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Maserati 8CM drivers!


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#1 O Volante

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 13:13

I’m looking for information about some drivers of 8CM Maseratis. Who can help?

a) T.P. Cholmondeley Tapper: raced the ex-Howe car in 1936/7. According to his book “Amateur Racing Driver”, he grew up at Christchurch, New Zealand, came to Britain for educational purposes, but was mainly concerned with skiing (represented Britain at the 1937 world championships!) and automobile racing, the later with a Bugatti T37 and then the 8CM. Apparently his racing abilities were considered as quite promising, so he was invited for the Mercedes Benz trials at Monza in October 1936. First stop on the journey, however, was at Maserati in Bologna, were he stayed some days, arriving at Monza only when the Mercedes team had already returned to Germany!!! Retired from racing in 1937. (That C T was called “George”, or that his family originally came from Norway (see Leif’s homepage) is not corroborated by the book.) – Who knows his birthdate and –place, and details about his later life? A possible source for the birth details could be “Burke’s Colonial Nobility and Gentry” – unfortunately not on hand in the local library: apparently there lived around 1900 an archdeacon Cholmondeley in NZ, who married a Miss Tapper …
b) Ernö Graf Festetics: raced one of the ex-Braillard cars in 1937. According to German nobility records, his full name was Maria Josef Ernst (Hungarian: Ernö) Graf Festetics von Tolna (an Austrian-Hungarian title) and he was born on 15 October 1915 in Budapest. This information was published in the 1950s, and it was added he lived at the time at the Côte d’Azur. Who can say what happened to him after that?
c) Juan Zanelli: raced one of the Villapadierna cars in 1936. According to Erwin Tragatsch he was from Chile; in an older thread at TNF, I seem to remember, it was said he was the Chilean consul at Nice. Who knows more?
d) Gino Bianco: raced a 3.2 Maserati in Brasil post-war, most likely an 8CM. Apparently it was Sergio Sultani on his homepage, who published his real name for the first time: Luigi Berteti Bianco. However, according to other information from the net, his name was indeed Luigi Berteti, but Bianco is not given as part of the name - instead it is said that “Gino Bianco” was a pseudonym! Who can clarify this little contradiction, and add more details to his story?

… and another detail: when and where did the Conde Villapadierna die?

Many, many thanks in advance for any help!!! :)

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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 13:27

According to Christopher Hilton's "Hitler's Grands Prix in England", Cholmondeley-Tapper was offered a test by Auto Union in 1936 but he went skiing instead. I wonder how that sits with the Mercedes story ....

Monza 1936 was when they tested and hired Seaman - Nixon makes no mention of C-T in this connection in his Seaman book.

#3 Leif Snellman

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 16:02

Originally posted by O Volante
That C T was called “George”, or that his family originally came from Norway (see Leif’s homepage) is not corroborated by the book.

In November 1999 I receved a couple of letters from Brian Lawrence, Wantage, Oxfordshire, UK.
He mentioned that he just had bought "Hitler's Grands Prix in England" and he also included a series of corrections and additions to my homepage. One of them looked like this:

'T.P. Cholmondely-Tapper - his first name was Thomas, but he was known as "George". He was from New Zealand with Norwegian ancestry. I believe that the first part of his name would be
pronounced "Chummly".'

While I try my best to check and recheck any information I put out on my homepage, there are things specially in the biographies section where I have to assume people, who contacts me to assist, know what they are talking about and I found no reason to doubt this source.

#4 jarama

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Posted 19 July 2002 - 21:41

[i]… and another detail: when and where did the Conde Villapadierna die?
:) [/B]

O Volante,

José Mª Padierna y Avecilla, Count of Villapadierna, born at Málaga on 26-Dec-1909, died in 1979.

No more details on his death, but if I found something more, I'll post it.

Carles.

#5 jarama

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Posted 19 July 2002 - 22:24

Originally posted by O Volante

c) Juan Zanelli: raced one of the Villapadierna cars in 1936. According to Erwin Tragatsch he was from Chile; in an older thread at TNF, I seem to remember, it was said he was the Chilean consul at Nice. Who knows more?


O Volante,

Juan Zanelli was chilean born, but with swiss ancestry. Died in France in 1942.

He was European Hill-Climb Champion in 1931, at the wheel of a Nacional Pescara 8 cyl.

His circuit racing career was mainly on Alfa Romeo Monzas, winning the first race at the Montjuïc Park circuit: the IV GP Penya Rhin, on 25 June 1933.

Carles.

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 19 July 2002 - 22:27

Originally posted by Leif Snellman
In November 1999 I receved a couple of letters from Brian Lawrence, Wantage, Oxfordshire, UK.
He mentioned that he just had bought "Hitler's Grands Prix in England" and he also included a series of corrections and additions to my homepage. One of them looked like this:

'T.P. Cholmondely-Tapper - his first name was Thomas, but he was known as "George". He was from New Zealand with Norwegian ancestry. I believe that the first part of his name would be
pronounced "Chummly".'

While I try my best to check and recheck any information I put out on my homepage, there are things specially in the biographies section where I have to assume people, who contacts me to assist, know what they are talking about and I found no reason to doubt this source.


That has been taken more or less verbatim from the Hilton book, Leif, apart from the bit about pronunciation (which I can confirm, BTW).

#7 tombe

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Posted 20 July 2002 - 15:42

A 'Google' search leading to obituaries at 'Christ's College Old Boys' Association' shows one Thomas Pitt Cholmondeley Tapper who died 27 July 2001 in Oxfordshire, England aged 90.

Same guy ?

#8 ry6

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Posted 20 July 2002 - 19:37

I wrote a detailed story on T P Chomondely Tapper in the July 1999 issue of Classic Car Africa. It was based on replies to questions I asked of him (per letter and by telephone) and his book Amateur Racing Driver.

His name was indeed Thomas Pitt and he lived in Oxfordshire. He indicated to me that he was born in 1910 so the deceased mentioned must surely be him.

I have several letters from TPCT and the last one appears to be 23 October 2000. I thought it was more recent. How time flies.

#9 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 20 July 2002 - 19:44

Originally posted by O Volante
I’m looking for information about some drivers of 8CM Maseratis. Who can help?

ad) Gino Bianco: raced a 3.2 Maserati in Brasil post-war, most likely an 8CM. Apparently it was Sergio Sultani on his homepage, who published his real name for the first time: Luigi Berteti Bianco. However, according to other information from the net, his name was indeed Luigi Berteti, but Bianco is not given as part of the name - instead it is said that “Gino Bianco” was a pseudonym! Who can clarify this little contradiction, and add more details to his story?


Gino Bianco is indeed a psuedonym for LUIGI EMILIO RODOLFO BERTETTI



The reason for the psuedonym is half wanting to hide things from the family & also in deference, I think, to a good friend of his who died before Bertetti raced. Not 100% sure, but I think that's why

#10 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 00:06

I spent over one hour reading and researching but have nothing to bring to the party. Juan Zanelli was indeed born in Chile but lived mainly in Spain and later France, where he died in 1942.

#11 O Volante

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Posted 23 July 2002 - 11:19

So far many thanks to all contributors - hope to be back soon with some more info ...

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 July 2002 - 12:03

It appears that Zanelli's grandson would also like to find something out about him:

http://homepage.mac....Hunt/Q-005.html

Ironically, the only answer so far is a quote from Cholmondeley-Tapper's book! :lol:

"Although I had heard a good deal about it, I had never before seen the [Spanish-built] Nacional Pescara, which upon arrival looked rather down and out. Zanelli and a mechanic brought it by trailer, and even most of its tyres were flat. As it happened, Juan Zanelli was quartered quite near me in Bruck, and I spent some pleasant time with him; frequently we had a meal together in the evening. He was a humorous, carefree person with a chubby face, a good driver who had won the Bugatti Grand Prix, and annual race organized by Ettore for Bugatti owners, in both 1929 and 1930, each time receiving a new Grand Prix Bugatti as a prize. In practice the Nacional Pescara proved that it was not so dilapidated as it had looked, putting up some very good times. It was a supercharged eight-cylinder model of 3-litre capacity, developing 260 b.h.p., and Zanelli had some considerable competition experience with the car behind him. In 1931 he had driven the Nacional Pescara at Shelsley Walsh, making a climb in 44.4 seconds, and in the same year he had won the Kesselberg hill-climb in Germany with the same car in a time of 4 minutes 4/10th second.
"[...]
"Zanelli with the Nacional Pescara made a brilliant climb, but had the misfortune to oil a plug during his attempt, and so was cheated of a good position."


#13 Geza Sury

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Posted 25 July 2002 - 09:50

Originally posted by O Volante
b) Ernö Graf Festetics: raced one of the ex-Braillard cars in 1937. According to German nobility records, his full name was Maria Josef Ernst (Hungarian: Ernö) Graf Festetics von Tolna (an Austrian-Hungarian title) and he was born on 15 October 1915 in Budapest. This information was published in the 1950s, and it was added he lived at the time at the Côte d’Azur. Who can say what happened to him after that?

Graf Ernö Festetics was a wealthy member of a Hungarian dinasty. I doubt his name was really Maria Josef Ernst Festetics, since 'Maria' is a female name in Hungarian. His nickname was "Nuci". ('Ernö' or to be precise 'Ernõ' is indeed the Hungarian equivalent of 'Ernst'.) Ernõ Festetics and his brother Miklos (Miklós) had been racing with BMWs when they bought the ex-Nelly Braillard 8CM/3000 in the spring of 1937. (Chassis number: 3015.) The car run in national colours. Their team manager was Sandor (Sándor) Wilhelm, who inherited the car after the war and - interestingly enough - planned to enter the 1949 Indianapolis 500!

#14 O Volante

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Posted 25 July 2002 - 14:18

Just a preliminary evaluation of this exercise: even if some questions still remain open, I would think, we knew now more than before ... Many, many thanks for all the contributions! :clap:

Let's make up a balance: the "Gino Bianco" question can be laid to rest - thank you, Richie! - while for the others at least aspects remain open. Yes, the Thomas Pitt Cholmondeley Tapper whose obituary surfaced in the net, is the racing driver - thank you, Tom! I used the home page to get in contact with his former college, and hope to receive more details in due time - but before Mrs Tapper has to give her OK! I hope the material will settle the claims of being known as George, or originally coming from Norway ... Thank you, Rob, for informing us about the feature you have written: did the article only focus on C T's visit to South Africa for the 1936 GP, or did it cover his whole career?

Very nice to get some confirmation about Ernö Festetics - thank you, Geza! - but I do not think we have to doubt the full name I found. These nobility records are usually very reliable, and indeed the use of the surely female name "Maria" in combination with a clearly male name is very common among Germans, Austrians and Swiss of the catholic faith - the interesting question seems to be how 'Hungarian' the family felt when Ernö was born during the last days of the Austro-Hungarian empire! But what happend later to him?

In fact, it's the reliability of these nobility records that makes me also wonder about the death of José Conde Villapadierna in 1978 - thank you, Carles! Because according to the Spanish records, his son became the new Conde only in 1981, and in the most countries that would have meant his father had died at the same time - well, the son assuming the title immediately after his father passed away - but I do not know if in Spain the inheritence of a title has to be recognised especially, and if the year 1981 is possibly refering to the date of such an act.

Remains Zanelli, whose fate obviously requires more research ... - nevertheless thank you, Carles, Hans and Vitesse! Yes, there are these references to him in Chlomondeley Tapper's book - but this does not lead to anything useful ... Where to start more research? - By the way, C T also mentions Villapadierna in his book: accordingly he was after his motor racing life deeply involved with horse racing and breeding.

Is there an interest to have a look on some more rather obscure 8CM drivers? What about:

G.F. Yates (perhaps Gordon or George Yates), who hillclimbed one of Lord Ridley's cars in the immediate post-war time: said to be a Capt. and a writer - the first not too uncommon these days, while the second is not sustained by bibliographical records: no books in his name! Perhaps he was a journalist, or was he simply confused with Gavin Maxwell, who definitely was a writer?

Tex Kingon, who raced an 8CM (or was it a 6C-34?) post-war in South Africa. Died in a race crash at East London circuit in 1954, driving his Maser?

Adolphe (or Adolfo) Mandirola, who raced a Siata-modified 8CM pre-war and an even more unusual looking car post-war (for picture see Tragatsch, Rennfahrer-Buch), said to have been a garage owner from Genéve ...

Well, there are more candidates ...

#15 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 July 2002 - 15:27

Reference to FIA Yellow Books might be informative re Villapadierna. He was still the Spanish representative to the CSI in 1975, which is the last copy I own.

Zanelli: I tried going via Google to some Chilean ISPs, but even Chilean search engines couldn't turn anything up!

#16 David McKinney

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Posted 25 July 2002 - 18:48

I don't see Villapadierna's name in the 1979 or 1980 FIA yearbooks

#17 jarama

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Posted 25 July 2002 - 21:31

Originally posted by O Volante


In fact, it's the reliability of these nobility records that makes me also wonder about the death of José Conde Villapadierna in 1978 - thank you, Carles! Because according to the Spanish records, his son became the new Conde only in 1981, and in the most countries that would have meant his father had died at the same time - well, the son assuming the title immediately after his father passed away - but I do not know if in Spain the inheritence of a title has to be recognised especially, and if the year 1981 is possibly refering to the date of such an act.


Volante,

the Count of Villapadierna passed away certainly in 1979 - not 1978. The sad new was repported in the spanish monthly magazine "4tiempos" ("4stroke"), November 1979 issue.

#18 David McKinney

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Posted 26 July 2002 - 05:09

Originally posted by O Volante
Tex Kingon, who raced an 8CM (or was it a 6C-34?) post-war in South Africa. Died in a race crash at East London circuit in 1954, driving his Maser?

I tried to post this last night but was smitten by server problems, and expected Rb Young to beat me to it ;)
The Maserati in which Tex Kingon lost his life on the Esplanade circuit at East London on 12/7/1955 was the 6C-34 #3023 imported by “Mario” in the 1930s and later raced by George Cannell, Kingon and Tom Lewis until 1959. It is now owned by Ernst Schuster in Lichtenstein (?) and makes occasional appearances in European historic events.

#19 Jimmy Piget

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Posted 02 August 2002 - 00:08

Juan Zanelli.

In the Philippe Etancelin book by his grand son, there is a picture of a visiting card of Juan zanelli, with the mention : vice-consul of Chile.

However, some years ago I wrote to the Chilean embassy in France asking on zanelli, and they answered there was no sign of him being ever employed by them...

Another thing I heard about him (but I cannot remember if it was in an article or in a conversation with someone) : he died in 1942 after being arrested by the Gestapo for being a member of the French Resistance.

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#20 David McKinney

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Posted 02 August 2002 - 05:25

Originally posted by Jimmy Piget
However, some years ago I wrote to the Chilean embassy in France asking on zanelli, and they answered there was no sign of him being ever employed by them...

Consuls (and vice-consuls) are often nationals of standing in a foreign country or city, rather than professional diplomats. Zanelli could well have fallen into this category, so would not have been a member of the embassy staff

#21 smarjoram

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Posted 02 August 2002 - 08:57

I have some photos of a mystery Maserati driver in what I think is the 1934 Avus race - it's too early to be one of the drivers you're researching but maybe you'll know some more about them. Michael M has had a good go at trying to identify the car and driver but he wasn't certain.

http://www.pbase.com...ing1930s&page=2



#22 O Volante

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 11:22

Just back from holidays, and what a pleasant surprise in the mailbox: a letter from Mrs. Margaret Tapper! Indeed, in July I had asked her for some details about her late husband, and here the answer came - with the explicit request to post the information to make it available for all interested parties, in order to straighten out some incorrect statements appearing here and there, not only in the net! Many, many thanks for providing these details, and allowing us to make them public at this place, Mrs. Tapper! :clap:

Based on Mrs. Tapper's letter, I have now the following for the record:

Thomas Pitt Cholmondeley Tapper was a third generation New Zealander born in Wellington, New Zealand on 31 July 1910. At that time his father, George Albert Umbdenstock Tapper was manager of the Wellington branch of the Bank of New Zealand. His mother, Lena Tapper was the daughter of George James Cholmondeley, Archdeacon of Christchurch Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand. The New Zealand Tappers had their roots in England. The family name is of Scandinavian origin, meaning "fearless", Mrs. Tapper was told by her husband, and the English Tappers originated from there. However, they resided in Dorset back to 1300!

The boy was christened Thomas Pitt Cholmondeley, and was called Cholmondeley by his family and friends in New Zealand. While still an infant, his family moved from Wellington to Christchurch, New Zealand, his father taking up the position of manager of the Bank of New Zealand there. When of school age, he attended Christ's College, Christchurch, hence the notice of his death on the Christ's College Old Boys Association homepage.

In 1926 the family came to England. The young man continued his education and later passed into Jesus College, Cambridge where his father wished him to read for a degree in law. Before going up he spent some time at Grenoble University, France where he developed a passion for skiing. However, he devoted little time to study at Cambridge, having no liking for the subject of law. He became a member of the Cambridge University Ski Team but did not complete his degree course. More interested in speed and engineering, besides skiing motor racing became an important part of his life. It was at this time that his friends dubbed him George, a name that continued to be used by his friends and his family until his death.

About his experiences as a race driver George reported in his book "Amateur Racing Driver", first published by G. T. Foulis in 1954. He retired from motor racing in 1937. However, he was a member of the British Ski Team in 1937, 39 and 39.

After giving up motor racing, he formed a company in partnership with a friend to provide flying training for civilians. They developed a grass aerodrome in Buckinghamshire and obtained a licence to operate in July 1939. At the outbreak of World War II, both the aerodrome and their aircraft were requisitioned by the Government, and the aerodrome was in constant use during the war. Not surprisingly, George tried to join the Royal Air Force but was rejected for flying duties on medical grounds. Later he became a ferry pilot with Air Transport Auxiliary, an organisation that flew aircraft from factories to operational units. At that time, Mrs. Tapper was an Operations Officer in A.T.A., which is how they met!

In October 1944 George sustained serious injuries at head and legs in a motor accident while driving from Carlisle to Kirkbride aerodrome for flying duties. His skull was fractured and the right leg was broken. The head injury was severe but with characteristic courage and determination, Mrs Tapper points out, he made a slow recovery over some seven years. Later he concentrated on finance, and his interests in skiing, which he continued to enjoy until his 80th year, classic music, books, travel and photography. George and Margaret Tapper have a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.

As said before: many, many thanks for your help, Mrs. Tapper! :clap: And special regards to the grandchildren, who have been announced to sneak on what we are doing here with their granddad!;)

#23 David McKinney

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 15:02

:up:

#24 ettiwed

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 20:02

There was

Ettore Bianco – It – ° ? ? + ? ?

1935 Maserati
1936 Maserati Torino
1937 Maserati Team Italian Champion 1937
1938 Maserati Subauda
1939 Maserati Subauda
1940 stopt



Gino (Luigi) BERTETTI Bianco – Braz - °16 + 83
« Gianco Bianco »

1952 Maserati Escuderia Bandeirantes 4 GP race

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Nicola (Miklos) de Festetics

was reserve driver in 1937 GP von Deutschland
Maserati 8CM