As in the twin-engine Type A, the cooling radiator was divided in half: one side for each engine. A single 40-liter oil reservoir at the extreme rear of the bodywork was connected to the dry-sump systems of both engines. Interconnected fuel tanks sat along the cars’ flanks, giving a total capacity of 240 liters (63.4 gallons).
Such were the skills of Modena’s cadre of coachbuilders that all this machinery was enshrouded in bodywork that gave little hint of the cars’ extraordinary concept. A quick glance suggested nothing unusual about the design that became known as the “Bimotore” for its two engines. Exhausts of both straight eights were on the right side and close together.
Streamlining know-how was shown in the fitting of a head-rest behind the driver and full enclosure of the front of the frame. For the grille, a heart shape was adopted. Soon after the completion of the two cars, they were fitted with a badge that credited the Ferrari contribution. On a shield of yellow, the Modena town color, was the black prancing horse of World War I flying ace Francesco Baracca, adopted as his emblem by Ferrari with the encouragement and approval of Baracca’s parents. Many thus consider the Bimotores (properly “Bimotori”) to be the first real Ferraris.
The two Bimotores differed in their Type B motorization. One utilized a pair of 1934-season 2.9-liter straight eights, which gave a total of 5,810cc and 510 bhp at 5,400 rpm. The other had the larger 3.2-liter eights first raced in 1935, for an aggregate 6,330cc and 530 bhp at the same rpm. (Each engine had its own starting crank.) This was well in excess of anything the Germans could offer in 1935, when they were just reaching 400 bhp, but the Bimotore’s weight was higher than that of the Grand Prix cars, at 1,030 kilograms (2,271 pounds) dry, much of it resting on the 21-inch rear wheels and their Belgian Englebert tires.
NO SOONER HAD ENZO FERRARI confirmed his plans to build the cars with Alfa Romeo than he communicated the news to Nuvolari. Always fascinated by the latest equipment, the great Mantuan driver immediately understood the potential of the Bimotore. He agreed to rejoin the Scuderia as partner to the able Frenchman René Dreyfus and Monaco’s Louis Chiron. Announcement of Nuvolari’s move to the Modena team at the end of January 1935 brought general rejoicing, not least at Alfa Romeo.
On April 4th, Nuvolari sat on the autostrada between Brescia and Bergamo, one side of which was closed for the first trial of a Bimotore. The complicated machine had been designed and built in a scant three months, with the “small” 5.8-liter version first to be completed. Ferrari tester Attilio Marinoni warmed up the car, then turned it over to Nuvolari.
After several runs at 4,500 rpm, Nuvolari turned the Bimotore loose. Though officially timed at 175 mph over two kilometers, he said he had in fact reached a maximum of 5,300 rpm, which was equivalent to 200 mph. Furthermore, Nuvolari thought 5,600 rpm —210 mph—should be on the cards. “The Bimotore drives like a Lancia Aprilia,” he told a delighted Bazzi, likening it to Italy’s best small car.