Added to museum: 2/16/07
Joe Martin Foundation "Metalworking Craftsman of the Year" award winner for 2007
Pierre Scerri with his magnificent 1/3 scale Ferrari 312 PB. (Click on any photo to view a larger image.)
Back in the 1970's, Pierre Scerri was a big racing fan. He loved the look and the sound of the Ferrari race cars that graced the European sports car races he attended. As a young telecommunications engineer he wanted very much to own such a car, but realized there was no way he could ever afford to buy one. If he wanted to have a car like that, he would have to build one himself. He started with drawings of each part of the car—a project that took three years in itself working just from photographs of the real car. He then started on construction of the car. The 12-year construction odyssey took Pierre on a journey though virtually every process needed to build the full size car. He learned to mold his own rubber tires, cast his own glass headlights, make his own battery, weld the tube frame, build the shock absorbers and such delicate tasks as making a miniature tachometer and other working gauges. The drawing and machining skills were learned from reading books, as he had not been given any training in these subjects when in school.
Of course, there was the running 100 cc, fuel injected, dry sump, flat 12-cylinder engine; the heart of the car that had to be built too. The engine alone took three years, and just tuning the exhaust to get the proper "Ferrari music" took almost six months (and three different sets of exhaust pipes) before Pierre was satisfied. To learn pattern and mold making to do the castings, he attended a foundry school in Marsaille. Bodywork, upholstery, electrical system—all had to be fabricated from scratch. The only part that required some collaboration because of its exotic metallurgy and tight machining specifications was the gearbox. For this Peirre was able to work with Colleti, the famous builder of the full-size Ferrari racing gearboxes who lent their expertise in making the actual gears used inside the cast case. The 5-speed box also has a working reverse gear. In total, Pierre estimates a total of over 20,000 hours was devoted to completing the car, which was finished in 1992.
In building the car, Pierre tried to remain as true to the original as possible. When upholstering the interior, he went to the person who had originally done the interior for the real race car and asked if he could supply a piece of material as close to the original as possible. They went through there leftover supplies and found an actual piece of the original material used in the full-size car, which is what Pierre used in the model. Naturally, the pattern in the material is not scaled down to 1/3, but Pierre felt it was worth the compromise to have the opportunity to use the actual material from the real car.
The fuel system is pressurized just like the real car. When fueling the car to run it, fuel is pumped with an electric pump into the filler cap near the driver's right side. An overflow bottle is inserted into a fitting on the cap on the left side. When the tank is full, fuel overflows into the catch bottle on the left side. The pump is then shut off, the fuel filler line removed and then the catch bottle removed, just as a pit crew would do it on the real car.
The fuel used when running this car is methynol with 5% nitromethane mixed in. The original spark plugs he made were replaced with glow plugs as a practical consideration in running the car for demonstrations, as the spark plugs were functional but not very reliable. A little special oil is mixed with the fuel to keep the fuel lines and other components from deteriorating due to the corrosive nature of the fuel. This is why you will see some smoke when the car is run. Pierre also says that after being run many times since being completed in 1992, the engine has never been rebuilt, and the rings could probably use replacing. A second car is now under construction that will wear the number 30. The original #30 car won at Buenos Aires in 1972 with Peterson and Schenken behind the wheel. This model will run on gasoline and be fired by 24 actual spark plugs (2 per cylinder). It will also have a built in electric starter that will work with the turn of the key rather than the external starter used on the #3 car. Progress of the construction of this car can be followed on Pierre's own web site at http://mps-sportproto.com/en/historique.php.
Pierre calls this car "a dream—a car you can park in your dining room."
When it was completed, the engine fired on the first try. Since then it has been run a total of over 50 hours at the many shows and demonstrations Pierre attends with the car. There has not been one failed part in all that time. This is a record of reliability that the real race car would probably envy. It all works too—ignition key, lights, clutch, gearbox, suspension, radiator, brakes and so on.
Pierre is seen with some of the machine tools in his compact but well-equipped shop. (Click on photo to view larger image.)
Pierre has plans to model additional cars like the second 312 PB now under construction and a Ferrari P4 or perhaps a Ford GT. Fifteen years, however, is just too long to take for each future car. At this time, the car spends part of the year in Avignon, France with Pierre and part of the year in the United States residing with Fine Art Models in a Detroit suburb in Michigan. To finance this operation, Pierre is now building a larger shop that does restoration on full size vintage race cars and plans to bring on more of a staff to help with production of future projects to both speed up the process and make it a profitable business. In making every part of the small Ferrari, he has become an expert in the processes needed to build all the parts of a race car from scratch. With the growing popularity of vintage racing, this is a valuable skill to have. In the village where his new shop is located, several other restoration-related businesses are relocating next to his property. These will include a leather/interior specialist and a paint shop, making the start of a one-stop restoration center for full-size race cars. The mayor and people of this region are pleased with the prospect of the business and prestige this will bring to their area. In addition to working on full-size cars, Pierre will be able to continue with his love of the miniature cars as well.
Joe Martin presents Pierre Scerri with the award plaque and medal as winner of the Foundation's 2007 "Metalworking Craftsman of the Year" award at the 2007 NAMES show in Toledo, Ohio. (Click on photo to view larger image.)
Model engineers in the United States had a rare chance to view the car and to meet Pierre in person at the 2007 North American Model Engineering Exposition in Toledo, Ohio. Pierre was there to accept his award from the Joe Martin Foundation as "Metalworking Craftsman of the Year" for 2007. The show was April 21 and 22, 2007 at the Seagate Convention Center. Joe Martin was there in person to present the award along with a check for $2000.00. Pierre fired up the car at least three times a day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and many people got to enjoy the wonderful sound and view the incredible detail of the model. We would like to than Pierre and his wife for traveling all the way from France for the show. We would also like to thank Gary Kohs of Fine Art Models in Birmingham, MI for transporting the car to and from the show so it could be displayed.
Several more photos and a short video from the show have been added at the bottom of the photo section below.
Pierre joins five of the previous winners of the Craftsman of the Year award who attended the show. From left to right are Jerry Kieffer (1997), Bill Huxhold (1999), George Luhrs (2001), Roger Ronnie (2004) and David Kucer (2006). Pierre is on the far right. (Click on photo to view larger image.)
• Fine Art Models: http://www.fineartmodels.com/pages/product.asp?content_area=6&sub_area=139&product_area=139
• Pierre's personal web site: http://mps-sportproto.com/en/historique.php
• Site by Olivier and Caroline Scerri: http://perso.orange.fr/pierre.scerri/index.htm
• Video from the British TV show Extreme Machines, Vol. 5 showing the car running and an interview with Pierre: http://youtube.com/watch?v=SeUMDY01uUA.
• See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSDnMUeimuM for a YouTube video of the engine being run and revved.
• See the bottom of the photo section below for a link to a short video of the engine being revved at the 2007 NAMES show in Toledo.
Technical Data—Ferrari 312 PB Model
|Displacement : 103 cc|
|Bore x Stroke : 24mm x 19mm|
|Power : 8hp @ 10,500 rpm|
|Cooling : 2 Radiators on the Sides|
|2 Camshafts on Each Side|
|Oil Cooling System|
|Transmission||5 Speed - Reverse - Differential|
|Chassis||N° 0884 PS|
|NI - CR Tubes - Aluminium Riveted|
|Steering||Rack and Pinion|
|Calipers With Removable Pads|
(Click photo for larger image.)
|The car under construction.|
|Right side view of the car under construction. Note the mounting table that holds the car and can be rotated so that all parts of the model are easily accessed.|
|Rear end of the race car showing wing and tail lights.|
|The driver's eye view—Steering wheel with the famous Ferrari prancing horse logo and behind it, the working instruments. The shift lever can be seen at the far right.|
|Electrical components are housed on the "passenger" side of the dash.|
|The glass headlights had to be molded and are exactly like the real ones.|
|The rear of the car is seen in detail with the bodywork removed.|
|Top view of the rear transmission and battery.|
|Brake calipers and brake lines.|
|The transmission radiator and exhaust show from the rear view.|
|The Ferrari logo can be seen cast into the side covers of the engine. Also you can see the spark plugs and part of the exhaust headers.|
|The fuel cap is behind the driver.|
|A closer view of the electrical relays on the dash.|
|Yes, the ignition key really works.|
|The ignition key in place ready to fire up the engine.|
|The wheels are exact replicas of the real thing.|
|A closeup of the tailight group with reflector in the center.|
|A rear detail.|
|The 12-cylinder Ferrari engine removed from the car.|
|A top view of the engine showing the 12 carburetors.|
|The distributor and ignition wires.|
|Another closeup of the side covers shows the
Ferrari logo and spark plugs.
|Looking for all the world like the real race car sitting on the starting grid, this one lacks only a 1/3 scale driver to go fast.|
|With bodywork removed, some of the detail of the front suspension can be seen.|
|Pierre readies the car for a photo session.|
|The tube frame and many of the components are seen laid out before assembly.|
|Another nice overall shot of the car with a caliper in the foreground to show scale.|
|With wheels and bodywork removed, it looks like it could be sitting in the Ferrari factory during construction.|
|Rear bodywork removed and driver's door open.|
|Another shot with bodywork removed.|
|IMAGES FROM THE 2007 TOLEDO SHOW by Craig Libuse|
|A top view of the rear of the car with the cover over the engine and electronic fuel injection removed.|
|The driver's eye view of the cockpit shows the wooden shift knob on the right and working gauges behind the steering wheel.|
|Pierre revs the engine for the crowd. Each time he ran it he also pushed in the clutch, put it in gear and ran the rear wheels in both forward and reverse.|
|If you look closely at the tachometer you will see it reading 8000 RPM. Pierre actually revved it repeatedly to 10,000 RPM or more, but with the delay in the digital camera shutter I missed it. Even so, it does show the gauges work.|
|Joe Martin watches the tach as Pierre pushes in the gas pedal to rev the engine. He would also push the clutch with one finger and operate the gas pedal with another as he engaged the shift lever to run the rear wheels during each demonstration.|
|VIDEO||Click on the word "video" at the left to see a short video of the engine being revved at the show. (.AVI file, about 3 Mb in size)|
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