The number of truly spectacular cars to be seen at the upcoming Scottsdale auctions is enough to make you wish you were rich. Or even richer if you already are among the wealthy. Nevertheless my fantasy world rarely includes those lavishly expensive classics, beautiful though they may be. I find more delight in viewing cars that, if not exactly affordable, are truly unique. One such car is this 1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari being offered by Gooding & Co, Friday, January 18 and Saturday, January 19.
The coachwork is by Stabilimenti Farina. It is not only different from other racing cars of the immediate postwar period (notice the faired-in rear fenders and subtle tail fins) but in my opinion quite lovely, especially considering the period. The photo is a bit misleading, for this Cisitalia is quite small. The inline 4-cylinder OHV engine is a mere 1,089 CC in size but with twin Weber carburetors it produces an estimated 60 hp at 5500 rpm. Bear in mind that it is light in weight so such power is adequate for class racing.
The transmission is a 4-speed manual, the brakes are 4-wheel hydraulic, front suspension is by transverse leaf spring, at the back is a rigid axle with longitudinal leaf springs. Cisitalia actually built 28 of these streamlined beauties; it is not one-of-a-kind although obviously rare. Apparently it has been driven in VSCCA vintage races and comes with a noteable competition record, having raced at Lockbourne, MacDill, Sebring, Thompson, and Vero Beach. Of course it is eligible for important historic events such as the Mille Miglia Storica.
If you know your racing history you'll immediately recognise the "Nuvolari" name, for he was one of the all-time greats and a former Cisitalia driver. Appropriately the car was named to honour him. To own the Cisitalia you'll need between $700,000 - $850,000. No, it's not cheap, but the price is way less than many of the Ferraris and Duesenbergs that Gooding and the others will be auctioning. Small it may be but in this case small is definitely beautiful.