1922 Targa Florio and Ballot factory team cars

Ballot factory team car (photo in the collection of the author)
One of the greatest cars to grace the fields of Hershey this year was George Wingard's 1922 Ballot factory team car. One of a couple Ballot racing cars in the Wingard collection, I had not seen this car previously. The car looked freshly restored, but Mr. Wingard campaigns his cars in vintage racing events - I'm amazed at how clean the car is kept.

Edouard and Maurice Ballot founded their engine business in 1905, and after building auto and marine engines, turned to automobiles in 1910. Reorganized as Etablissements Ballot SA, the company soon went racing. Rene Thomas would have a banner year in 1919 bring home a second place finish in the Indianapolis 500 as well as the Targa Florio. In 1921, Ballot would finish 2nd and 3rd in the French GP (Ralph DePalma and Jules Goux respectively).  In 1922, Ballot would build two new cars to be campaigned in the Targa Florio - the LS DOHC 2 (4-cylider). The number 14 would be piloted by Jules Goux , an experienced factory driver. The number 18 car, George Wingard's car, would be driven by Giulio Foresti. According to Mr. Wingard, Foresti's mechanic for the race would go on to great success helping to design and build land speed record cars for Sir Malcolm Campbell. The Ballot company would end it's days in 1931 after being taken over by Hispano-Suiza the year before - both victims of the economic recession.

The Targa Florio was first organized in 1906 and the race held in April of 1922 would be run over a shortened version of the course, known as the Polizzi circuit. One of the toughest tracks in the world, each lap was just over 67 miles (the race is 4 laps) with some 1500 corners. 42 of the 46 cars entered started the race and Count Giulio Masetti, a privateer driving a Mercedes, and Jules Goux in the #14 Ballot were soon dueling for the lead. When Masetti had to pit for an over heating radiator, Goux pass for the lead. However, In the last lap, Goux had trouble with his brakes and skidding off the road damaging his radiator and blowing the tires. He lost the victory to Masetti but managed to bring home a second place finish. Foresti in the #18 Ballot was not far behind and came in a very respectable third place.

The #18 Ballot driven by Foresti in the 1922 Targa Florio (photo credit: targaflorio.info)

Mr. Wingard tending to his Ballot racer (photo in the collection of the author)

The DOHC 4-cylinder engine of the Ballot factory team car (photo in the collection of the author)


  1. Have you seen the 1919 Ballot Indy Car at the Collier Collection in Naples, FL?

  2. Not in person - wish I could get to FL to see that collection. Thanks for following the blog - Steve

  3. Thank you for profiling this fantastic car. It is very correct down to the engine case. Nothing of this era has the amazing under hood style of the Ballot. George is at the top of his game with this car.