I'm givin' her all
she's got, Captain!
A few years ago we visited the spectacular Turin Motor Museum. It's a fantastic space, dedicated to the motor car and its influence on Italian life. The museum also reminds us of the engineering legacy
the Italian auto industry has provided.
In the turmoil of the modern auto business, the sales success of the retro styled 500 has shown Fiat they can benefit from this legacy. They therefore created FCA Heritage, to capitalise on their past triumphs. By using the English language title 'Heritage', Fiat have broadened their appeal to parts of the world which can afford to indulge in the past.
After 'discovering' abandoned Lancia Delta bumper moulds, FCA have now chosen to
reminded us about the Lancia Trevi Bimotore.
A backward looking frumpy car,
but with a space age dashboard.
The Lancia Trevi was introduced as the Beta Trevi in 1980, and produced for 4 years.
Basically a Beta with a boot lid, it was a 4 door saloon with a 3 box layout, this gave the car its name 'Tre Volumini'.
It had a transverse four cylinder twin cam engine driving the front wheels.
Lancia hoped the Trevi would encourage people to forget Lancia's rust problems, this car was promoted as being very well rust protected. The Trevi had an unappealing appearance, its styling being unusually frumpy and ungainly for a Lancia, a step backwards from the Beta. The company's hope for the car appealing to young executive's tastes was not fulfilled.
The Trevi did however have a Mario Bellini designed interior, Bellini gave the car its fantastic 'Swiss cheese' dashboard. This striking masterpiece was derided by most commentators as a Star Trek inspired disaster, wrongly in my opinion!
A supercharged Trevi Volumex was introduced in 1983, now with power steering and some extra performance, but luckily not too much extra. The car's layout meant 75% of its weight was over the front wheels, which gave the Trevi understeer, and spectacular lift off oversteer.
The car's suspension was designed for, and relied upon, its 14 inch Pirelli P6 tyres. Any Trevi owner who later replaced the worn tyres with another make, made their Trevi quite dangerous.
The Trevi was discontinued in 1984.
Click on the Heritage
logo to visit
FCA Bimotore page.
Some older pictures below
of the Trevi Bimotore at work.
The car is now a polished museum
exhibit, but must have seen some action in it's day!
FCA Heritage recently published an interesting article about the Trevi Bimotore, this car was designed by an Abarth test driver Giorgio Pianta, helped by his brother Alberto. Giorgio obtained permission from Cesare Fiorio, who was then the sports director of “Squadra Corse HF”, the sports branch of the Lancia company,
to build a prototype.
Lancia were falling behind in 4 wheel drive design, surprised by Audi's Quattro success, and with the forthcoming Delta S4 not yet completed, Lancia needed a 4 wheel drive car quickly, to start testing the Pirelli tyres required for the S4. It was decided to proceed with a twin engined project using a Trevi base. A Volumex was used with a supercharged 1995cc engine, a second transverse Volumex unit being fitted in a large box in place of the rear seat. The supercharger compressors were improved to give
each engine 150bhp.
To control the car the hydraulic clutch lines were linked, and the 2 gearbox linkages were operated from the central gear lever. The engines were fitted with Weber 36DCA carbs, these were connected to a basic elecro-mechanical control, which had an adjustable delay for the rear engine throttle to allow some control over the Trevi's understeer.
This electronic control didn't work very well however, and traditional Bowden
cables were later substituted.
The car had identical Macpherson struts and disc brakes at both ends, with 5 speed and reverse gearboxes. A 130 litre alloy fuel tank was located in the boot, with a short internal filler, and the spare tyre on top. Large air vents were cut into the rear doors, to allow cool air to reach the rear radiator, this wasn't quite enough because the
rear engine did overheat.
The car weighs in at 1250kg, and is capable of 230kph, which is about 140mph.
Perhaps they chose a Trevi because the Swiss cheese dashboard had so much space for extra dials! Two tachos were fitted, one in place of the speedo. The interior seems to be well resolved, the large rear engine box has a nice beige carpet cover, but no other soundproofing. The dash of course is fantastic, and the car has tilt forward front seats. The car was finished in an older Lancia shade of red, Amoranto Montebello, with the Lancia racing colours over top stripe.
So the Bimotore is very interesting, others have experimented with twin engined cars before, and since.
Alfa Romeo built Bimotore racing cars in 1935, again to compete with advanced German racers. The Alfa was only rear wheel drive but was capable of over 200mph. Mini, VW and others have used their compact front drive units in the rear end.
The Lancia Trevi is well resolved, but must have been a pig to drive, and noisy too! Only the one was built, as a stop-gap to allow testers to gain experience for the forthcoming Lancia Delta S4. Giorgio described the Trevi car as a 'rolling laboratory',
production or rally deployment were never planned, and never came about.
FCA is an interesting project, and they may hint at the Bimotore's sporting intentions, history is written by the victors.
rear wheel drive