by Tony Bagnall
2021 review by Peter McFadyen
When it comes to Italian cars in motor sport, the names Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia are probably the first to come to mind but, as this new book from SAHB member Tony Bagnall clearly demonstrates, Fiat have been heavily involved and for even longer. Indeed, in the earliest days of motor racing, Fiat was a very major player indeed.
The story is told chronologically with chapter one focussing on the period before WW1 and going on through four more chapters to the 1950s and the introduction of Formula Junior which initially relied almost entirely on Fiat engines to power these effective and very successful single-seaters. Tony then devotes a chapter to Fiat-based specials, so numerous that they are often amusingly referred to as ‘Etceterinis’, before taking a deeper look at Formula Junior. Attention then turns to Fiat’s involvement in rallying in the 1970s and early 80s which culminated in their winning the World Rally Championship in 1977, 1978 and 1980 and was largely a result of the connection with Abarth to which the final chapter is devoted. Two appendices list the technical specifications of the competition cars and the marque’s major results, again chronologically, and, finally, there is a comprehensive index.
The book provides a very useful and easily readable survey of Fiat’s wide-ranging involvement in motor sport but, for me, even better is the excellent selection of photographs, most of them contemporary, many of which the author has gathered with the aid of the Centro Storico Fiat, the Fiat museum in Turin and the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. The large format of the book and its page design have enabled these and the other illustrations to be presented large enough and clearly enough for their quality to be evident, a major plus especially for such a modestly priced book.
Publisher: Veloce Publishing Ltd. www.veloce.co.uk
Description: Hardback, 160 pages, 10×10 inches / 255x255mm, copiously illustrated in colour and b/w