1950 Giannini 750 Siluro by carrozzeria Ferandi

ex. Luigi Musso

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Costruzioni Meccaniche Giannini SpA

The seeds for the 1920 opening of the first Giannini automobile workshop in Vicolo della Fontana, Rome, were sowed in 1917 by brothers Attilio and Domenico in their hometown of Amadola (small town in the province of Ascoli Piceno, Marche). The small firm earned their clients’ trust in a few short years, with their reputation growing with time, as shown by Itala choosing them as their affiliated workshop in Rome.

As aficionados of racing, it was not too long before the two brothers undertook sportive and racing engine tuning- they were first known for their elaboration of Marchese Pellegrini’s Itala Tipo 61, which had good results in various competitions, including the 1927 Mille Miglia. They followed these successes by tuning Checco Matrullo’s Salmson 1100, Lello Cecchini’s MG Midget (winner of its division championship in 1934) and Remo Venturi’s Idrocorsa.

In 1936, the emergence of FIAT’s 500 Topolino gave Giannini the opportunity to develop its tuning activity on a larger scale, doubling the Topolino’s original engine power. The aerodynamic Topolino made for famous pilot Renato Donati in 1938 is just one of the 500s tuned for racing in the late thirties, characterized by particular cylinder heads and increased engine volume. Also, a record breaking 12 time winner of its division’s world championship 500 one-seater with average top speed of 151,27 km/h was prepared for Cecchini in the same year.

Meanwhile, the Giannini brothers experimented an engine with three main bearings, a wielded third bearing, steel crankshaft and ergal rods, with 40 HP at 6000rpm. Famous Engineer and creative mind behind CNA aeronautical engines, Carlo Gianini acted as advisor to the project. His past experiences included the OPRA 500 motorcycle, in collaboration with his colleague Pietro Remor, and the legendary Rondine 500 and Moto Guzzi 500 grand prix motorcycles. Following this new engine, he would then design the famous G1 750 single shaft and G2 750 double shaft engines, in addition to the 700 4C boxer and the single shaft 1000 MT, all of which were made especially for racing.

At the end of the forties, the Gianninis acquired a vast property in Via Cave di Pietralata, a subsidiary road of Via Tiburtina neighbouring the train station. There, they set up their new workshop, now equipped for the treatment of vehicles from the military and heavier vehicles. The end of the war allowed the reorganization of racing championships where a Giannini two seater, driven by Sesto Leonardi, won the 1947 Campionato Italiano Sport 750. The reconstruction period brought many different opportunities to Attilio and Domenico. First of all, they decided to follow Giuseppe Sola’s project for the diesel 3A engine with three-cylinder fractioning, direct injection, balance shaft and patented combustion chamber. Aimed mainly to the repurposing of war-time residuals, the arrival of the Perkins engine would shorten the 3A’s lifetime significantly. The brothers also started the development of a FIAT 1400 gasoil transformation, which would then be blocked by the presentation of the 1400 diesel.

As the economy boomed, Italian racing bloomed once again, leading to the birth of the G1 750 engine, which would become an absolute landmark of the sport; a must-have for constructors and pilots such as Baravelli, Cecchini, Dagrada, De Sanctis, Leonardi, Patriarca, Raffaelli, Taraschi, Tinazzo, Zannini. With its single shaft, axles and rockers with third fusion support, 45 HP (51-52 HP in its final evolution), the G1 750 would stand as the base of a recurring technical and commercial collaboration between the Gianninis and Taraschi, noted constructor from Teramo, known for his Urania-BMW 750. This would lead to the formation of Giaur (Giannini-Urania), trademark under which Taraschi would design a victorious series of sport, racing and record-breaking cars with Giannini engines.

In 1953 Attilio and Domenico achieve a technical exploit which would place them in the Olympus of racing engine technicians. Under more and more commercial pressure after the successes of the G1, they released the G2 750, two-shaft drop-down, made completely out of light alloys, with five main bearings, ergal rods and Dell’Orto SS 28 carburettor. Very similar to the 1953 4-cylinder Moto Guzzi 500 GP, the G2 was greatly celebrated thanks to its incorporation in engineer Giulio Carcano’s fabulous 500 8V. Released with 60 HP at 7200 rpm, the G2 soon became a point of reference for its category. Its power would then grow to 70 HP, eventually reaching 112 HP in its evolution to 996 cm3 used on Elio Pandolfo’s Brabham F2 and Cesare Toppetti and Massimo Natili’s Lotus 23s. The G2 was also used in the original Bisiluro Nardi for the 1955 Le Mans 24 hours and the futuristic and supercharged Giaur 750 driven by recordman Jean Grousset. 25 people were employed at Giannini in Via Cave di Pietralata by 1955.

Helped by the release of the FIAT 600, Attilio and Domenico opened a bigger Giannini Automobili Spa dealership in Viale Liegi, activity which for a variety of contingent reasons would not last long. In 1957, determined to follow this track, Franco Giannini opened a showroom in Via Tiburtina, selling custom cars (Moretti, Scioneri, Viotti etc.) and cars tuned by Giannini (especially FIAT 500s, 600s and 1100, along with Alfa Romeo Giuliettas). Disagreements following the downfall of this second commercial adventure would lead to the end of Attilio and Domenico’s partnership, and the sale of the establishment in Via Cave di Pietralata. Domenico and his son Franco would establish Giannini Automobili Spa in Rome, while Attilio, Tonino and Ruggero, along with Claudio Tani, would start Costruzioni Meccaniche Giannini SpA in Settecamini. The former would diverge into producing and commercializing tuned FIATs, while the latter would maintain the status of workshop, much like in Via Cave di Pietralata.

A wider audience of Italians would come to know of Domenico and Franco’s Giannini Automobili SpA, direct predecessor of the current Giannini firm. Now situated in the former showroom in Via Tiburtina, Giannini Automobili SpA would follow Carlo Abarth’s fortunate business model, tuning various FIATs. Just like their scorpion-crested counterparts, they would centre their production around the new 500, 600 and 850 (including racing derivates and custom cars), along with working with the much bigger 1300, 1500 and 124.

Because of their lower price and equal quality in comparison to Abarth, Giannini would encounter great success very early on. The 500 TV Montecarlo and 590 GT Vallelunga would pair great sales with amazing racing results. Having obtained the FIA Group 2 certification (1000 units), the roman two-cylinders would become and remained, for years, absolute protagonists of the Italian racing panorama, on track and uphill.

Costruzioni Meccaniche Giannini SpA would achieve some success of its own, working on tuning for its sister company, preparation of racing engines (CMG’s double shaft G2 with 996 cm3 would win Toppetti and Natili three Campionato Italiano Sports), prototypes, dune-buggies and special vehicles. The 700 4C (a four cylinder boxer developed from the 500 Giardiniera engine), the 1000 MT (single shafted with hemispherical combustion chambers and patented mechanical injections) and the awesome 8V 1600 (entirely designed, molten, prepared and assembled by CMG) with 170 HP at 8500 rpm are just some of the prototyped engines produced by CMG in those years. Attilio’s passing in the summer of 1969 would lead to economic and administrative issues which would cause the closing of the firm shortly after.

 

About ex. L. Musso's Giannini 750 Siluro

This prototype racing car was built after an order of the legendary Roman pilot Luigi Musso, the car based on a GILCO tubular chassis and the engine that was placed was Giannini's highly competitive G1 type, the construction of which was the result of research by the new engineer Carlo Gianini on the 500cc motorcycle engine from CNA Rondine and managed to increase its capacity to 750cc., Carlo at that time had a decade of experience on specialization on FIAT Topolino engines. The entire assembly and construction was the responsibility of Officina Patriarca, while the hand-made aluminum body of the Siluro type was undertaken by Carrozzeria Giulio Ferandi. Since 1950 he has been built up to 1953 and took part in Mille Miglia twice. From 1953 until 1957, the car continued to compete with drivers such as Leonardi and later Raimondo in Sicily. In an unknown time to adapt to the rules of the race, he changed his body to Barchetta. In the period 1957/59, the G1 engine block was replaced with a 100,000 n.390385 type, retaining the G1 sign above the original numbers. Recently, this original prototype racer was rebuilt with the same 1957 engine and its original Siluro body as it was led by F1 Luigi Musso's successful piloting at Mille Miglia in 1952, carrying all his insignia on the body to remind us the wonderful atmosphere of the magical era of real car racing! The fact that, apart from a unique creation, it was parallel and Luigi Musso 's first racing car that made it even more worthwhile.

The car belongs to Collezione Tenconi.

The legendary Luigi Musso on the wheel of Giannini 750 Siluro, Mille Miglia 1952.

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