A legendary classic Fiat that’s over 100 years old is set to turn heads at the Goodwood Festival of Speed next month.

The fastest car in the world in its day, the remarkable Fiat S76 will be fired up and racing again for the first time since the First World War at next month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. It clocked a whopping 135mph back in 1911 but has barely been seen since.

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Thankfully owner Duncan Pittaway has painstakingly restored the classic car to its former glory and it will compete in the famous Goodwood Hillclimb.

Just two of the S76s were made with the express intention of stealing the flying kilometre and flying mile records from the ‘Blitzen’ Benzes.

“The terrific noise prompted pedestrians to turn and look as the car passed, only to have their hats blown off and hair singed by three yards of flame from the stub exhausts in the side of the bonnet,” described The Autocar publication in 1911.

The car achieved the mile record with Pietro Bordino behind the wheel at Saltburn Sands in 1911 and was then recorded at over 135mph at Ostenede in Belgium attempting the kilometre. But it failed to complete a return run within the specified one hour and so was denied the record.

Nonetheless, it was undoubtedly the fastest car of its day. Despite this, Fiat dismantled one of the two machines after the First World War to prevent its secrets being stolen by rival companies.

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The other was purchased by Russian aristocrat Boris Soukhanov and found its way to Australia where it was modernised.

Mr PIttaway, who will also drive the car on the hillcimb,  brought the chassis back to Britain in 2003 and managed to pair it with the original 28.5-litre, four-cylinder engine from the dismantled car. So what we’re dealing with is as close to the original as you can get – even some of the missing parts were recreated exactly from the original Fiat specifications.

“After restoring a Bugatti T35, I was looking for a new challenge and the S76, which is one of the more maligned cars of its generation, fitted the bill nicely,” explained Mr Pittaway.

“All of the original S76 components that have survived have been restored, from the chassis and engine down to the suspension, axles, pedals, steering box, etc, with the gearbox, radiator and bodywork being created using the original Fiat drawings. As the last and largest of the huge-engined Edwardian monsters, it should be sensational to see.”

Classic car fans will be able to see, and no doubt hear, this unique piece of motoring history at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which runs from June 26th to 29th.

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The Goodwood Hillcimb, run over a spectacular 1.16 mile course, is the highlight of the event. The fastest time up the hill, set by Nick Heidfeld in the McLaren MP4-13 in 1999, still stands to this day and while the S76 is unlikely to beat that time, it will no doubt be one of the principal attractions.

If you’re looking for cover for your classic or cherished car, speak to the classic insurance experts at Performance Direct – one of the UK’s leading specialist insurers.

Festival of Speed image: Peter Castleton via Flikr

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