V.E.V. Miscellany, June 1969
When a barn was demolished in Bedfordshire recently it revealed a somewhat tatty Standard Avon…
The Will of Mussolini.
SO Tazio Nuvolari has responded to the call of his country ! The greatest driver of all time has officially signed up with the Scuderia Ferrari, and will lead the” National “team of Alfa-Romeos during the coming season. it certainly seemed a bit queer to find two Frenchmen in the first three of the Ferrari personnel, and Mussolini finally decided that an Italian ” No. 1 ” must be found at all costs. Varzi had deserted to Auto-Union, while Fagioli was busy at Stuttgart, so Nuvolari was told to cancel all his plans as an independent and report for duty at Modena.
To me, Nuvolari’s name is naturally coupled with Alfa,-Romeo. It seems only right and proper that he should drive an Alfa, and I could never quite reconcile myself to the sight of him handling a Bugatti, or a Maserati. In the same way I always think of Louis Chiron at the wheel of a Bugatti, and Caracciola in a Mercedes-Benz. Habit, I suppose.
Talking of Nuvolari reminds me that I apparently owe him a humble apology. A correspondent, Mr. Fleming, has pointed out that last month I committed the heinous crime of saying ” The only other Italian driver of class besides Varzi is Fagioli.” Looked at like that it certainly was a gaffe. I had in mind that the Ferrari-Nuvolari negotiations were temporarily suspended, so perhaps I should have added a sentence to that effect. No, that won’t do. Admit you made a mistake and have done with it 1 Sorry ‘Fazio, I think you arc every bit as good as Mr. Fleming says you are. [See Letters from Readers.—Ed.].
At the Alfa-Romeo Factory.
The racing department of the vast Alfa-Romeo factory presents an amazingly busy aspect just now. The new 8cylinder 4-litre cars with independent springing are rapidly nearing completion, and will probably make their debut at Monte Carlo in the Monaco G.P. The 12-cylinder 41-litre jobs are not so advanced, because they are not due to appear until. the French Grand Prix on June 23rd.
Meanwhile a brace of last year’s 3-litre Monopostos have been prepared for the Pau Grand Prix on the 24th February, where they will be handled by Nuvolari and Dreyfus.
A Ferrari-Fiat to Challenge Campbell ?
I have always wondered why Italy has not sent out a contender for the World’s Flying-Start Kilometre Record. In the air they have left every other nation standing, thanks to the efforts of Francesco Agello. His 440 M.p.h. will take a lot of beating. Now rumour says that Sir Malcolm Campbell’s trip to Daytona has aroused the Italian competitive instinct, and work is being carried out both at the Ferrari works and the Fiat factory with e view to producing the requisite monster. The former are building a special chassis, while the Fiat share of the combination consists of preparing two V12 engines in tandem, giving a total horse-power of 3,100. A ” paper ” speed of 350 m.p.h. has been computed.
Count Trossi is to handle the completed car, but the difficult matter of location seems to be as yet undecided. Perhaps Mussolini will order a special road!
Although this rumour has been denied in Italy, I am reminded that there cannot be smoke without fire, or words to that effect. We shall see.
The Ferrari Programme.
There is a certain magnitude about the Scuderia Ferrari operations which is decidedly impressive. The whole thing is so carefully worked out and competently managed that success must, one feels, inevitably come their way. There are no last-minute decisions to enter cars for a race, and the machines are nearly always in perfect mechanical condition. Here is their full programme for 1935. Look up the dates of the events, and then figure out the organisation required. It will make your head ache 1 Pau Grand Prix, Mille Miglia, La Turbie Hill-climb, Monaco Grand Prix, Circuit Of Madonie, Tunis Grand Prix, Tripoli Grand Prix, Coppa Bergamo, Avus Grand Prix, Circuit of Turin, Bordino Grand Prix, Montreux Grand Prix, Penya Rhin Grand Prix, Eifel Grand Prix, Kesselburg Hill-Climb, French Grand Prix, Susa Montcenisio Bill
Marne Grand Prix, Belgian Grand Pie, Circuit of Dieppe, German Grand Prix, Comminges Grand Prix, Coppa Ciano, Luxembourg Grand Prix, Coppa Acerbo, Nice Grand Prix, Swiss Grand Prix, Pontedechno Giovi Hill-Climb, Stelvio Hill-Climb, Vichy Grand Prix, Italian Grand Prix, Mont Ventoux Hill-Climb, Circuit of Modena, Dutch Grand Prix, Spanish Grand Prix, Masaryk Grand Prix, Circuit of Naples, Acropolis Grand Prix.
I notice that the Kesseiburg and Mont Ventoux Hill-climbs are to be attacked. These are Stuck’s particular province, and it will be interesting to see whether he can defend his records from the Italian invasion.
Record Le Mans Entry.
There seems every likelihood of the full quota of 60 entries being reached for the G.P. d’Endurance at Le Mans. At the closing date for the second period, no fewer than 56 cars had been entered, leaving four vacancies to be filled before February 28th. In addition to the entries published in our February issue, the following have since been received :— Alfa-Romeo, 1,750 c.c. (Guy) ; AstonMartin, 1,500 c.c. (Percy Gardner) ; Unspecified (Argo) ; Unspecified (Royer); Unspecified (D. Porthault) ; ‘Unspecified
(Pascal), Unspecified (Comet) ; M.H. Magnette (Maillard-Brune) ; Unspecified (Roy Eccles) ; Riley, 1,500 c.c. (Jean Trevoux) ; Bugatti, 4,900 c.c. (Treizefonts) ; M.G. Magnette (E. Hetzberger) ; Austin, 750 c.c., three cars (Austin Company) ; Bugatti, 3,300 c.c. (de SouzaDantas) ; Singer, 972 c.c. (G. Hendy) ; Unspecified (R. Sommer).
I have been asked by I. F. Connell to point out that his unspecified entry is a joint effort with Roy Percival.
An interesting addition to the list is the team of Austins. These will presumably be of the new type, and handled by Messrs. Driscoll, Stanley Woods and Dodson. Another English entry will be G. E. T. Eyston’s team of lady drivers, who will handle M.G. Midgets. The ladies, by the way, will be Mrs. Wisdom and Mrs. Petre, and the Misses Doreen Evans, Eileen Ellison, Margaret Allen and Fay Taylour. With 60 cars on the road at once the race should be a fine spectacle, even on the over-long Le Mans circuit. So far the expected team of Type 500 Merced6sBenz have not materialised. A pity. The race will be truly international in character : 27 British drivers, 26 French, 1 Roumanian, 1 Dutch, and 1 Brazilian. It is amazing to find no Italians. As to cars, there are 2 Alfa-Romeos, 4 AstonMartin’s, 4 Austin’s, 1 B.N.C., 4 Bugattis, 1 Derby, 1 Frazer Nash, 7 M.G.’s, 6 Riley’s, 7 Singers, 1 Talbot, and 1$
unspecified. There are 11 ” works ” entries, from Aston Martin, Austin, Derby, Riley and Singer.
Hans Stuck—Gadgeteer !
A friend of mine recently had the opportunity of inspecting Hans Stuek’s 12cylinder Horeb, his personal ” AutoUnion,” and says he has never seen a car with so many gadgets and accessories. The dash board was a bristling mass of switches and dials.
In addition to the usual gauges, Stuck has an altitude-meter, a gradient meter, and a beautiful ship’s compass. Then we turned to the switches-24 of them in all ! Several of them were used for tracing plug-trouble to the faulty cylinders, it being possible to cut out six of the twelve by a single switch. Frau Stuck swears that the car will be struck by lightning one day, but her husband merely smiles! Built into the dash is a cigarette box which hands you a lighted cigarette. Stuck himself, by the way, is a nonsmoker. Anti-thief devices, of course, amuse him, so he has a hidden petrolswitch which he casually presses on leaving the car. Twice it has been stolen, but the thieves have only taken it for a few hundred yards Stuck believes in comfort, and so does his wife. They have fitted the Horch with an amazing number of heaters, and the temperature is controlled by means of cunning draught-free ventilators. A little refinement which lots of us would like is a tank of hot water for washing one’s hands after a roadside adjustment
or tyre change. An unusual fitting is an alarm-clock, which also rings out as a single ” ping” after every 100 kilometres.
But the gem of his gadgets is a black panel just below the number-plate at the rear of the car. This is one of those electric signs which spell out a given number of letters. If Stuck comes up with a bad driver he passes him and signals his disapproval in a brief but expressive manner ! Compliments are within its scope, of course, and I can imagine plenty of situations when this device would be really useful!
” Italian Experts.”
In Italy racing drivers have to possess an ” experts” licence before they can compete in big events. This year several modifications have been made to the rules of qualification, an item which has received particular attention being the period during which performances are reckoned. This has resulted in certain drivers, who have not been active lately, being removed from the list, and licences have been issued to the following : Balestrero, Barbieri, Bignami, Bonetto, Brivio, Carravoli, Comotti, Conelli, Cortese, Fagioli, Farina, Ferrari, Furmanik, Ghersi, Magistri, Minoia, Nardilli, Nuvolari, Oneto, Pelligrini, Pintacuda, Rosa, Scarfiotti, Seven, Siena, Tadini, Taruffi, Trossi, Varzi, and Zehender.
The famous Paris-Nice Trial, always a popular event among French motorists, will take place this year on April 13th to 15th. On the first day the competitors will travel from Paris to Marseilles. The 14th will be taken up with a 500 metres speed trial in Marseilles ; and the competitors arrive at Nice on the 15th, during the morning. The cars will be put into a closed park during the luncheon interval, and the final tests will follow immediately. An interesting competition this year is for car-radios.
On the 18th April the hill-climb of La Turbie will be held, so that altogether this part of the Riviera will see plenty of motor sport during April.
In order to ensure a good field for the French Grand Prix on June 23rd, and to avoid the disappointment of last-minute scratching, the A.C.F. has stipulated that the sum of 10,000 francs per car must be deposited with each entry. This will be returned in the event of the car starting in the race, but scratching will involve forfeit of the guarantee.
No entries have been received so far, although the list was opened on February 1st. You *ill remember that entries can only be accepted from manufacturers or their nominees, with a maximum of four cars of each make. The prize money for the first four places is 100,000, 50,000, 20,000 and 10,000 francs respectively, and generous primes are being offered for the cars leading at various stages of the race.
This race, incidentally, has been earmarked for the first appearance of the 12-cylfbder 41-litre Alfa-Romeos, eager to avenge the defeat of the Mon opostos last year.
The Italian Calendar.
Italy and France vie closely with each other as the home of motor-racing, and each has a well-packed fixture list. Italy is ahead in its system of national championships for cars and drivers, and it is significant that this year a driver can only score points when he is driving an Italian car. Thus Cecchini, who last year won a title with his M.G. Magnette, will no longer be eligible, and the same thing applies to Varzi and Fagioli. Here are the various fixtures, in their different categories, with the prize-money in lire :
Taking the lira at the present rate of exchange there is a total of 07,400 for the chief events. Of this, the Italian Grand Prix claims £3,500.
The Association of “Independents.”
Good work is being done by the Committee of the A.G.A.C.I., a society of French independent drivers.
At their third meeting they reported active steps taken to secure adequate recognition of the small independent driver by road race organisers, and they hope to have a concrete proposal to put before members before long. Insurance matters are also being closely examined.
The meeting was well attended, not only by racing drivers but also by several Monte Carlo Rally competitors and wellknown personalities in the French world of motor sport. For my part, I wish the A.G.A.S.I. every success, for the lonedriver is undoubtedly a vital element in the welfare of motor racing, and for all but national Grand Prix races his presence is imperative. That being so, it is only fair that his services should be recognised, and his organisation assisted in every possible way.
The Georges BoIllot Club.
Meetings are being continually held to discuss the various details of the Club’s operations. In the main, it has been agreed with the Montlhery authorities that a reduced charge should be made for Club members practising there. Cars will be provided by the Club, and expert advice as to driving technique will be available.
Bol d’Or Qualification Race.
Following the custom introduced last year, the A.M.C.F. and A.C.I.F. are holding a qualifying race for the Bol d’Or, on March 3rd. Cars will run for eight hours on the circuit rout ier of the Lina.sMontlhery autodrome.
Some well-known drivers have entered, among them being A. Molinari (Balilla Fiat), Vial (Salmson), Debille (Salmson), Lemaitre (E.H.P.), Foultier (unspecified), Venot (La Pintade), and a six-cylinder Amilcar to be driven by a driver as yet unnamed.
Last year this race was won by MaillardBrune (M.G. Midget), who also tied for first place in the Bol d’Or proper.
My remarks last month about the engine size of the Auto-Union have brought in their train some enquiries for more details about these unorthodox cars. One fitting, an unusual fitment on a racing car, is a speedometer calibrated to 350 k.p.h. Another is a little door in the side of the car. It is fitted with a lock, and when the car comes in after a few practice laps Dr. Porsche produces the one and only key. The instrument swings out and reveals a device which records the maximum revs, reached during the runand woe betide the driver who has exceeded Dr. Porsche’s instructions !
Incidentally the Auto-Unions are fitted with a special bracket on the scuttle, which houses a stop watch. The driver only has to move one band a few inches from the steering wheel in order to reach it. The English method, of course, is to sling the watch round your neck on a piece of string !
While Messrs. Watkinson, Turner, Briault, etc., have been winter-sporting at Grindelwald, Continental racing drivers have also been indulging in the thrills of ski-ing. Louis Braillard, however, had a serious accident at speed, and will be laid up for many months to come.
Rudolf Caracciola has been at St. Moritz. He took up his 5-litre MercedesBenz Coupe, and had with him as companions Hans Bernet and Luis Trenker, the film-actor and hero of “The Doomed Battalion.” Appropriately enough, Moritz was there too, to wit, Caracciola’s famous little dog. Stuck has had to forgo his usual long stay at Arosa, owing to his activities with the streamlined AutoUnion.
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