IT was with great regret that we had to announce last month the death of Luigi Arcangeli, the famous Italian driver, while practising for the Italian Grand Prix. Arcangeli had been designated by Signor Jano, chief engineer of the Alfa-Romeo concern as second driver to Campari on the first of the straight eight racers. This arrangement, however, did not appeal to the impetuous Arcangeli, who wanted to drive the new 12-cylinder car which was obviously the fastest machine which the Milanese firm has as yet produced, and he therefore begged Signor Jano to allow him to take this car round for some practice laps in order to show what he could do. Nuvolari who had been practising with this car had treated it with due respect, and had been content to increase his lap speeds gradually day by day while he learnt the feel of the new projectile. Not so Arcangeli, however. On his first flying lap of the Monza road circuit he proceeded to go round in 3 minutes 45 seconds or at an average of over 100 m.p.h. Signor Jano, fearing an accident, immediately hung out the ” slow ” signal, but Arcangeli merely drove the faster. On his second lap he was
negotiating the big loop of the circuit when the car skidded and hit a tree, the driver being killed instantly. There was no witness of the accident, for a man who was standing near the spot where it took place was so horrified at the sight of the racing car obviously out of control that he fled precipitately. From the wheel tracks, however, it is possible more or less to reconstruct the course of events which ended so disastrously. The car had just crossed a slightly hump-backed bridge, which undoubtedly served seriously to reduce wheel adhesion, and was taking a long gentle lefthand bend, when it got into a bad skid and proceeded sideways for about 200 yards. Arcangeli seems to have regained control for a moment but the car was still travelling at over 110 m.p.h. and finally it left the track, hit a tree round which it pivoted and ended up against another tree with its back wheels on the grass and its front ones on the track. Arcangeli was found lying on the ground with his shoes, which were laced ones, still in the car. The accident took place at almost exactly the same spot where Count Zborowski and Sivocci were
killed in previous years, and it is felt that this easy left-hand bend, corning just after the bridge, is excessively dangerous and should be altered. The car was found undamaged mechanically and started in the race on the Sunday in the hands of Nuvolari.
Arcangeli after making a great name for himself in motor cycle races, including the Tourist Trophy events in the Isle of Man, had lately shown himself a most dashing and skilful car driver. His outstanding success was probably his win in the Royal Grand Prix of Rome last year on a 2i-litre Ma,serati, and his decision to join the Alfa-Romeo team this year was a great loss to the Bolognese firm. As a mark of respect the Alf aRomeo concern was anxious to withdraw its team from the Italian Grand Prix, but a telegram was received which read : “I pay my most sincere respects to the champion Arcangeli who has died a glorious death ; I also think of Duty, and my orders are ‘Start and win.’ Mussolini.” After the conclusion of the race the Alfa-Romeo firm sent a telegram to Rome saying, “We have obeyed.”