Posts Tagged ‘Alfa Romeo Tipo B’

(Ullstein Bild)

On July 28, 1935 Tazio Nuvolari defeated nine superior Silver Arrows over 22 laps, 312 miles, on the challenging, treacherous, Nurburgring in an outclassed 265bhp Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3 during the German Grand Prix…

The foreboding, moody image above shows seventh placed Hanns Geier’s Mercedes Benz W25A 3.4-litre 302bhp straight-8 supercharged (s/c). He is ahead of one of four Auto Union B Types in the race, these machines powered by 5-litre 375 bhp V16 s/c motors.

Overnight, thousands of spectators arrived in the Eifel Mountains, what greeted them on race morning was fog and light, misty rain. It rained progressively harder as the 11am start time approached, then stopped not long before the off.

(unattributed)

In front of some 300,000 spectators, Rudy Caracciola led initially in a Benz W25B 4-litre 370-430 bhp for the first nine laps, with Nuvolari in second after one lap aboard his 3.2-litre straight-8 s/c Alfa. He fell back after a lap two spin at Bergwerk. At this stage of the race Bernd Rosemeyer, AU mounted, broke the lap record in his chase of Rudy, but he was unable to close the gap completely.

Rosemeyer then spun into the Breidscheid ditch, and arrived well back then went into the pits with a wobbly rear wheel and a throttle linkage jammed with mud. The only Alfa left in the race at the end of lap six was Nuvolari in fifth place.

Tazio made up time in the winding and downhill sections where the greater engine power of the German machines could not be successfully deployed. Nuvolari then passed Von Brauchitsch, Mercedes W25B for third on the outside of the Karussell, Brauchitsch regained the place on the following lap.

What a drive – one of the greatest in the opinions of all who matter (unattributed)

Caracciola still led on lap nine, but Tazio was now within eight seconds of him, and passed him on lap 10. The first four cars were then covered by just over 10 seconds, and the three Silver Arrows by only a few metres; the order was Nuvolari, Caracciola, Rosemeyer, and Brauchitsch.

The top three cars pitted on lap 11, Nuvolari’s stop was a shocker, the mechanics, in their excitement, broke the refuelling pump handle! He lost one minute 27 seconds to his competitors, the order at the end of lap 12 was the Luigi Fagioli Merc W25A, Brauchitsch Merc, Rosemeyer AU, Caracciola Merc, Stuck AU B-Type, and the Nuvolari Alfa.

At the end of the following lap the order was Brauchitsch, Rosemeyer, Caracciola and Nuvolari. Rosemeyer pitted at the end of lap 13 to address his throttle linkage, which was still binding, that must have been somewhat of a problem in a car of power on those tyres in such greasy conditions – this put him out of contention. Von Brauchitsch led on laps 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21- with Nuvolari second from lap 15.

“The German had to pay for his tyre-murdering style of driving,”when the left rear tyre came apart on lap 22, only nine km from the finish. Nuvolari passed Von Brauchitsch, stricken Mercedes, heading towards a well-deserved victory for Alfa Romeo.” Stuck’s Auto Union was second, ahead of Caratch, Rosemeyer and Von Brauchitsch with his Mercedes on the rim in fifth.

Whilst the crowd cheered, the win it was not quite so popular with the Nazi mob present…

Credits…

Ullstein Bild, race report summary by Hans Etzrodt on Kolumbus.fi

Finito…

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Amazing Reims background as Nuvolari blasts his Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Tipo B/P3 to French GP victory on 14 July 1932…

What an endurance test, the race 5 hours in duration! Grands Prix have been 200 miles for so long its easy to forget what the ‘titans’ coped with nearly 100 years ago. Maserati didn’t race so it was a straight fight between Bugatti and Alfa Romeo with the Milan brigade winning comprehensively in their new 2.65 litre straight- 8 Vittorio Jano designed machines.

It was Nuvolari from Baconin Borzacchini and Rudy Caracciola in Alfa Corse entered cars, the best placed Bugatti T51 that of Louis Chiron in 4th.

This article is some words around some great shots of  Nuvolari from the Getty Images archives, treat it as the first in an occasional ‘at random’ series.

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Tazio, Bremgarten, Swiss GP, Bern 21 August 1938 (Klemantaski Collection)

 Swiss GP, Bern 21 August 1938…

Tazio during the race held in awfully wet conditions. Seaman’s Mercedes lead from pole from teammates Stuck and Caracciola, he opened up a good lead but lost it after being boxed in by backmarkers allowing Rudy to sneak through.

Muller’s Auto Union raced well, Stuck spun and Tazio had undisclosed mechanical dramas in their mid-engined Type D’s. Mercedes 1-3 result was Caratch from Seaman and Manfred von Brauchitsch, all in W154’s.

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Donington GP 1938

’38 Donington GP…

The winds  of change were blowing in Europe, the race date was changed due to the Munich crisis by three weeks, the race held on 22 October 1938. Nuvolari’s exciting weekend started in practice when his Auto Union Type D 3 litre V12 ran into a deer! But he lead the race from the start then ceded the lead to Herman Lang, pitting an additional time. The engine of Hansons Alta blew with Hasse spinning and crashing on the oil and Dick Seaman losing a lap. Tazio sneaked past Muller back into 2nd, then Herman slowed with a broken windscreen giving the plucky Mantuan the lead which he held to the end of the race. Lang was 2nd and Seaman 3rd both in 3 litre V12 Mercedes Benz W154

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Tazio with some Nazi flunkies, ‘International Automobile and Motor Cycle Show’ 18 February 1939 Berlin. Hard to avoid these pricks racing for a German team at the time i guess (Popperfoto)

International Automobile & Mototcycle Show, 18 February 1939…

The first German automotive show was held in Berlin in 1897 with 8 cars, visitor numbers grew exponentially together with the growth of motoring itself, by 1939 825,000 people attended to see the new VW and other more sporting exhibits.

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TN Jaguar XK 120, Intl Trophy Meeting, Silverstone 26 August 1950 (J Wilds)

Silverstone International Trophy Meeting 26 August 1950…

Tazio was entered in a red, standard, ex-demo factory XK120 Jaguar in the production sportscar race during this famous annual meeting.

The MotorSport report of the meeting records ‘It was splendid to see Nuvolari go round at 75.91 mph in a hard-used Jaguar demonstrator, using his gearbox where others trod on their brakes, but on Friday he was said to be ill from methanol fumes – odd, for the production cars were on petrol – and Whitehead drove for him’.

Nuvolari was quite ill by this stage and struggled, he did three slow laps on the first day of practice then Jaguar team manager Lofty England had the task of telling Tazio that he was too slow as a consequence of his fitness.

Doug Nye made this observation of the genius on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’; ‘In his final years Nuvolari was a variably sick man, varying from being in frail shape to being in terrible shape. I have been told by many who met the great man at that Silverstone meeting that he was, indeed, in terrible shape that weekend…and they were all greatly concerned for him…some even wondering if he might not survive the journey home…

Nuvolari had at least as a high a proportion of admirers amongst British racing enthusiasts as he had in his native Italy, and possibly higher, and for many it was like seeing a retired old thoroughbred racehorse, attemping one last gallop on grass, arthritic, blown, sway-backed, and broken down … for many present that weekend it was remembered as a terribly sad sight… particularly for those who recalled the sight of Nuvolari in his pomp at Donington Park, 1938’.

Nuvolari died on 11 August 1953 having suffered a stroke which partially paralysed him the year before, a second one killed him.

Credit…

Imagno, J Wilds, Getty Images

Tailpiece: Moss and Nuvolari at the International Trophy meeting, Silverstone 1950. Shot is symbolic of generational change but it’s also clear just how fragile the great man had become…

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lex davo

Who What Where and When?…its Lex Davison in his Alfa Romeo P3 ‘50003’…the where is a little more interesting?…

My writer/historian friend Stephen Dalton thinks its Fishermans Bend, Victoria at the 13 March 1949 meeting…the background looks bucolic to me so it may be Ballarat Airfield in 1950? All correspondence will be entered into.

The shot itself is by George Thomas, i tripped over it…ripper shot which catches the essence of these airfield circuits.

I will get around to writing about this wonderful Alfa in due course, on the basis that it is Fishermans Bend Davo won the 12 lap, 25 mile scratch race from Charlie Dean in Maybach 1, those of you who have read my Stan Jones article will be familiar with this car, Arthur Wylie in a Ford V8 Spl was 3rd.

Credits…

George Thomas, Stephen Dalton, ‘Australian Motor Sports’ 14 April 1949