03.09.2008 HISTORIC FIAT GRAND PRIX TRANSPORTER IN FOCUS AT PEBBLE BEACH

1956 Fiat Series #306/2 Bartoletti Grand Prix Transporter

One of the crowd-pullers at the recent Concours d'Elegance Pebble Beach was also one of the biggest exhibits: the Fiat Series #306/2 Bartoletti Grand Prix Transporter which boasts a history just as fabulous as its exciting styling.

One of the the strongest crowd-pullers at the recent Concours d'Elegance at the Pebble Beach Golf Course in Monterey was also one of the biggest exhibits in terms of size and weight: the 1956 Fiat Series #306/2 Bartoletti Grand Prix Transporter which boasts a racing support history which is just as fabulous as its exciting styling.

Taking its place on the 18th hole green at Pebble Beach, the immaculate transporter was finished in the metallic blue colours that were worn by Lance Reventlow's Scarab Grand Prix team during the 1960 season. Reventlow was the son of Betty Hutton, heiress to the Woolworth fortune, and as such the American was able to indulge in his passion for motor racing. During its heyday the #306/2 machine had carted the factory Maserati 250F to races before being bought by Scarab, the first and only American grand prix team.

In 1960 the Scarab team entered four grands prix, Monaco, Silverstone, Spa and Zandvoort, all with little success however, and the team wasn't able to get anywhere near the front-running pace. Three years later the transporter received another famous owner: Carroll Shelby, who added the second rear axle to take the heavier weight of the Cobra Daytona Coupes that the American was racing in Europe.

In later years the transporter was used to carry the cars of privateer drivers David Piper and Richard Bamford. It also made it onto the big screen as it appeared in the famous motor racing film Le Mans (1971) which was directed by Lee H. Katzin and stared Steve McQueen. It was shot during the Le Mans race in 1970. The Fiat transporter first appears on screen as an American team bus and then as a Ferrari transporter.

At Pebble Beach last month the immaculately-restored transporter, now owned by Donald B. Orosco, was a source of much attention from visitors. With its eye-catching metallic blue colours, varnished wood panelled storage area, original pattern mechanics overalls, swages of polished chrome detailing, and chunky Fiat badge mounted proudly on the front, it looked every piece the aesthetic masterpiece. Original colours and cues worn at different points during its long and interesting history could be clearly picked out.
 

2008 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed