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Eugenio Castellotti


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#1 VAR1016

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 21:40

I have just acquired Cesare De Agostini's book "A Stolen Heart" about Castellotti, principally because it has lots of pictures of D50s (so naturally it was on sale yesterday at the Lancia Motor Club track day at Castle Combe)

It is written in a very florid - almost religioso/romantico style that is rather wearing to English eyes and sensibilities. Wonderful pictures though.

Anyway, I can recall quite distinctly my mother and I watching shocked at the television showing a film of his fatal accident at Modena in 1957.

The book says that the cause was never established , although it reports that he entered the esses flat-out and collided with a "small concrete stand".

Does anyone have more information?

From reading the book, which includes an account by Moss describing Castellotti as "over-driving his car" a 121LM Ferrari 4.4 litre straight-six, it seems to me as though Montoya is almost cast in the same mould.

PdeRL

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#2 WGD706

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 21:54

"In the early months of 1957 Castellotti featured more in the gossip columns than the motoring magazines due to his high profile affair with opera singer Delia Scala. While on holiday in Florence, he was annoyed to be summoned back to Modena by Enzo Ferrari to do something about the new unofficial lap record which had just been set by Jean Behra in the latest Maserati 250F.
On only his third lap, Castellotti crashed into a small grandstand and was killed instantly."
http://www.grandprix...drv-caseug.html

"On his return to Europe Eugenio took a brief holiday in Florence in the radiant company of miss Scala when suddenly he received a phone call from his boss. Ferrari, as harsh and unfeeling towards his drivers as ever, summoned him to show up at Modena at once. 'Jeannot' and his 250F were testing there and threatening to break the track record, which self-evidently belonged to Scuderia Ferrari. Was regarded as its possession. The Modena lap record and Ferrari - they should always be mentioned in the same sentence, expect the ones that had also had the word "lost" in them. And so Eugenio pulled himself away from Delia's delight and duly obliged. He daren't say no.
Leaving early for Modena, at 5 am no less, Castellotti was probably still yawning, and yearning to return to the warm bed he had left behind, when he climbed aboard to try and stave off the challenge of that little Niçois. It took him a single warm-up lap on a damp track before he signalled to his pit that the serious work was about to begin. Immediately after he lost control and flipped over a concrete wall into the grandstand behind it. Eugenio was dead on the spot. It was bloody senseless."
http://216.239.39.10...&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
What can we gather from these reports? He was tired, probably angry, track was damp...all adds up to tragic circumstances.
Were you aware that when he died at Monza, Ascari was driving Castellotti's car and wearing Castellotti's helmet on the special agreement with Lancia that he would be joining Castellotti in the Supercortemaggiore sportscar race.

#3 VAR1016

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 22:18

Thanks very much for that; the articles certainly flesh out the story for me. The book refers only obliquely to the conflict of Castellotti's love-life and his career - and does not mention the "order" from Enzo Ferrari. [Neither does it mention the famous anecdote of Peter Collins about Ferrari's reaction to the news].

It also states that "it was already well into the afternoon" when Castellotti was circulating at Modena, adding that Behra was at the track and that the accident occurred at 5.15 p.m. There was apparently a suggestion that the sun being low in the sky could have caused Castellotti to have been unsighted.

PdeRL

#4 oldtimer

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 18:17

Originally posted by VAR1016

From reading the book, which includes an account by Moss describing Castellotti as "over-driving his car" a 121LM Ferrari 4.4 litre straight-six, it seems to me as though Montoya is almost cast in the same mould.

PdeRL


I don't think that's fair to Montoya. My impression of Castellotti was that he often overdrove his cars in attempts to keep up with the really fast guys, whereas Montoya is often a pace-setter in F1, apart from being THE pace-setter and champion in CART.

#5 VAR1016

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 21:13

Originally posted by oldtimer


I don't think that's fair to Montoya. My impression of Castellotti was that he often overdrove his cars in attempts to keep up with the really fast guys, whereas Montoya is often a pace-setter in F1, apart from being THE pace-setter and champion in CART.


Well I did say "almost"... And according to my book, Fangio said to him "You are the best driver in the world after Fangio"!

Like Montoya he was quick over a few laps - as in his searing start to the 1955 Le Mans. And then to complicate the picture, consider his fantastic drive in the 1956 Mille Miglia, won at over 85 mph in the pouring rain - and without a mark on the car at the finish.

Mind you a cynic might suggest that had it been dry, he would have blown it up long before Aprilia!

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#6 Vilcornell

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 08:01

well, in the marvelous book "gli indisciplinati" by Luca delli Carri, former Enzo personal assistant Romolo Tavoni, who was the DS in scuderia in those years, told that Eugenio taked the "chicane" simply too fast, slipped in the grass and on the curbes (at that time very "vertical" in Modena, the car roll over, launching him on the tarmac. After this, the car crashed in the little stand of "circolo della biella" a club of local enthuisiast.

Shurely that day he would lihe to be in another place, and the book (where is fairly underlined in wich way Enzo sproned a bit too much his drivers) tell through Tavoni memories the stories of Castellotti, Musso, Portago, Collins and Hawthrone in Theyr year in Ferrari.

I hope it would be translated in english, it's really a "first hand memories".

#7 VAR1016

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 09:21

Originally posted by Vilcornell
well, in the marvelous book "gli indisciplinati" by Luca delli Carri, former Enzo personal assistant Romolo Tavoni, who was the DS in scuderia in those years, told that Eugenio taked the "chicane" simply too fast, slipped in the grass and on the curbes (at that time very "vertical" in Modena, the car roll over, launching him on the tarmac. After this, the car crashed in the little stand of "circolo della biella" a club of local enthuisiast.

Shurely that day he would lihe to be in another place, and the book (where is fairly underlined in wich way Enzo sproned a bit too much his drivers) tell through Tavoni memories the stories of Castellotti, Musso, Portago, Collins and Hawthrone in Theyr year in Ferrari.

I hope it would be translated in english, it's really a "first hand memories".


Thanks for that - now I wish I could read Italian! It sounds like a very interesting book.

PdeRL

#8 Vilcornell

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 13:22

Thanks you all for this wonderful forum; probably people intrested in pre 1999 motorsport are in Italy 4 or 5 person :rolleyes: If I want speak about anything else but Shumy I must speak with myself or with a wall........ :cry:

#9 jarama

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 16:47

Vilcornell,

you're a lucky guy... in Spain we're not more than 3. :lol:

Welcome to this marvelous forum.

Carles.

#10 dmj

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 08:42

You lucky guys! In Croatia here are only Wolf and me! (Or Wolf and Vrba, if we are talking about technology of old racing cars... Then count me out!) :lol:

#11 Vilcornell

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Posted 25 September 2002 - 09:15

....we should make a team named "Rest of the world" :D

#12 maxim

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Posted 26 September 2002 - 22:30

Originally posted by Vilcornell
Thanks you all for this wonderful forum; probably people intrested in pre 1999 motorsport are in Italy 4 or 5 person
:rolleyes:
If I want speak about anything else but Shumy I must speak with myself or with a wall........ :cry:


Paisà, don't cry anymore! I'm one of those 4 or 5 ;)

In a previous post I read:

"In the early months of 1957 Castellotti featured more in the gossip columns than the motoring magazines due to his high profile affair with opera singer Delia Scala".

I' m quite sure that Delia Scala never sung into any opera. I recall her as an actress and a TV starlet in the fifties and sixties.

#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 29 September 2002 - 16:48

All Castellotti ever really wanted to do was to beat Fangio, whom he absolutely revered and against whose prowess he measured his own... Cuban heels and all, ambition probably exceeded his skill, but never his commitment... And he looked the part, didn't he?

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#14 alessandro silva

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Posted 29 September 2002 - 20:33

Originally posted by maxim


Paisà, don't cry anymore! I'm one of those 4 or 5 ;)



I' m quite sure that Delia Scala never sung into any opera. I recall her as an actress and a TV starlet in the fifties and sixties.


We are three already! You must be a very young paisà.
Delia was no starlet but a leading lady in the golden years of Italian musical comedy. Sassy and petite as opposed to the overweight statues much appreciated at the time. One of the sexiest women I can remember.

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 September 2002 - 21:01

Looked the part, Doug? Were those jackets in vogue those days?

My wife would shudder...

That 1956 Mille Miglia performance must have been stunning. I must chase around and see if I can find a report on it somewhere...

#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 29 September 2002 - 21:08

Well, what do you think? A private part perhaps....?

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#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 September 2002 - 21:12

Someone who won a wet Mille Miglia at 85mph would surely have the skill and ability to do a lot of dextrous things with hands and arms...

Maybe that was the appeal?

#18 VAR1016

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Posted 29 September 2002 - 22:32

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Looked the part, Doug? Were those jackets in vogue those days?

My wife would shudder...

That 1956 Mille Miglia performance must have been stunning. I must chase around and see if I can find a report on it somewhere...


And those coats are still in vogue in places - here for instance (unofficial Mike Hawthorn fan club and unofficial 1950s fan club: it was better then - truly it was!).

There is a good account of the Mille Miglia 1956 in the book I mentioned above: "A Stolen Heart".

PdeRL

#19 maxim

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Posted 29 September 2002 - 23:07

Originally posted by alessandro silva


We are three already! You must be a very young paisà.
Delia was no starlet but a leading lady in the golden years of Italian musical comedy. Sassy and petite as opposed to the overweight statues much appreciated at the time. One of the sexiest women I can remember.


You're totally right! I'm too young to have clear memory about Delia's career but you confirm she was no opera singer at all (and I was right too :cool: )

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#20 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 September 2002 - 00:08

Originally posted by alessandro silva


We are three already!


Actually, you guys are underestimating your numbers. :) Last time Barry did a TNF database update, back in April, there were six Italians and I think that was before Emulman arrived (whereis he these days anyway?).

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Mind you, the only other Italian I can think of who posts here is Mickey ...

#21 dmj

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Posted 30 September 2002 - 10:48

I forgot this Barry's list. So it is much like it used to be in F1: Just a few Kiwis, but sometimes it seems that no one else is around... :rotfl: NZ was a nation with most points overall in 1967, and probably is one with most posts per capita in TNF, too....

#22 David McKinney

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Posted 30 September 2002 - 11:22

...especially if you include expatriate New Zealanders ;)

#23 Vilcornell

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Posted 30 September 2002 - 12:18

....anyway I can assure that I'm italian! :wave: