The year 1934 saw the domination of racing through German technological might in
the form of Mercedes and Auto Union Grand Prix cars. What had belonged to the French and
Italian teams was now in German hands. Alfa Romeo was desperate to regain their
superiority. Scuderia Ferrari was tasked by Alfa Romeo to build their own super car.
Long-time Ferrari designer Luigi Bazzi, did not resort to half measures. Leading
this mad adventure, a team of
30 employees, the entire Scuderia, he designed a special chassis based
upon the P3 that carried two
8-cylinder engines that were placed in front and behind the driver. One
version used twin 2.9 litre units while another used twin 3.2 litre
units. The differential was
located in the middle with the power supplied to the rear wheels through twin driveshafts
in a "Y" format. On top of this the complete car was finished in less than four
The car was intended for the fast
tracks on the calendar, such as Tripoli and Avus which were actually
Formula Libre events not governed by the rules of the 750kg formula. At their debut in Tripoli they finished fourth and fifth.
The original intention was for the car to use Dunlop tires which were
considered the best for high-speed use but for some reason Dunlop would
not guarantee them for road racing and the switch was made to Engleberts.
This would prove fatal when Nuvolari had to come in for new tires after
only racing 2 laps! Later
at the Avusrennen a Bimotore driven by Louis Chiron finished second. one of the cars few
"victories" came when Tazio Nuvolari on Dunlops set a new world record for the kilometer at
321km/h on the Florence Autostrada topping 208 mph at one point. The use of two engines was not the only special
feature of the car. Others included the gearbox with three forward speeds;
the central steering wheel; independent Dubonnet suspension and two lateral fuel tanks.
The use of lateral fuel tanks survive to this day.
The major reason for its relative lack of success could be traced to its
prodigious use of fuel and tyres brought on by its excessive weight and power. More often
then not the car was either entering or leaving the pits after receiving some sustenance.
Thus the noble attempt that became the Alfa Bimotore could have easily
been called the first Ferrari but rather than struggle to make it race
worthy the project was soon dropped. With one of the cars scrapped the
other was sold to British amateur
driver Austin Dobson for national events at Donington and Brooklands.