Racing history has seen many battles of "weight versus power", from Bugatti beating Bentley, to Colin Chapman's many victories with Lotus. Even though W.O. Bentley claimed that "there's no replacement for displacement", Cisitalia's founder Piero Dusio would have agreed more with Chapman's philosophy that "adding power makes you faster on the straights, while subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere".
Dusio commissionned Fiat engineer Dante Giacosa to develop what would become Italy's very first post-war race car, and in our opinion the most competition-oriented Etceterini ever built: the Cisitalia D46 Monoposto. This is the car that launched the racing career of Tazio Nuvolari, Ilario Bandini and many other famous drivers.
Giacosa combined the best parts of two of his previous designs – the Fiat Topolino and the 508C – into a sophisticated spaceframe, to create this icon of Italian ingeniosity and sportsmanship. The 508C engine was quite a refined piece of engineering for its time, and by increasing the compression ratio to 9.5:1, applying the principle of dry sump lubrication and some additional tweaks, the standard engine was uprated from 32 to 62 bhp. The engine was coupled to a 3-speed preselector gearbox, allowing the driver to focus on the perfect racing line rather than on shifting gears. No wonder this "David" outran many "Goliaths" after having been enhanced with a short wheelbase and a very lightweight body, designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi.
Exact data on how many D46's were made, vary between 30 and 45. This 1947 example, with chassis number 0032, is one of the Cisitalia D46's driven by Harry Schell. Cisitalia authority Adriano Cimarosti lists this Cisitalia D46 as car #48 in the Prix de Bern of 1948, driven by Harry Schell for the Horschell Racing Corporation. In 1950, the car belonged to the Ecurie Paris. Afterwards, it was exported to Australia where several of its owners had already made their names in sports car racing.
The D46 returned to the continent in the ‘70s and came into the hands of a Belgian collector. In 1975, it was acquired by Paul Swaelens, who was considered as Belgium’s “Monsieur Monoplace” in the ‘60s. It has been in his family ever since – more than 40 years! Fifteen years ago, the car underwent a full restoration, during which could be verified that all body panels bear the same identification number as the chassis, 0032. The car also comes with its original engine, with engine number 0010, although it is now equipped with a Fiat 1100B engine. After the restoration, the last owner regularly campained his Cisitalia at Chimay in 2006, Vernasca Silver Flag in 2008 and at the 2011 historic Brussels Grand Prix.
Registered by the Cisitalia International Club's register since 1979, this is your opportunity to acquire a documented and authentic '40s Monoposto in a deliciously original state. It runs very well and it’s tremendous fun to drive. Your chance to feel like a young Tazio Nuvolari has never been so close!