Chassis #00137, engine number 889318. Successful period race history, known ownership history. Original engine, suspension, bodywork. Perhaps the last all-original, unmodified Stanguellini FJ anywhere. Exquisite!
This particular Stanguellini FJ is chassis number 00137, built in June 1959, and was purchased new by a young American named Peter Carpenter, who was traveling in Europe when he discovered Formula Junior racing in late 1958. The car competed throughout Europe during the 1959 and 1960 Formula Junior seasons, earning several impressive finishes for its admittedly amateur owner/driver. After 1960 races in Cuba, however, it was abundantly clear that rear-engined cars were the way of the future. Its last known race was at Sebring in April 1960, with Carpenter moving on from his Stanguellini to a Lotus in 1961.
We do not have history on chassis #137 between when Carpenter stopped racing it and 1971, when it went on display in a private museum in Miami, Florida, but it is likely that Carpenter kept the car in his possession as it remains largely in as-raced condition without updates or modifications that would suggest it continued to race under different ownership. It retains its original Fiat 1100 cc four-cylinder engine (serial number 889318), original Weber carburetors, original suspension and brakes, and even original Borrani wire wheels. Unlike so many other Stangurellini racers, it has not been updated for modern vintage racing, it shows no signs of period injuries and repairs, and it has never been fully disassembled for restoration or renovation. As such, it is one of the most significant and original of all the FJ Monoposto cars, showcasing period workmanship and engineering as it was, not as we wish it would be.
Under the third owner's care following his purchase in 1994, it was extensively serviced to put it into 100% operational condition (although we should not it is not race-ready or certified for current track use). It was repainted in its original Rosso Corsa bright red livery, although the owner found the shiny perfection of the fresh paint to be incompatible with the vintage racer and its history. Pete's Custom Coachbuilding was commissioned to "age" the finish and give it a more period-correct look, including re-creating Peter Carpenter's #31 "gumballs" on the nose and tail. It now looks very much like an appropriate vintage artifact from the golden age of Grand Prix racing. Sitting on those almost delicate Borrani wire wheels, it is simply beautiful from any angle.
The single seat was also restored with period red pleated leather, replacing a vintage racing seat that was probably installed by Carpenter himself. The remainder of the interior remains original, including the transmission tunnel next to the driver's right thigh, the lovely wood-rimmed steering wheel, and engine-turned instrument panel. The only gauges are oil pressure, water temperature, and a tachometer, and you'll note red markings on their faces indicating optimal operating ranges. There is also a small switch panel to the right of the shifter with a master battery cut-off switch, ignition switch, and starter button, with the battery and a vintage fire extinguisher just after. The inner panels are painted aluminum and the various scuffs and bruises are authentic, earned over the decades. The pedals, the Perspex windshield, and the snap-on black canvas cockpit tonneau are all believed to be original to the car.
Formula Junior was a spec racing series built on production car components, with the Stanguellini running a 1089 cc inline-four from a Fiat Topolino. Tuned with dual Weber DC0E28 carburetors and other tricks Stanguellini learned over the years, it made a rather robust 78 horsepower—not a big number until you realize that the entire car weighs less than 1000 pounds. This is the car's original engine and while it has surely been rebuilt over the years, it remains in original specification and retains most of its original parts, with only service items being replaced over the years. The transmission is a 4-speed manual, also from the Topolino, feeding a live axle rear end suspended on coil springs. The car's custom tube frame chassis is very visible throughout the engine bay, integrating the Topolino's front suspension, steering, axle, and drum brakes, all of which were effective yet designed to control costs. Again, we believe all the chassis components are original to the car with only service items having been replaced. The car sits on its original painted Borrani knock-off wire wheels with vintage-looking 4.50-12 front and 5.5-14 rear Dunlop racing tires.
In addition to its notable racing history, this car has been extensively shown and invited to gatherings of exceptional automobiles, including the Meadowbrook Hall Concours d'Elegance, the Concours d'Elegance at Stan Hywet Hall, as a featured car in the "bunker" at the Greenbrier Concours, the Cortile at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, and has been featured in countless magazine features, photography books, calendars, and websites. A rare (and expensive) English-language copy of the Orsini & Zagari book "Stanguellini – Big Little Racing Cars" is also included with the sale (chassis #00137 is listed in the book).
Chassis 00137 is also available with a custom-made enclosed trailer.
Stanguellini FJ #00137 represents a rare and unique opportunity to own what is arguably the most beautiful Formula Junior car ever built, one that was also dominant in its day and with a genuine period race history. As an artifact, it remains exquisite in authenticity and detail, and would be ideal for display purposes in any collection. With appropriate upgrades, it could also be used for vintage racing where these cars continue to be competitive and easy to drive, not to mention economical to race. It remains the quintessential front-engined Formula Junior racer from the golden age of racing where men were men and the cars were elemental and exquisite.
NOTE: Sold on bill of sale only.
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com