1948 FIAT MOTO MAJOR PHOTOS: MUSÉE DE LA VOITURE
We agree: it is strange to see articles about motorcycles on the pages of The Escudería. However, with cases like the FIAT Moto Major it is well worth making an exception. And, in fact, we are going to give you two reasons. The first is that this is one of the rare moments in which the very automobile house of the Agnelli flirted with the two wheels. Flirtations that, incidentally, were never effectively consummated.
The second is that the FIAT Moto Major has an obvious appeal of its own. And be careful, because we are not only talking about its careful aesthetics designed to seduce glances and avoid the wind. But also of really amazing technical advances like his suspensions. And, in short, this creation by the engineer Salvatore Majorca has all the bold attractions of a prototype. We have discovered it on this motorcycle website and the truth is that it has fascinated us.
In fact, after having highlighted in the corresponding section of the Villa D'este Contest of Elegance 2018, the FIAT Moto Major is once again the subject of news with its participation in a prototype show organized by the Musée National de la Voiture. Something that shows the attraction that this curious design is still capable of, which, had it come to fruition, could well have changed the commercial scheme of the FIAT group.
TURNS WITH THE TWO WHEELS. FIAT AND SALVATORE MAJORCA
Few business groups have been as eclectic within the motor world as FIAT. Utilities have been developed under its huge umbrella like 600, but also Ferrari cars. However, the truth is that the two-wheel sector has never been of interest to him. Or not? Because actually, already In 1938 FIAT made an attempt to manufacture the prototype of what was intended to be a small scooter. An attempt that ended in a dead end, although just a decade later the Moto Major project appeared.
Commanded by the engineer Salvatore majorca, the idea was to create a motorcycle capable of putting the world of two wheels "upside down" thanks to an impressive panoply of technical advances. Excited by this, FIAT executives gave Majorca all kinds of resources and facilities at its headquarters in Turin. Some conditions that included adding another engineer to the FIAT Moto Major project: Angelo blatto, who would be responsible for the motorization.
Thus, the FIAT Moto Major was presented at the 1948 Milan Motor Show, where it was received with great enthusiasm by both the public and the press. However, and based on one of those decisions more focused on marketing than on engineering, the prototype never went into series production. Perhaps driven by the idea of being in the same country as Piaggio or Ducati, FIAT discarded entering the two-wheeler business, something that made the one FIAT Moto Major a kind of unicorno in the style of the BMW R7.
FIAT MOTO MAJOR 1948. A BATTERY OF TECHNICAL ADVANCES
The first thing that stands out about the FIAT Moto Major is its appearance, in which a carefully sculpted fairing dominates to cut through the wind. Practically all the projections are hidden under the sheet, including two exhaust pipes of which only one is really useful. A monocoque body under which hides a single cylinder engine, equipped with forced cooling by a fan located at the rear of the crankshaft.
This device is designed to perform 14CV at 5200 rpm, more than enough to move the 150 kilos of the FIAT Moto Major, which you can regulate through a four-speed gearbox. A good power that passes to the ground through wheels where its greatest technical advance is housed: the elastic wheel suspension. And here the springs do not go from the chassis to the axles, but from the inside of the rim to the same hubs. All this through 12 small shock absorbers placed in those coordinates.
A system inspired by aeronautics. Quite advanced for the time and that hardly had any problems during the more than 50.000 kilometers to which the FIAT Moto Major prototype was subjected. Anyway, with these data the truth is that it is a shame not to have seen the series production of this model. However, this has its good side: to go down in history as a legendary rarity for which Italian motorcyclists have true veneration.