle elicoidali ed ammortizzatori idraulici a bagno d’olio (bottiglioni Fiat 508c). Posteriore a ponte rigido con balestre longitudinali, ammortizzatori idraulici telescopici. Freni idraulici a tamburo, anteriori derivazione Fiat 1500, posteriori Fiat 1100.

CARATTERISTICHE e DIMENSIONI: carrozzeria biposto aperta in alluminio tipo siluro con cover (con parafanghi motociclistici e impianto d'illuminazione in conformazione stradale), guida destra, realizzata dalla ditta Tafani Guido Firenze (due esemplari). Passo 2.300mm

Rare period documents

Photo Gallery

This presentation updated with real historical documents under cooperation with Ermini expert mr. Eugenio Ercoli
please visit official site for more informations about these special Italian handmade racecars, click here ERMINI

What an experience for me to drive this

Ermini 1100 Gran Premio from 1948.

Circuito di Avezzano is the magic place for these special handmade racecars,Etceterini is a family of too many small Italian car brands like Abarth, Bandini, Stanguellini, Ermini, Taraschi, Giannini, Stanga, OSCA, SIATA, Patriarca,Volpini and more than 100 other names who dominated at early 50s to late 60s in domestic & international races!

 

Vasileios Papaidis

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