Zaprojektowane i zbudowane przez Gordini nadwozie Typ 18S było wykonane z wielką dbałością o aerodynamikę, stworzone w całości z duraluminium. Samochód posiadał pełne, aerodynamiczne osłony podwozia, szerokie słupki drzwi wtapiały się w krzywizny nadwozia, a tylne nadkola zostały zintegrowane z karoserią. Tylna, zakrzywiona szyba wykonana z pleksiglasu, pochodziła z helikoptera Djinn i została zmodyfikowana tak, aby idealnie pasować do nadwozia. Aby kierowca znajdował się jak najbliżej środka samochodu, fotel został przesunięty bliżej tunelu środkowego. Dzięki bardzo krótkiemu rozstawowi osi 2,22 m i całkowitej długości 3,61 m samochód był niezwykle zwrotny, a ważył zaledwie 550 kg. Do wyścigu Le Mans przygotowano tylko dwa egzemplarze Typu 18S. Numer 020S (S jak Sport), wyposażony w silnik nr 16, przydzielono Fangio i Gonzálezowi (numer startowy 33), natomiast nr 021S, z silnikiem nr 18, otrzymał zespół Trintignant i Manzon (numer startowy 32). Silnik Typ 15C o pojemności 1491 cm3 został wyposażony w turbosprężarkę Wade RO15 wykonaną z magnezu. W specyfikacji Formuły 1 silniki 15C rozwijały 138-140 KM przy 5500 obr./min. Jednak w wersji Le Mans ich moc została zmniejszona z powodu przepisów ACO, które nakazywały stosowanie dostępnej w handlu benzyny 80-oktanowej. Niestety wyścig 24h Le Mans pomimo obiecujących początków nie był dla tych samochodów szczęśliwy, ale to nie był koniec ich zmagań na torze. W obu samochodach następowały zmiany silników i dodatkowe modyfikacje usprawniające jazdę w długich dystansach. W 1952 roku dwie berlinety zostały wyposażone w podwójne wloty powietrza na masce silnika oraz silniki Typ 18 z dwoma górnymi wałkami rozrządu i dwoma bocznymi gaźnikami Webera. Podczas gdy 21S został kupiony przez „Charlesa Rinena” (Henry de Clarence), 20S pozostał w Equipe Gordini. Wyposażony został w silnik nr 24, jednostkę Type 18 wytwarzająca 130 KM przy 6500 obr./min. Dzisiaj, z 33 różnych typów wyścigówek zbudowanych przez Gordini, berlinette 20S jest jedynym egzemplarzem zachowanym w tak wyjątkowo oryginalnym stanie. Samochód nadal ma tapicerkę z 1950 roku, na której siedział Fangio, szyby ze szkła i pleksi, panele z duraluminium, owiewkę z numerem 20, lakier z lat 1950-1956. Jest to jeden z zaledwie dwóch Gordini, które zostały wyposażone w silnik z doładowaniem i niestety jest to już jedyny doładowany silnik Gordini na świecie (silnik Typ 16 nr 3 z 1951 r.) To prawdziwe dzieło sztuki i świadek historii motorsportu na najwyższym poziomie, sprzedane zostało w Paryżu za ponad milion euro.
Photos © Bernard Canonne
Location: Salon Rétromobile, Paris
Date: 18 Mar. 2022 15:00
Sold: 1,013,200 €
1950 Gordini type 18S
Estimation 800,000 – 1,600,000 €
Chassis no. 020S
– Berlinette driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and José Froilán González
– Significant competition history including the 1950 Le Mans 24 Hours and 1951 Rome-Liège-Rome
– Fitted with the only supercharged Gordini engine in existence
– Exceptionally well-preserved original condition
– Fabulous and well documented history
24 June 1950. Nearly 200,000 spectators gathered around the 13.492km circuit for the Le Mans 24 Hours, waiting for 4.00 to come around on the Dutray clock. At that exact moment, the Prefect of the Sarthe dropped the French flag and the drivers rushed over to their cars. In a brown suit, Juan Manuel Fangio ran across the track and got into the navy blue bucket seat of the Gordini no. 33. History was in the making…
A few months earlier, with the announcement that the first Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship would be held, the development departments set to work again. The regulations, modelled on those of the previous International Formula, allowed naturally-aspirated engines of up to 4500cc or supercharged engines up to 1500cc. Amédée Gordini and his team, some of whose most talented members had worked for Bugatti, designed two engines: a 4.5-litre Type 45G V12 and a 1.5-litre Type 15C in-line 'four’ with a supercharger and hemispherical cylinder head; this had a light-alloy block and a crankshaft with five main bearings, a side-mounted camshaft, small rocker arms and a dry sump.
Based at 69-71 Boulevard Victor in Paris, Gordini’s workshop employed 45 staff and was financed solely by its entry and finishing bonuses and by its sponsors and patrons. Simca, Gordini’s main sponsor for five years (who would also be Matra’s sponsor 20 years later) rejected both engines. Five examples of the 45G Gordini V12 would nonetheless be built under the Osca name, the outfit set up by the Maserati brothers. As always, Gordini did not give up. He even persisted by entering two single-seaters with Type 15C supercharged engines in the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix for Maurice Trintignant and Robert Manzon. This recourse to force was one of the reasons why the sponsorship deal with Simca was not renewed in September 1950.
In May 1950, Gordini, nicknamed 'The Sorcerer’, also made a highly publicised announcement. With a Machiavellian touch, Gordini revealed that Fangio, fresh from his recent victories in the Grands Prix at Pau (in a Maserati) and San Remo (in an Alfa Romeo), and José-Froilán González would take part in the next 24-Hour race at Le Mans driving a new Gordini. Two Grand Prix drivers in a Gordini with a supercharged Formula 1 engine… The news created a sensation!
A sophisticated berlinette
Just two new Type 18S Gordinis were built. The tubular chassis, numbered 020 and 021, were fitted with Type 15 Dubonnet suspension at the front and torsion bar suspension from the Type 45G and Type 16 Formula 1 models at the rear.
Designed and built by Gordini, the bodywork was highly original, made entirely from Duralumin and with great care taken over its aerodynamics. It had a full underbody fairing and, no doubt for the first time, the rear wheelarches were integrated within the interior of the car, while the wide door pillars merged into the curves of the bodywork. The rear screen, made from Plexiglass, came from a Djinn helicopter and was modified to fit perfectly. So that the driver would be as close to the centre of the car as possible, his seat was relocated right next to the transmission tunnel; the filler pipe for the engine oil was routed between the centre tunnel and the passenger seat, which was positioned against the right-hand door. With a very short 2.22m wheelbase and an overall length of 3.61m, the car was remarkably agile. It weighed just 550kg, which was welcome news, given González’ portly build (an estimated 102kg!).
The 1491cc Type 15C engine was fitted with a Wade RO15 supercharger made from magnesium and was rated as equivalent to a 2982cc naturally-aspirated unit. Chassis no. 020S (S for Sport), fitted with engine no. 16, was allocated to Fangio and González (no. 33), while chassis no. 021S, with engine no. 18, was assigned to Trintignant and Manzon (no. 32).
The Monaco Grand Prix, which was intended to serve as a test session for the Type 15C supercharged engines, went badly for the Gordinis. They were involved in the huge pile-up caused by Nino Farina’s spin in his Alfetta on the first lap. The seven single-seaters following Farina’s car all retired. Victory went to Fangio, who also won the Belgian Grand Prix (in an Alfa Romeo), just before Le Mans.
The two Gordinis arrived in the Sarthe without the benefit of any tests other than those on the Boulevard Victor. This did not stop Fangio from being fascinated during the first tests at night. „It’s marvellous. Even in America, I have never seen such a lavish setup for a motor race. I would have been really sorry not to have taken part in a race on such a grand scale”, the Argentinian champion declared (France-Soir, 23 June). He added (Epoque, 24 June) that „The show at Indianapolis is non-existent compared with that at Le Mans. Indianapolis is like a village fête next to this. The pits, lit up like a street in Buenos Aires, are quite magnificent, almost supernatural. Le Mans is the French Buenos Aires!”
In Formula 1 spec, the 15C engines developed 138-140bhp at 5500rpm. But in Le Mans trim, their power was reduced because of the ACO regulations which stipulated the use of commercially available 80-octane petrol. This did not prevent Fangio from reaching 235kph on the Hunaudières, as fast as Louis Rosier’s 4.5-litre Talbot T26GS (11055). But the '3-litre’ Gordini was lacking in power coming out of the corners; Rosier’s best lap was at an average of 155.677kph, while Fangio’s best speed was 144.911kph. During the final practice session, Raymond Sommer took the lead with a lap at an average speed of 161.904kph. Driven at this pace, however, the sky blue Ferrari 195S (060M) stood little chance of seeing the chequered flag.
Paradoxically, Simca asked that neither its name nor its swallow logo should be painted on the two berlinettes, unlike the other five naturally-aspirated Gordini roadsters entered in the race. On Saturday 24 June at 1PM, the fuel tanks of the berlinettes were drained and refilled with 95 litres of petrol in front of a steward who put a lead seal on the filler cap for a minimum of 25 laps. At 3PM, the 60 cars – 41 of them open models – lined up at an angle in front of the pits, in the order of their racing numbers, corresponding to their engine capacity within each team. The spectators were in raptures over the curious MAP with its supercharged diesel engine, a little Simca 5, the spectacular Cadillac 'tank’ and the cars from Allard, Talbot, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Delahaye.
At 3.59PM, the drivers took up their positions in the numbered circles opposite their cars. A minute later, the French flag came down and the pack was set loose. Fangio jumped into the navy blue bucket seat, turned on the ignition with his left hand, while pressing the starter with his right hand. But the engine struggled to get going and no. 33 set off at the back of the field.
In less than an hour, Fangio had climbed to 10th place, while Trintingant’s berlinette was 6th, matching the running order Gordini had planned at the start of the race. During the third hour, Fangio passed Manzon, who had taken over from Trintignant, and moved up to 9th place. On its 32nd lap, the thermostat on the engine of no. 32 jammed, causing it to overheat and retire. During the fifth hour of the race, Fangio indicated during a refuelling stop that there was an ignition fault above 4800rpm. The cause was soon found: the cap of the Vertex Scintilla magneto was cracked. The regulations stipulated that repairs had to be carried out by the driver then at the wheel and his designated mechanic, in this case Athos Querzola. But they also required that repairs had to be completed using the parts and tools carried in the car. Unfortunately, they had no cap for the magneto on board. Querzola looked for a solution using in turn insulating tape, iron wire and a clamp. The time went by until he came up with a solution and they had lost 15 laps by the time González could restart. The two Argentinian drivers then worked their way back up the field. Shortly after 5AM, however, on the 95th lap, González came back into the pits with a trail of blue smoke behind him. One of the exhaust valve springs had broken and the piston was holed as it slammed into the valve. Retirement was inevitable for the famous Argentinian duo. A few hours later, the public celebrated a French victory with the success of the Talbot-Lago of Louis Rosier and his son.
The racing story goes on
In July 1950, the Gordini 20S was entered in the Paris 12 Hours race at Montlhéry. Fitted with a naturally-aspirated Type 15 engine, it had to retire when a torsion bar broke. In 1951, Gordini, who was considering selling berlinettes with or without superchargers, published a catalogue and repainted both cars dark blue. They were entered in the very arduous non-stop Liège-RomeLiège rally in August 1951. Chassis 20S was at the time powered by engine no. 9, a Type 16 aluminium and magnesium unit with twin overhead camshafts. Fed by two Solex carburettors, it developed 120bhp at 6000rpm. The berlinettes were fitted with a Type 16 gearbox and rear axle, as well as a sliding Plexiglass window in the right-hand door, screen washers and additional wipers (one on the right and a third fixed to the left-hand side of the roof) and a speedometer to the right of the dashboard. A 60-litre fuel tank replaced the 95-litre one, allowing telescopic shock absorbers to be mounted at the rear. Jean Behra finished this formidable rally in 11th place overall and 4th in the 1500cc category.
In 1952, the pair of berlinettes were fitted with twin air intakes on their bonnets and a Type 18 engine with twin overhead camshafts and two Weber side-draught carburettors. While 21S was bought by 'Charles Rinen’ (Henry de Clarence), 20S remained in the Equipe Gordini fitted with engine no. 24, a Type 18 unit producing 130bhp at 6500rpm, and 280mm drum brakes to replace the 255mm items. Trintignant won the Grands Prix at Roubaix and Agen with it; Behra had to retire in the Coupe du Salon at Montlhéry when he was in the lead ahead of a 4.5-litre Talbot and a 3.4-litre Jaguar C-Type. At the end of 1952, 21S was bought by Dieu, while 20S was purchased on 18 November by the driver from Nîmes René Bourrely, although it would still be entered by the Equipe Gordini. Repainted sky blue by Bourrely, it won the races at Nîmes and Aix-les-Bains in 1953 and finished first in its category at Montlhéry, Planfoy and Alger with the same Type 18 engine. The following year, Bourrely won his category at the hill climbs at Planfoy, Mont Revard and La Faucille.
The car was subsequently bought on 14 February 1955 by the amateur racing driver Régis Portal, who registered it as 189 BT 30 four days later. He was only able to compete in three races before motor racing was banned in France following the terrible accident at Le Mans. He left the car with the Gordini workshops for it to be resprayed, the caster angle modified and a general overhaul carried out; it was not entered in any further races but was put up for sale. It was displayed at Le Mans for the 50th anniversary of the ACO in 1957, which had been due to take place the previous year.
In 1957, it was bought by Francis Mortarini’s garage in Paris 'Le Pur-Sang’, where the 280mm drum brakes, Borrani wheels and Rudge hubs were replaced by 250mm drums and Robergel wheels. In March 1958, José Piger from Le Puy-en-Velay bought the car and registered it in his name (185 AY 43) in April. During its first hillclimb, the crankshaft of the Type 18 engine no. 21 broke. The block and crankshaft were replaced by new parts (the block was renumbered 21B). Piger, who competed as 'Ettore’, took part in three further hill climbs.
During the summer of 1958, Fangio retired from racing; at the same time, 'his’ Gordini competed in its final race. Still in very good original condition, the Gordini 20S was then purchased by three dealers in turn in 1989, before its story took a different direction altogether.
The Gordini is reunited with its driver
On 9 August 1990, Fangio, the five-time World Champion, bought 'his’ Gordini from the 1950 Le Mans 24 Hours to display it in his museum at Balcarce in Argentina. The topmost layers of paint were stripped back to reveal the paint from 1956. In 1991, a major exhibition in honour of Fangio was held at the Palais de Glace in Buenos Aires, where his much-loved berlinette featured prominently. As the result of a customs problem, the Gordini was re-exported in May 1997 to Fangio’s nephew by marriage in Turin, who sold it in 1998 to a specialist in Ferraris and racing cars in Lausanne, who wanted to install a supercharged engine in the unique berlinette. He acquired the only existing supercharged engine in the world in working order from Christian Huet. This was engine no. 03, a Type 16 unit from 1951 with twin gear-driven overhead camshafts. It had an alloy block, a magnesium crankcase and a dry sump; with a Solex 46 carburettor, in 1951 it developed approximately 175bhp at 6000rpm.
In this mechanical configuration, the Gordini 20S was bought in turn by the garage 'Le Palais de l’Automobile’ in Nice (in November 2000), then by André Binda in Nice (on 28 May 2003) and, finally, by 'Eole Compétition’ in Monaco on 1 February 2007, which had a major overhaul of the engine carried out by the Novo garage (bills for more than €50,000 are on file) but did not enter the car in any historic races.
On 23 March 2009, the car was sold to Christian Huet. Its new owner refitted authentic 280mm drum brakes from 1952, Rudge 42 hubs, 204mm front springs and a genuine aluminium pinion carrier with the original final drive ratio of 11 x 40. Huet removed the varnish and tar from the interior, as well as some layers of paint, to leave only the paint from 1956 and, in certain places, from 1950 and 1951.
An exceptional witness to the past
Today, of the 33 chassis of different types Gordini built, the berlinette 20S is the only Gordini in such exceptional original condition. The car still has the upholstery from 1950 that Fangio sat on, its glass and Plexiglass windows, Duralumin panels, underbody fairing with the number 20, paint from 1950-1956 and even its rubber door seals.
It is one of the two Gordini Sports to have been fitted with a supercharged engine and has the only supercharged Gordini engine in existence in the world (Type 16 engine no. 3 from 1951). The second Gordini berlinette (chassis 21S) fitted with a supercharged engine was damaged in an accident and re-bodied in a different style from the original in south-west France. It is currently part of the Schlumpf Collection and is on display at the Cité de l’Automobile in Mulhouse.
This Gordini berlinette 20S, which still bears the traces of its history in competition and with Fangio, is the only one of its kind in the world. In absolutely exceptional original condition, it has the qualities of a major work of art, combining rarity and fame.
THE HISTORY OF THE SUPERCHARGED GORDINI ENGINES
Originally, there were only four Type 15C engines (nos. 15, 16, 18 and 22), three fitted with Wade RO 15 superchargers and one with a Maserati 4CL T supercharger in 1950 and 1951. Four other Type 16C engines (nos. 01, 02, 03 and 04), using the same superchargers, were built in 1951 and 1952.
The four Type 15 engines were destroyed in races, whereas the four Type 16 engines still exist:
– No. 01, in naturally-aspirated form, is in a Cisitalia SMM005 roadster;
– No. 02, in naturally-aspirated form, is in the Gordini 01 GC single-seater;
– No. 03 is in its original supercharged form in the Gordini berlinette 20S;
– No. 04 is fitted to the Gordini 09 GC roadster.
In 1979, the three Wade superchargers, one of which had always been fitted to the Type 16 engine no. 03, and the Maserati supercharger belonged to Christian Huet. Since then, one of the Wade superchargers has been sold in England to be fitted to a display model of a Gordini engine (the Type 15 aluminium block no. 07 with three main bearings with nine studs, and a Type 15 cylinder head with large rocker arms with ten studs, with no moving parts inside the block).
Palmarès – Racing History
24/24 juin – 24 Heures du Mans
N°33 – Juan-Manuel Fangio/José-Froilan Gonzalez : Abandon
23 juillet – 12 Heures de Paris à Montlhéry
N°37 – Aldo Gordini/” Eymart ” : Abandon
15/19 août – Rallye de Liège-Rome-Liège
N°24 – Jean Behra/Jean Trasenger : 11e
7 octobre – Coupe du Salon à Montlhéry
N°41 – Robert Manzon : Abandon
9 mars – Course de Côte Lapize
N°49 – Georges Monneret : 1er classe 1101/1500cm3
27 juillet – Course de Côte du Mont Ventoux
N°2 – Roger Loyer : 3e classe 1100/2000cm3
14 septembre – Grand Prix de Roubaix
N°34 – Maurice Trintignant : 1er
28 septembre – Grand Prix d’Agen
N°24 – Maurice Trintignant : 1er
5 octobre – VIIIe Coupe du Salon à Montlhéry
N°24 – Jean Behra : Abandon
29 mars – Circuit International de Nîmes
N°27 – René Bourrely : 1er
12 avril – Circuit de Vitesse à Montlhéry
N°35 – René Bourrely : 5e /1er classe moins de 2 litres
14 mai – Course de Côte de Planfoy
N°20 – René Bourrely – 2e /1er classe 1101/1500cm3
24 mai – 3 Heures d’Alger
N°17 – René Bourrely : 3e/1er classe 1101/1500cm3
7 juin – 12 Heures d’Hyères
N°31 – René Bourrely/Guy Roques : Forfait
14 juin – Trophée de Savoie – Circuit du Lac
N°34 – René Bourrely : 1er
Trophée de Savoie
N°34 – René Bourrely : 1er
28 juin – Circuit de Bressuire
N°5 – Renée Bourrely : ?
5 juillet – 12 Heures de Reims
N°21 – René Bourrely/Marceau Crespin : Abandon
2 août – Grand Prix d’Allemagne au Nürburgring
N°123 – René Bourrely : 6e
30 août – Course de Côte de La Faucille
N° ? – René Bourrely : ?
27 septembre – Circuit d’Agen
N°40 – René Bourrely : 2e
4 octobre – Coupe du Salon à Montlhéry
N°38 – René Bourrely – ?
28 février – Circuit International d’Agadir
N°31 – René Bourrely : 5e
7 mars – Critérium du Sénégal à Dakar
N°5 – René Bourrely : 2e
11 avril – Circuit International de Nîmes
n°30 – René Bourrely : Abandon
16 mai – Course de Côte de Planfoy
N°60 – René Bourrely : 4e/1er classe 1301/1600cm3
6 juin – 12 Heures de Hières
N°31 – René Bourrely/Elie Bayol : Abandon
22 août – Course de Côte du Mont-Revard
N°35 – René Bourrely : 1er classe 1101/2000cm3
29 août – Course de Côte de La Faucille
N°90 – René Bourrely : 1er classe 1101/2000cm3
27 Circuit International d’Agadir
N°47 – Régis Portal : 2e classe 1001/1500cm3
8 mai – 4 Heures du Forez
N°17 – Régis Portal : 6e
30 mai – Grand Prix de Vitesse de Bougie
N° ? – Régis Portal : 3e
27 avril – Course de Côte de Planfoy
N°132 – ” Ettore ” : Abandon
11 mai – Course de Côte de Saint Antonin
N°111 – ” Ettore ” : 2e classe 1101/1500cm3
3 août – Course de Côte de Vuillafans-Echevannes
N° ?- ” Ettore ” : 3e classe 751/1500cm3
Photos © Bernard Canonne
Estimation 800 000 – 1 600 000 €