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What’s in a Name?

Talk to any car manufacturer on the subject and you will find that one of the great problems about creating a new model is finding a name for it. It is the same with racing car manufacturers. When Howden Ganley and Tim Schenken decided to build racing cars they went through the process and ended up by taking the first two letter of the Australian’s name and the first two letters of the New Zealander and thus Tiga was created.

However, at the Gabicce event I met up with Tazio Taraschi whose father Berardo did a bit of racing and decided to build his own racing cars in the late 1940’s using BMW motorcycle engines.  Berardo Taraschi was a motorcycle man and started racing in 1934 with various marques including a British Rudge but immediately after World War II he decided to build racing cars. As his son Tazio explained: I think my father Berardo and I are the only racing car manufacturers who changed their name three times. From 1948 – 1950 we built cars as Urania’s then we used the name Giaur and then finally we used our family name Taraschi”.

With a number of BMW R75 motor cycle engines lying about it was the natural engine to use and Berardo built his first race car and called it the Urania. He originally used a Fiat 500 chassis but later built his own tubular chassis. Maria-Teresa de Filippis, our late Club President really cut her teeth in racing with her own Urania-BMW and had great success with it before moving on.

Tazio Taraschi with the Formula Junior Taraschi at Gabicce.

Tazio Taraschi with the Formula Junior Taraschi at Gabicce.

However Taraschi decided he needed a different engine and when Gianinni produced a Fiat based four cyclinder engine he decided to use this and so changed the name of his racing cars to Giaur  (GIAninni URania). Then with the arrival of Formula Junior in 1958 Taraschi built Juniors under his own name Taraschi.

The chassis plate on the Taraschi Junior with the older Giaur name

The chassis plate on the Taraschi Junior with the older Giaur name

Lest one thinks this was another small racing car producer from Italy one must remember that in total Berardo Taraschi produced and sold a total of 125 racing cars his most successful being the Formula Junior Taraschis. He built 63 of these of which 13 were sold in the USA. He built 48 Giaurs and 14 Uranias and so was not a back street garage outfit.

What was interesting, however, was that the Formula Junior Taraschi which arrived at the affair in Gabicce had the name Taraschi on the front but the chassis plate was a Giaur plate !  Taraschi’s son Tazio was on hand to keep an eye on the car and he also explained that his father had been a friend of Tazio Nuvolari and so when he was born his father called him Tazio.

An interesting Sunday for anyone with an interest in Italian racing history.