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|Not Found on eBay: 1959 Fiat 682/RN2 Bartoletti Open-Deck Race Transporter|
|Written by Rich Truesdell|
|Monday, 09 August 2010 13:13|
Imagine arriving at an historic race with your vintage Ferrari on this instead of in an enclosed trailer. Priceless.
The August issue of Classic and Sports Car arrived in my mailbox this week from the U.K. While thumbing through the cars for sale that I know I'll never be able to afford, this listing from Talacrest Limited caught me eye. It's a Fiat 682/RN2 truck/bus chassis that was rebodied by Carrozzeria Bartoletti between 1957 and 1959. From 1959 to 1965, it served as the Ferrari factory team transporter, and for the SEFAC Ferrari team in 1965 to 1970. Digging a little deeper into the history of this unique piece of motor sports history, I've been able to learn that Maranello also used at least two Fiat 642s that are similar to this vehicle (except they lack the two bars shown across the front grille of the 682). Maserati also used a similar vehicle. And a near twin of this vehicle was originally constructed for Lance Reventlow to transport his Scarab Grand Prix cars during their ill-fated 1960 season.
If, like me, you had the green two-car Matchbox race car transporter as a kid, this brought back fantastic memories.
The funny thing is that I've already had a close encounter with this vehicle's sister: a blue Fiat 682/RN2 with a Bartoletti conversion, which was on display at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona this past January. That Fiat Bartoletti is owned by Don Orosco, probably the world's best-known collector of Scarab race cars. And, like the Talacrest vehicle, it too has an extremely interesting history.
According to an article by Preston Lerner in the June 2009 issue of Automobile magazine, his Fiat was once used to transport the Scarab race cars of Lance Reventlow, son of Barbara Hutton and heir to the Woolworth fortune. Orosco's Fiat Bartoletti was used to transport the 1960 Scarab Formula One cars from race to race. After Scarab withdrew from Grand Prix competition, it was used by Team Lotus. Then, in Princess Blue livery, it was used to transport the Cobra Daytona coupes. Later, under Alan Mann Racing, it was seen with Cobras and Ford GT40s in tow. It was also repainted for a scene in the Steve McQueen movie Le Mans and moved on to several other teams in the Seventies. Orosco was apparently alerted to its availability and commissioned a Pebble Beach-level restoration at a reported cost of $600,000 before it appeared at the 2008 Monterey Historic Automobile Races. It was the undisputed star of the event, especially since it included three Scarab race cars.
But let's return to the Ferrari Red Fiat Bartoletti. According to the Talacrest website, this vehicle was built in 1959 and is the only original Ferrari Factory 682/RN2 Team Transporter left in existence. Its documentation is peerless, including the Auto Construzione Ferrari Factory records and Scuderia Ferrari Factory Team and S.E.F.A.C Ferrari records from new. The paper trail shows its clear ownership also from new in 1959 through to Ferrari's disposal in 1970. During this period, 1965-1970, it was used by the SEFAC Race Team to transport their own cars, as well as client and Concessionaire Team vehicles, to the major European Grand Prix, Sports Prototype, GT, and Mountain Climbing championship races.
The cab-forward 682 is so nimble, it is almost capable of turning inside its own length. It features a 175-horsepower, 10.7-liter engine and was capable of nearly 60 miles per hour. The gearbox is a heavy-duty Fiat four-speed with a rear axle with two ratios--in essence, making it an eight-speed transmission. I would figure that some of those lower ratios would come in very handy when traversing high mountain passes in the Alps on the way to the next race.
Here are its ownership records from new:
13 June 1959: Fiat 682/RN-2 with chassis No. 001461 completed and issued a certificate of origin (Certificato d'Origine). Delivered to Carrozzeria Bartoletti for completion and conversion for vehicle transportation. The Scuderia Ferrari specified in their order that this transporter be fitted with both an internal workshop and sleeping accommodations for crew and drivers.
22 September 1959: Purchased new by "Auto Constuzione Ferrari" and assigned Modena, Italy plates "MO 53210." Used by the Scuderia Ferrari to supplement their two older, slower, and smaller 642/RN-2 vehicle and team transporters. Issued new Italian "Libretto" road-registration/log book, "volume n. 507 folglio n. 53210."
24 October 1960: Scuderia Ferrari ("Auto Construzione Ferrari") reorganized and incorporated as "SEFAC Ferrari." Original registration and plate "MO 53210" retained by Ferrari. Road-registration/log book updated to recognize Ferrari ownership new name and recorded as such.
26 July 1965: Vehicle reclassified on the road-registration/log book and now used by the SEFAC Ferrari exclusively for the transportation of the SEFAC Ferrari Team Vehicles and those of the authorized concessionaires when needed. (Original Modena Registration "MO 53210" remained in use.)
21 March 1970: Deemed surplus to the needs of the SEFAC Ferrari Race Team. Registration canceled and offered for public sale.
1 December 1970: Purchased by Venice, Italy resident Giovanni Zanon for use in his "circus." New Venice registration issued and vehicle assigned plates "VE 209093" (Recorded in the original road-registration/log book (Libretto) for chassis ?001461.)
9 August 1971: Registration "VE 209093" canceled and new road-registration and plates "PD 467856" issued. (See period photo with new registration.) Road registration lapsed but not canceled, and vehicle stored near Busto Arsizio for the remainder of the 1970s through to 1994.
March 1990: Photographed and described in Auto d'Epoca magazine. Original Italian road-registration/log book documents and continuous ownership documents from new confirm the vehicle's original ownership and use by the Auto Construzione/Scuderia Ferrari and the SEFAC Ferrari from 1959 through to disposal in 1970.
4 August 1994: Registration canceled and vehicle offered for sale.
Spring 1995: Restoration begun at S.I.L.M.A Bus, Modena, Italy.
25 March 1998: Purchased by Symbolic Motor Car Company of La Jolla, California, along with a second Fiat 642 Ferrari Transporter. (Both purchased while restorations were in progress.)
2 February 2000: Five-year restoration completed at a cost of more than $280,000.
21 July 2000: Sold by Symbolic to Pat Hart of Redmond, Washington.
August 2002: Invited and shown at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
5 May 2010: Offered by Talacrest
Will race-car transporters be the next big thing in collector vehicle circles? That's hard to say. But I think you'll agree that this might well be the coolest truck on the planet. I know for sure that if I win the lottery this week, one of my first calls will be to John at Talacrest to inquire what it will take to add this unique piece of motor sports history to my stable.
A new album on the 1959 Fiat 682/RN2 Bartoletti Open-Deck Race Car Transport--a piece of motorsports history--is now up in the Automotive Traveler/Fotki Image Gallery. Enjoy!