Tag Archives: Panamericana

Hemispherical FirePower – Chrysler New Yorker Deluxe Newport

The advantages of a hemispherical cylinder head are that it makes an efficient combustion chamber with minimal heat loss to the cylinder head, however there are numerous difficulties to be overcome to make such a head reliable and commercially viable due to the complexity of the cross flow valve gear, the need for domed piston crowns to attain the necessary compression ratio and the need for high octane fuel to prevent inefficient and destructive detonation in the combustion chamber.

Chrysler engineers began developing hemispherical combustion chambers in 1940 for an inverted V16 that powered a prototype for the P.47H Tunderbolt and was considered for the XP.60C, but the motor was so delayed it never went into production.

Later Chrysler also worked on a hemi head design with Continental for the 810hp Continental AV-1790-5B V12, air-cooled twin-turbo gasoline engine that powered the M47 Patton Tank which was manufactured from 1951 to 1953.

Chrysler New Yorker, Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance

In 1951 Chrysler introduced it’s first FirePower V8’s with hemispherical heads on the New Yorker and Imperial models and as an option for the Saratoga.

Bill Sterling and Robert H. Sandidge drove a Hemi powered Saratoga to a third place finish in the 1951 Carrera Panamericana finishing behind two Ferrari 212 Inters, less than 16 mins behind the winning car driven by Piero Taruffi and Luigi Chinetti.

Similarly Belgian Paul Frére drove Hemi powered Saratogas’s to class wins at the Mille Miglia and Spa 24 Hour races, Lee Petty won the first of his three NASCAR titles in 1954 scoring seven victories in Hemi powered Chryslers and Dodges.

Chrysler New Yorker, Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance

The grill on today’s featured car suggests that it is a Chrysler New Yorker Deluxe Newport built for the 1954 model year which was fitted with a 235 hp version of the Hemi that was good for a theoretical top speed of 97 mph.

New Yorkers appeared on the Carrera Panamericana in 1951,’52 and ’53 but were not as successful as the Saratoga, Reginald McFee scored the models best result a 12th place finish in 1952.

Today’s featured New Yorker was driven on the 2011 Carrera Panamericana by David Buchanan and New York auto engineer Raffi Najjarian dropping out on day 2, I believe they finished third in class with the same car in the 2015 edition of the event.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing these photographs taken at Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance in 2011.

Thanks for joining me on this “Hemispherical FirePower” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Running In At 116 mph – Ferrari 212 Inter Vignale

As we saw last week the 1951 Ferrari 212 came in two flavours Export for sports car racing and Inter as daily driver. Today’s featured 212 Inter with body work by Vignale is one of the long wheel base road cars.

Ferrari 212 Inter Vignale, Danville Concours d'Elegance

Of the 82 212 Inters built 37 of them had Vignale bodies while Touring and Ghia were amongst others to build bodies for this model.

Ferrari 212 Inter Vignale, Danville Concours d'Elegance

The British magazine tested the first production 212 Inter in 1950 recording rest to 60 mph in 10.5 seconds reaching 100 mph in 22.5 seconds and a top speed of 116 mph. The magazine noted that they were asked to keep to a 6,500 rpm limit as the engine had not been fully run in.

Ferrari 212 Inter Vignale, Danville Concours d'Elegance

Of course just because a Ferrari is designated primarily as a road car there is nothing to stop owners entering them for races, Centro Deportivo Italiano bought two 212 Inters, chassis #0161 EL and 0171 EL and entered them in to the fearsome 1951 Carrera Panamericana in Mexico for Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi in the #9 and Pierro Taruffi and Luigi Chinetti in the #34 respectively. The Centro Deportivo Italiano scored a 1-2 finish with Taruffi/Chinetti leading home Ascari/Villoresi by over eight minuets.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photo’s taken at Danville Concours d’Elegance.

Thanks for joining me on this “Running In At 116 mph” edition of “Gettin’ a li’ psycho on tyres” I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another innovative formula one car from Colin Chapman. Don’t forget to come back now !