French Patent 890,862 - Tarf main image French Patent 890,862 - Tarf main image French Patent 890,862 - Tarf main image

see also French Patent # 890,862 - Tarf 1942

see also French Patent # 890,862 - Tarf 1942

French Patent 890,862 - Tarf thumbnail

Tarf was the brand of Piero Taruffi based in Rome, Italy. Somewhat surprisingly, Piero Taruffi was a glamorous racing driver, the contemporary of Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. He was also something of an engineer and developed a couple of exceedingly weird racing cars composed of two torpedo shaped 'bodies' joined by an aerodynamic wing section, in a land-based echo of a nautical catamaran. These extraordinary cars were named Tarf I and Tarf II. Piero Taruffi set a number of speed records in them.

Piero's career started before the Second World War as a motorcycle racer. But it only blossomed as a racing car driver and designer after the Second World War had run its course. The patent for his derailleur design dates from 1943, so perhaps the war had paused his motor-sport career and given him time for other, pedal-powered, pursuits. Whatever the reason, his derailleur design was impressively neat and snappy.

I had my doubts about this improbable story - but the name on the derailleur patent is irrefutable and the logo stamped into the derailleur is clearly the same as that emblazoned on the futuristic cars. Who knows? Maybe Lewis Hamilton has also been a secret derailleur designer and we just never knew it. Eee, he's such a mystery, that lad...