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Peter Giddings Racing

1959 TARASCHI FORMULA JUNIOR - Chassis Number BT-055

Formula Junior was a racing class adopted in October 1958 by the FIA. The class was intended to provide an entry level series where young drivers could take their first steps toward professional racing in a relatively inexpensive car with components from ordinary automobiles. The idea to form the new class came from Count Giovanni "Johnny" L:urani. The rules required the cars to be powered by production-based engines with a volume of 1000cc with a 360 kg (792 lbs) car and 1100 cc with a 400 kg (880 lbs) car. In practice, most Formula Juniors used the 1100 cc engines. Engine blocks and cylinder heads had to come from a production car. Much of the running gear also had to be production-based, including brakes and transmissions. Overhead camshafts were not allowed. Limited-slip differentials were also prohibited. The concept was to provide single-seat race cars at an inexpensive price.

Inasmuch as the formula originated in Italy, the popular Fiat 1100 engine was the obvious choice for the Italian constructors. Initially, the cars werebuilt in the tradition of the contemporary front-engined Grand Prix cars. Most of the car’s components were derived from the Fiat 1100. Most constructors used a simple tubular chassis, cloaked in an aluminum body, often similar to a Formula One car.

Bernardo Taraschi was involved with small sports cars, the Giaur and Urania, before building his own Formula Junior car. With the announcement of the Formula Junior class, Taraschi built a series of Formula Junior single-seater race cars, using the Fiat 1100 engine. The engine was mounted ahead of the driver in a tubular ladder-type chassis with the cockpit offset to the left and the gear box and propeller shaft running alongside the driver. Front suspension was by wishbones and coil springs, but at the rear a de Dion type axle was used. This was unique in an Italian Formula Junior. The cockpit was offset to the left to clear the driveline.

From 1959 until 1961, Taraschi manufactured a total of 63 Formula Juniors, 13 of which were exported to the US in the first year. Taraschi then closed out his years as a builder and converted Meccanica Taraschi back into the commercial business of tuning Italian cars.

Peter acquired this very competitive Taraschi from Bill Wonder (Long Island). The car was sold after Peter moved to California and now enjoys activity on the East Coast.

Specifications of the Taraschi:


Wheelbase 79 inches, track 46.5 inches front & 45.5 inches rear
Length: 139 inches
Body Width: 37.5 inches
Height: 40.5 inches
Weight: 892 lbs
Fuel capacity: 11 gallons
Wheels: Rudge Record wire wheels, knock-off hubs
Tires: 5:20 x 15 front; 5:20 x 14 rear; Pirelli Super Sport
Transmission: four speeds forward, one reverse
Rear axle ratio: 4.10 to 1


Modified Fiat 1100-103, OHV four-cylinder, 1089 cc displacement
Bore: 68 mm, stroke 75 mm (2.68 x 2.95 inches)
Compression: 9.7 to 1
Carburetion: dual Weber 32DCOA3 side-draft double throat
Power: 80 bhp @6500 rpm
Top speed: 130 mph

Taraschi FJ

Peter cornering in the Taraschi at the Circuit Trois-Rivières, May 1981.

Race Results

Peter had a good day at Lime Rock in 1974, two second place finishes and two wins.