Classic Car Catalogue

National Pescara 1932



Motor Sport March 1932

The National Pescara in its original racing guise. The disc wheels are of Electron.
If Spain cannot lay claim to having contributed to any appreciable extent to the World's output of motor vehicles she has at any rate built up a reputation for turning out a remarkably fine job on the few occasions when she has entered the automobile market.
In the sports category in the past and the present-day luxury class, the Hispano-Suiza held and holds a prominent position, and even though the modern types are no longer built south of the Pyrenees one instinctively regards the Hispano as a Spanish marque.
The same may be said of the National Pescara, which at the time of its introduction was Spanish built, but which is now to be manufactured in the factory of Voisin in France.
The National Pescara, although a newcomer is not unknown to followers of the sport in this country since two examples were run at Shelsley Walsh last year. On that occasion the cars attracted a great deal of attention not only on account of their being new and coming from a country not usually associated with automobile construction, but because they showed themselves to be true racing machines. Moreover the National Pescara design is usually interesting.
A cursory examination of the chassis shows that the designer knew very well what he was about, and the layout as a whole embodies features which should be, but are not always found in cars designed for speed and high performance.
A sectional drawing of the National Pescara.
The side members of the frame are downswept very considerably between the axles, and in addition to being of deep channel section, sundry transverse and intermediate members are interposed which give the whole structure great rigidity.
The power unit of the National Pescara is an eight-cylinder in-line, and light alloys are used extensively in its construction. The cylinder block is of aluminium with steel liners inserted by a special process, and the pistons are die-cast aluminium, with four narrow rings, and have domed heads. The connecting rods are tubular and have very large big ends. The crankshaft is of chrome-nickel steel, is statically and dynamically balanced and runs on nine main bearings.
The cylinder head, which is detachable, carries two over-head camshafts which operate the single exhaust and inlet valves. The combustion head is spherical in form, and the valves are set at an angle with the plugs interposed between them. As the head is of aluminium, the valve guides and seating, and plug orifices are all of bronze and they are inserted by a special heat process.
The camshafts are driven from the front end of the crankshaft through shafts and gears.
The cylinder heads are very heavily jacketed, and the cooling system includes a pump which takes its drive from the crankshaft through a transverse shaft ; a belt-driven fan and a thermostat are also incorporated.
No supercharger is fitted to the National Pescara engine, and it is rather surprising to find that in spite of having eight cylinders, only one carburettor is employed. This is a downdraft racing type Zenith, and it is attached to a four-branch induction pipe, each branch serving two cylinders. The carburettor is mounted in the centre, and a hotspot which takes its heat from the exhaust system is embodied in the manifold.
The exhaust manifold is on the opposite side of the block ; eight stubs merge into a streamlined chamber, and the gases are led away through a single large diameter pipe. The ignition system is Delco-Remy with the distributor and coil mounted in a very accessible position at the front end of the power unit. It has an automatic advance. Lubrication is by a single gear pump which is placed in the usual way in the sump, and special care has been taken to make this readily accessible, as is the case with the oil filter.
The base chamber is made of Elektron, and it is heavily ribbed internally for stiffness, and has cooling fins; cast on the exterior.
As in practically all modern cars, the gearbox is built up in unit construction with the engine, and it is also made of Elektron. The gear shafts are short and robust,
Brief Specification.
Engine : Straight-eight
72.2 x 90 mm. bore and stroke
(R.A.C. rating 26 h.p.)
horse power at 4,800 r.p.m. 110
valves operated by two overhead camshafts
Remy coil-and-battery ignition
Zenith downdraft carburettor.
Transmission :
single-plate clutch,
three speed gearbox,
open propeller shaft
spiral-bevel back axle.
Brakes :
4-wheel hydraulic type fully-compensating.
Suspension :
half-elliptics all round.
Wheels : Special disc type (Elektron).
Maximum speed (production model)-100 m.p.h.
and they run on roller bearings. The box provides three close-ratio forward speeds, and, of course, a reverse. A central-lever ball-change is utilised. A single-plate clutch is embodied in the very light flywheel, and the power is transmitted via an exposed tubular propeller shaft (with Hardy-Spicer joints at each end) to a banjo-type, semi-floating spiral-bevel rear axle. The front axle is of orthodox pattern, and the suspension system is half-elliptic all round. A cam type steering box is found in the National Pescara, and the rake of the steering column can be easily adjusted to suit individual requirements. The petrol tank —made incidentally, of sheet Elektron—is disposed between the rear dumb irons.
The four-wheel brakes are hydraulically operated, and one of the most interesting features of the car is that the wheels are built up of Elektron stampings with detachable rims these are secured to the inner section by five studs.
As can be seen from the photographs, the National Pescara is very low in build, and if the body does not conform to English ideas, it is at any rate definitely sporting in appearance.
Followers of the sport, particularly those of us who saw this Spanish marque's speedy and silent behaviour at Shelsley will hope to see it figuring in events again during the coining season, and judging by the way it has so far acquitted itself—it will be remembered that it gained the Mountain Championship of Europe (racing class) last year, as a result of Zanelli's successes in the Kessel climb and elsewhere— it should be well to the fore.