The SARA 800S Turini
Helped by the reconstruction needs, and the willingness of the government to limit importations as a mean to avoid devaluation, the “Armistice” did actually quite well…
Certainly, the design choices were close to the archi-rival (well, at least in the engineers minds) from the FAAL and Merciel, but then, how many options to build a car is there with such a limited supply of steel and money ?
The french needed cars, and there was enough place for severak quirky little cars with 4 seats and zero (or very close to zero) comfort.
SARA got even lucky in 47 - a mechanic/tuner/driver from Modane (*) did enter the '47 Monte-Carlo with an Armistice, bored, stroked and tuned as agressively as he could, which lead to a 800 cc that more than doubled the power output (imagine, over 45 hp !!!)… and benefitted from the heavy snow and the owner’s experience in moutain climate to reach the podium in their category.
And the most beautiful ?
The mechanic’s name ?
That’s right, just like the mythic pass in southern Alps, where the “Spéciale de nuit” from the Monte Carlo is traditionally held - and where the Armistice came close to the scratch time thanks to a ride height that helped it ride through the snow drifts.
(*) Yeah, that’s Modane, not Modena. But the pun is somewhat intended
Management quickly signed Turini to a contract as the exclusive tuner for the firm, and started to produce a roadster version based on its 800 “Turini” variant - not bothering to detune the engine for a less rugged road use.
The Armistice 800 “Turini” was felt internally as a major step upscale, setting up a few “firsts” for the SARA :
- First SARA car without the mandatory “undercoat grey” (featuring instead a mandatory “Bleu de France” color)
- First SARA car with (some) chrome (or very nearly chrome, or, well, at least someone has taken some time to polish the naked steel) trimmings
- First SARA car to reach over 1.0 on the standardized Comfort evaluation
- First SARA car to break the 0.0 barrier on the standardized Sportiness evaluation
As an omen to the things to come, though, the Turini really had no market - way too rustic to appeal to people looking for some comfort or prestige, and with an outdated suspension that prevented it from having any real sports appeal.
Amedeo Turini was the saving grace of the model, investing much time in energy in convicing fellow gentlemen drivers into racing it, finally investing much of the money from the SARA deal to promote a monotype formula champion, and dedicating lots of time and energy to help wanna-be rallymen in fine-tuning the car so that they could be somewhat competitive.
It is the investment, caring and enthusiasm of Turini that explains the somewhat cult following of the first Turini, that persists today, with auction reaching into the 40 000 for a genuine '47 model (the price for the shop-modified Turinis, before the deal with SARA, being stratospheric)
But by missing the market with “bold” engineering moves on one side (this car runs on 97 RON super only, for instance) mismatched to archaic decisions on the other (the axle coils, for instance), the Turini - and its relative success thanks to Turini himself - did a lot to root in the firm a (bad) engineering culture that would bring the company on the verge of disaster in a few years…
But then again, would we have Porsche, Alfa Romeo and the muscle cars without those weird mismatches ?
Based on the SARA Armistice I3 engine line - 64.9 bore and 86.6 stroke for 861 cc max capacity, all cast pushrod
Capacity : long-stroked, 62.6x86.6, 800.0 cc (0.1 cc more and it wouldn’t have had any sporting career)
8.7 compression, single-barrel carb tuned for 97 RON french super,short cast header
45.3 hp@5200, 6.8 Nm@4800, 9.2% efficiency
85.5 kg, 327.7$
6155$ build cost (0 markup)
2 door - two seats, 2.06 wheelbase, 3.29 total
Front Longitudinal RWD
Steel ladder chassis and panels
front/rear axle coils, 3 gear manual
Weight : 717
Mileage : 18 l / 100 kms (13 MPG US)
Max Speed : 117 km/h
0-100 km/h : 29.9
1/4 mile : 25.5
Kilometer : 46.06
G : 0.84-0.80
Braking 0-100 : 69.7
Airfield time : 2:07.20
300 kg load capacity