The 1930s are also known as the Golden Era in the motor sport scene. The Grand Prix races became easier to visit for fans; sometimes a massive amount of 300.000 would visit a Grand Prix! And the 30s were known for its immense technical progress and development. This progress resulted in some bizarre creations. One of these creations was the Monaco Trossi, constructed by Augusto Monaco in favour of Felice Trossi.
If you have seen the Monaco Trossi on photos, you can conclude that the car had a radical design. Maybe it is better to say the car was designed to race in its own dimension. Most recognizable is the aircraft type radial engine, which was placed at the very front of the car. The engine is an air-cooled eight bank, 16-cylinder two-stroke radio engine. It produced 250HP at 6000rpm. With a top speed of 240km/h.
Maybe it is good to know how the car came alive. For this, we have to go back to the early 1930s. When Augusto Monaco and Enrico Nardi designed their first race car. It was named the ‘Chichibio’ and was a 1-litre lightweight car. The car was excellent during Italian Hill-climbs. Because of the success, and Monaco’s drive, he decided it was time to design a Grand Prix car.
First Augusto Monaco joined forces with Italian engineer and driver Giulio Aymini. He also gained support from Fiats Agnelli. Who offered them a place in Fiats facility plant in Lingotto. Both Monaco and Aymini were working on the Two-stroke radial engine. During tests sessions with the engine it became clear that many obstacles had to be taken to make the engine competitive. For Aymini it was enough, and he abandoned his support for the project.
However, Monaco believed in his project and he convinced Italian driver Felice Trossi to become a partner in his project. Trossi plea to use his office and his workshop just outside Biella. To construct the car and the engine there. Beside Trossi convinced his friend, Revelli, to join the project. He would take care of the streamlined body of the Monaco Trossi.
After the team worked a few weeks on the car the car was presented in early July 1935 to the public. A lot of rumours had already appeared about the car’s appearance. It has to be a strange view to see an aircraft shaped Grand Prix car on the road, with no wings. After the presentation of the car, the Monaco Trossi several times tested at Monza. While Aymini withdraw himself from the project, he did test the car together with Felice Trossi.
It became soon clear that the car had some major issues. One of these issues was the weight distribution of the car. Probably due the design of the car, and the placement of the engine in the front of the car. While the care had some major issues, the car was on the entry list for the Italian Grand Prix. The Italian Grand Prix was to be held on the 8th of July in 1935. Felice Trossi, with number 8, was the driver.
During the free practice for the Grand Prix, it became clear that the major issues were still there. The car had a huge oversteering problem. Also the engine did not receive enough cooling and spark plugs were shooting out of the engine. To increase the cooling the team even removed the caps around the engine, but this had not enough effect on the cooling. The car became too dangerous to drive properly and withdraw from the Grand Prix.
The Monaco Trossi was placed in a barn, and Trossi continued to drive for manufactures such as Maserati, Alfa-Romeo and Mercedes with success. After the Second World War Trossi re-appeared on the tracks. He managed to win the Italian Grand Prix in 1947. A year later, he would win the Swiss Grand Prix. Sadly, in 1949 Felice passed away in a hospital in Milan due a brain tumour. The Monaco Trossi Grand Prix car was donated by Trossi’s widow to the Museo dell’Automobile in Turin.
Sources: Leif Snellman / Oldmachinepress / Teamdan / Fiat / Circuit Monza / Silhouet / Omni Auto / Motorsport Magazine