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Piero Taruffi was technical director for the Gilera motorcycle company as well as a regular racing driver. He designed and built two cars aimed solely at record breaking. Piero eschewed the well trodden streamliner route chosen by Cooper and Arnott in favour of the twin booms which gave the cars a most distinctive appearance. His logic was simple; wheels suspension and other mechanical parts disturb the air most and therefore create the most drag but traditional streamlining inevitably means a large frontal area which isn't good either. Two bullet shaped tubes containing two wheels each, one with engine and one with the driver would serve to keep the frontal area to a minimum and avoid the weight of full body, while still being slippery. The hard part was joining the two booms to work mechanically together without loosing all the aerodynamic gains.

This was achieved with two aerofoil section beams, the forward one containing steering gear and the rear, a driveshaft between the two rear wheels. Power came from a 500cc Moto-Guzzi 120 degree V twin, similar to Count Lurani's Nibbio, mounted, in the right hand pod giving about 45 hp and breathing through the aperture at the very nose of it's pod. The gearbox was in unit with the engine, a chain taking power to the counter shaft in the beam with a sprocket on each end and a further chain for each independently sprung rear wheel.

Steering was unconventional, as during construction the builders discovered that a normal steering wheel could not fit within the confines of the cockpit. Consequently, two levers, one on either side of the driver, were used to steer.

In November 1948, Taruffi set a flying kilometre at 128.8 mph but this was not ratified so he tried again in February 1949 and returned official figures of 129.69 for 5 km and 129.7 for 5 miles. In October1953, he set further Class I records, this time with a Gilera engine, beating John Cooper's Montlhéry records but these were short lived as John Brise in the streamlined Arnott took the records by the end of the month.

A second car was built in 1951, this time with the driver in the right pod and a 1.7-liter Maserati 4-cylinder engine in the left. It recorded new marks for two-litre sports cars over the distances of 50 and 100 kilometres, 50 and 100 miles and one hour during record runs on the Appian Way south of Rome. During those sprints Taruffi also clocked speeds of 180.540mph for the flying mile and 185.483mph for the flying kilometre to claim the official records.

Taruffi campaigned the car until 1957 with a variety of engines, later extending those standards with runs on the high banks at Monza.

If anyone has any more details or photos of this car, please get in touch.

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