When Nuvolari Raced, by Valerie Moretti. Veloce Publishing, 175 (leather binding £225). It is futile trying to compare the top racing drivers of quite different eras, although it is done. Surely, in the pre-war period, Italian Tazio Nuvolari was the greatest? And here is a very great book to commemorate him. It was chosen by the Mantuan Committee on Nuvolari’s Centenary, in fact, to be the official history of his long career, on motorcycles as well as in cars. Written by Valeria Moretti, the Italian representative on the Historical Commission of FIVA, this is the English translation, by Alfa Romeo expert and author Angela Cherrett. There have been other books about the great Nuvolari, notably that by Count Lurani, but now we have a splendid reference work. The Veloce volume not only contains a history of Nuvolari and his racing exploits but it has a section describing every car race he contested. The race accounts are from various well-known writers and pub
lications, mostly in warm praise of the Mantuan’s performances. They recall all Nuvolari’s races. These are not detailed reports but they are a fine outline of a remarkable racing career.
One even learns some new facts from them. The book points out that Nuvolari’s great ability as a car driver was apparent in the 1928 Circuit of Pezzo, where he unexpectedly beat Bordino with a Type 35C Bugatti, It caused Morie Morasse of Motori Aero Cicli di Sports to write: “There is something about him which has impressed us and that is his calmness when racing. He is a new man, with his own attitude and his own style, agile and decisive, simple and energetic when at the wheel, characteristics which come naturally to him. In him we discover a new type of driver, a champion of a new generation …” How fully that assessment was to be proved right, in the years that followed! Even as a sick man, when persuaded to compete in the 1950 Monte Pellegrino hillclimb in a Cisi
talia 204A with unsuitable gear ratios and no practice, he won his class.
So here it all is; the pictorial records atone are essential to any genuine Nuvolari admirer. The foreword is by the Mayor of Mantua, the origins of the Nuvolari family are traced and historic documents reproduced In Italian. have only the slightest criticism that we are not told why, after practising in it, Nuvolari did not drive Earl Howe’s Type 51 Bugatti in the 1933 Brooklands Mountain Championship race. Supporters of the Nuvolari legend needthis book. Apart from it being the definite work on one of the greatest racing drivers, and arranged as an easy reference work, it has so many interesting asides an explanation of the Tripoli sweepstake, which is shown to have been legal so far as the participating drivers were involved, how reconciliation with Enzo Ferrari was achieved when
Nuvolari found the current Maserati dangerous and needed to race for Ferrari, speculation about why he stayed with Bugatti when he might have joined the victorious Mercedes-Benz team, and his comment to his lawyer on accidents, of which Tazio had his fair share “You can see who is a real champion after a serious accident; if he still has the courage to race without sparing himself, then it proves that he really is someone.” If you want a copy, hurry: only 2000 will be printed. W B