PAST MARQUES – SCAT AUTOMOBILES (1906-1929)

PAST MARQUES – SCAT AUTOMOBILES (1906-1929)

Posted by Glenn Rowswell on 14th June 2017

Welcome to Past Marques, where we look back over the decades at manufacturers whose names have long since disappeared into the exhaust plumes of history…

The family name Ceirano is responsible or has influenced most automobiles in Italy. The four Ceirano brothers began a number of car manufacturing companies; the first by oldest brother Giovanni was a continuation of his bicycle business using an English name Well-Eyes. With a 663cc engine and a two-speed gearbox his ‘light car’ enjoyed much interest; the small factory employed a young Vincenzo Lancia and Felice Nazzaro as mechanics.

Word spread of Italy’s new horseless carriage encouraging a group of wealthy investors to purchase the designs and prototypes. The Well-Eyes was then introduced under the Fiat marque (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) as its first production car. Further makes came courtesy of the Ceirano name, including Star, Itala and in 1906 Scat (Società Ceirano Automobili Torino).

Technically advanced (it was Italy’s first car with auto starting) the Scat proved robust and fast. Piloted by Ernesto Ceirano the Scat won the 1911 Targa Florio. The Targa race around Sicily was considered a proving ground for the best motor vehicles of the period and to win was a great achievement. Scat returned in 1912 and won again with Englishman Cyril Snipe at the wheel, then again in 1914 prior to the First World War.

Financial problems forced the sale of Scat to French investors in 1917, but the marque was repurchased and named Scat-Ceirano in 1923. Its original customers returned as a comprehensive range of road cars were produced, beginning with the N150 in 1924, followed by the 150S offering 40hp. Several improved models arrived before 1929 but again a financial crisis loomed and the Fiat name returned to take control of Scat for good.

Above picture: An example of the 1911 Targa Florio Scat Type C racer, driven by Andrew Howe-Davies at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting 2016.