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Priveta Scuderias in the 50's

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#1 Chico Landi

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Posted 04 July 2001 - 20:03


I was reading in a brazilian CD-ROM something about the Scuderia Centro Sud, who had been for ten years in F1 starting from mid 50's. There was written that Fangio was behind this team. Very strange, because there were only one argentinian driver (Menditeguy) and one brazilian (d'Orey) among many europeans.

Was that true? In fact, who owned (who was behind) the Scuderia Centro Sud?

Also, another one: can someone tell me who was the man behind the Scuderia Milano?


#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 July 2001 - 21:12

Scuderia Centro-Sud was founded by Gugliemeno Die, who was Maserati agent for southern Italy (thus the name). The northern Italy agent was Franco Cornacchia and he ran a team called Scuderia Guastalla. According to Pritchard, Landi shared a Guastalla 250F with Gerini at the 1956 Argentine GP, although Sheldon shows it as a works entry.

Scuderia Milano was founded by the Ruggeri brothers, but none of my references can provide a first name for them!!

#3 David McKinney

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Posted 04 July 2001 - 21:31

The Centro-Sud founder was Guglielmo 'Mimo' Dei.
The Landi/Gerini car in Argentina was certainly owned by Scuderia Guastalla, but might have been entered by the factory on that occasion. The works provided a service to private customers which often resulted in assisting to get entries, e.g. by fielding them as official team entries. Lots of Godia's race, for example, were as a works entry, but he was never a proper team member. He would have paid Maserati, rather than the other way round.

#4 Rob G

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Posted 04 July 2001 - 22:25

I know the names of two Ruggeri brothers, Amedeo and Arialdo, who both drove Maseratis throughout their racing careers. Amedeo drove from about 1929 into the early 1930s, while Arialdo's career stretched a few years either side of World War II. I don't know if there were any other Ruggeri brothers involved in racing.

#5 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 04 July 2001 - 22:55

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Scuderia Milano was founded by the Ruggeri brothers, but none of my references can provide a first name for them!!

As per Erwin Tragatsch in Das große Rennfahrerbuch, Amedeo Ruggeri started racing in 1925 with a 125cc GD two-stroke. He crashed fatally in December 1932, when attempting to establish world records at Montlhéry with the V5-Maserati, a 4.9-liter 16-cylinder bolide. Just before outbreak of WW II, his sons Jader and Luigi Ruggeri began their career on motorcycles. At practice for the 1947 Swiss GP, Jader crashed fatally with a 4-cylinder Gilera and soon thereafter Luigi was severely injured in an accident. Between these Ruggeris from Bologna and Ruggieri from Milano was no connection but it seems that Ruggeri and Ruggieri have frequently been mixed up.

Arnaldo Ruggieri founded the Scuderia Milano in 1946. As per Pritchard’s Maserati book, their first major race was at the Indy 500 in May 1946 with an 8CL Maserati for Luigi Villoresi, who came seventh. This car was entered in August 1946 for Ray Sommer at the Circuit des Trois Villes at Lille. Later at the Penya Rhin GP in October, Nello Pagani, Luigi Villoresi and Arnaldo Ruggieri drove Maseratis at the Pedralbes Circuit.

I am running out of time to look up further details. Have to leave for -4th of July- Independence Day celebrations.

#6 Michael Müller

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Posted 04 July 2001 - 22:56

Scuderia Milano had a status of a kind of inofficial Maserati works team.
Remember that Franco Cornacchia was Ferrari agent, was that before he joined Maserati, or did he sell both makes? Scuderia Guastalla also raced Ferraris in the early 50s, F2 (they bought some ex-SF cars) and sports cars.

#7 Don Capps

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Posted 05 July 2001 - 00:19

It was not an unusual practice for the Officine Alfieri Maserati to run customer cars as works works -- and on occasion without prior notice to the customer it seems... Needless to say this was a source for much despair in sorting out the various chassis at times. Plus, it was also a starting money maneuver that was supported by more than a few organizers.

This is a great topic for discussion. I was -- and still am -- fascinated by the Italian racing scene of the 1950's and early 1960's. I was fortunate enough to be there for some of the events, but unfortunate to be too young to take it all in, not realizing at the time that the internet would provide me this ability to share information.... :)

#8 David McKinney

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Posted 06 July 2001 - 04:16

Rather more Latin Americans raced in F1 for Scuderia Centro-Sud than the ones you mentioned, Chico (these lists include non-qualifiers):
Carlos Menditeguy (1955, 1960)
Roberto Mieres (1958)
Roberto Bonomi (1958, 1960)
Nasif Estéfano (1960)

Nano da Silva Ramos (1959)
Fritz d’Orey (1959)

Astrubal Bayardo Fontes (1959)

Moises Solana (1963)

Nor were they they only non-European drivers the team used:
Harry Schell (1956/57/58)
Masten Gregory (1957/58, 1960, 1964/65)
Troy Ruttmann (1958)
Carroll Shelby (1958)
Dale Duncan (1959)
Phil Hill (1964)

New Zealand
Chris Amon (1965)

South Africa
Tony Maggs (1964)

But it is true that there were lots of Europeans on the team as well:
Ivor Bueb (1957)
Horace Gould (1957/58)
Cliff Allison (1958)
Jack Fairman (1959)
Ian Burgess (1959/60)
Colin Davis (1959)

Louis Chiron (1956)
Jean Behra (1958)
Maurice Trintignant (1958, 1960, 1963)

Hans Herrmann (1957/58/59)
Wolfgang Seidel (1958)
Wolfgang von Trips (1960)

Lucien Bianchi (1965)
Willy Mairesse (1965)

Mario Cabral (1959/60/61, 1963)

Jo Bonnier (1957)

de Graffenried (1956)

And of course the country producing the most drivers was the team’s home country, especially towards the end:
Giorgio Scarlatti (1955, 1958, 1960)
Luigi Piotti (1955)
Luigi Villoresi (1956)
Piero Taruffi (1957)
Luigi Taramazzo (1958)
Gerino Gerini (1958)
M-T de Filippis (1958)
Alfonso Thiele (1960)
Lorenzo Bandini (1961, 1963)
Massimo Natili (1961, 1963)
Renato Pirocchi (1961)
Gino Munaron (1961)
Carlo Perolgio (1963)
Tino Brambilla (1963)
Carlo Abate (1963)
Giancarlo Baghetti (1964/65)
Giorgio Bassi (1965)
Gianpiero Biscaldi (1965)
Roberto Bussinello (1965)
Ludovico Scarfiotti (1965)

BTW, this list of names does not claim to be complete

#9 Marcor

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Posted 07 July 2001 - 21:17

The Scuderia Centro Sud came in NZ and Australia in the beginning of 1962, with Lorenzo Bandini and three cars (some Cooper Maseratis). The two other cars were driven by local drivers, including (I'm not sure) Mansel who had a fatal crash in a race in New-Zealand. Can someone confirm it ?

#10 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 07 July 2001 - 21:53

Centro Sud brought two Cooper-Maseratis to New Zealand in 1962.
Lorenzo Bandini drove one and local driver Johnny Mansell the other after Mimo Dei's original choice, Giancarlo Baghetti, was unavailable.
Mansell crashed with fatal results in the Dunedin road race.

#11 David McKinney

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Posted 09 July 2001 - 06:44

I'd never heard that Baghetti story, before, Milan.
Also, at the time it was believed that Mansel had bought his car - it's only in more recent years that it is suggested it was owned by the Scuderia. Of course, a lease arrangement is the most likely of all - in those days such deals were not publicised (try finding a 1957 reference to Ross Jensen leasing Whitehead's Monza Ferrari, for instance).
I saw the remains of the car on a trailer in a Wellington street - in two separate halves - after Mansel's Dunedin accident, and the story went around a few weeks later that, because it had entered NZ under customs bond, and because it was now not worth that amount, it was dumped in Cook Strait.
Any comments on (a) the Mansel ownership or (b) the car's fate?

#12 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 09 July 2001 - 10:05


The only reference I can lay my hands on at the moment is Vercoe's book in which he has this to say.

Mansell had the Cooper-Maserati overhauled totally by Ray Stone. There was talk that Mansell had bought the car but the remains of it (less the gearbox and possibly some other parts) were claimed by Centro Sud and returned to Italy after the tragic Dunedin crash.

In his other book (Historic Racing Cars of New Zealand) Vercoe states that the Collotti-Francis gearbox, still with Centro Sud identification on it, resides in the Bay of Plenty.

You are right about there never being any mention of leasing in those days. I was recently talking with Phil Neill, and he claimed that Whitehead's Monza Ferrari stayed in New Zealand. He says it was still in his garage when Whitehead was killed in 1958 and he had to ring Reg Parnell to find out what to do with the car.

#13 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 09 July 2001 - 11:15

From a Donn Anderson profile of Ray Stone published in the September 1971 edition of Motorman.

Mansell bought one of the Scuderia Centro Sud Cooper Maseratis in which to contest the 1962 season.

#14 David McKinney

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Posted 09 July 2001 - 12:51

I know Vercoe consistently spelled Mansell's name with a double 'l', but I'm sure Donn Anderson would have used the correct (one 'l') spelling.:)
Getting back to the question of ownership: there's a lot of material in Vercoe's books that don't tally with what was understood at the time, and it would have been good if he could have given reasons for departing from what was accepted. Which is another way of saying I don't think we know from this just what the real situation was. I was hoping you, being around at the time, might have heard stories which I, being around at the time, had not, which might have clarified the issue.

#15 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 09 July 2001 - 20:52

The spelling mistake was mine, not Donn's.
The last I heard of Ray Stone was that he was managing a marina somewhere. I'll try and get in touch and see if he can add anything.

#16 Egon Thurner

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Posted 30 January 2003 - 14:16

About the cars of the Scuderia Milano ...

Is there any evidence about Milano-cars, that had been SOLD after their Milano-career to (other) private drivers? I'm (at the moment) especially intrigued in the types 4CM and 4CL, owned by Milano during the years 1946 and 1947.

A tricky one, I know. But maybe ...

Later added:
I just recognized, that I'd better put my question into that thread: http://www.atlasf1.c...ght=Milano 1946

There are some mysteries listed, still unsolved. I'll come back on that soon - in the other thread.

#17 Doug Nye

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Posted 30 January 2003 - 23:44

Just a pernickety point - Centro Sud's founder and patron Guglielmo Dei was known as 'Mimo' to the British press, and that spelling looks right to all of us brought up on that diet of press input. However I am assured by Italian friends that the proper diminutive of Guglielmo is indeed 'Mimmo' and this is how the name was spelled in the contemporary Italian press. He was the Rome Maserati dealer covering the franchise for central and southern Italy, hence Centro Sud. Again, this was often hyphenated in period and has always been hyphenated by me for as long as I can recall - until I found Centro Sud drivers' school badges and letter headings from Dei and realised that no hyphen was in fact used.

Dei's racing drivers' school activities based at Modena Aerautodromo and later Monza seem to have been quite lucrative, with Piero Taruffi spending at least part of his retirement as resident 'headmaster'. Dei ran Centro Sud in conjunction with his brother whose name I have not unearthed. Dei was regarded as being very 'English' in his manner and dress - sports jacket and cheese-cutter cap - and later in the piece he moved his headquarters to Monza town where he had a cottage building quite nicely restored and fitted out as a bar and clubhouse, decorated with a massive display of motor sporting memorabilia. It had adjoining workshops and garages which were quite nicely appointed. John Frankenheimer used the clubhouse as location for some scenes in the 'Grand Prix' movie.

Centro Sud's Formula 1 fortunes collapsed in 1962 but revived with a sizeable injection of BP Italia money in 1963 when he bought BRM '5781' or 'Old Faithful' for Lorenzo Bandini to drive. With it, Bandini revived his flagging F1 career, having been dropped at the end of '62 by Ferrari. At the Nurburgring Bandini qualified faster than both factory-entered BRM P578s. It went to his head and he dropped it on the opening lap of the race. Through 1964 Centro Sud/BP Italia ran the two ex-works 1963 BRM P578s and in 1965 they fielded all three cars, including the 1962 'Old Faithful' - drivers including Masten Gregory, Tony Maggs, Ludovico Scarfiotti, Roberto Bussinello, Moises Solana, Giampiero Biscaldi and Giorgio (?) Bassi. Last hurrah 1965 Italian GP - then BP Italia pulled the plug. The following year, seeking some form of survival, the MGM movie facilities money must have come in very handy indeed...

Everything was run on a shoestring - if you were looking for an oil patch, the Scuderia Centro Sud pits was the place to visit. Most famous ex-Centro Sud mechanic - Ferrari's Giulio Borsari.


#18 Barrie Hobkirk

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 04:58

Thanks for bringing up the "Mimmo" point.
Also, very interesting about the letter head of Scuderia Centro-Sud.

I'm lucky enough to be in posession of a Centro-Sud brochure and in every case in three languages (some 21 times), the text says either <> or "Scuderia Centro-Sud".
Further to that I see that in photos of the various transporters, all say Scuderia "Centro-Sud".
However, I also see that the text was at times painted on the cars saying Scuderia "Centro Sud", the Scuderia written above the "Centro Sud".
Even further to that, I have two car bages. One says Scuderia at the top and Centro Sud at the bottom. The other says Centro at the top and Sud at the bottom.
My Italian text article about the School spell it Scuderia Centro-Sud.

It would appear that it was an issue they never really pressed. Must have been hell for the printers and the paint shops. Do I or don't I?

Regarding Mimmo, I have a copy of a letter from him dated 20 November 1980. Typed on plain paper but both typing and signature clearly say "Mimmo".


#19 alessandro silva

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 12:05

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Giorgio (?) Bassi.


a) It is Giorgio Bassi allright. FJ driver from Milan substitued Baghetti in the Dagrada Lancia before turning to British machinery

b) I cannot find anything about the move from Modena to Monza. Since 1959 – when the School had opened - the Scuderia had been based in Modena, in via Emilia in front of the Aereoautodromo. Can you tell me more about that, Doug?

c) After reading this post I opened two Italian books at random: in the memoirs of fastidious Taruffi it is Centro-Sud, in a local 1997 book about racing in Modena it is Centro Sud. They do not care much about hyphens in this sunny country, although the locution Centro-Sud is currently used with a precise geographical meaning so in correct Italian should have an hyphen.

d) Mimmo was supposedly an indifferent driver. I recently came upon to what was the peak of his driving carreer, probably. At Madrid in 1949 Dei drove a Fiat-Stanguellini for the international race for 1100 sports cars. There were Fagioli, Chiron, Villoresi in OSCAs, de Graffenried in another Stanguellini, Bracco, Taruffi in Cisitalias, Sommer, Trintignant and Manzon in Gordinis.
I have a French report of this race where Dei is called “l’inattendu”, the unexpected. He battled wildly with Sommer in the first heat, where he finished at the tail of the Frenchman after a last lap wheel against wheel. In the final Dei was fifth.