1954 Volpini-Arzani Formula Junior
ex. Lorenzo Bandini
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The Volpini Formula Junior, built in Milan, uses a basic FIAT 1100/103 engine, with its Dual Weber 40DC03 carburetors, is placed offset in the chassis. The transmission and drive shaft runs to the right of the driver, who sits slightly to the left in the cockpit to insure proper balance. The right hand shift lever activates a close ratio gearbox which is connected to the drive shaft and a standard 1100 rear end by two universal joints.
A high roll-center front suspension has been designed into the car by using unequal wishbones and coin springs. The solid rear housing and suspension is designed by Gioacchino Colombo of Alfa Romeo. Engineering consultant to Volpini is Count Giovanni Lurani.
Wheel movements at both front and rear are controlled by olio-pneumatic "Spring Damper" units. The Volpini Formula Junior brakes consist of standard 1100 FIAT components. We use large diameter Alfin drums on all four wheels. Light alloy Borrani disc wheels are fitted all around and mount 520 x 14 Pirelli Super Sports on the rear and 400 x 15 Super Sports in front.
The cockpit is decked out with large tachometer and a full complements and designed to hold the largest of drivers.
The engine completely re-designed by Volpini and each one is individually prepared and tuned on their dynamometers to 89 SAE horsepower at 7.000 RPM. The compression ratio is 9.8 to 1. Reliability and long life are assured by the use of special Vanderwell bearings throughout the engine. Special forget steel connecting rods are fitted as well as an enlarged oil pump and an oversized water pump and cooling system A fully counted weighted crankshaft with cold chromed journals (Brinnel Hardness 900/950) is used with the rod journals drilled hollow for lightness and to insure a constant supply of cool oil at the bearings. This specially designed crank, with its fine material and deeper "H" section, gives a greater increase in strength without an increase in weight. Engine parts are forget from chrome moly-nickel steel (GNM), hand finished and polished. The Volpini cylinder head (model H) has four intake ports with larger passages than the normal 1100 unit, the only special head permitted under international Formula Junior rules. Good breathing is insured by eight individually highly polished ports of tulipped 34mm intake and 33mm exhaust valves of XCR steel. The mixture passing these valves comes from two dual throat 40DC03 webers and is exhausted through a specially tuned manifold.
Available with extra charge was Gatto brakes, twin leading, conversion from the standard brakes. Includes backing plates, oversized drums, shoes and linings, two cylinders in each wheel, for front wheels only.
Volpini was initially involved in the lower classes of Formula racing, such as Formula Junior and Formula Three. Volpini joined forces with Arzani in 1954, hoping to enter the Formula One World Championship. To this end, the team purchased the chassis of the 1950 Scuderia Milano-Maserati for the 1955 Formula One season. The team subsequently improved the engine and the bodywork of the car. The body was constructed by Carrozzeria Colli. It was entered in the 1955 Valentino Grand Prix for Mario Alborghetti, but it could not be constructed in time. The team made its debut in the 1955 Grand Prix de Pau, where Alborghetti suffered a fatal crash.
The team contested only one Formula One World Championship Grand Prix, the 1955 Italian Grand Prix. Luigi Piotti drove the car, but did not start the race due to a problem with his Maserati-Speluzzi CLT 2.5-litre L4 engine. The team did not return to Formula One afterwards, continuing to construct cars for Formula Junior and Formula Three. One of the customers was Lorenzo Bandini.
There is a saying 'out with the old and in with the new', but what if the old could be turned into something new? This experiment would make its presence known during the 1955 Formula One season and would be forever known as Scuderia Arzani-Volpini.
The beginnings of Scuderia Arzani-Volpini actually start, not at the beginnings of the 1955 Formula One season, but back before the Formula 2 era in the World Championship. The first couple of years of the new Formula One World Championship would be dominated by the aged man of war the Alfa Romeo 158/159 Alfetta. Originally designed before the Second World War, the car would survive the war and would literally have no equal in those immediate post-war years. However, there were other manufacturers trying to develop their own single-seater grand prix cars capable of taking the fight to the Alfas. One of the most prominent challengers throughout the late-1940s would be the Maserati 4CL and 4CLT chassis.
Heading into the start of the brand new Formula One World Championship, the Alfa Romeo 158/159 would still be the dominant car amongst the numerous Talbot-Lagos, ERAs and the new Ferraris. However, Maserati 4CLTs would remain a very popular choice amongst competitors despite development quickly waning. Though once seemingly on course to be one of the cars to have once Formula One kicked off, the Maserati 4CLT would be quickly losing popularity and would soon begin to disappear from view.
There were some teams, however, that would not give up on the chassis. There would still be a couple of teams that would enter variations and evolutions of the chassis well into the 1951 season, the final year before the era of Formula 2. There would be small privateer teams that would make their mark in Formula One history with the Maserati 4CLT chassis precisely because it was a chassis that was rather easy to come by and that offered competitive performance. One such team was Scuderia Milano.
Scuderia Milano would come into existence as a result of the Ruggieri brothers. They would take a couple of the 4CLTs they owned at the time and would modify their cars to take part in the World Championship. Combined with a new engine created by Mario Speluzzi, the greatly altered 4CLT would be raced during the 1950 and 1951 seasons.
But not all would be well with Scuderia Milano. Money would be running short and the governing-body would make the decision to conduct the World Championship according to Formula 2 regulations throughout 1952 and 1953. This would leave the altered Maserati 4CLT without an opportunity to take part in the World Championship and the lack of funds meant the cars would be just packed away.
Enter Gianpaolo Volpini and Egidio Arzani.
Volpini was very active in motor racing during the early 1950s taking part in Formula Junior and Formula 3. Volpini had a desire to take part in Formula One and made plans toward the future when the new Formula One regulations would come into effect.
Volpini would come to join forces with Egidio Arzani, an engine-builder and the two would begin setting their sights on the new 2.5-liter regulations that were due to come into effect starting with the 1954 season. Arzani would set about designing and building a 2.5-liter powerplant while Volpini went on a search for a chassis that could be quickly created and built so the team, which would become known as Scuderia Volpini, or Arzani-Volpini, could take its place in Formula One history.
Looking to keep costs to a minimum and have a car already assembled, Volpini would come in contact with the Ruggieris and would come to purchase one of the Milano-Speluzzi 4CLTs. Volpini would pick the best of the lot as the one he would come to own would be the only one of the two that had the famed de Dion axle.
Volpini and Arzani would set to work creating their car that would be entered in the World Championship. The two would depart from the 4CLT design and would, instead, look to more modern designs for inspiration. As work progressed it became more clear the design would bear a great similarity to Ferrari's 553 ‘Squalo'.
The great Lorenzo Bandini achieved a first class victory at the Mille Miglia, in a Lancia Appia Zagato, in 1958, and a class win the same year in the 500cc Berkeley in the 12-hour race at Monza. He then raced in Formula Junior until 1961. Bandini purchased a Volpini Formula Junior car and placed third in his first race in Sicily. In 1959 and 1960 he drove a Formula Junior Stanguellini. In 1960 he placed fourth in the Formula Junior World Championship.