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Old 29 Jul 2002, 03:12 (Ref:1793645)   #1
Sharky
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Nuvolari, Tazio

First of all I must apologize for the rather long thread but I just couldn't help it. I find the subject just too fascinating.

Well since I am rather young (22) I didn't have the chance to see some of the great legends of Formula 1 in action(Jim Clark, Fangio, Moss, Gilles Villeneuve, Rindt, etc.). However, the fact that I didn't have the chance to see them doesn't mean that I don't know about them. I try to read as much racing history as I can.

A couple of months ago I stumbled into this page http://www.ddavid.com/formula1/story.htm and I was absolutely fascinated. But what struck me the most was the stories about Nouvolari. I had known that he was probably one of the bravest drivers ever (I couldn't believe it when I first read the story of him racing with his broken legs tied up to his motorcycle). And the way he beat the all mighty Mercedes and Auto Unions, with their all mighty german drivers such as Rudolf Caracciola, in the German grand prix with an underpowered Alfa much to the disgust of the nazis and perhaps a "preview" of what Jessie Owen would do some months later at the olimpics. But what struck me the most was the following which I'll quote from that page regarding the 1956 Mille Miglia from the part "death of a giant":

...Already suffering from ill health he entered the grueling race again the following year. Driving a new sports car from Ferrari he soon found himself where he belonged, in the lead. Though Nuvolari was very sick, coughing and spitting blood he was still able to open an incredible 29-minute lead over his own teammate! Driving in the only manner that he knew, flat out on the edge, he left parts of his car all along the Italian countryside. Whether it was the manner in which his car was built or his driving style, the Ferrari slowly came apart. Soon the driver's seat came loose and was shortly replaced with a sack of oranges and still he drove on. Knowing that he was dying and that this might be his last chance for a victory he would not, could not quit. When he reached Maranello his appearance shocked Enzo Ferrari, who begged him to quit even at the cost of denying Ferrari his first victory. Some thought that he was on a suicide mission to die at the wheel of a race car rather than in a hospital. Finally the brakes on his car failed while still leading the race. He had driven the Ferrari as fast as he could, as long as he could and had it not failed nothing on this earth could have taken this last great victory from his grasp. His race over he stopped his car by the side of the road, exhausted he was lifted from his car by a local priest and put to bed. This turned out to be his last major race and five years later he was to die in bed. This man of small physical stature had the heart of a giant.

Now, to tell you the truth, I almost cried when I read this. And it makes you think about how much had auto racing lost during the years. But it also got me thinking that perhaps the history books aren't fair to him either. When people talk about the old days of auto racing they talk abot Fangio and Ascari and Moss and...there's very little talk about Nouvolari. Not that Fangio and Ascari and Moss didn't deserve such recognition because they did......but, from what I've read, Nouvolari was probably one of the greatest (I use greatest since I can't think of a more superlative adjective)drivers ever but not one of the most remembered which is an absolute shame.

What are your thoughts? And for those who know all there is to know about racing history, is there anything else you can say about him? Any other stories about him? I would really love reading more about him
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Old 29 Jul 2002, 09:20 (Ref:1793646)   #2
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Great post, and a reminder of one of the greatest drivers of all time. Because he missed out on the post war F1 championships he is often forgotten in 'Greatest driver' type polls. As well as epic F1 drives, (such as the German Grand Prix you mention), he also won the Mille Miglia and Le Mans before the war.

And there is no doubt that those early drivers were incredibly brave, how many modern drivers would drive like that or in that condition? Schumacher? Fat chance. And some people think he is the greatest of all time...
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Old 29 Jul 2002, 10:42 (Ref:1793647)   #3
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Three words: THE GREATEST EVER

In 1934 he raced at the AVUS in a GP Alfa Romeo, still with a leg in plaster after a motorcycle accident - he was "only" fifth.

Even in the 1930s, he was already considered the greatest driver to have ever lived, and topped a poll in "The Motor" in 1935.

For more detail on the great Tazio, check out the official Nuvolari website (in English and Italian) -

www.tazionuvolari.it

Don't miss the gallery!
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Old 29 Jul 2002, 10:47 (Ref:1793648)   #4
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I always wondered about Martin Brundles overalls in 1985 - they were blue legged and canary yellow top - reckon they were a tribute to the great mans overalls?
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Old 29 Jul 2002, 22:35 (Ref:1793649)   #5
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Thanks for the link Vitesse. Great page, and those pics are excellent!
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Old 31 Jul 2002, 18:28 (Ref:1793650)   #6
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The story of Nuvolari's last Mille Miglia in fact happened in 1948, and not in 1956. Nuvolari originally had been entered by Cisitalia for a works car, but at the start in Brescia the car was not ready due to an accident which happened shortly before. Tazio was extremely disappointed, because most probably he knew already that this would have been his last chance to win the MM again. He met his old friend Enzo Ferrari in the Hotel at Brescia, asking him for a car, but all works cars as well as the customer cars had been entered already for other drivers. Only car available at Maranello was the tipo 166 Spyder Corsa with c/n 010I, which belonged to Prince Igor Troubetskoy. Troubetskoy was a Russian aristocrat who emigrated to France, and who married Barbara Hutton (the well-known heir of the Woolworth money), hence it was no problem for him to buy one of the most expensive racing cars of the period and to race it only for fun. Troubetskoy had to travel to Paris on short notice to attend his sick wife, and left # 010I at Maranello as usual. Enzo Ferrari phoned home, and the next day the Spyder Corsa was available at Brescia for scrutineering, bearing the high number 1049 as one of the very last entries.

http://www.axos.nl/retrorace/ferrari...-MM-1948-1.jpg

1st of May 1948, 4h33 in the night - Tazio Nuvolari and copilot Andrea Scapinelli leaving Brescia.

http://www.axos.nl/retrorace/ferrari...-MM-1948-2.jpg

Verona - Padova - Ferrara - Ravenna - Rimini - Pesaro - Spoleto - 5 hours, 40 minutes, and 22 seconds later they reached Rome, 12 minutes faster than the big Alfa-Romeo of Sanesi, and 22 minutes faster than the final winner Clemente Biondetti on another Ferrari. Tazio just heard form the spectators, that they are leading, telling Scapinelli he cannot believe it!

http://www.axos.nl/retrorace/ferrari...-MM-1948-6.jpg

The officials confirm their lead. Some lemonade ...

http://www.axos.nl/retrorace/ferrari...-MM-1948-3.jpg

... and on it goes, engine cover and left wing still missing, but who cares!

http://www.axos.nl/retrorace/ferrari...-MM-1948-5.jpg

Grosseto - Livorno - Pisa - Firenze - and by winding mountain roads across the Apennins arriving totally exhausted at Bologna for a short break, where the Scuderia mechanics filled the car up, and checked the tyres.

http://www.axos.nl/retrorace/ferrari...-MM-1948-7.jpg

He was in the lead for more than 20 minutes, and here he met Enzo Ferrari, who asked him to retire in god's name, and wait for next year's Mille Miglia. And Tazio's reply was "For men of our age there are not enough next years!"

Parma - Piacenza - Alessandria - Torino, 29 minutes in the lead, and also after the breaks of the litte Ferrari stopped working, Nuvolari went through. It was Tazio who said 15 years earlier "Breaks are not important, because they restrain me from dringing fast!"

Finally the rear suspension broke, and Nuvolari's last great race was over...

The Spyder Corsa # 010I was a wreck, besides the visible damages also engine and gearbox needed to be rebuilt, and the Prince was totally upset that Ferrari gave his personal car away without his permission. But the next day the Italian newspapers praised Nuvolari as moral winner of the race, and they also praised Prince Troubetskoy for his kindness giving his car to "our Nivola", allowing him to participate in this 1000 mile race across Italy. After reading this, Troubetskoy was quiet, but even after Ferrari repaired the car to new condition, and gave it back to him, the Prince remained on non-speaking terms with Enzo Ferrari for the rest of their life.
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Old 31 Jul 2002, 19:28 (Ref:1793651)   #7
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Excellent Michael!!! Thanks a lot. Great pics and the story turns out to be even more amazing than what I thought!
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Old 2 Aug 2002, 07:26 (Ref:1793652)   #8
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I was just wondering if anyone knows of any books that are of the great man. I am having trouble finding anything writtern in the english. I found that an american magazine carried and two issue story that was very well written it was in "Vintage Racecar" in the April and May editions.
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Old 2 Aug 2002, 10:32 (Ref:1793653)   #9
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There was a biography by Johnny Lurani, which was published in English in 1959. Chaters have a copy for sale at the moment. That's the good news - the bad news is it's priced at £125: that's about AU$340.
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Old 7 Aug 2002, 05:38 (Ref:1793654)   #10
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Thank you Vitesse.
Iam glad someone produced a biography.
Do they have a web address or email address?
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Old 7 Aug 2002, 13:52 (Ref:1793655)   #11
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www.chaters.co.uk
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Old 11 Aug 2002, 09:10 (Ref:1793656)   #12
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8-11-53
The greatest racer of all time died from lung disease and pnuemonia.
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Old 12 Aug 2002, 21:59 (Ref:1793657)   #13
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In the 1947 Mille Miglia, Nuvolari drove a 1090cc Cisitalia spider. He finished 2nd overall to an Alfa Romeo 8c2900B coupe with the blowers removed (no superchargers were allowed that year). The only reason he finished 2nd instead of 1st is that it was pouring rain, and the ignition got swamped while running throung a large puddle. At the end of the race, he was pulled out of the car and carried to bed. This was after the 1947 race, and NOT after the 1948 in which the Ferrari literally fell apart around him.

In 1935, Nuvolari beat all the Auto Unions and Mercedes at the German GP with an outdated Alfa.

IMO, he was the greatest driver ever.
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Old 13 Aug 2002, 08:33 (Ref:1793658)   #14
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No Doubt about it...He had more heart, more will to win than any man before or since
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Old 13 Aug 2002, 10:09 (Ref:1793659)   #15
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Fangio drove beyond himself at the Nurburgring in 57 and said he never wanted to drive like that again. Nuvolari drove beyond himself and his machine again and again. Strad has is just right, no driver has ever showed so much repeated commitment to win at all costs, combined with the skill and courage to actually do it.

(I do wonder what it must have been like to have been a mechanic/passenger with him on the Mille Miglia... )
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Old 13 Aug 2002, 20:19 (Ref:1793660)   #16
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""For the Targa Floria of 1932 he requested of Enzo Ferrari a mechanic who weighed as little or less than he. Nuvolari took the young and inexperienced mechanic that Ferrari had given him and told him that he would warn him when they approached a particularly difficult corner so as not to unduly frighten the young man. As they approached a corner, Nuvolari would shout for the mechanic to take cover under the dashboard. After the race and another victory for Nuvolari, Ferrari asked the mechanic how he had made out. "Nuvolari started shouting at the first bend and finished at the last one," the boy answered. "I was down at the bottom of the car all the time."""

I can't find the other quote from his passenger when the car was falling apart and he purposely clipped a bridge abutment to take off an offending fender or something that was dangling off and bothering him..


Here take a look...
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Old 14 Aug 2002, 07:38 (Ref:1793661)   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by strad
[B]I can't find the other quote from his passenger when the car was falling apart and he purposely clipped a bridge abutment to take off an offending fender or something that was dangling off and bothering him..[B]
Don't worry, I doubt it's repeatable!
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Old 14 Aug 2002, 07:42 (Ref:1793662)   #18
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one of the greatest ... maybe the one ..
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Old 15 Aug 2002, 18:11 (Ref:1793663)   #19
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We forget the pre-war drivers so often. But the skill, the daring, the endurance... And the sheer love of what they were doing. These men were giants. And Nuvolari was a god, so skillful and passionate. I _do_ have to give the slight edge to Rosemeyer, as his career was so much shorter than Nuvolaris, and the fact that he had never driven a race car before those beastly V16 Autounions. But the gap between these two is so small, and they both stand head and shoulders above all others. Fangio, Senna, Ascari, Clark, and Gilles Villeneuve are the only postwar drivers who can be classified with these magnificent legends.

Thanks so much Michael for bringing so much more to the '48 Mille Miglia story. One of the most beautifully tragic stories I've read.
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Old 25 Aug 2002, 20:55 (Ref:1793664)   #20
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Wow!

These stories are fantastic! Very few drivers have ever put their commitment to winning and driving flat out to the same extent as Nuvolari has showed in these stories.

To my mind the only one who could possibly be put as equal to Nuvolari is Senna and vice versa with Nuvolari being the equal to Senna. Senna lived to win, race and drive fast. Nuvolari showed this with his last race.

Top stuff!
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Old 26 Aug 2002, 07:29 (Ref:1793665)   #21
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Only one man to my mind has had the same fervor of Nuvolari and that was Gilles Villeneuve....
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Old 28 Aug 2002, 04:11 (Ref:1793666)   #22
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strad i totaly agree with that. Gilles was a racers racer in the same mould as Tazio and Bernard Rosemeyer. Senna was just one step below them, JUST.

What where the nicknames that Tazio used to called? I know a few but just wondering what the others where.
Nivola, The Flying Mantuan where two.
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Old 28 Aug 2002, 06:05 (Ref:1793667)   #23
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Old 2 Sep 2002, 17:06 (Ref:1793668)   #24
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Old 21 Feb 2003, 14:22 (Ref:1793669)   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lee Janotta
Fangio, Senna, Ascari, Clark, and Gilles Villeneuve are the only postwar drivers who can be classified with these magnificent legends.
And what about Stirling Moss ?

I just finish to read "All but my life" and I really think Moss and Nuvolari are very close characters. And their achievements match perfectly.
The same success in all kind of racing : sports car, long races, driving with the handicap of outclassed cars ...
And the same total dedication to motor sport.
The only difference could be the fact that Nuvolari lasted 20 years later as Moss a career he started also some 20 years earlier (at the wheel of a car in fact ...).

I just bought "when Nuvolari raced" by Moretti. Expensive book (75 UK£) and I'm a little bit disapointed : it's mainly quote of the old newspaper reports. I let you know when I finish my reading ...

Y.
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