Italcorsa / Tarf II by Piero Taruffi


About time, right?

It's difficult to believe that I've been doing this for well over a year and haven't done anything on racer Piero Taruffi. Sure, I did a piece on the OSI Silver Fox, the latest (and sexiest) bisiluro "twin torpedo, a car inspired by Taruffi's exploits. Today, it's time to finally shine very little light onto Taruffi. (There's so much to talk about this exceptional man…read the sources!)

This story is made easier because the car in question was sold by RM Auctions back in 2012, where it sold for €89,600—a screaming good deal, in my mind. I don't usually talk about how much things cost, but what other car from that era driven by Taruffi could you have bought for less? 

As you can imagine, Taruffi would have to have been a bit of a nut to decide to not only compete in top speed and endurance competitions with his bisiluro but to also fit a supercharged Maserati 4-cylinder engine. This car was clocked at an immense 298.507 kph (185.49 mph) in the flying mile, and RM Auctions' description shares how:

"…this amazing vehicle was designed by Taruffi and followed “Tarf I”, which set six 500-cc and two 1,500-cc speed records. Its radical “bisiluro”, or twin-boom, design was built in 1951 for the 2,000 cc class. Power was by a 1,720 cc Maserati four-cylinder engine with two-stage supercharging developing 290 bhp. A chain drove the rear axle, and steering was via simple control sticks. Adjustable rudders compensated for prevailing winds."

That's pretty neat, but at the age of 50, Taruffi hung up his racing helmet for good after the two death-marred events in the '50s, the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 1957 Mille Miglia—a race that Taruffi won, the last competitive Mille Miglia.

Both events would see the lives of innocent spectators sacrificed at the altar of speed, and it was Taruffi who would be an early campaigner for both automotive safety and safer facilities for spectators.

For someone to design and build a vehicle as epic as the Tarf II and still be willing to give it all up because motorsport was becoming exceedingly dangerous? That's something to be applauded.