Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo


A chronological day-by-day history of Alfa Romeo.

Saturday 15th September 1888

128 years ago

The birth of one of Italy's early motorsport heroes, Antonio Ascari, in Bonferraro. Starting out as a mechanic, he took on an Alfa Romeo franchise and from graduated into driving. He began racing cars at the top levels in Italy in 1919, using a modified 1914 Fiat. Along with Enzo Ferrari, he raced in the first Targa Florio held after the end of World War I in 1919, but did not finish after crashing into a deep ravine. His bad luck there continued in 1920 and 1921, but in 1922 he finished a strong fourth. Driving an Alfa Romeo for Vittorio Jano in April 1923, he narrowly lost the Targa Florio, finishing second to his Alfa Romeo team-mate, Ugo Sivocci. However, the following month at the Cremona Circuit he drove to his first major Grand Prix victory. In 1924, he was again the winner at Cremona in the first race of the P2, then went on to Monza where he won the Italian Grand Prix. 1925 promised to be a great year for Antonio Ascari, his car dominating the competition at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps when he won the inaugural Belgian Grand Prix. He could even eat and drink slowly during a pit stop. The 36-year-old Ascari was killed while leading the 1925 French Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo P2 in the first race at the new Autodrome de Montlhéry south of Paris. He crashed at the fast left handed corner on the straight that headed back to the banked section of the track; Ascari died of his injuries on his way to hospital in Paris. He left behind a seven-year-old son, Alberto, who would become one of the greats of Formula One racing in the early 1950s and who would also die behind the wheel at age 36 and on the 26th of a different month, four days after a remarkable escape. Antonio Ascari is interred in the Cimitero Monumentale in Milan.

Antonio Ascari

Antonio Ascari

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Friday 24th June 1910

106 years ago

Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. was founded as A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) in Milan. The company has been involved in car racing since 1911. It was owned by Italian state holding company Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale between 1932 and 1986, when it became a part of the Fiat group. In February 2007, the Alfa Romeo brand was transformed into the current Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A., a subsidiary of Fiat Group Automobiles, now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Italy. The company that became Alfa Romeo was founded as Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) in 1906 by the French automobile firm of Alexandre Darracq, with some Italian investors. In late 1909, the Italian Darracq cars were selling slowly and the Italian partners of the company hired Giuseppe Merosi to design new cars. On June 24, 1910, a new company was founded named A.L.F.A., initially still in partnership with Darracq. The first non-Darracq car produced by the company was the 1910 24 HP, designed by Merosi. A.L.F.A. ventured into motor racing, with drivers Franchini and Ronzoni competing in the 1911 Targa Florio with two 24-hp models. In August 1915, the company came under the direction of Neapolitan entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who converted the factory to produce military hardware for the Italian and Allied war efforts. In 1920, the name of the company was changed to Alfa Romeo with the Torpedo 20-30 HP the first car to be so badged. In 1921, the Banca Italiana di Sconto, which backed the Ing. Nicola Romeo & Co, went broke and the government needed to support the industrial companies involved, among which was Alfa Romeo, through the "Consorzio per Sovvenzioni sui Valori Industriali". In 1925, the railway activities were separated from the Romeo company, and in 1928, Nicola Romeo left. In 1933, the state ownership was reorganized under the banner of the Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI) by Benito Mussolini's government, which then had effective control. The company struggled to return to profitability after the Second World War, and turned to mass-producing small vehicles rather than hand-building luxury models. In 1954, it developed the Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine, which would remain in production until 1994. During the 1960s and 1970s, Alfa Romeo produced a number of sporty cars, though the Italian government parent company, Finmeccanica, struggled to make a profit, so it sold the marque to the Fiat Group in 1986. Alfa Romeo has competed successfully in many different categories of motorsport, including Grand Prix motor racing, Formula One, sportscar racing, touring car racing, and rallies. It has competed both as a constructor and an engine supplier, via works entries (usually under the name Alfa Corse or Autodelta), and private entries. The first racing car was made in 1913, three years after the foundation of the company, and Alfa Romeo won the inaugural world championship for Grand Prix cars in 1925. The company gained a good name in motorsport, which gave a sporty image to the whole marque. Enzo Ferrari founded the Scuderia Ferrari racing team in 1929 as an Alfa Romeo racing team, before becoming independent in 1939. It holds the world's title of the most wins of any marque in the world.

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Friday 13th August 1920

96 years ago

British manufacturer Sunbeam merged with the French company Automobiles Darracq. Alfa Romeo and Opel both started out in the car industry by building Darracqs under licence, and in 1919 Darracq had bought the London-based firm of Clement-Talbot, becoming Talbot-Darracq in the process, in order to import Talbots into England. Adding Sunbeam created Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq, known as STD Motors.

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Sunday 15th April 1923

93 years ago

Run over 4 laps of the Media Circuit (108 km), the Targa Florio was won by Ugo Sivocci, in an 3 litre 6 cylinder Alfa Romeo RLTF. Despite Italian tradition associates #13 with bad luck, Sivocci won the race sporting # 13 on his radiator grille after contending the race with Steyr, Minoia and the formidable Antonio Ascari in a similar Alfa. Ascari dominated the race but his engine quit at the last turn even though his car was # 14. He managed to fire the engine again after 10 minutes, but by then Sivocci had taken the checkered flag. Sivocci won in 7 hours, 18 minutes driving at an average speed of 36.8 mph (59.177 km/h). He was followed by less than 3 minutes by Ascari, who posted the fastest lap time in 1 hour, 41 minutes and 10 seconds at an average speed of 39.76 mph (63.98 km/h).

Ugo Sivocci - Alfa Romeo RLTF - Targo Florio - 1923

Ugo Sivocci - Alfa Romeo RLTF - Targo Florio - 1923

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Sunday 6th May 1923

93 years ago

The first Circuit of Mantua (Italy) race was won by Antonio Ascari in an Alfa Romeo RLTF.

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Thursday 16th August 1923

93 years ago

The Alfa Romeo P1 race car was given its first speed test with Antonio Ascari reaching 112 mph. The car had a 2.0 L straight-6 engine and it produced 95 bhp (71 kW) at 5000 rpms. Two cars were entered in the Italian GP at Monza in 1923, one for Antonio Ascari and one for Ugo Sivocci. When Sivocci was practicing for the GP in September 1923 he crashed and was killed. Alfa Romeo withdrew from the competition and development of the car was stopped. In 1924 a new version with Roots-compressor was made and became the P1 Compressore 1924. In 1923 Vittorio Jano was hired to Alfa Romeo to design new car and P2 was born.

Ugo Sivocci at the wheel of 1923 Alfa Romeo P1

Ugo Sivocci at the wheel of 1923 Alfa Romeo P1

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Saturday 8th September 1923

93 years ago

Ugo Sivocci (38), winner of the 1923 Targa Florio, died during practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, when his Alfa Romeo left the track and crashed into a tree. On the same day of the accident, a press release of the engineer Nicola Romeo announced the withdrawal of other Alfa Romeo cars competing. Sivocci's car was painted with the green cloverleaf on a white background that was to become Alfa's good luck token. His car was carrying number 17, which was never again assigned to Italian racing cars.

Ugo Sivocci

Ugo Sivocci

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Sunday 21st June 1925

91 years ago

The 2nd Coppa Acerbo held in Italy, named after Tito Acerbo, the brother of Giacomo Acerbo, a prominent fascist politician, was won by Guido Ginaldi in an Alfa Romeo RL.

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Sunday 28th June 1925

91 years ago

The first Belgian Grand Prix was staged in Spa-Francorchamps, and won by Antonio Ascari in an Alfa Romeo P2. Ascari’s car dominated the race so completely that he could even eat and drink slowly during a pit stop. The 36-year-old Ascari was killed while leading the 1925 French Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo P2 in the first race at the new Autodrome de Montlhéry south of Paris. He left behind a seven-year-old son, Alberto, who would become one of the greats of Formula One racing in the early 1950s and who would also die behind the wheel at age 36.

Antonio Ascari in an Alfa Romeo, 1925 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa

Antonio Ascari in an Alfa Romeo, 1925 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa

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Sunday 26th July 1925

91 years ago

Antonio Ascari (36) died on the way to the hospital after he crashed his Alfa Romeo P2 during the French Grand Prix at Montlhery. He began racing cars at the top levels in Italy in 1919, using a modified 1914 Fiat. Along with Enzo Ferrari, he raced in the first Targa Florio held after the end of World War I in 1919, but did not finish after crashing into a deep ravine. His bad luck there continued in 1920 and 1921, but in 1922 he finished a strong fourth. Driving an Alfa Romeo for Vittorio Jano in April 1923, he narrowly lost the Targa Florio, finishing second to his Alfa Romeo team-mate, Ugo Sivocci. However, the following month at the Cremona Circuit he drove to his first major Grand Prix victory. In 1924, he was again the winner at Cremona in the first race of the P2, then went on to Monza where he won the Italian Grand Prix.1925 promised to be a great year for Antonio Ascari, his car dominating the competition at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps when he won the inaugural Belgian Grand Prix. He could even eat and drink slowly during a pit stop. Antonio left behind a seven-year-old son, Alberto, who would become one of the greats of Formula One racing in the early 1950s and who would also die behind the wheel at age 36 and on the 26th of a different month, four days after a remarkable escape.

Antonio Ascari

Antonio Ascari

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Friday 4th March 1927

90 years ago

The FIAT 509 Sport made its world debut at the Geneva Auto Show. For several decades, Fiat supplied the chassis of many Italian sports cars developed by small manufacturers who made use of the large brand's components. This Fiat 509 roadster had a straight 4 single overhead cam shaft 990 cc engine assembled on a special body inspired by the Alfa Romeo of Zagato.

Fiat 509

Fiat 509

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Wednesday 30th January 1929

88 years ago

The Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 was unveiled at the Rome Auto Show.

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750

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Sunday 5th May 1929

87 years ago

The 20th Targa Florio received 29 entries comprising eight Bugattis, four Alfa Romeos, three Maseratis, two each of Fiats and Salmsons. Bugatti with Divo, Minoia, Conelli and Wagner as official drivers, the Alfa Romeo team with Campari, Brilli Peri and Varzi, as well as the Maserati factory with Borzacchini and Ernesto Maserati emerged as the most potent entries. The 19 car field was completed by ten independent drivers without a real chance to win of which Lepori and Bittmann with Bugattis were the most prominent. Minoia and Divo in official Bugattis dominated the race although Borzacchini's Maserati held second and third place until falling behind. The race was then between the faster Bugattis and the factory Alfa Romeos of Brilli Peri and Campari. The exhausting race ended after more than seven hours with Divo victorious ahead of Minoia followed by the Alfas of Brilli Peri and Campari, who were the only other finishers.

Fernando Minoia, Targa Florio 1929. Bugatti T35C

Fernando Minoia, Targa Florio 1929. Bugatti T35C

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Sunday 17th November 1929

87 years ago

Gastone Brilli-Peri in an Alfa Romeo P2 won the Tunis Grand Prix run over the street circuit at Le Bardo, west of Tunis.

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Sunday 1st December 1929

87 years ago

Enzo Ferrari founded the Scuderia Ferrari. Alfa Romeo had temporarily withdrawn from racing in 1925 and the Scuderiaís main task was to assist his wealthy Alfa Romeo customers with their racing efforts by providing delivery, mechanical support and any other services that they would require. Along his 'stable' of amateur drivers he signed Giuseppe Campari and, an even greater coup, Tazio Nuvolari. Scuderia Ferrari caused a sensation with their 50 strong full and part-time driver line-up. It was the largest team ever put together by one individual and of the 22 participations Enzo's team won eight, aside generally good results.

Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari

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Saturday 22nd March 1930

87 years ago

Racer Gastone Brilli-Peri was killed at age 36 when he crashed during a practice run for the Tripoli Grand Prix. This famous Italian racing driver won the 1925 Italian Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo P2 to secure the inaugural World Manufacturers' Championship title for Alfa Romeo. In 1929, still in the Alfa P2 he won the Circuit of Cremona and the Tripoli Grand Prix. Today the stadium of his native city, Montevarchi, is named in his honour.

Gastone Brilli-Peri

Gastone Brilli-Peri

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Sunday 20th April 1930

86 years ago

Achille Varzi driving a Alfa Romeo P2 won the Brordino Circuit race held at the Alessandria circuit near Torino, Italy.

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Sunday 4th May 1930

86 years ago

The 21st Targa Florio received entries from the entire French Bugatti équipe, to fight against factory teams from Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Officine Mecchaniche, plus many independents, totaling 17 cars at the start. The race developed not only into a duel between Alfa Romeo and Bugatti but more into a gigantic battle between two men: Varzi and Chiron. After almost seven tortuous hours through the mountainous Madonie, it ended with a narrow, well earned victory for Varzi, less than two minutes ahead of Chiron. When only 23 seconds behind on the last lap, Chiron broke two of his Bugatti's wheels and had to cope with a very sick mechanic. In his awesome drive, Varzi had lost the single spare wheel of his Alfa Romeo, sprung a fuel leak, and near the end the back of his car caught fire. The Italian survived all these difficulties in probably his most outstanding drive ever. By breaking the existing records, he ended Bugatti's 5-year string of victories. Conelli, Campari, Nuvolari, Divo, Williams and Morandi drove near the front but were clearly in a lesser rank than the two leading contenders. Maserati, D'Ippolito, Minoia, Borzacchini and Bittmann all survived the over seven-hour ordeal, while Maggi, Balestero, Arcangeli, Divo and Ruggeri retired.

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Sunday 25th May 1930

86 years ago

At the sixth Rome Grand Prix there were five Alfa Romeos, four Maseratis, four Bugattis, one Talbot and one Mercedes-Benz. From the 15 cars at the start, 10 were still racing at the end. It began with a battle between Arcangeli in the new 2500 Maserati and Chiron's Bugatti. After the Frenchman retired on lap three, Varzi with the Alfa Romeo took over the chase, only to retire after a few laps. That left Nuvolari with the second works Alfa Romeo to go after Arcangeli, taking the lead from him on lap seven. The battle between Nuvolari and Arcangeli kept the crowd on their toes, and lasted until lap 16, when the Alfa's engine lost power. Chiron, who had taken over Bouriat's Bugatti on lap five, had to overcome a 55 seconds deficit to the leader, which Chiron reduced consistently and eventually caught up with the leading Arcangeli. During the last two laps, the battle between the two kept the large crowd in great suspense. Chiron briefly took the lead on the last lap but Arcangeli fought back and won by 1.8 seconds in front of the cheering crowd. The German von Morgen (Bugatti) finished third, ahead of Biondetti (Talbot), Campari (Alfa Romeo), Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz), Tadini (Alfa Romeo) and Renzi (Bugatti) in eighth place. Nuvolari retired, as did Fagioli who held third place for many laps.

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Sunday 10th May 1931

85 years ago

René Dreyfus was the only foreigner in the 22nd Targo Florio where just 13 cars arrived at the start. The Alfa Romeo factory entered five drivers the Maserati works just three and only one potent Bugatti was present, Varzi's personal car. Four independents with Alfa Romeos, a Bugatti and a Salmson filled the remaining places. On a dry road, Varzi immediately established a strong lead, which he sustained for three laps while the five Alfa team cars relentlessly hounded him. The Maseratis of Fagioli and Biondetti ended in the ditch early on, whereas Dreyfus' racecar was retired after ¾ race in hopeless position. Rain had started on lap two and after three laps torrential downpours turned some of the mountain roads into mud pools, resulting in the downfall of the grand prix racers like Varzi. Most cars of the Alfa Romeo team had front fenders fitted before the race to keep the splashing mud away from drivers, faces and goggles. It ended as a great success for Alfa Romeo who for the first time this year were victorious at one of the major races. Nuvolari and Borzacchini finished in the first two places, followed by the disenchanted Varzi in third place, car and driver almost unrecognizably covered in mud.

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Sunday 14th June 1931

85 years ago

Enzo Ferrari won the Italian Bobbio Penice Hillclimb with a 2.3 litre Alfa Romeo. This was his last of the season as a regular competitor before taking up full-time team management for the Alfa Romeo factory and eventually designing his own cars.

Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari

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Sunday 21st June 1931

85 years ago

The XVII Grand Prix of the AC de France was run to the 10-Hour International Formula, demanding two drivers per car. Three strong official factory teams from Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Maserati provided the main battle. The early leader was Fagioli in the 2800 Maserati until Chiron in the twin-cam Bugatti passed him. After one hour, Luigi Fagioli was again in first place next came Louis Chiron, Rene Dreyfus, Albert Divo, William Grover-Williams, Marcel Lehoux and Giuseppe Campari, the fastest of the 2300 Alfa Romeo drivers, in seventh place. For the first time since WW I, there was a German entry in the French Grand Prix, the independent team of Rudolf Caracciola/Otto Merz in a huge Mercedes-Benz. They held eighth place after the first lap; then fell back to 13th before retiring later. The Rene Dreyfus/ Pieto Ghersi pair twice held second place, but maintained third position during most of the first half of the race.Out of 23 starters only 12 finished the long race. The independent drivers were the first to retire. Jack Dunfee (Sunbeam) broke down at the start. Ivanowski (Mercedes-Benz) and Lehoux (Bugatti) disappeared before the the second hour ended. Scott's 1920's Delage broke down during the third hour to be followed by the Caracciola/Merz Mercedes-Benz in the fourth hour. The first factory car to retire was Fagioli/E.Maserati with the 2800 Maserati during the fifth hour. Five Bugattis retired over the next laps, all caused by mechanical failures. Chiron/Varzi (Bugatti) dominated the race and won three laps ahead of Campari/Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo) and five laps in front of Clemente Biondetti/Parenti (Maserati). Henry Birkin/ George Eyston (Maserati) an idependent entry finished fourth. A total of 12 cars were classified but only 10 were still driving at the end while Divo/Bouriat and Tazio Nuvolari/Giovanni Minozzi made it on distance alone as their cars broke down near the end.

Chiron and Varzi pitting at the 1931 French Grand Prix

Chiron and Varzi pitting at the 1931 French Grand Prix

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Sunday 9th August 1931

85 years ago

Enzo Ferrari completed his last automobile race driving an Alfa Romeo 8C2300 to a second-place finish behind Tazio Nuvolari in the Circuito delle Tre Province.

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Sunday 17th April 1932

84 years ago

Tazio Nuvolari in an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 won the Monaco Grand Prix at Monzae by just 2.8 seconds from the privateer Alfa of Rudolf Caracciola, who, despite having a contract for 1932, was not yet part of the official works team. Caracciola might have had an opportunity to pass Nuvolari for the lead, after the Italian's car developed fuel pick-up issues, but he decided instead to remain behind the Alfa Romeo team leader. The 1931 Monaco Grand Prix runner-up Luigi Fagioli completed the podium in third for the Maserati team.

Tazio Nuvolari at the 1932 Monaco Monaco Prix

Tazio Nuvolari at the 1932 Monaco Monaco Prix

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Sunday 24th April 1932

84 years ago

The Rome Royal Gran Prix was run. The Maserati works team and Scuderia Ferrari each started with two cars at Rome's autodrome, the Littorio airfield circuit. The 33 entries were divided into three categories. Heat 1 for 1100 cc cars was won by Decaroli's Salmson and Heat 2 by Minozzi's 2-liter Bugatti. Heat 3 and 4 were run together, won by Varzi in the 2.3-liter Bugatti and followed by Fagioli in the 5-liter Maserati. Then the monotonous Repechage was won by Dreyfus with ease against weaker cars. In the Final Fagioli had no serious opposition with the 16-cylinder Maserati, the only heavy machine. Without question the 5-liter Maserati was one of the fastest cars in Europe. Taruffi's Alfa Romeo finished second, followed by the Bugattis of von Morgen and Varzi, both slowed down by tire problems.

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Sunday 22nd May 1932

84 years ago

From the elite of 16 international drivers only five finished the AVUS-Rennen, the fastest high-speed race in Europe. Dreyfus was the first leader and had to stop his 16-cylinder Maserati after lap one. Divo in the 5-litre Bugatti then held the lead until lap five when his engine started leaking oil badly. World record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell in the 4-litre V-12 Sunbeam also retired early. From lap six onwards Caracciola with his 2.3-litre Alfa Romeo was in front. The young German von Brauchitsch in his strange looking streamlined 7.1-litre Mercedes-Benz SSKL followed closely. This duo provided an exciting battle for the lead until the end when von Brauchitsch came out on top as a surprising winner. Behind Caracciola were the Swiss Stuber (Bugatti) in third place, then the Germans Stuck (Mercedes-Benz SSKL) and Kotte (2.5-litre Maserati). The remaining drivers all retired their cars, which did not hold up in this high-speed chase. Lewy (Bugatti) crashed on lap one, as did Czechoslovakian driver Prince Lobkowicz who died shortly thereafter in hospital.

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Sunday 29th May 1932

84 years ago

The tenth Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring was a mix of 23 cars comprising three different classes of which only six cars started in the class over 1500 cc, where Rudolf Caracciola in the factory Alfa Romeo was the favorite. Louis Chiron and Rene Dreyfus came from France, the former in a works Bugatti and the latter with an independent Bugatti entry, courtesy of Chiron. German colors were defended by three independently entered 7.1-liter Mercedes-Benz driven by Manfred von Brauchitsch, Hans Stuck and Albert Broschek. Caracciola's Alfa led from lap one followed closely by Dreyfus throughout the race. Chiron and Broschek both had to make several pit stops and finished at the rear while Caracciola remained in front throughout the race, followed by Dreyfus in second place, von Brauchitsch third and Stuck fourth. The monotonous race was overshadowed by the fatal practice accident of the famous German driver Heinrich-Joachim von Morgen.

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Sunday 5th June 1932

84 years ago

The tenth Gran Premio d'Italia was run at Monza to the 5-Hour International formula and was part of the 1932 European Championship. Fifteen of the best European drivers took the start. The prime battle occured between Nuvolari in the brand new lightweight 2.65-liter Alfa Romeo monoposto and Fagioli with the 16-cylinder Maserati. Continuous position changes made this a very exciting race to watch while all records were broken during this extremely fast race. The main contenders were Chiron and Varzi in 5-liter Bugattis, Nuvolari, Campari, Borzacchini and Caracciola with Alfa Romeos plus Fagioli with the 16-cylinder Maserati. Alfa Romeo proved to be superior and won. Fagioli's Maserati was consistently the fastest car but inadequate pit organization cost him the race, while the two Bugattis once more were a great disappointment and broke down as in the past.

Start of the 1932 Gran Premio di Monza

Start of the 1932 Gran Premio di Monza

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Sunday 3rd July 1932

84 years ago

Tazio Nuvolari driving an Alfa Romeo B/P3 won the French Grand Prix at Reims.

Grid at the start of the 1932 French Grand Prix.

Grid at the start of the 1932 French Grand Prix.

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Sunday 7th May 1933

83 years ago

Finnish driver Karl Ebb in a Mercedes-Benz SSK took a surprise home victory in the second Finnish Grand Prix, held over 50 laps of the Eläintarhanajot circuit, after having dropped to the rear of the field early in the race due to a forgotten radiator blank that created overheating. Alfa Romeo privateer Bjørnstad had ignition troubles from the start so Widengren in another Alfa Romeo could dominate most of the race. Dahlin was disqualified after persistently baulking several of the competitors. With just eight laps remaining, Widengren who at that point led with almost a lap, made a mistake, spun and stalled his car.

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Sunday 21st May 1933

83 years ago

The minor Picardy Grand Prix near Péronne was overshadowed by two fatal accidents involving notable international drivers. During practice Louis Trintignant crashed against a kilometre stone when swerving to avoid a gendarme on the track. During the race itself Guy Bouriat, who was fighting for the lead with Philippe Etancelin, crashed into a tree after losing control while lapping a slower car. Etancelin in a private Alfa Romeo Monza won the ill-fated race from Raymond Sommer and Marcel Lehoux.

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Sunday 4th June 1933

83 years ago

Only eight competitors took part in the Nîmes Grand Prix held on an avenue in the city center of Nîmes. The race developed into an exciting duel between Nuvolari in a works Alfa Romeo Monza against Etancelin in a private Monza. At half way into the race Nuvolari had managed to establish a 30 seconds advantage but Etancelin continued pushing. Not until the last laps when the brakes failed on Etancelin's car, was the race definitely decided.

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Sunday 11th June 1933

83 years ago

The Małopolski Klub Automobilowy organized race through the streets of Lwów, was dominated by Nordic drivers. Only three drivers finished. Norwegian Bjørnstad won in an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza and Swede Widengren was moved up to second when Balestrero was disqualified after the race for an illegal pit stop procedure.

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Tuesday 8th August 1933

83 years ago

The Swedish Summer Grand Prix (in Swedish: "Sveriges sommar-Grand Prix för automobiler") arranged by Kungliga Automobilklubben (the Royal Automobile Club) was held on a 29.7 kilometre cricuit at Norra Vram was held. The circuit was made up at regular countryside roads at a place very close to present day closed circuit Ring Knutstorp in Kågeröd. The opening lap saw a multi-car pile-up which saw several drivers injured, two seriously, and a riding mechanic was killed. One of the crashed cars started a fire which saw a nearby house burned to the ground.The race continued while emergency services attended the scene and the race was eventually won by Antonio Brivio, driving an Alfa Romeo for Scuderia Ferrari.

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Monday 6th November 1933

83 years ago

English Racing Automobiles, the name by which E.R.A. was known until it was changed in 1954 to Engineering Research & Application Ltd., was founded in late 1933 by Humphrey Cook, a wealthy young Oxford graduate who had a passion for motor racing and was determined to construct a competitive British car to compete successfully on the international circuits. British successes in the Grand Prix road racing of the day had been few and far between. There had been no major British victory since Seagrave in the French Grand Prix in 1923 in a Sunbeam. By 1933 the huge investment being poured into Grand Prix racing by the major works teams of Auto Union, Mercedes Benz and Alfa Romeo made it more or less impossible for a small newcomer to compete successfully. A decision was therefore made to concentrate on the 1.5 litres supercharged voiturette class. Raymond Mays, one of the most successful amateur racing drivers of the day, became a director of the Company and, together with Cook, the works driver. The new Company relied on the engineering experience of Murray Jamieson and Peter Berthon, the former an engineer in the Austin racing department, the latter a gifted natural engineer. The first 1.5 litre ERA racing car was shown to the public on 22 May 1934 and competed at Brooklands in the British Empire Trophy race on 23 June. Several more races were entered in 1934 and numerous wins were recorded, often against more exotic Maserati and Bugatti opposition. Over the next five years, the A, B and C type ERA 1.5 litre and 2 litre supercharged cars became the most successful voiturette racing cars in Europe. As well as Raymond Mays, they were driven and owned by drivers such as Dick Seaman, Pat Fairfield and Earl Howe and, perhaps most famous of all, Princes Chula and Bira of Siam with their team of two ERA’s ‘Romulus and Remus’. During the war, racing came to an end, the Company site in Bourne was sold for aircraft component production and Company closed. In 1946, ERA Ltd was officially re-registered in Humphrey Cook’s home town of Dunstable, and premises occupied on the towns London Road. Development started on a new Grand Prix car, the ERA ‘E’ type, to compete in the new 1.5 litre formula. Three cars were built, GP1, 2 and 3, and showed great promise. However the promise was never really fulfilled, and the technical effort necessary proved too much for the small Company to overcome before the 1.5 litre formula was abandoned. An ‘F’ type Formula 3 car failed to get off the drawing board but the G type Bristol engined ERA began to show great potential in the hands of Stirling moss and others. In 1953 the project was sold to Bristol Cars who subsequently developed it into the successful Bristol 450 Le Mans car. Thus ERA’s connection with motor racing ended. The successful 1.5 and 2 litre A, B and C type ERA’s all survive intact today and many are regularly used in historic racing. They are often faster than in their pre-war days and compete remarkably well against 1950’s Maseratis, Ferraris and Aston Martins. After the sale of the G type cars to Bristol, ERA Ltd was sold to Zenith Carburettor Ltd. In turn Zenith was bought by Solex Carburettor, the name was changed to Engineering Research and Application Ltd, and for many years ERA became the Research & Development centre for these carburettor and fuel system companies.

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Sunday 25th February 1934

83 years ago

The Norwegian Grand Pix at Mjosa was won by Per-Viktor Widengren driving a Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza.

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Monday 2nd April 1934

82 years ago

The Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo was won by Guy Moll in an Alfa Romeo B/P3. Moll (at 23 years and 10 months old) remained the youngest driver to have won a Monaco GP until Lewis Hamilton (at 23 years and 4 months) won in 2008.

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Sunday 22nd April 1934

82 years ago

The Alessandria Circuit Grand Prix, held in Bordino, Italy was won by Achille Varzi in an Alfa Romeo B/P3. The event consisted of two heats with five drivers from each heat going to the final. Scuderia Ferrari driver Tadini led the first heat, run in rain, before being passed by his team mate Chiron. The heat was overshadowed by a fatal crash by Swiss driver Carlo Pedrazzini. Varzi, also driving for Ferrari, dominated the second heat. It was rained again during the final. Minozzi spun into the spectator area and Nuvolari crashed into a tree breaking his right leg. The Alfa Romeos of the Ferrari team dominated the final with Chiron leading before letting Varzi by to win on Italian soil and with Tadini and Comotti finishing third and fourth.

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Sunday 6th May 1934

82 years ago

The Formula Libre Tripoli Grand Prix was held on the high-speed Mellaha circuit in Libya (an Italian colony in those days). The track had been widened and the high speed corners had received a slight banking. As the race was held in conjunction with the state lottery there was as usual a high number of entries. After the 1933 scandal where there were accusations that the result may have had been fixed, the rules had been changed so that the owners of the drawn tickets could not come in contact with the drivers before the race. In the last corner Moll tried to pass Achille Varzi but the veteran driver was not to be surprised and closed the gate. Moll later accused Varzi for trying to push him off the road. At the flag Moll was only a car's length behind Varzi who took the victory for Alfa Romeo just as he had done in 1933.

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Saturday 2nd June 1934

82 years ago

Mannin Moar (formally known as II Mannin Moar), a Grand Prix that was held at a street circuit in Douglas, Isle of Man, United Kingdom. It was the twelfth round of the 1934 Grand Prix season, but it did not count towards the championship. The race, contested over 50 laps of 3.659 mi, or 5.889 km, was won by Brian Lewis driving a Alfa Romeo Tipo B after starting from pole position. Tim Rose-Richards made the best start of the line, overtaking both Christopher Staniland and Freddie Dixon to get into second place after Lewis, who would eventually stay in the lead the entire race. Staniland retired after just two laps due to gearbox problems and Rose-Richards retired with a broken water pump, leaving second and third place open for Dixon and Vasco Sameiro.Between lap fifteen and lap forty, five drivers were forced to retire and the field was brought down to three cars. Although it was not an easy victory - his Alfa Romeo had lost a gear early in the race - Lewis took the flag after fifty laps ahead of Charlie Dodson and Cyril Paul.

Mannin Moar, Isle of Man - June 1934

Mannin Moar, Isle of Man - June 1934

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Sunday 3rd June 1934

82 years ago

The first and only Montreux Grand Prix was held and won by Carlo Felice Trossi, in an Alfa Romeo B/P3. The Montreux "round the houses" street race was a new addition to the Grand Prix calendar. Unfortunately it was run the same weekend as the Eifelrennen but Ferrari entered the trio of Varzi, Moll and Trossi. The main opposition consisted of some private Maseratis and Bugattis. On race day not only every grandstand but also every window and balcony of downtown Montreux was filled with spectators. There had been a storm before the race but the track had had time to dry out. Etancelin had been fastest in practice with his own blue painted Maserati and when the starter dropped the flag at 2 p.m. Etancelin took the lead followed by Straight, Moll and Falchetto. Moll was soon up to second position but on lap 11 he had to do a lengthly pitstop with oil feed problems, spoiling any chances for a good position. Varzi was going well, climbing to 3rd followed by teammate Trossi and Hamilton.By half distance Étancelin held a 65 seconds lead over Varzi with Trossi a further 13 seconds behind. Straight had dipped to fourth as oil from a leak sprayed over his goggles and he had been forced to do several pit stops to clear them. The Ferrari duo was catching Étancelin, who had brake troubles. But at lap 69 Varzi had to make a fast pit stop, falling down to third position. With five laps to go Étancelin was still leading with 13 seconds but an inspired Trossi, always at his best on street circuits, was catching him fast, making faster laps than the pole time, and on the last but one lap he passed the Maserati to the flag from Étancelin with Varzi's Ferrari entered Alfa third. Maserati cars driven by Straight, Hamilton and Zehender took the next places.

Montreux Grand Prix - 1934

Montreux Grand Prix - 1934

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Sunday 1st July 1934

82 years ago

The French Grand Prix (formally the XX Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France) held at Montlhéry over 40 laps of the12.5km circuit, was won by Louis Chiron driving an Alfa Romeo B/P3.

1934 French Grand Prix

1934 French Grand Prix

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Wednesday 15th August 1934

82 years ago

Guy Moll (24), winner of the 1934 Monaco Grand Prix, was killed when his Alfa Romeo P3 crashes during the Coppa Acerbo voiturette race in Pescara, Italy

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Sunday 16th December 1934

82 years ago

Scuderia Ferrari conceived plans for the 16-cylinder Alfa Romeo Bimotore race car.

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Tuesday 9th April 1935

81 years ago

The Alfa Romeo Bimotore 16-cylinder racecar was unveiled to the press. Although every inch an Alfa Romeo, the Bimotore was the brainchild of Enzo Ferrari and Luigi Bazzi, one of Ferrari's engineers at Scuderia Ferrari. In the early 1930's, Scuderia Ferrari had been delegated the responsibility for running the Alfa Romeo racing operation. Indeed, it is said that the 1935 Alfa Romeo Bimotore is the very first car to carry the now famous prancing horse insignia of Scuderia Ferrari on its flanks and above the Bimotore's valentine heart-shaped grille work. The Bimotore's distinction was that it had two supercharged straight eight engines, one mounted in the front, the other behind the driver, both engines somehow shoehorned into a special beefed-up chassis. It also had two hand cranks to turn over the engines, one under the grille and one in the rear. The two engines in the 6.3 litre Bimotore came right out of the Alfa Romeo P3: two 3.165 litre engines, which together developed 540 bhp and gave the Bimotore stunning top-end performance; the contemporary Mercedes-Benz developed 430 bhp and the Auto Union developed 375 bhp.

Alfa Romeo Bimotore -1935

Alfa Romeo Bimotore -1935

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Monday 6th May 1935

81 years ago

Louis Fontes driving an Alfa Romeo 2.3 won JCC International Trophy at Brooklands.

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Sunday 12th May 1935

81 years ago

The Alfa Romeo 16-cylinder Bimotore race cars debuted at the 9th Tripoli Grand Prix in Libya, with two cars driven by Tazio Nuvolari and Louis Chiron finishing 4th and 5th.

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Sunday 16th June 1935

81 years ago

At the Florence - Lucca autostrada, Tazio Nuvolari driving an Alfa Romeo 6.3L became the first to brake the 200 mph barrier road speed record.

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Sunday 28th July 1935

81 years ago

Tazio Nuvolari scored his most impressive victory, thought by many to be the greatest victory in car racing of all times. He won the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, driving an old Alfa Romeo P3 (3167 cc, compressor, 265 hp) versus the dominant, all conquering home team's cars of five Mercedes-Benz W25 (3990 cm³, 8C, compressor, 375 hp (280 kW), driven by Caracciola, Fagioli, Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Geyer) and four Auto Union Tipo B (4950 cc, 16C, compressor, 375 hp (280 kW), driven by Bernd Rosemeyer, Varzi, Hans Stuck and Paul Pietsch). This victory is known as "The Impossible Victory". The crowd of 300,000 applauded Nuvolari, but the representatives of the Third Reich were enraged.

Tazio Nuvolari

Tazio Nuvolari

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Saturday 14th September 1935

81 years ago

Dick Shuttleworth, driving a 2.9 litre Alfa Romeo set a 0.5 mile record of 79.36 mph at the Brighton (England) Speed Trials.

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Saturday 5th October 1935

81 years ago

The first Donington Grand Prix was held - the first-ever Grand Prix held in Britain on a road track. Run over 120 laps of 2.55 miles of Donnington Park, Leicestershire, England, a total of 306.24 miles. The race was won by Richard ‘Mad Jack’ Shuttleworth driving an Alfa Romeo B/P3. The 1936 race garnered a much larger field and in 1937 the Grand Prix was granted full international status. Up until the outbreak of World War II Donington was witness to epic battles between Mercedes and Auto Union. Tazio Nuvolari driving an Auto Union Type D won the 1938 race at the age of 46. Bernd Rosemeyer won the Grand Prix of 1938. Unfortunately the world intruded and during the war Donington was used by the War Office as a vehicle depot. It was not until 1956 that it was abandoned. Eventually it was purchased by Tom Wheatcroft, who spent many years to restore the track and built up the largest collection of Grand Prix cars in the world. Currently the track conducts a full slate of racing including motorcycle, GT and Formula3. 1993 saw the first Grand Prix raced at Donington since before the war.

Donington Park in 1937

Donington Park in 1937

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Sunday 6th October 1935

81 years ago

Antonio Brivio won the Coppa della Silla in Cosenza, Italy. This was the last win for the Alfa Romeo Tipo B.

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Sunday 8th March 1936

81 years ago

The Norwegian Grand Prix, an ice race held on Gjerstadjon lake near Olso was won by Eugen Björnstad in an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza.

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Monday 13th April 1936

80 years ago

Rudolph Caracciola drove a Mercedes to victory in the Monoco Grand Prix. Heavy rain contributed to a series of accidents, while a broken oil line on the Alfa Romeo of Mario Tadini led to so many wrecks in the chicane out of the tunnel it was almost impassable.[1] The Mercedes-Benzes of Louis Chiron, Luigi Fagioli, and Manfred von Brauchitsch, as well as Bernd Rosemeyer's Typ C of newcomer Auto Union, were all eliminated. Tazio Nuvolari in the Alfa Romeo 8C benefitted from the chaos, only to suffer brake fade, and Rudolf Caracciola, proving the truth of his nickname, Regenmeister (Rainmaster), took the checkered flag. He was followed by Achille Varzi and Hans Stuck, both for Auto Union.

Rudolf Caracciola

Rudolf Caracciola

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Sunday 10th May 1936

80 years ago

Just 9 cars competed in the Finnish Grand Prix held over 50 laps of the 2.0 km Eläintarharata circuit. Eugen Björnstad won in an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza.

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Sunday 14th February 1937

80 years ago

The Flatenloppet ice race run on a small lake (Flaten) 7 km south of downtown Stockholm, Sweden was won by Eugen Björnstad, Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza.

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Sunday 20th June 1937

79 years ago

Tazio Nuvolari in an Alfa Romeo 12C-36 won the 2nd Milan Grand Prix, held over 70 laps of the 2.75 km twisty circuit in the Sempione Park with its two tight hairpins.

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Sunday 31st July 1938

78 years ago

The Alfa Romeo Tipo 158 made its racing debut taking the first two places in the Coppa Ciano at Livorno, Italy.

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Sunday 7th August 1938

78 years ago

In the opening event of the XVIII Coppa Ciano, Emilio Villoresi won the voiturette race on the Montenero circuit in Livorno, Italy. It was the first race win for the Alfa Romeo 158 Alfetta. The Grand Prix race was won by Hermann Lang driving a Mercedes-Benz W154, while Nino Farina placed second with the new 12 cylinders Alfa Romeo 312.

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Monday 15th August 1938

78 years ago

Italian industrialist Nicola Romeo (62), the 'Romeo' in the legendary Italian marque, Alfa, Romeo, died in Magreglio, Italy. Romeo graduated with a degree in engineering from the Politecnico di Napoli (nowadays Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II) in 1899. After that, he worked for a couple of years abroad and completed a second bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in Liège, Belgium. In 1911 he returned to Italy and created "Ing. Nicola Romeo e Co.". The company manufactured machines and equipment for the mining industry. As the company became successful he wanted to expand and acquired a majority of Milan based car manufacturing company A.L.F.A. in 1915. Only three years later, in 1918, Romeo owned the Romei whole company. A.L.F.A. was renamed to "Società Anonima Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo". The first car carrying the Alfa Romeo badge was the 1921 Torpedo 20/30 HP. The company gained a good reputation, but in 1927 came very close to liquidation. These changes "forced" him to leave in 1928. To mark the 130th anniversary of his birth, Naples dedicated a street to the memory of Nicola Romeo, called Via Nicola Romeo.

Nicola Romeo

Nicola Romeo

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Sunday 11th September 1938

78 years ago

The V-16 Alfa Romeo Type 316 made its racing debut in the Italian Grand Prix in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza as Guiseppe Farina finished second to the Auto Union Type D driven by Tazio Nuvolari.

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Sunday 2nd July 1939

77 years ago

Raymond Sommer in an Alfa Romeo 308 won the Grand Prix des Remparts, contested over 80 laps (1.287 km) of the Circuit des Remparts in Angoulême, France. This urban race track returned after World War II as part of the Grand Prix season from 1947 to 1951, hosting events where famous drivers could be seen, such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Maurice Trintignant, Raymond Sommer, Robert Manzon, André Simon and the like. Today it is still a successful event, usually in September, that gathers historic car enthusiast around a Grand Prix raced on the very original race track. It also features a "Concours d'Élégance" and a concours of car restoration.

Raymond Sommer

Raymond Sommer

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Sunday 20th August 1939

77 years ago

The last major grand prix before World War II was staged at Bremgarten in Switzerland, and in a bid to lure the Italians into taking part and challenge the all-conquering Germans, the organisers ran the race in two heats, one for Voiturettes and one for GP cars, with the best from each going to a combined final. On a slippery track, Mercedes dominated with Hermann Lang, that year's European champion, winning the race, three seconds ahead of Rudolf Caracciola, and German entries occupied the top six places. But the performance of Nino Farina, whose Alfa Romeo came seventh but ahead of several of the more powerful Mercedes and Auto Union entries, took the plaudits for a courageous drive.

Hermann Lang, Swiss Grand Prix - 1939

Hermann Lang, Swiss Grand Prix - 1939

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Thursday 18th April 1940

76 years ago

The Alfa Romeo Type 162 prototype race car was completed.

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Thursday 12th September 1940

76 years ago

The Alfa Romeo Tipo 512 monoposto race car was given its first road test with Consalvo Sanesi at the controls.

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Sunday 23rd November 1941

75 years ago

José Canziani driving an Alfa Romeo 8C-35 won the Buenos Aires Grand Prix.

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Saturday 2nd May 1942

74 years ago

Oldemar Ramos in an Alfa Romeo 308 won the Sante Fe Grand Prix.

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Saturday 28th April 1945

71 years ago

Ugo Gobbato of Alfa Romeo (56) was killed by the Italian Partigiani during a period of post-World War II anti-Fascist violence.

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Sunday 14th July 1946

70 years ago

Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari became the oldest Grand Prix winner (in pre-World Championship days) when he won the Albi Grand Prix at Albi, France, aged 53 years 240 days, driving a Maserati 4CL. First he raced motorcycles and then he concentrated on sports cars and single-seaters. Resident in Mantua, Italy he was known as 'Il Mantovano Volante' (The Flying Mantuan) and nicknamed 'Nivola'. His victories—72 major races, 150 in all - including 24 Grands Prix, five Coppa Cianos, two Mille Miglias, two Targa Florios, two RAC Tourist Trophies, a Le Mans 24-hour race, and a European Championship in Grand Prix racing. Ferdinand Porsche called him "the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future." Nuvolari started racing motorcycles in 1920 at the age of 27, winning the 1925 350cc European Championship. Having raced cars as well as motorcycles from 1925 until 1930, he then concentrated on cars, and won the 1932 European Championship with the Alfa Romeo factory team, Alfa Corse. After Alfa Romeo officially withdrew from Grand Prix racing Nuvolari drove for Enzo Ferrari's team, Scuderia Ferrari, who ran the Alfa Romeo cars semi-officially. In 1933 he won Le Mans in an Alfa Romeo as a member of Ferrari's team, and a month later won the Belgian Grand Prix in a works Maserati, having switched teams a week before the race. Mussolini helped persuade Ferrari to take Nuvolari back for 1935, and in that year he won the German Grand Prix in Ferrari's outdated Alfa Romeo, defeating more powerful rivals from Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. It was the only time a non-German car won a European Championship race from 1935 to 1939. The relationship with Ferrari deteriorated during 1937, and Nuvolari raced an Auto Union in that year's Swiss Grand Prix. He rejoined the Auto Union team for the 1938 season and stayed with them through 1939 until Grand Prix racing was put on hiatus by World War II. The only major European race he never won was the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix. When Nuvolari resumed racing after the war he was 54 and in poor health. In his final appearance in competition, driving a Cisitalia-Abarth Tipo 204A at a Palermo hillclimb on 10 April 1950, he won his class and placed fifth overall. He died in 1953 from a stroke.

Tazio Nuvolari

Tazio Nuvolari

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Sunday 1st September 1946

70 years ago

The first race under the new Formula One regulations, the Turin Grand Prix was won by Achille Varzi in an Alfa Romeo 158 Alfetta, although in reality the cars were no different to those that had raced earlier in the season. Formula One was first defined early in 1946 by the Commission Sportive Internationale (CSI) of the FIA, forerunner of FISA, as the premier single seater racing category in worldwide motorsport. It was initially known as Formula A, but the name Formula One was widely used early on and became official in 1950. In the beginning, the formula was largely based on pre-war regulations defined by engine capacity. The regulation was expected to bring a new balance between supercharged and normally aspirated cars. Non supercharged 4.5 litres pre-war Grand Prix cars were allowed to race against the pre-war 1.5 litres supercharged 'voiturettes' while pre-war supercharged Grand Prix cars were banned.

Achille Varzi

Achille Varzi

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Sunday 2nd March 1947

70 years ago

Achille Varzi driving an Alfa Romeo 308 won the San Lorenzo Cup at Rosario.

Achille Varzi

Achille Varzi

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Monday 21st April 1947

69 years ago

Chico Landi in a Alfa Romeo 308 won the Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix at Gávea.

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Sunday 8th June 1947

69 years ago

Jean-Pierre Wimille won the Swiss Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo 158. Wimille averaged 95.63 mph for the 135.7 miles around the 4.5 mile Bremgarten circuit. Achille Varzi finished 2nd, 44.7 seconds behind with Count Felice Trossi 3rd, both drivers also in Alfa 158s.

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Sunday 29th June 1947

69 years ago

Jean-Pierre Wimille in an Alfa Romeo 158 won the Belgian Grand Prix contested over 35 laps of the 8.70 mile Spa-Francorchamps road circuit.

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Thursday 2nd October 1947

69 years ago

The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) formally established Formula One racing in Grand Prix competition for the first time. Technological leaps made during World War II had rendered pre-war racing rules obsolete, so the Formula One guidelines were established in order to encompass the new type of racing--faster and more furious than anything the racing world had ever seen. Formula One was initiated for cars of 1,500 cc supercharged and 4,500 cc unsupercharged, and the minimum race distance was reduced from 500 km to 300 km, a change that allowed the famous Monaco Grand Prix to be reintroduced into official Grand Prix racing. In 1950, Giuseppe "Nino" Farina, driving an Alfa Romeo 158, won the first Formula One World Championship at the Silverstone British Grand Prix, and racing's most thrilling tradition was born.

Giuseppe 'Nino' Farina

Giuseppe 'Nino' Farina

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Sunday 21st March 1948

69 years ago

Chico Landi won the Interlagos Grand Prix in Brazil driving an Alfa Romeo 308.

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Sunday 28th March 1948

69 years ago

The Necochea 1000 miles at Playas de Necochea in Argentina was won by Oscar Galvez in a Alfa Romeo 308.

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Thursday 1st July 1948

68 years ago

Italian racing driver Archille Varzi (43) died during practise for the Swiss Grand Prix. A light rain fell on the Bremgarten track. Varzi’s Alfa Romeo 158 skidded on the wet surface, flipping over and crushing him to death., which resulted in the FIA mandating the wearing of crash helmets for racing, which had been optional previously.

Archille Varzi

Archille Varzi

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Saturday 13th May 1950

66 years ago

The very first round of the Formula One World Championship was held on the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire. The event was graced by the presence of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth – the first and only time a reigning monarch has attended a motor race in Britain. Silverstone was originally a military airfield and the British Racing Drivers’ Club had organised the first post-war British Grand Prix there in 1948 after pre-war circuits such as Brooklands and Donington Park had fallen into disuse. The introduction of the ‘official’ World Championship in 1950 was the butt of much criticism from the ‘diehard’ purists in the sport and was virtually ignored by the media. Alfa Romeo went on to dominate the race and filled the first three places, with the top British driver Reg Parnell finishing third, despite hitting a hare. Italy’s Guiseppe Farina took pole position, set the fastest lap and won the 70-lap race by 2.6 seconds.

1950 British Grand Prix Silverstone

1950 British Grand Prix Silverstone

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Saturday 20th May 1950

66 years ago

Juan Manuel Fangio won the Monaco Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo 158, the first of 24 Formula 1 Grand Prix victories.

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Sunday 18th June 1950

66 years ago

Juan Manuel Fangio in an Alfa Romeo 158 won the Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps.

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Sunday 2nd July 1950

66 years ago

Juan Manuel Fangio put on a stunning display, including a 116 mph practice lap, to win the French Grand Prix at Reims, driving a Alfa Romeo 158. A total of 22 cars entered the event, four of which did not start the race. Gianfranco Comotti did not attend the event, Eugène Chaboud did not start in his own car, instead sharing Philippe Étancelin's Talbot-Lago, and the two Scuderia Ferrari entries of Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari withdrew in practice. With Ferrari not starting their 3-litre cars, the main opposition was to come from the Talbots, complete with dual ignition engines with 12 spark plugs. But they suffered from radiator problems and overheated to allow Fangio and Fagioli to lead home another Alfa demonstration run, whilst Farina succumbed to fuel pump trouble. Peter Whitehead took a deserved podium with 3rd place despite a fractured head gasket in the last two laps.

Start of the 1950 French Grand Prix

Start of the 1950 French Grand Prix

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Sunday 27th May 1951

65 years ago

Stirling Moss made his Formula One debut at the Swiss Grand Prix held at Bremgarten.J uan Manuel Fangio in his Alfa Romeo was on pole and set fastest lap of the race to his winning in a time of 2:07:53. over a minute later, Piero Taruffi in his Ferrari was second after starting sixth and Giuseppe Farina in an Alfa was third, he started second on the grid. Consalvo Sanesi was fourth in his Alfa Romeo one lap down from the winner, Emmanuel de Graffenried was fifth in another Alfa.

Stirling Moss - 1951

Stirling Moss - 1951

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Sunday 1st July 1951

65 years ago

Round 4 four of the 1951 World Drivers' Championship, the French Grand Prix was won by Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli driving an Alfa Romeo 159. It was the first of three occasions where two drivers would be credited with a Grand Prix win after sharing a car.

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Saturday 14th July 1951

65 years ago

The British Grand Prix, contested over 90 laps of the Silverstone circuit was the first victory for José Froilán González, and was also the first of many for the Scuderia Ferrari team. Both the team and driver also achieved their first ever pole position during the weekend. José Froilán González was one second quicker than Juan Manuel Fangio in qualifying, achieving the first pole position of his career. It was also the first pole position for the Ferrari team, and the first in the World Championship (excluding the Indy 500 races) not scored by an Alfa Romeo. Nino Farina and Alberto Ascari qualified in third and fourth positions, completing the front row. González and Fangio shot away almost parallel from the front row of the grid, closely followed by the other Alfa Romeos and Ferraris. Alfa Romeo driver Felice Bonetto, who started in seventh position, was the first man at the first corner, with the Ferrari of González in second position. González took the lead from Bonetto on the second lap with Fangio chasing. The BRM cars of Reg Parnell and Peter Walker were in hot pursuit of the leaders. The team had arrived at the last minute, and had not practiced or even qualified for their debut race, and had started in 19th and 20th positions. Bonetto's Alfa Romeo team-mates of Fangio and reigning World Champion, Nino Farina, managed to overtake him to move into second and third places. On lap 6, Fangio began to close in on González; he passed him on the straight on lap 10, and slowly began to draw away. Consalvo Sanesi then pulled into the pits for fuel and new tyres. The Maserati of John James became the first retirement of the race on lap 23 with a radiator problem, but was soon joined on the sidelines by Louis Chiron, both his Maserati team-mates, the Ferrari of Alberto Ascari and Farina. Farina pulled up at Abbey curve after 75 laps with a slipping clutch and his engine on fire. He had set the lap record on lap 38, with a time of 1 minute 44 seconds, an average speed of 99.99 mph, ensuring he still left the weekend with one point. González retook the lead on lap 39 with an overtake at Becketts corner. He kept his lead for the remainder of the race (excluding one lap when he pitted just before Fangio did) extending it to 1 minute and 5 seconds with 5 laps to go, before easing off at the end of the race. The BRM drivers of Parnell and Walker were still battling on, despite the fact they were suffering from hand and feet burns, and would eventually finish fifth and seventh respectively. The Alfa Romeos of Fangio and Farina pitted twice for fuel, owing to the awful fuel consumption of their cars. They were doing 1 1/2 miles to the gallon, and needed to take on 70 gallons for every stop. Both drivers needed to stop twice, and, owing to the lengthy, minutes-long pit stops of Formula One in 1951, the more fuel efficient Ferrari of González (who only needed to make one stop) was able to overtake the Alfa Romeos and pull out a considerable lead. González eventually took his own and Ferrari's first victory in a World Championship race by 51 seconds. It was the first World Championship race (excluding the Indy 500) that was not won by an Alfa Romeo. An Alfa Romeo was still in second place though, in the form of the year's eventual champion Fangio. Luigi Villoresi became the second Ferrari on the podium after he finished in third place, two laps behind. Bonetto and Parnell were the other two point scorers at the race, finishing in fourth and fifth positions respectively. As it turned out, González had actually raced with an older chassis and engine than his team-mates, Villoresi and Ascari.

1951 British Grand Prix

1951 British Grand Prix

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Saturday 4th August 1951

65 years ago

Ibsley Circuit, situated at RAF Ibsley, on the Fordingbridge to Ringwood Road in Hampshire, UK, staged its first car meeting. Organised by the West Hants & Dorset Car Club (WH&DCC) on a track which Autosport described as "tricky enough to have good spectator appeal". The programme consisted of sports cars races, Formula III and Formule Libre. The lap record for the day was set by Ray Merrick in his Cooper-Norton-JAP at a speed of 79.83 miles per hour (128.47 km/h). Dennis Poore won the main event of the day for racing cars over 500cc in his Alfa Romeo 8C from Oscar Moore (HWM) and Sydney Allard in an Allard.

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Sunday 18th May 1952

64 years ago

Italian driver Piero Taruffi scored his only win in a World Championship race, driving for Ferrari, at Swiss Grand Prix was a Formula Two race held at Bremgarten Circuit. With the withdrawal of Alfa Romeo from the World Championship, Ferrari were left as the sole competitive team under the existing regulations. It was therefore decided to run the Championship to Formula Two regulations. The works Ferrari team brought three drivers to the Swiss Grand Prix, namely Farina, Taruffi and Simon. Regular Ferrari drivers Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi were both unavailable, the former due to his participation in the Indianapolis 500, and the latter because of his having had a road accident. Also running Ferraris were Rudi Fischer and Peter Hirt of Ecurie Espadon, and veteran Frenchman Louis Rosier. Gordini also had a three-car team for this race, consisting of Robert Manzon, B. Bira and the debutant Jean Behra. The HWM team, returning to the World Championship for the first time since the previous race at Bremgarten, fielded the all-British quartet of Abecassis, Collins, Macklin and Moss. Maserati had planned to enter defending World Drivers' Champion Juan Manuel Fangio and fellow Argentinian José Froilán González, but this did not come into fruition. Completing the field were the sole AFM entry of Hans Stuck and a number of privately run cars representing various constructors. Former Alfa Romeo driver Nino Farina took pole position, alongside Taruffi and Manzon on the front row of the grid. Simon and Fischer started from the second row, in front of Collins, Behra and Toulo de Graffenried, who was driving an Enrico Platé-entered Maserati. Polesitter Farina led the race until his car broke down. His Ferrari teammate assumed the lead, which he held for the remainder of the race. Moss was impressively running in third place in the early stages, behind Farina and Taruffi, before he had to stop. The main battle was between Behra and Simon, for second place (once Farina had retired). When Behra had to stop, due to his exhaust pipe having fallen off, Farina, who had taken over Simon's car, assumed second place. However, further problems meant that he once again had to retire, on lap 51, handing second to local driver Rudi Fischer. The Swiss driver took his first Championship podium, being the only driver not to be lapped by Taruffi, who took his first (and only) World Championship race victory. Behra completed the podium, taking third on debut, while Ken Wharton (fourth) and Alan Brown (fifth) took the first points finishes for Frazer Nash and Cooper, respectively.

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Sunday 14th June 1953

63 years ago

Jaguar cars finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th in Le Mans 24-hour Grand Prix d’Edurance. At 4:00pm on the Saturday, the flag fell and the race was on. At the end of the first lap, the Allard led the field, which was closely bunched behind. The first few laps at Le Mans means very little and it was not until after the 30 minutes that the true picture really become close. Rolt had already put in a lap record at 96.48 mph, while Moss led the way, closely followed by Villoresi, Tom Cole, Rolt, John Fitch, with Karl Kling rounding out the top six. Sydney Allard early lead lasted hardly any time, and by lap four he had to retire with a collapsed rear suspension that severed a brake pipe. Moss was also in trouble. Although he had smoothly pulled away from the chasing pack, until a misfire set in. His subsequent unplanned pitstop for spark plugs, plus another later to the eventual cure – removal of a clogged fuel filter. At least Jaguar remembered the pit regulations. Ferrari topped up the brake system on Mike Hawthorn’s 340 MM before the specified 28 laps had been completed, thereby Hawthorn/Farina were disqualified. Whilst all this was going on, Villoresi had taken the lead. By 5:00pm, the order had settled down, and it became clear that the Jaguars, Ferraris and Alfa Romeos were the forces to be reckoned with. The Lancias and Talbots were quite outclassed, as was the Aston Martins. Consalvo Sanesi in his Alfa Romeo 6C, continued to lower the fastest lap, with Rolt moving into the lead for Jaguar. Just before 6:00pm, Fangio retired with engine troubles in his Alfa Romeo. The pace continued at a fantastic pace and now it was Jaguar setting it. At the three-hour mark, Rolt/Hamilton led from Ascari/Villoresi, followed by Cole and his partner, Luigi Chinetti, Sanesi with Piero Carini, and the Germans of Kling and Fritz Riess. Already these five cars had pull out a two lap advantage over the rest of the field. As darkness fell, the Ferrari-Jaguar battle continued unabated, between Ascari/Villeoresi and Rolt/Hamilton, with the Alfa Romeos close behind. During the early hours of the morning, Rolt/Hamilton continued to lead with no sign of tiring, while Ascari/Villoresi was now losing ground. By 3:00am, the rear suspension on Sanesi/Carini car has collapsed, and they were out, along with George Abecassis and Roy Salvadori as oil was getting into their Aston Martin’s clutch.Although the Ascari and Villeroesi still was taking the fight to the Jaguars, the car was lame, for it was suffering from a sticking clutch and drinking a lot of water. However, the Italians, in a win-or-burst attempt were driving flat out at all times, but it had no effect on Rolt and Hamilton. Their Jaguar now had a lap lead over the Ferrari. Despite the night being very clear and fine, dawn approached a certain amount of mist in the air, making driving conditions very tiring. The windscreen on the leading Jaguar had been smashed early in the race, and as result Rolt and Hamilton were suffering from wind buffering, but the pair kept up the pace, nevertheless, with an average speed of well over 105 mph. By the time the mist had cleared, Rolt and Hamilton still lead by a lap ahead of the Ascari and Villoresi’s lame Ferrari. Third place was over three adrift was the Cunningham of Fitch/Walters. A lap further back was the fast Jaguars of Moss/Walker and Whitehead/Stewart. It was during this period, when disaster struck at Maison Blanche, when Cole crashed his Ferrari and was killed instantly.Shortly after 8:30am, the leading Jaguar and Ferrari both made routine refuelling stops at the same time, while Moss moved up to third when the Cunningham came for its stop. At 9:00am, the lame Ferrari was dropping back, and was now back in fifth place, following clutch issues. Rolt and Hamilton were now clear up front, but they could not rest as the American of Fitch/Waters started to challenge the Moss/Walker Jaguar for second place. The lame Ferrari retired at 11:00 am having dropped down the order to sixth place. This left only the Marzotto car to challenge the Jaguars and the lead Cunningham. It could not do it and raced to finish in fifth, keeping the Gordini of Maurice Trintignant and Harry Schell behind them. With three hours to ago, the Jaguars were still lapping at over 105 mph, however the pace had slackened a little. In the closing stages the order did not change, as Hamilton took over from Rolt to complete the last stage of the race, they were followed home by Moss, Fitch, Stewart, Giannino Marzotto, and Trintignant. Rolt and Hamilton driving their British license plated Jaguar C-Type, to victory covering a distance of 2,555.04 miles (4,088.064 km), over 304 laps, averaging a speed of 106.46 mph (170.336 km/h). Their team-mates, Moss and Walker were four lap adrift at the finish, in second place was their C-Type. The podium was completed by Walters and Fitch, in their Cunningham-Chrysler C5-R. The third works Jaguar finished fourth, two laps behind the Americans. The fourth Jaguar, entered by Ecurie Francorchamps for Roger Laurent and Charles de Tornaco, although supported the works team, with a standard C-Type, but still finished in ninth place.The winning duo’s performance, other than not being bothered by a bird to the face at 130 mph, set a number of records: The first win with an average speed over 100 mph (105.85); The first win with a distance over 4000 kilometers (4088.064); The first win with more than 300 laps completed (304). Just to put these numbers in perspective, the total distance would have been enough to win the race in 1995.

Le Mans 1953

Le Mans 1953

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Sunday 16th October 1955

61 years ago

Stirling Moss and Peter Collins won the Targa Florio driving a Mercedes 300 SL. The race was held over 13 laps of the 44.64 miles of the Circuito delle Madonie Piccolo, giving a distance of 581.604 miles. Each team of drivers was expected to navigate approximately 10,000 curves during almost 10 hours of driving combined. The Daimler team manager, Alfred Neubauer was planning on each driving being able to run four lap stints. The first car, an Alfa Romeo 1900 TI started off at 07:00, with subsequent cars departing every 30 seconds. The first of the main competitors, the Ferrari 750 Monza driven by Luigi Piotti and Franco Cornacchia would leave at 07:24:30. Very quickly, Moss set a blistering pace and broke the track record by two and a half minutes. Although his Mercedes was one of the last to be flagged off, he had passed everyone by the end of lap one. Castellotti's Ferrari split the Mercedes of Moss and Fangio. At the end of the fourth lap Castellotti was in first place and Moss was in a ditch. Moss had crashed but the Mercedes was still in working order if slightly bruised. After help from some spectators Moss was back on the road but now in fourth place. Collins exchanged places with Moss and took up the chase. Fangio passed the leading Ferrari and handed his car to Kling. Mercedes were now in first, third and fourth. The Mercedes of Moss and Collins would certainly have its fair share of obvious moments, scattered all around the car’s body. Still, it was going very fast. The area around the headlights were badly damaged, front corners on both sides were stripped away. And the right side panel looked as though they had had a number of encounters with buildings as the two Englishmen pushed the 300SLR hard through the Sicilian countryside. On one occasion, Moss pushed at a bit too hard and would go careening off the side of the track. The car avoided heavy damage, and with the help of some local spectators, Moss would rejoin the race, still leading. Trouble struck again when Collins drove straight up a stone wall, his front wheels spinning in the air. Fortunately he was able to put his car in reverse and rejoined the battle. Collins worked his way up to first before returning the car to Moss. Moss drove the only way that he knew how and won going away or in the words of Peter Collins "despite Stirling's efforts and my own to write the machine off!" Mercedes won the race and with it the sports car championship only to quit racing for the second time. As a result, car number 104 (Daimler-Benz AG), took an impressive victory, winning in a time of 9hrs 43.14 mins., averaging a speed of 59.832 mph. Second place went to Fangio and Kling, for the second race in a row, 4mins and 41 seconds adrift. The podium was complete by the Ferrari 860 Monza of Castellotti and Manzon, a further 5mins 25 behind. Meanwhile, the third Mercedes of Titterington and Fitch were fourth. Next home was the first of the Maserati’s, in hand of Carlos Manzini and Francesco Giardini.

Peter Collins and Stirling Moss - Targa Florio - 1955

Peter Collins and Stirling Moss - Targa Florio - 1955

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Wednesday 24th April 1963

53 years ago

The 112 bhp Alfa Romeo T.I. Super was presented to the press on the Monza circuit.

Alfa Romeo T.I. Super

Alfa Romeo T.I. Super

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Tuesday 7th January 1964

53 years ago

Reginald Harold Haslam Parnell (52), Formula One driver and team manager from England died. Parnell successfully raced a private Maserati 4CLT/48 and an E-Type ERA which led to an invitation to drive for the Alfa Romeo team in the very first World Championship Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1950, finishing third and later winning the Silverstone International Trophy in 1951, he was also a test driver for BRM and their V16 project. He later became the team manager for Aston Martin and oversaw the famous 1-2 at Le Mans in 1959 when Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby led home Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frere. Parnell then led the team into F1 but at the end of 1960 the programme was abandoned. 1962 saw the formation of the Reg Parnell Racing Team taking Lola into Grand Prix racing. He died at the age of just 53 due to a thrombosis after a routine appendix operation.

Reg Parnell

Reg Parnell

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Sunday 26th July 1964

52 years ago

Francis Richard Henry Penn Curzon (80) racer for Sunbeam and Talbot in the 1920s and later a Member of Parliament, died in Buckinghamshire, England. Curzon, better known as Lord Howe, made his race debut at the comparatively old age of 44, in the 1928 Irish TT with a Bugatti Type 43. After leaving the House of Commons he pursued his driving career with increasing vigour. During the 1930s he became a well known driver, competing in many national and international races, most notably the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he gave Ala Romo their first victory at the event. He entered the endurance classic six times between 1929 and 1935, only missing the 1933 event. For the first year he was entered as a part of the Bentley factory team, but latterly he entered his own cars. It was in his own Alfa Romeo 8C that he won the race in 1931, driving in partnership with Henry Birkin.

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Thursday 18th February 1965

52 years ago

The racing division of Alfa Romeo, Autodelta's first creation, the GTA (the A stood for 'alleggerita' (lightened)) was presented at the Amsterdam Motor Show. The outer body was the same as that of the Alfa Romeo GT, but the interior trim was made out of Peraluman 25, a light alloy of aluminium, manganese, copper and zinc. The 1600 Twin Spark twin shaft engine underwent rigorous reinforcement to increase the power output from 106 to 170 bhp. The GTA triumphed even on its first outings. Seven GTAs took the first seven places, for example, at the Jolly Club 4-hour race in Monza.

Alfa Romeo GTA

Alfa Romeo GTA

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Saturday 13th March 1965

52 years ago

Vittorio Jano (73), famed Italian automobile designer of Hungarian descent from the 1920s through 1960s died. Jano was born Viktor János in San Giorgio Canavese, in Piedmont, to Hungarian immigrants, who arrived there several years earlier. He began at the car and truck company Società Torinese Automobili Rapid owned by G.B. Ceirano.[1] In 1911 he moved to Fiat under Luigi Bazzi. He moved with Bazzi to Alfa Romeo in 1923 to replace Giuseppe Merosi as chief engineer. At Alfa Romeo his first design was the 8-cylinder in-line mounted P2 Grand Prix car, which won Alfa Romeo the inaugural world championship for Grand Prix cars in 1925. In 1932, he produced the sensational P3 model which later was raced with great success by Enzo Ferrari when he began Scuderia Ferrari in 1933. For Alfa road cars Jano developed a series of small-to-medium-displacement 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder inline power plants based on the P2 unit that established the classic architecture of Alfa engines, with light alloy construction, hemispherical combustion chambers, centrally located plugs, two rows of overhead valves per cylinder bank and dual overhead cams. In 1936 he designed Alfa Romeo 12C using V12 engine, the car was not successful and this is given as the reason for Vittorio Jano's resignation from Alfa Romeo at the end of 1937 In 1937, Jano moved to Lancia. Among his designs at Lancia was the Grand Prix effort. The car, the Lancia D50, was introduced in 1954, but 1955's loss of Alberto Ascari and the 1955 Le Mans disaster soured the company to GP racing. Ferrari took over the effort and inherited Jano that same year. Jano's contribution to Ferrari was significant. With the encouragement of Enzo's son, Dino, Jano's V6 and V8 engines pushed the older Lampredi and Colombo engines aside in racing. After Dino's death, Jano's "Dino" V6 became the basis for the company's first mid-engined road car, the 1966 206 Dino.[2] The V6 and V8 went on to displace Ferrari's V12 focus and their descendants continue to be used today. Like Enzo Ferrari, Jano lost his own son in 1965. He became gravely ill that same year and committed suicide in Turin.

Vittorio Jano

Vittorio Jano

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Thursday 10th March 1966

51 years ago

The Fiat 124 was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show and won "Car of the Year" in 1967. It superseded the Fiat 1300 and Fiat 1500 and spawned variants including an estate (with stiffened springs and a revised final drive ratio), four-seater coupé, two-seater spider convertible and a slightly lengthened and more luxurious version, the 125, launched in early 1967. The 124 had a new 4 cylinder, 1197cc, 60 bhp engine. Approximately 1,543,000 saloons and estates were built in Italy, before it was replaced in Italy in 1974 by the Fiat 131/132 4-door saloon, although production in other countries continued. Worldwide around 4 million Fiat 124s were produced. A factory at Togliattigrad in the erstwhile USSR at one time produced 2000 Fiat 124 cars per day, named Lada 124. Other cars revealed at the 1966 Geneva Show included the AC 428 fastback (fixed head), the Lamborghini Miura and the Alfa Romeo 1300 Spider, driven by Dustin Hoffman to the strain of Simon and Garfunkel in the film The Graduate.

Fiat 124

Fiat 124

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Sunday 3rd April 1966

50 years ago

Battista "Pinin" Farina (72), founder of the Pininfarina coachbuilding company, and synonymous with some of the best-known classic Italian sports cars, died. At the age of 12, he began working beside his brother; five years later, when Giovanni set up his own shop, Stablimenti Industriali Farina S.A., to repair and build automobile bodies, young Pinin followed him as an apprentice. In spite of his youth, Farina was put in charge of design, which is how he came to meet Agnelli and win the older man's respect. His curiosity took him across the sea to America, where he met Henry Ford. He was offered a job with the Ford Motor Company, but chose to return to Italy, carrying with him an appreciation for the free enterprise system and the creativity it inspired. Farina took up racing, to the consternation of his wife and mother, and in 1921 drove his own car to victory in the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo race, beating prepared race cars and setting a course record that would stand for 11 years. It was during his racing days that he met a number of influential people, among them Vincenzo Lancia.In 1930, Farina decided the time had come to set out on his own. With the support of Lancia and a wealthy aunt, he opened a shop on Corso Trapani in Turin, and hired 100 employees. Already well known by his childhood nickname, he christened his new business Carrozzeria Pinin Farina, and chose as its emblem the familiar rectangle with a lower-case "f" (for "Farina") set off by red triangles in the upper left and lower right corners and topped with a crown.His plan was to construct custom bodies to order, as well as to produce small runs of six to a dozen examples of special models that he would sell directly to the public. Much of the carrozzeria's earliest work was on Italian chassis-those of his friend Lancia, as well as Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Isotta Fraschini and others. Farina's earliest designs were well-proportioned, conservative efforts in the Italian style, with heavy emphasis on unbroken horizontal lines. Intent on expanding the influence of the coachbuilder on chassis design, he persuaded Vincenzo Lancia that his radiators should be tilted back in the aerodynamic style then being pioneered in Europe. As his style developed, he would often be influenced by his peers, finding inspiration in Pontiac's Silver Streaks, Gordon Buehrig's Cord 812, and the Grand Prix cars of Mercedes-Benz. By 1939, he had 500 workers and was producing two cars per day. After World War II, when the Paris Auto Show barred him from participating as a citizen of a former Axis power, Farina and his son, Sergio, were audacious enough to drive two new cars, an Alfa Romeo Sport 2500 and a Lancia Aprilia cabriolet, to Paris, parking the cars outside the entrance to the motor show. "This devil Farina has opened his own personal anti-salon," grumbled the French press, but the crowds loved the cars.It was after the war that Farina was able to design what many consider his masterwork, and one of the most influential designs of all time, the Cisitalia 202 coupe of 1947. He had been involved in the design of the chassis from the beginning, and was able to realize many of his long-held dreams, including the horizontal radiator and seamless integration of the fenders with the body sides. Immortality arrived quickly; in 1951, the Museum of Modern Art in New York named the Cisitalia one of the ten great automotive designs of all time, and put the car on display. The company grew and prospered through the 1950s. Carrozzeria Pinin Farina now could not only design models for major manufacturers, but could build them in quantity as well. He created models based on the Lancia Aurelia, Alfa Romeo 1900 and 6C2500, Fiat 1100, and Maserati A6; he designed the 1952 Ambassador for Nash, and the Nash-Healey sports car as well. Designs for the British Motor Corporation and Peugeot flew off his drawing board. In 1958, he relocated the company to a larger site at Grugliasco, outside Turin. Of course, the single marque most closely associated with Farina is Ferrari, and it is probably inevitable that he and his fellow Italian, Enzo, would meet. Sergio has said that both men were too stubborn to visit the other's factories, and that their first meeting was at a restaurant midway between Turin and Maranello. Did Enzo really give Farina one minute to decide whether he would work for Ferrari or for Maserati? If that often-told story isn't true, it certainly could be. In 1961, by decree of the president of Italy, he was granted the last name Pininfarina, to recognize his industrial and social contributions to the nation. He turned control of the company over to his son, Sergio, and his son-in-law, Renzo Carli, and devoted his later years to travel, filmmaking, and cultural and charitable works. Among his many honors, he received the key to the city of Detroit

Battista

Battista "Pinin" Farina

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Thursday 30th June 1966

50 years ago

Giuseppe Antonio 'Nino'Farina (59) Italian racing driver died. He stands out in the history of Grand Prix motor racing for his much copied 'straight-arm' driving style and his status as the first ever Formula One World Champion.The first ever Formula One World Champion came from a privileged background and had a stylish driving technique that was adopted by many drivers. A hard and determined racer, Farina relied on a combination of profound self belief and raw courage to compensate for the superior skills possessed by many of his more naturally talented opponents. Yet he also drove recklessly and few Formula One drivers ever competed with such apparent disregard for their personal safety. Somehow surviving an accident-strewn racing career, he was eventually killed in a road accident. 'Nino' Farina was always destined to be involved in the automotive world, though not necessarily as a driver. On the day of his son’s birth, October 30, 1906, Nino's father Giovanni established Stabilimente Farina, a bodywork shop in Turin, the industrial city where much of Italy's car manufacturing industry was located. Here also, Giovanni's brother founded the coachbuilding firm of Pininfarina, later famed for designing many sleek Italian sportscars. From an early age Nino was expected to join the family business but his first driving experience, at the age of nine in a small car on the grounds of his father's factory, whetted his appetite for the sporting side of motoring. When he was 16 Nino accompanied his favourite uncle Pinin as a passenger in a race. Three years later his first solo competition ended in an accident, establishing a worrying trend that continued throughout his crash-prone career. Farina was both athletically and academically inclined. In his youth he was a fast runner and became skilled at soccer and skiing. At the University of Turin he received a doctorate in law and became Dottore Giuseppe Farina. While his academic title came easily his route to becoming World Champion was less straightforward. He began his military service as a cavalry officer, much enjoying the sensation of handling horses, then joined a tank regiment, in which he would serve during the war. Meanwhile, he continued to be obsessed by the lure of mechanical horsepower harnessed for competition purposes. In 1932 he bought an Alfa Romeo and quickly crashed it in a hillclimb, breaking a shoulder and badly cutting his face. Undeterred, he raced Maseratis for a couple of years, crashing frequently but also showing enough promise to impress Enzo Ferrari, who recruited him to drive for the Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo team. There, Farina befriended the legendary Tazio Nuvolari, whose talent and tenacity were both instructional and inspirational. Under Tazio's tutelage he began to mature as a driver and in 1938 he won enough races to become Italian champion.After World War II Farina resumed racing and got married, to Elsa Giaretto, an elegant and stylish woman who ran an exclusive fashion emporium in Turin. In her opinion motor racing was a silly and dangerous activity and she tried to persuade her new husband to stop. But three days after their high society wedding he flew to a race in Argentina. In 1950 he was appointed leader of the three-car Alfa Romeo team that competed in the series of Grand Prix races that were now formally organized by the FIA into the first ever Formula One World Championship. Given the supremacy of their all-powerful Tipo 158 cars the first world driving title was bound to go to one of the Alfa Romeo trio, known collectively as 'the three F's.' Indeed, the venerable team mates Farina (44 years old), Juan Manuel Fangio (39) and Luigi Fagioli (52) finished in that order in the standings. Farina won the first ever Formula One championship race, the 1950 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and triumphed again in Switzerland and Italy. And while his team mate Fangio also won three races, for the fiercely proud Farina his being crowned World Champion only officially confirmed what he considered to be a fact. Well-mannered, charming and gracious on most occasions, he could also be arrogant and aloof. He was accused of being unsentimental and a snob who disapproved of those members of his profession who did not have the right social pedigree. This should have put him at odds with Fangio, who came from a most humble background in Argentina. Yet when Fangio was nearly killed in the 1952 Italian Grand Prix, the first person to visit his hospital bedside was the race winner Farina, who presented his fallen comrade with the victory wreath. His nickname 'the Gentleman of Turin' was a reference to Farina's privileged background and the natural dignity with which he carried himself, even in the driver's seat. Sitting bolt upright and well back in the cockpit, Farina grasped the steering wheel with both arms fully outstretched and guided his car with calm, sparing movements and deft applications of the throttle. His stylish technique (soon adopted by the likes of Fangio and Stirling Moss) belied Farina's tendency to punish his cars. Perhaps it was a lack of mechanical sympathy or understanding that also caused him to push them beyond the point of no return and have far more than his share of accidents, which he tended to blame on bad luck or fragile machinery - never himself. His survival, Farina felt, was due not to good luck but to his deep belief in God and after every accident he would give prayers of thanks to the Virgin Mary. Fangio remarked that "because of the crazy way Farina drove only the Holy Virgin was capable of keeping him on the track, and we all thought one day she would get tired of helping him." Even Enzo Ferrari (not always noted for his compassion) feared for Farina's future: "A man of steel, inside and out. But I could never help feeling apprehensive about him. He was like a high strung thoroughbred, capable of committing the most astonishing follies. As a consequence he was a regular inmate of the hospital wards." His mounting toll of injuries (including being seriously burned at Monza in 1954) meant Farina needed morphine and painkillers to continue tempting fate. Finally, pain overcame pride, and he retired from racing in 1955 and became a successful Alfa Romeo dealer. Farina's interest in Formula One continued, as did his confidence in his driving ability. On June 30, 1966, he set out from Turin in a Lotus-Cortina, bound for the French Grand Prix at Reims. In the Alps near Chambery his car skidded off a slippery bend and the first World Champion was killed.

Giuseppe 'Nino' Farina

Giuseppe 'Nino' Farina

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Thursday 21st December 1967

49 years ago

The film "The Graduate" opened at two theatres in New York: the Coronet on Third Avenue and the Lincoln Art Theater on Broadway. The film, based on a 1963 novel by Charles Webb, "The Graduate" made household names out of many of its stars. Though the young stage actor Dustin Hoffman had never been in a movie before, he rocketed to stardom thanks to his brilliant portrayal of the film's protagonist, the aimless Benjamin Braddock. At the same time, a marginally famous folk-pop duo called Simon & Garfunkel sold millions of records as a result of the film, which made their songs a part of its narrative in complex and sophisticated ways. The movie also made a star out of Benjamin Braddock's graduation present: a bright-red Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider. Alfa Romeo had been making racecars for decades—even Enzo Ferrari drove an Alfa before he began building his own racers—but had never sold very many in the United States. (American customers preferred larger cars, and when they did buy smaller sports cars they tended to buy them from British manufacturers like MG and Triumph.) But the 1967 Duetto Spider, a two-seat convertible roadster, was a real beauty: It had a sharp nose and a rounded, tapered rear end, glass-covered headlights, and what designers called a "classic scallop" running down the side. It handled well, could go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 10 seconds, and got 23 miles per gallon of gas.

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Sunday 30th March 1969

48 years ago

Lucien Bianchi (34) died when his Alfa Romeo T33 spun into a telegraph pole during Le Mans testing. He won the 1957, 1958 and 1959 Tour de France as well as the Paris 1000 sports car race in the latter two years. Bianchi entered Formula One in 1959, although only with sporadic appearances at first. He drove various cars under the banner of the ENB team, including a Cooper T51, a Lotus 18 and an Emeryson. After a couple of races for the UDT Laystall team in 1961, driving another Lotus, he returned to ENB for whom he drove their ENB-Maserati. He finally secured a more regular drive in Formula One in 1968, with the Cooper-BRM team, although success was elusive despite a bright start. Bianchi managed his best Formula One performance, finishing third at the 1968 Monaco Grand Prix, in his first race for Cooper. Bianchi also raced touring cars, sports cars and rally cars, being successful in all disciplines, his biggest victories coming in the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans, behind the wheel of a Ford GT40 with Pedro Rodríguez and at Sebring in 1962 with Jo Bonnier. He was also leading the London-Sydney Marathon when his Citroën DS collided with a non-competing car.

Lucien Bianchi

Lucien Bianchi

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Monday 17th November 1969

47 years ago

Reinhardt Stenzel won the Sembach Hill-Climb in Germany driving an Alfa Romeo T33/2.

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Saturday 24th July 1971

45 years ago

The Watkins Glen 6-Hours for the World Championship of Makes, the final race of the 5-liter sportscar era, was won by a 3-litre Alfa Romeo T33/3 driven by Ronnie Peterson and Andre de Adamich.

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Thursday 14th March 1974

43 years ago

The Lambourghini Countach LP400 production vehicle debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. The mid-engined, V12 sports car was produced from 1974 to 1990. Its design pioneered and popularized the wedge-shaped, sharply angled look popular in many high-performance sports cars. It also popularized the "cabin-forward" design concept, which pushes the passenger compartment forward to accommodate a larger engine. The doors, most often credited as a Lamborghini trademark, were a remarkable design feature for the Countach. They first appeared on the Alfa Romeo 33 'Carabo' concept car in 1968, an earlier design accomplishment, also by the talented Gandini. The doors have come to be known as scissor doors: hinged at the front with horizontal hinges, so that they lifted up and tilted forwards. The main reason is the car's tubular spaceframe chassis results in very high and wide door sills. It was also partly for style, and partly because the width of the car made conventional doors impossible to use in even slightly confined space. Care needed to be taken, though, in opening the doors with a low roof overhead. The car's poor rear visibility and wide sills led to drivers adopting a method of reversing the car for parking by opening the door, sitting on the sill, and reversing while looking over the back of the car from outside. In 2004, American car magazine Sports Car International named the car number three on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s, and listed it number ten on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.

Lambourghini Countach LP400

Lambourghini Countach LP400

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Sunday 1st June 1975

41 years ago

Arturo Merzario and Jacques Laffite drove an Alfa Romeo T33/TT/12 to victory in the 1000km sports car race on the Nurburgring in Germany.

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Sunday 20th July 1975

41 years ago

Arturo Merzario and Nino Vaccarella drove an Alfa Romeo T33/TT/12 to victory in the Targa Florio on the island of Sicily in Italy. The Targa Florio was an open road endurance automobile race held in the mountains of Sicily near Palermo. Founded in 1906, it was the oldest sports car racing event and was part of the World Sportscar Championship between 1955 and 1973. While the first races consisted of a whole tour of the island, the track length in the race's later decades was limited to the 45 mile laps of the Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie, which was lapped 11 times. After 1973, it became a national sports car event until it was discontinued in 1977 due to safety concerns. Since then it has since been run as a rallying event as a part of the Italian Rally Championship.

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Friday 22nd June 1979

37 years ago

Louis Chiron (79), the oldest driver who has ever taken part in a Formula One Grand Prix, aged 58 years, died. The son of the maitre díhotel at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, Chiron was born in the Principality in 1899 and received a ride in a Type 35 Bugatti funded by Alfred Hoffmann. He promptly beat the works teams at the Grand Prix du Comminges, before joining the Bugatti works-team for a few successful years, most notably winning his home Grand Prix in Monaco in 1931. He continued winning for the works Alfa Romeo team, then Mercedes before focusing on sports car racing with Lago-Talbot. After the war Chiron returned to Grands Prix with Lago-Talbot, winning the French Grand Prix in 1947 and 1949. He continued racing when the new Formula 1 World Championship was created and in 1955 he finished sixth in a Lancia D50 at the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix. It would be his last point scoring result as he failed to qualify for his home Grand Prix in 1956 and 1958. After retiring from the cockpit he became the Clerk of the Course for the Monaco Grand Prix up until the late 1960s.

Louis Chiron

Louis Chiron

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Tuesday 11th November 1980

36 years ago

Prospects of a Formula 1 breakaway competition faded with an announcement six leading constructors, including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Renault, had decided to compete in the official championship in 1981. A dispute between FOCA and FISA had split manufacturers and sponsors, resulting in plans for a breakaway event. The teams committed only four days before the FIA deadline.

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Saturday 7th February 1981

36 years ago

Carlos Reutemann won the disputed South African Grand Prix in a Williams - the race did not count towards the FIA World Championship as it was not sanctioned, but one used as leverage by FISA in an ongoing battle with the governing body. It was probably the last Formula Libre race staged as the cars did not conform to FIA rules prohibiting the use of skirts. Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo refused to have anything to do with the race in which Reutemann led from start to finish in drying conditions after stealing a march on his rivals by switching to dry tyres minutes before the start. "FOCA have proved themselves capable of staging a race," wrote Maurice Hamilton in the Guardian, "but even the most ardent enthusiasts had to admit that a race without Ferrari was like an international rugby championship without Wales."

Carlos Reutemann

Carlos Reutemann

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Sunday 7th August 1983

33 years ago

Rene Arnoux won the German Grand Prix for Ferrari by over a minute from Andrea de Cesaris in an Alfa Romeo 183T. Riccardo Patrese in a Brabham-BMW completed the podium. Niki Lauda was disqualified for reversing his McLaren-Ford in the pits.

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Thursday 6th November 1986

30 years ago

The destitute Alfa Romeo company approved its takeover by fellow Italian automobile manufacturer Fiat, shortly after rejecting a takeover bid by the Ford Motor Company. Alfa Romeo was founded by Nicola Romeo in 1908, and during the 1920s and 1930s produced elegant luxury racing cars like the RL, the 6C 1500, and the 8C 2900 B. Alfa Romeo saw its peak business years during the 1950s and 1960s, when Alfa Romeo chairman Giuseppe Luraghi oversaw a company shift toward more functional and affordable cars. The Giuletta, the Spider, and the Giulia series received enthusiastic responses from consumers, and Alfa Romeo flourished. However, during the 1970s, the company fell out of touch with a changing market, and, like many other automobile companies, failed to meet the demands of recession-era consumers who preferred fuel efficiency and reliability to luxury and design. By the mid-1980s, Alfa Romeo was bankrupt, and Fiat took over the company, assigning it to a new unit called Alfa Lancia Spa, which opened for business in 1997.

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Wednesday 11th May 1988

28 years ago

Christie's sold an Alfa Romeo 8C-35 for $2,850,000 at an auction in Monte Carlo, a record for a Grand Prix car.

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Sunday 14th August 1988

28 years ago

Enzo Ferrari, founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari automobile marque, died in Maranello, Italy, aged 90. Enzo grew up with little formal education. At the age of 10 he witnessed Felice Nazzaro's win at the 1908 Circuit di Bologna, an event that inspired him to become a racing driver. During World War I he was assigned to the third Alpine Artillery division of the Italian Army. His father Alfredo, as well as his older brother, Alfredo Jr., died in 1916 as a result of a widespread Italian flu outbreak. Ferrari became severely sick himself in the 1918 flu pandemic and was consequently discharged from Italian service.Following the family's carpentry business collapse, Ferrari started searching for a job in the car industry. He unsuccessfully volunteered his services to FIAT in Turin, eventually settling for a job as test-driver for C.M.N. (Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali), a Milan-based car manufacturer which redesigned used truck bodies into small passenger cars. He was later promoted to race car driver and made his competitive debut in the 1919 Parma-Poggio di Berceto hillclimb race, where he finished fourth in the three-litre category at the wheel of a 2.3-litre 4-cylinder C.M.N. 15/20. On November 23 of the same year, he took part in the Targa Florio but had to retire after his car's fuel tank developed a leak. The prancing horse emblem was created when Italian fighter pilot Francesco Baracca was shot down during World War I. Baracca gave Enzo Ferrari a necklace with the prancing horse on it prior to takeoff. Baracca was tragically shot down and killed. In memory of his death, Enzo Ferrari used the prancing horse to create the emblem that would become the world famous Ferrari shield. However the world first saw this emblem on an Alfa Romeo as Ferrari was still tied up with Alfa Romeo. It was not until 1947 that the shield was first seen on a Ferrari. This was the birth of Ferrari. In 1924 Ferrari won the Coppa Acerbo at Pescara, a success that encouraged Alfa Romeo to offer him a chance to race in much more prestigious competitions. Deeply shocked by the death of Antonio Ascari in 1925, Ferrari turned down the opportunity to focus instead on the management and development of the factory Alfa cars, eventually building up a team of over forty drivers, including Giuseppe Campari and Tazio Nuvolari. Ferrari himself continued racing until 1932, before he left Alfa Romeo to found Scuderia Ferrari. Alfa Romeo agreed to partner Ferrari's racing team until 1933, when financial constraints forced them to withdraw their support – a decision subsequently retracted thanks to the intervention of Pirelli. Despite the quality of the Scuderia drivers, the team struggled to compete with Auto Union and Mercedes. Although the German manufacturers dominated the era, Ferrari's team achieved a notable victory in 1935 when Tazio Nuvolari beat Rudolf Caracciola and Bernd Rosemeyer on their home turf at the German Grand Prix. In 1937 Alfa Romeo decided to regain full control of its racing division, retaining Ferrari as Sporting Director. Unhappy with the arrangement, Ferrari left and founded Auto-Avio Costruzioni, a company supplying parts to other racing teams. Although a contract clause restricted him from racing or designing cars for four years, Ferrari managed to manufacture two cars for the 1940 Mille Miglia, driven by Alberto Ascari and Lotario Rangoni. With the outbreak of World War II in 1943, Ferrari's factory was forced to undertake war production for Mussolini's fascist government. Following Allied bombing of the factory, Ferrari relocated from Modena to Maranello. At the end of the conflict, Ferrari decided to start making cars bearing his name, and founded Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947. The team's open-wheel debut took place in Turin in 1948 and the first win came later in the year in Lago di Garda. The first major victory came at the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a Ferrari 166M driven by Luigi Chinetti and (Baron Selsdon of Scotland) Peter Mitchell-Thomson. In 1950 Ferrari enrolled in the newly-born Formula 1 World Championship and is the only team to remain present since its introduction. Ferrari won his first Grand Prix with José Froilán González at Silverstone in 1951. The first championship came in 1952, with Alberto Ascari, a task that was repeated one year later. In 1953 Ferrari made his only attempt at the Indianapolis 500 Miles. In order to finance his racing endeavours in Formula One as well as in other events such as the Mille Miglia and Le Mans, the company started selling sports cars. Ferrari's decision to continue racing in the Mille Miglia brought the company new victories and greatly increased public recognition. However, increasing speeds, poor roads, and nonexistent crowd protection eventually spelled disaster for both the race and Ferrari. During the 1957 Mille Miglia, near the town of Guidizzolo, a 4.0-litre Ferrari 335S driven by Alfonso de Portago was traveling at 250 km/h when it blew a tyre and crashed into the roadside crowd, killing de Portago, his co-driver and nine spectators, five of whom were children. In response, Enzo Ferrari and Englebert, the tyre manufacturer, were charged with manslaughter in a lengthy criminal prosecution that was finally dismissed in 1961. Many of Ferrari's greatest victories came at Le Mans (9 victories, including six in a row 1960–65) and in Formula One during the 1950s and 1960s, with the successes of Juan Manuel Fangio (1956), Mike Hawthorn (1958), Phil Hill (1961) and John Surtees (1964). By the end of the 1960s, increasing financial difficulties as well as the problem of racing in many categories and having to meet new safety and clean air emissions requirement for road car production and development, caused Enzo Ferrari to start looking for a business partner. In 1969 Ferrari sold 50% of his company to FIAT, with the caveat that he would remain 100% in control of the racing activities and that FIAT would pay sizable subsidy till his death for use of his Maranello and Modena production plants. Ferrari had previously offered Ford the opportunity to buy the firm in 1963 for US$18 million but, late in negotiations, Ferrari withdrew once he realised that he would not have been able to retain independent control of the company racing program. Ferrari became joint-stock and Fiat took a small share in 1965 and then in 1969 they increased their holding to 50% of the company. (In 1988 Fiat's holding rose to 90%). Following the agreement with FIAT, Ferrari stepped down as managing director of the road car division in 1971. In 1974 Ferrari appointed Luca Cordero di Montezemolo as Sporting Director/Formula One Team manager. (Montezemolo eventually assumed the presidency of Ferrari in 1992, a post he held until September 2014). Clay Regazzoni was deputy champion in 1974, while Niki Lauda won the championship in 1975 and 1977. After those successes and another title for Jody Scheckter in 1979, the company's Formula One championship hopes fell into the doldrums. In 1981 Ferrari attempted to revive his team's fortunes by switching to turbo engines. In 1982, the second turbo-powered Ferrari, the 126C2, showed great promise. However, Gilles Villeneuve was killed in May, and team mate Didier Pironi had his career cut short in a violent end over end flip on the misty back straight at Hockenheim in August after hitting the Renault of Alain Prost. Pironi was leading the driver's championship at the time; he would lose the lead as he sat out the remaining races. The Scuderia went on to win the Constructors Championship in at the end of the season and in 1983, but the team would not see championship glory again until Ferrari's death in 1988. The final race win for the team he saw was when Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto scored a 1-2 finish at the final round of the 1987 season in Australia.

Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari

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Wednesday 1st August 1990

26 years ago

Patrick Depailler (35) died during Alfa Romeo free practice, ten days before the German Grand Prix.

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Thursday 9th March 1995

22 years ago

The Alfa Romeo GTV was launched at the Geneva Motor Show. The GTV was a 2+2 coupé. Around 41,700 GTVs were built from 1993 to 2004. The GTV's name placed it as the successor to the long-discontinued Alfetta GTV coupé and was available until the launch of the Brera in 2005. The Alfa Romeo GTV was claimed to be the best sports car by Jeremy Clarkson in 1998.

Alfa Romeo GTV - 1995

Alfa Romeo GTV - 1995

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Monday 27th November 1995

21 years ago

Giancarlo Baghetti died of cancer in Milan, Italy aged 60. Baghetti was selected for F1 by the Federazione Italiana Scuderie Automobilistiche (FISA), a coalition of independent Italian team owners who acquired a new Ferrari 156 for the 1961 French Grand Prix at Reims. And won. He was promoted to the works Ferrari line-up for 1962, but took just two points finishes, 4th at the Dutch Grand Prix and 5th at the Italian Grand Prix, as Ferrari was outclassed by the British teams. After the ill-fated switch to ATS in 1963, he accepted to race the Scuderia Centro Sudís outdated BRM P57. A 7th place at the 1964 Austrian Grand Prix and three more one-off drives in the following years, all at the Italian Grand Prix, would see his career in F1 fading away. He then achieved some success in the European Touring Car Championship with Alfa Romeo and Fiat Abarth, but retired from driving after a huge accident at the 1968 Monza F2 Lottery. He went on as a journalist and photographer in motorsport and fashion.

Giancarlo Baghetti

Giancarlo Baghetti

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Monday 4th December 1995

21 years ago

Rudolf Hruska (80), Austrian automobile designer and engineer, most famous for his design of various Alfa Romeo cars, died. At Alfa Romeo (1954-59) he assisted Orazio Satta Puliga in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, before joining Simca and Fiat (1960-67), working on the Simca 1000 and Fiat 124/Fiat 128. Hruska then designed the Alfa Romeo Alfasud and established a new plant in Pomigliano d'Arco near Napoli (1967-73). He worked in a design firm in Arese (1974-80) and at I.DE.A Institute in Torino.

1963 Simca 1000

1963 Simca 1000

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Wednesday 26th February 1997

20 years ago

Giuseppe Bertone, called "Nuccio", famed automobile designer and constructor died aged 82. After racing Fiats, O.S.C.A.s, Maseratis, and Ferraris, Bertone moved to construction, agreeing to build his first car, a series of 200 MGs, at the 1952 Turin Motor Show. He drew attention at the Paris Motor Show that year with an Abarth concept, and was chosen to design the replacement for the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. These so-called BAT (Berlina Aerodinamica Technica) cars used the Alfa Romeo 1900 Sprint chassis. Two years later at Turin, Bertone introduced the Storm Z concept based on a Dodge chassis alongside his latest BAT concept and a prototype of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, which would become the company's main product for the coming years. Bertone built more than 31,000 bodies in 1960, including Fiat 850 Spiders, Fiat Dinos, Simca 1200S coupes, the Alfa Romeo Montreal, and Lamborghinis. His 100th design was a special Ford Mustang, introduced at the 1965 New York Auto Show and commissioned by Automobile Quarterly.

Giovanni Bertone (left) with his son Giuseppe

Giovanni Bertone (left) with his son Giuseppe "Nuccio" Bertone (right)

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Thursday 9th October 1997

19 years ago

The Alfa Romeo 156 was launched in Lisbon. The appearance of this car, a medium-sized sports saloon that encapsulated Alfa Romeo’s proud sporting and engineering heritage in a clean, stylish and obviously Italian package, set the company on a fast-track to rejuvenation. The new 156 was voted Car of the Year 1998; this award being followed by some 35 further accolades.

Alfa Romeo 156

Alfa Romeo 156

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Sunday 29th August 1999

17 years ago

Christie’s Auction House celebrated their 10th year on the Monterey Peninsula by holding an auction that in just over two hours sold more than $15 million worth of cars. Several new record prices were set. Stealing the show was a 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Cabriolet by Pinin Farina which set a new record with the selling price of $3,700,000, plus the auction company’s premium, which took the actual sale total to $4,072,500.

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Saturday 26th May 2001

15 years ago

Vittorio Brambilla (63), a Formula One driver from Italy who raced for the March, Surtees and Alfa Romeo teams,died. The Italian F3 Champion of 1972 moved through F2 into F1 in 1974. His moment came in Austria when he scored the March factory teamís first-ever championship Grand Prix win in pouring rain at the Osterreichring. Swapping March for Surtess in 1977 he also drove for Alfa Romeo in the World Sports Car Championship scoring four wins with the T33 and winning the Championship for the team. Vittorio was involved in the start crash in Monza 1978 which claimed the life of Ronnie Peterson, suffering severe concussion which kept him out of the cockpit for almost a year, before Alfa Romeo brought him back for the last three races of the season. He made two more appearances for them in 1980, but it was painfully obvious that his days as a Grand Prix driver were over, though he did race the Osella sports car in a few rounds of the World Championship of Makes, before phasing himself out completely in 1981. He died of a heart attack at the age of 63 while working in his garden.

Vittorio Brambilla

Vittorio Brambilla

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Thursday 11th December 2003

13 years ago

Michael Schumacher tried to prove he was faster than a speeding plane when he took on an Eurofighter Typhoon in his Ferrari F2003 at the Baccarini military airport near Rome. However, he lost 2-1 over three distances - 600,900 and 1200 metres. The Ferrari boasted a top speed of 370kph against the fighter's 2450kph; the jet, which was stripped of weapons, weighed in at 21,000 kilos against the Ferrari's 600. The race was organised to mark 100 years of manned flight and the 50th anniversary of the death of Tazio Nuvolari. Nuvolari performed a similar stunt in 1931 when he raced his Alfa Romeo 8C2300 against a Caprioni 100 biplane. "It was a very interesting experience," said Schumacher after the races. "I was glad to be here today - it was very impressive,"

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Saturday 25th February 2006

11 years ago

The all-new Alfa Romeo 159, a true sporting saloon in the classic Alfa Romeo tradition, went on sale in the UK.The 159 used the GM/Fiat Premium platform, shared with the Alfa Romeo Brera and Spider production cars, and with the Kamal and Visconti concept cars. The 159 was placed third in the 2006 European Car of the Year awards. Production of the 159 ended in late 2011, although it is still marketed in several countries. Around 240,000 cars were built.

Alfa Romeo 159

Alfa Romeo 159

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Saturday 8th April 2006

10 years ago

The new Alfa Brera, a sports coupe in the classic Alfa Romeo tradition went on sale in the UK.

Alfa Romeo Brera

Alfa Romeo Brera

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Friday 22nd June 2007

9 years ago

Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex made over £6.1 million, making it the most successful in the festival’s history. The ‘star’ car was a 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Spider, which fetched an incredible £1.4 million. The Alfa, equipped with a supercharged 2.3-litre, 8-cylinder engine, is capable of 115 mph.

1932 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Spider

1932 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Spider

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Saturday 4th April 2009

7 years ago

Up until this date, the late and great Juan Manuel Fangio held a little known record. For nearly 55 years the five-time World Champion was the only driver ever to put a brand new car on pole position in both of the first two Grands Prix of a debutant team. That was back in 1954, driving a silver arrow Mercedes-Benz. Jenson Button, in the new Brawn Formula 1 car, scored the 2nd pole position in a row for Brawn GP at the Malaysian Grand Prix with the driver and team thus matching the Fangio/Mercedes achievement. The race was due to be contested over 56 laps, but due to torrential rain, the race was stopped after 31 laps. The race was won by Jenson Button.. Nick Heidfeld was classified second for BMW Sauber with Timo Glock third for Toyota. As the race did not reach the required 75% distance (42 laps) needed for full points to be awarded, half-points were given instead for only the fifth time in Formula One history, and the first since the 1991 Australian Grand Prix. The race distance of 171.833 km, was the fifth shortest ever covered in a World Championship Grand Prix. Brawn GP became only the second constructor to win their first two World Championship Grands Prix since Alfa Romeo won the first two ever, in 1950.

Brawn GP -2009 - Jenson Button

Brawn GP -2009 - Jenson Button

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