Covini B24, the first diesel road car to exceed 200 km / h

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The Covini B24 turns 40 and if you don’t know what we’re talking about, don’t worry. Only a handful of true enthusiasts can remember the Italian coupe produced by the company of Eng. Ferruccio Covini and presented at the Geneva Motor Show in January 1981. The small atelier had been founded five years earlier, in 1976, in Castel San Giovanni in the province of Piacenza and two years later, also in Geneva, had presented the Metash, a coupé 2 + 2. In the same year, but at the Turin Motor Show, Covini presented the T44, also known as “Soleado”, an innovative off-road vehicle covered by various patents, which also had the particularity of mounting a turbodiesel engine. In 1980 the project, the patents and the prototype were purchased in 1980 by VM Motori di Cento – then controlled by Finmeccanica, part of FCA since 2013 – to be then produced by Alfa Romeo. But in the end, nothing came of it.

However, this experience was invaluable in arriving at the Covini B24, also referred to as Sirio TurboCooler, by virtue of its revolutionary engine. It was born, in fact, as a car-laboratory on which to test an unprecedented turbodiesel engine with air-water intercooler. It was the 2.4-liter in-line 4-cylinder produced by VM Motori – code HR 492 HT – which produced 130 HP at 4,300 rpm and was coupled to a 5-speed manual gearbox. This HR-HT series engine then found space on several Diesel models that characterized the Eighties, including: Alfa Romeo Alfetta, Giulietta, 75, 90, Alfa 6, Rover, Range Rover, Land Rover, Chrysler Vojager, Jeep Cherokee and others.

But it was under the hood of the B24 that the 2.4 turbodiesel gave its best. Considering the compact dimensions of the car, which was 4.18 meters long and 1.15 high, and considering the curb weight contained in 1,050 kg, the maximum speed of 205 km / h is not surprising. A fact that at the time was of absolute importance and that made it the fastest diesel car in the world.

The Sirio, moreover, had the technical data of a real sports car: the frame was a steel tube trellis, the suspensions were quadrilateral and the body panels were in fiberglass and aluminum. The car with the Diesel engine did not have a commercial following, while a small number of specimens were exported to the United States in the name of BT424, after having received under the rear bonnet the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine of the Lancia Gamma which produced approximately 140 hp.

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