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Alfa Romeo 16C Bimotore

One engine not giving you enough grunt? Just add another. That must have been the essence of the conversation between Enzo Ferrari and the Alfa Romeo racing team when construction began on the Alfa Romeo 16C Bimotore, only with more Italian hand gestures.

Built in just 4 months, the Bimotre’s chassis was built to hold two engines, a pair of 3.2-litre inline-8’s, one mounted in front of the driver, another behind. Done so in order to match the power of the Mercedes’ and Auto Union’s, just two of the twin engined monsters were built, with just one surviving today. Tasked with enticing Nuvolari back into an Alfa Romeo, construction of the Bimotore fell to Enzo Ferrari, who’s Scuderia Ferrari was a subsidiary of Alfa’s racing team at the time. Meaning technically, the Bimotore is one of the first Ferrari’s ever made.

Whilst the Bimotore kick-started some fresh thinking in terms of engine development, its actual performance was much less civilised. Despite taking off like a stabbed rat on the straights, capable of well over 200mph, when it came to the corners the Bimotore was quite a handful. The immense weight over the rear wheels created a near uncontrollable amount of oversteer. Whilst the twitchy handling characteristics suited Tazio Nuvolari, the creator of the four-wheel drift, Louis Chiron had much more difficulty keeping the Bimotore under control, leading to the twin engine program being scrapped after the 1935 season.

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