Fiat 806/406. 1/12 scale. Multi media kit with metal, plastic, rubber and wood parts.


Bordino and the Fiat 806 at Monza

The Fiat 806/406, a light Tipo 806 chassis with a Zerbi designed Type 406 engine, was the world's first single seater Grand Prix car. With 187 bhp at 8500 rpm and a top speed 240 km/h, it was state of the art for the new Formula regulations of the day. It was also Fiats swan-song in Grand Prix racing.

The Fiat 806/406
Mounted between the ladder chassis main rails, was a truly remarkable H-12 1500 cc supercharged engine. The 12 cylinders of 50 x 63 mm were divided into two parallel rows of six cylinders with side-by-side crankshafts geared together. Three twelve-cam camshafts operated the 24 overhead valves and, while the cylinders were of the usual Fiat pattern, plain bearings replaced the classic Fiat rollers, although a built up crankshaft enabled them to retain one-piece big ends.

The Cardanic transmission was a 4 speed with reverse, clutch was multiple disk and ignition was magneto. Suspension was by leaf spring and 4 wheel drum brakes provided the stopping power.


In the early twenties, Fiat driver Pietro Bordino, was the fastest of them all.
Always on the absolute limit, no one could handle a car at high speed on tricky corners as he could. And the public idolized him for it.

Pietro Bordino in 1927 at Monza
Born in Turin, Italy on September 22, 1887, Bordino, the son of a Fiat caretaker, grew up, in and around the Fiat factory and became a Fiat apprentice as a teenager. In 1904 the 17 year old became a riding mechanic for Fiat's legendary drivers Lancia, Nazzaro and de Palma. He also began driving, from 1908 onwards, in minor racing classes.
In 1911, Fiat built the monstrous 300 HP Record specially to break the world speed record. Its 28,353 cc engine developed 290 horsepower. Bordino, now 24, showed no fear and drove it to 200 km/h at Brooklands and Saltburn and in April 1912, travelled the mile at 290 km/h on Long Island.

The 28 litre
Fiat 300 HP Record
(Nazzaro at the wheel)
The war years saw lean times for motor racing, but in 1919, Bordino returned to race driving, again competing in the minor classes. In 1921 he moved up to the big league and Immediately established himself as the man to beat. Now in his mid 30's he owned the 1922, 23 and 24 racing seasons. He was in a class of his own but was let down time and again by mechanical breakdowns while dominating races. His driving career was cut short when Fiat, frustrated by rival race teams poaching Fiat engineers and designers, withdrew from Grand Prix racing halfway through 1924. Bordino had contested 13 Grand Prix, but had only managed one win. Albeit an important win, the Italian GP in 1922 at the new Monza track.

Bordino negotiating the Vialone (now Ascari) corner on his way to winning the 1922 Italian GP at Monza.
By the early 20's, motor racing in America had become enormously popular and in 1921, Bordino had travelled to Los Angeles to drive a Fiat in the premier 250 mile race, the Miglia di Los Angeles, which he won, earning him instant fame and the nickname, "the Red Devil". He remained in America, racing for a few more months, before returning to Europe in September for the Grand Prix of Italy at Brescia. Having set fastest lap, he was leading the race on the last lap when a broken oil pump forced him to retire.

In 1922, between March and May, Bordino was back in America, to compete in some big purse board track races. July saw Bordino back in Europe for the French Grand Prix at Strasburg. Bordino had set the fastest lap and was leading on the last lap, when again his car failed him. But his luck was about to change. At the 800 km Italian GP at Monza, 150,000 people watched Bordino, driving a Fiat 804, win convincingly in 5 hours 43' 13" at an average speed of 139.855 km/h.

The Monza track layout
1922 - 1928
The French and Italian Grand Prix's of 1923 saw Bordino retire from both races with mechanical failure after setting the fastest laps.

At 1924 French Grand Prix he took an early lead leaving the rest of the GP elite far behind, only to retire near the finish with a broken car. When Fiat closed the race department halfway through 1924, the lure of big prize money saw Bordino back in America again and racing from December through to May 1925, finishing his American adventure with a disappointing 10th place at Indianapolis.

Apart from a few European races in an outdated, privately entered Fiat, in the second half of 1925, the greatest driver of the decade had spent the last half of 1924, all of 1925, 1926 and the first half of 1927 watching European Grand Prix's from the grandstand.

In 1927 Fiat returned to racing for the last time, at the Grand Prix di Milano, and Bordino drove the new car to a stunning victory against the best drivers in the world. Fiat then withdrew from Grand Prix racing forever.

Bordino and the winning 1922 Monza Grand Prix
Fiat 804
Seven months later, on April 15, 1928, Bordino, now driving for Bugatti in a T35C, hit a dog during practice for the Targa Floria. The impact jammed his steering, the car crashed into a river and the greatest driver of his time, was thrown from the car, and unconscious or badly injured, he drowned. He was 40 years old.
From Les Sports (Belgian newspaper, Tuesday 17 April 1928):
"Bordino was killed in an accident Sunday afternoon when he tried his Bugatti in the Alessandria Circuit. He had to take part in a GP race in this circuit next Sunday. He drove at high speed in the straight line when he bumped a dog and left the road. He tried desperately to straighten up his car but the Bugatti came to crash in a ravine. Bordino, thrown out the car, was killed outright. His rider-mechanic, Giovanni Lasagne, remained in the car (see above photo), had a fractured skull and died from his injuries shortly afterwards. Bordino was one of the best Italian drivers..."


Bordino, driving with all his legendary greatness and holding slides with classic disdain, easily beat the greatest drivers of his day.

By 1926 Fiat had returned to racing and on September 4, 1927, determined to show the world that they were still the greatest race car designers and builders in the world, Fiat entered a car for one last race in the Grand Prix di Milano at Monza.

The car was the worlds first single seater Grand Prix car, the stunning 12 cylinder supercharged 806 Corsa. The driver was Bordino. The race started in atrocious conditions with standing water on the track and the spray thrown up by the cars, reducing visibility. Driving with all his legendary greatness and fire, holding slides on the rain soaked track with classic disdain and putting up one astounding lap at 155.446 kmh, he easily beat the greatest drivers of his day.

After winning its first and only race, the 806 was withdrawn by Fiat and destroyed. Fiat never raced again.

Bordino on the start line at the 1927 Milan Grand Prix at Monza. Talking to Bordino is the legendary Felice Nazzaro.

The start.

Fiat 806/406 1:12 by Protar.
1. The steering wheel should be attached with the open rim section to the bottom as in instructions, not at the top as in box art. See photos above.
2. The windscreen was attached for the Monza race.
3. The body paint was a matt or satin finish and was brushed on. It was kept clean with an oily rag.
4. The chassis rails should be painted in body colour.
5. In the Monza race photos above, the exhaust along the body sides looks to be silver, not black. Any comments ?.
Question. - Does anybody know what the clear plastic panel in the centre of the steering wheel was made of.
I doubt that it was glass. Was it celluloid ???

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Every effort has been made to trace the owners of copyright and we apologise to any we have been unable to contact

Jon Crooke

15 November 2004