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Saturday, March 06, 2010

The F&M Specials

I cannot recall ever having written about the F&M Specials here; I was prompted by accidentally finding a link to a video featuring one of them which you will see at the end of this post.

It is years since I read about the origins of these interesting cars. As far as I know they evolved from a car that was prepared for Pat Moss (late sister of Sir Stirling Moss) to drive in the Targa Florio. This I think was a 1300 and she finished a very creditable 9th - she was after all an excellent pilote. In fact her brother is a Fulvia enthusiast. A few years ago he was guest of honour at the Lancia meeting in England and a friend of mine asked him what he thought of the Fulvia. "Great little car!" he replied "You could point it at anything." This really sums up the Fulvia doesn't it? OK well I think so.

Could this be Pat moss?

The Squadra Corse tried very hard to get more power from the Fulvia's engine and having only managed around a claimed (but challenged) 100BHP/litre the only other option was to get the weight down. It is recorded that one 1600 rally car weighed 780kg. How this was acheived bearing in mind homologation restrictions and the requirement for a roll cage, I cannot imagine.

Cesare Fiorio was the rally boss at the time at Lancia, and he and co-conspirator Claudio Maglioli, rally driver, engine tuner and brother of racing-driver Umberto Maglioli. Apparently Fiorio allotted a budget of one million lire (about £500 at the time) which doesn't sound very much to me. But then creative accounting is not new is it?

A short side step: In 1999 I made a trip, in my Fulvia Iniezione to Turin. Naturally I had to photograph the famous Lancia building, but at the time its appearance was rather spoiled by the fact that there had obviously been a fire on one of the floors (the fifth or sixth I think). On returning to England I showed the photographs to various Lancisti there, one of whom observed "I suppose that that was the Accounts Department!"

So for the F&Ms (there were three genuine ones) much hacking was done: the roof of course went and the tail of the car was shortened right back to to rear spring hangers.

The striking appearance that resulted from these modifications and of course the romance of competition history, has prompted the construction of a number of replicas. Here's one I was offered at Fulvia 40 in Turin in 2003 (€35000):

It was supposed to have all the "right bits"... I could well imagine myself blasting down to the "Abinger Hatch" for the Surrey Fulvia Meeting in this car and perhaps doing the Goodwood Track day too. Sadly sums of money in the order of €35000 have eluded me for my entire life.

Fiorio and Maglioli finished up with the F&M2, which was really rather ugly. It weighed 650kg and was supposed to have 160HP.


Finally, here is the promised video. It is an in-car effort with Claudio Maglioli himself, driving one of the F&Ms. The noise is amazing and reminds me of when I heard Munari's No 14 running at FIAT's test track in 2003.

A bientôt.

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