Ready to race: ’59 Stanguellini Formula Junior
Francesco Stanguellini was the first Fiat dealer in Modena and it is still in business today. Francesco modified and raced various Fiat models, and built race cars around Fiat mechanicals. Stanguellinis experienced success in pre-War Mille Miglias, although the spotlight never shined bright for them. Stanguellinis won the Formula Corse championships in 1956 and 1957, making the accession to the new Formula Junior a natural. The Formula Corse design was revised and rebodied. A Fiat 1100 series (1089 cc) OHV four replaced Stanguellini’s own 750 cc twin cam. The engine was mounted at a slight angle longitudinally, to allow the shifter (four or five speed) to fall to the driver’s right. Running twin Webers, the production based four cylinder gave about 75 bhp. Later version were said to produce close to 100. This may not sound like much for a “real race car” but remember, total weight is less than 1000lbs. The chassis was a simple tube frame affair, and carried unequal-length wishbone front independent suspension. A solid axle carried the rear, and braking was via ventilated drums. Wheelbase was a mere 80 inches. The cockpit is spartan, the steering wheel rests at a bus-like angle and framing the large tach. Some of the best drove Stanguellinis at one time or another: Jo Siffert, Lorenzo Bandini, “Taffy” von Tripps, Richie Ginther and Fangio himself reportedly did test driving as well. Stanguellinis had their own way with FJ in Italy, winning the 1958 championship. They also won both the Italian and International championship in 1959. By the 1960 season, two changes in FJ put a halt to Stanguellini’s unbridled monopoly when the trend toward rear engined cars, and FJ’s increasing world-wide popularity, brought more than 100 car builders into the fray. Emerging British makes such as Lotus, Cooper and Lola started winning, and though Stanguellini countered with more powerful engines and ultimately its own mid-engined cars, their days of singular domination were over.
Today’s featured ‘Stang was restored in 2004 and presents well although not a concours candidate. It is one of the most beautiful front engine, open wheel car from that era. Paint is not original, but color is. Dunlop racing tires (12″ front, 14″ rear) are worn but still usable. Paint has some chafing around engine opening. Leather upholstery is recent, no cracks or splits. Chrome Borrani wheels are well-balanced and in excellent condition. It has a removable steering wheel for easy access. There are about 250 miles on the re-built dyno-tuned engine,and the car comes with fuel cell installed as well as original fuel tank. They built around 150 of these cars and they are welcome at almost every vintage event. Sports Car Market Price Guide thinks this one might fetch up to $65,000. Of course a review of the documentation is essential with a race car like this one. Click here for the eBay auction.