The 1924 Alfa Romeo P2 Grand Prix Engine: Vittorio Jano’s brainchild…

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Dear reader, we now take you back to the twenties. To the days where engines counted most in a racing car. Aerodynamics and chassis design, tyres and brakes where timidly starting to develop, the focus was on the engine. A true genius designed it for Alfa Romeo. His name was Vittorio Jano.

Actually, he was born  as Viktor János in San Giorgio Canavese, in Piedmont, son of Hungarian immigrants, who settled there several years earlier. He began at the car and truck company Società Torinese Automobili Rapid owned by G.B. Ceirano. In 1911 he moved to Fiat under Luigi Bazzi. He went with Bazzi to Alfa Romeo in 1923 to replace Giuseppe Merosi as chief engineer.

There is also a truly wondrous story to tell about the designers of Fiat and their engineers in the period between the two world wars, and it will be subject of a later series where we will present drawn  portraits of the men and women who marked our automotive history.

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Here one sees the carburettor side of the engine, its architecture being an example for all Alfa engines to follow, right until this day… On both drawings, some watercolor was added.

His first design with Alfa Romeo was the 8-cylinder in-line mounted P2 Grand Prix car, which won Alfa Romeo the inaugural world championship for Grand Prix cars in 1925. But he was going to do much, much more for Alfa. In 1932, he produced the sensational P3 model which later was raced with great success by Enzo Ferrari when he began Scuderia Ferrari in 1933. We will also bring a special about this marvelous engine.

Jano also definitely established Alfa’s engine architecture, and indeed made Alfa technically what is Alfa all about. For the Alfa series production cars,  Jano developed a series of small-to-medium-displacement 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder inline power plants based on the P2 unit that established the classic architecture of Alfa engines, with light alloy construction, hemispherical combustion chambers, centrally located plugs, two rows of overhead valves per cylinder bank and dual overhead cams…

Indeed, this straight 8 engine is the architectural forerunner of what a classic Alfa engine is right until this day.

This 1,987 cc engine had Twin Roots Superchargers and 2 Memini carburettors, developed 140 bhp (104 kW) @ 5500 rpm in 1924, and 155 bhp (115 kW) a year later. As the P2 did only weigh 614 kg, it was fast enough to win 14 grand prix until 1930, and embodied together with the Bugatti 35 the most iconic grand prix cars in the twenties.

Its designer Vittorio Jano would in 1937 move to Lancia, and later to Ferrari, where he designed the V6 and V8 engines, which are still a technical basis for the Ferrari’s today…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Kia launches EV-Niro…

Kia has today unveiled a new all-electric version of Niro at the 5th International Electric Vehicle Expo in Jeju, Korea. It is due to receive its European debut at the Paris Motor Show in October 2018.

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The car was developed at Kia’s design centres in California, USA and Namyang, Korea and took inspiration from the the Niro EV Concept unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It has a rather futuristic air intake and arrowhead-shaped LED daytime running lights, and looks overall pleasingly muscular.

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The Niro EV is powered by Kia’s next-generation electric vehicle powertrain, using new production technologies developed specifically for Kia EVs. Equipped with a high-capacity 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, the Niro EV will be able to drive over 450 km on a single charge with zero emissions, or more than 300 km on an optional 39.2 kWh battery system, according to the manufacturer.

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The Niro EV will go on sale in Korea during the second half of 2018, and as said, will be seen in Paris!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

The new Porsche Cayenne has now a plug-in hybrid version…

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The next stage in Porsche’s road to (full) e-mobility is the Cayenne E-Hybrid. While the power of the 3 litre V6 engine moderately improves on its predecessor by five kW (Seven hp) to 250 kW (340 hp), the performance of the electric engine is now over 43 per cent higher at 100 kW (136 hp). Both combine for a total system power of 340 kW (462 hp).

Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Mercedes brings all-new A Class: small is now (very) big…

Mercedes-Benz A 180 d, Progressive, mountaingrau, Leder macchiatobeige/schwarz.;Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 4,5-4,1 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 118-108 g/km* Mercedes-Benz A 180 d, Progressive, mountain grey, Leather macchiato beige/black;Fuel consumption combined: 4,5-4,1 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 118-108 g/km*

The Mercedes-Benz A 180 d,  more stylish than ever in mountain grey, ;Fuel consumption combined: 4,5-4,1 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 118-108 g/km.

The smallest Mercedes is more than ever a true Mercedes. It breaks not only new ground in body styling, also its new cabin layout is a big step forward, and then we said nothing about its formidable touchscreen and enhanced connectivity and infotainment, which was hitherto unseen in its class. An important Mercedes, and therefore we tell you here more about it…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The formidable V16 Auto Union Type C engine…

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Without any doubt, the powerful rear engine Auto Unions were ahead of their time. Their sheer “Leistung” or power was absolutely legendary. Just tires couldn’t cope, and the sheer chassis dynamics and even more importantly aerodynamics were not fully understood at the time. So the cars had no downforce at racing speeds, and the narrow tires with their still softer construction and not so adhesive compounds did not help.

The V16 engine of this Type C was a Porsche design, and started off in the type A with a displacement of 4360 cc. But it was originally meant to be a 6 litre engine, and this it was in the Type C. The two cylinder banks were angled at 45 degrees, and one central camshaft operated all the 32 valves. That is why the engine has this typical look of 16 pushrods in their gleaming chromed shafts connected with the exhaust valves, while the intake valves were actuated by the camshaft through rocker arms. So we see three valve covers on this beautiful engine.

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The engine was laid out to develop massive low end torque, and for a racing engine, it revved quite low, as the rev counter clearly tells.

All this torque, a hefty 853 Nm being available at 2500 rpm, was very difficult to handle for the narrow rear wheel tires, and a limited slip differential was badly needed to stop the inner wheel in narrow corners from spinning fiercely through under full throttle, even in the dry!

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The impressive two-stage Roots compressor at the back of the engine, fed by a battery of two carburetors… 

Maximum power ranged from 485 to 520 PS or 357-382 kW during the racing seasons, and whether the race was to be long or short. It was achieved at – at least for a racing engine –a very lowish 5000 rpm. A two stage roots compressor was used, with 0,95 bar pressure.

One last item, which one tends to forget when talking about the sheer performance of this engines, is that the 200 L tank did not contain ordinary fuel. A (secret) mixture using amongst others ethanol and methanol was used. This did allow higher combustion chamber pressures and temperatures, without problems of knocking or lack of cooling. One needs to flush the system after races because the mixture is corrosive.

In our next edition, we will go for the equally stunning Alfa Romeo P2 straight 8 compressor engine…

We just let you look here at our drawings!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

A new series on pen drawings of famous engines… The Jaguar D-type

After having made a pencil drawing of the Jaguar XK engine, we got more and more carried away so to speak, and decided to start with a series of famous racing engines, which made automotive history. Of course, we continued first with the D-type theme, as we felt it deserved further attention.

So here it is…

Jaguar D type motor en cockpit

Engine capacity of this XK engine in this racing version is still the original 3442 cc, with also the original bore and stroke dimensions of 83 x 106 mm.

With triple Weber carburetors and a 1:9 compression ratio it developed 253 PS or 186 kW at 6000 rpm. Torque was very impressive for a normally aspirated engine, being 328 Nm at 4000 rpm.

It had dry sump lubrication, as the superb roadholding  of the D-type triggered G forces which would let the engine starve for oil had the original sump been retained. It also allowed a larger oil quantity, lowering oil temperature on the grueling long Mulsanne straight at Le Mans, where the D-type would run at speeds in excess of 170 mph, or 270 km/h. There was also another practical reason, which might have been even more important: the D-type is very low, so to reduce the engine height, a dry sump layout was chosen.

The D-type itself was structurally designed by Jaguar’s William Heynes Technical Director and Chief Engineer. It applied aeronautical technology. The cockpit section was of monocoque construction, mostly comprising sheets of aluminum alloy. It was about five years later that John Cooper started to use the same concept for his Formula 1 cars…

The aerodynamic bodywork was largely the work of Malcolm Sayer, who had joined Jaguar following a stint with the Bristol Aeroplane Company during the Second World War and later worked on the C-Type. The D-Type required a minimal frontal area. To further reduce the XK engine’s height, the engine was canted at 8½° from the vertical, which made the typical offset bonnet bulge necessary.  It might also have been needed, according to Philip Porter, in his book Jaguar Sports Racing Cars, to provide extra space for the ram pipes feeding the three twin-choke Weber carburetors….

You can see clearly in the drawing the rampipes of the Webers, and the fact that the engine is canted…

Just enjoy the drawing. The next one will be the famous Auto Union V16 engine…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

DS X E-TENSE: a designer’s dream to drive in 2035…

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DS designers were asked what their dream car would look like within 17 years. New forms, new materials, new technologies. The team came up with a truly stunning result: The fruit of their collective fantasy and out of the box thinking is DS X E-TENSE, a car with stylish refinement and very bold solutions indeed…

Just look at the photos and read further, and be amazed…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “DS X E-TENSE: a designer’s dream to drive in 2035…”

The Mercedes-Maybach star shines in Peking…

 

Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, Auto China 2018 Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, Auto China 2018
Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, Auto China 2018

The “Auto China 2018” in Beijing is a special showcase for the top manufacturers of this world. The brand with the iconic star presents here something truly unique: the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury.

A stunning crossover, based on an exclusive high-end saloon and an SUV. The show car combines the comfort and typical strengths of both body styles. These include the raised seating position and the athletic looks. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is conceived as an electric vehicle with four compact permanent-magnet synchronous motors and fully variable all-wheel drive.

As our love for iconic and trendsetting automobiles is boundless, we tell you’re here more about it…just read on!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Citroën sells 41% more in China, and launches in Beijing a new C4 Aircross SUV…

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A new C4 Aircross for the Chinese market…

Car lovers like me vividly remember the publicity photos where little red painted AX Citroëns drove on the Chinese wall, amply showing that the brand with the double chevron always had a heart for the Chinese market. It seems this love does not remain unanswered: Citroën chalked up an impressive sales gain in this continent, and China is now its second biggest market, after France(!).

Citroen AX op muur

Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “Citroën sells 41% more in China, and launches in Beijing a new C4 Aircross SUV…”

BMW Group Classic and its new Centre…

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Of course, BMW also has a magnificent museum, but here we focus first on their new Centre, which was opened in 2016. We present you here some factory photos; needless to say that we are keen to visit the centre, and bring you then an extensive report with own interviews and images, but in the meantime, we shouldn’t already keep this from you…

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The company archive and the vehicle collection, the workshop and the customer centre together with the parts service for classic automobiles and motorcycles are now located together in an ensemble of buildings in the district of Milbertshofen in Munich.

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The site at Moosacher Straße 66 measuring around 13,000 square meters includes one of the first production buildings of what was at that time still a fledgling company.

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In this building, magnificent BMW motorcycles are also displayed, what to think of this iconic and timeless boxer? 

It was preserved during the restoration work, as was the heritage gatehouse, which is today a listed building, and now forms the entrance to the history of the BMW Group.

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The new location for BMW Group Classic also provides a touch point for owners and fans of classic vehicles of the brands BMW, MINI und Rolls-Royce with information and services relating to the preservation and care of their automobiles and motorcycles.

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Vehicles and numerous other exhibits from the comprehensive collection of BMW Group Classic are presented in the historic production hall, like their fantastic aircraft engines. (see photo above). The facilities and event spaces created there can also be booked for events. Guided tours are offered to give participants an overview of the new venue and provide information about the history of the company.

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Café “Mo 66” is open to visitors and gives them a vantage point looking directly into the glass covered vehicle workshop of the BMW Group Classic Centre.

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At its new location, BMW Group Classic has now better facilities for staging activities relating to the history of the company and its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce. Questions about the history of the company, brands and products are answered by using the vast BMW Group Archives. The teams responsible for communication with the media and for marketing now also carry out their work in the new centre alongside the specialists involved in organizing events and exhibitions.

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The staff of the BMW Group Classic Centre have a long track record of experience, expertise and passion. They work on the preservation and restoration of historic automobiles and motorcycles, and offer support for purchasing or selling a classic vehicle. We are keen to meet them and present you then an in depth report about their work. The offering of BMW Group Classic also includes the loan of classic vehicles and the parts shop. The range of parts offered comprises more than 55 000 items and it is continuously growing. Of course, the happy owners of collectables on four wheels and two will benefit from this supply of original spare parts…

Hans Knol ten Bensel