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Franco Bordoni - WW2 fighter ace


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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 10:42

Could anyone provide more background detail on sometime Italian driver Franco Bordoni's wartime flying career? There is a 'Franco Bordoni-Bisleri' listed as being the fourth highest-scoring pilot amongst Italian fighter aces with 19 confirmed 'kills' to his name, flying with 18 Gruppo of the Regia Aeronautica. I presume this is the same man. Right or wrong?

DCN

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#2 alessandro silva

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 11:03

Right. Some background later.

#3 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 11:23

Thanks Alessandro - though since initiating this thread I have just found this: <www.dalnet.se/~surfcity/italy_bisleri.htm> - :rolleyes: I really should try using the internet...it's just that so much of its information can be SO unreliable... Any further info very welcome.

DCN

#4 alessandro silva

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 13:35

Originally posted by Doug Nye
I really should try using the internet...it's just that so much of its information can be SO unreliable...


This is in fact a problem, also because of too many people which are taking it as the Word.

Franco Bordoni had Bisleri added from his mother's family name. The Bisleri family were the makers of a popular liquor since my great-grandmother's times. This was the Ferrochina Bisleri, made from cinchona bark with added iron, which was much appreciated by ladies who drank it after meals. I remember my grandmother having some - as medecine she used to say, and as such it was advertised. This is of course forbidden today, I mean to advertise it as a medecine. Their business is still thriving and they sometimes ago purchased their century-old competitor, the Fernet Branca, an even bitterer potion known to motoring enthusiasts as a longstanding sponsor.
This is to say that Franco Bordoni did not lack the money to buy racing cars when he decided to pick up the sport around 1949. He had had only sporadic club racing experience pre-war. He had a career-long allegiance with fellow Milanese tuner Angelo Dagrada, starting to race his 750cc sports cars. He then moved to an OSCA, then in 1953/54 he imported two Gordinis sportscars (chassis especially numbered 18 and 19). With these cars he won the Italian sports car Championship in 1953, no small feat at the time.
His name was always accompanied by the adjectives "quick and fearless". Looking at some old notes while writing this, I can see that his palmarés in Italian races 1951/1958 is impressive. I remember having read as a boy of a fabulous drive by him and Piero Carini - another quick and fearless driver but a very unlucky one - in a Alfa Giulietta at the Nurburgring sports car race.
After the Gordini he switched to Maserati, first with a 6C 2L car, then with a 300S then a 200S until 1958. He mainly raced in Italy I suppose because of his business engagements. He finally acted as development driver for the Dagrada-Lancia FJ car, in 1959.
Ironically he died flying a small airplane, around 1975. He hit a mountain, while flying in the fog, if I remember correctly.
I should be able to reconstruct his top placings, if needed.

#5 Don Capps

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 18:29

Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No. 34, Italian Aces of World War 2, by Giovanni Massimello and Giorgio Apostolo (ISBN 1-84176-078-1), has Franco Bordoni Bisleri with:

19 claims; flying with 95a, 85a, and 83a Squadriglia 18o Gruppo; three medgalia d'argento & Eisenkreuz 2d Klasse; color plates of Bondoni CR.42, C.200; is covered on pages 64 thru 66, which mentions his winning "the Italian Championship in the sportscar category in 1953."

He also flew the C.205V.

#6 Barry Lake

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 13:25

Originally posted by alessandro silva

Ironically he died flying a small airplane, around 1975. He hit a mountain, while flying in the fog, if I remember correctly.
I should be able to reconstruct his top placings, if needed.


Alessandro

If you're going to go to the trouble of listing his top placings (and I hope someone wants you to) would it be too much to ask for you to also look for his date and place of birth, date and place of death?

I remember the name Franco Bordoni very well, and my memory is telling me this is in relation to Gordini. Usually, in such cases, this means there has been a good photo of him, or a special mention of some achievement, in a magazine or book I read and re-read as a teenager... but I just can't remember...

Did he have a class win in the Mille Miglia? Did he perform some giant-killing feat? Was there a photo of him in Automobile Year?

It's driving me crazy.

#7 alessandro silva

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 16:01

Barry: many photos in Huet's Gordini book.
Here are some high placings. No claim of completeness.
1949
Coppa Intereuropa Maserati 1. 1500S class
1950
Coppa Intereuropa Maserati 1.1500GT class
GP Modena [750cc race] Fiat-Dagrada 1.
Circuito del Castello Teramo [750cc race ] Fiat Dagrada 1.
Coppa Ascoli (le Caldaie) [750cc race] Fiat-Dagrada 1.
1951
Circuito di Senigallia OSCA 2. 1100S class
Mille Miglia OSCA 10. overall/ 2. 1100S class
1952
Giro di Sicilia Ferrari 166 6.overall
Mille Miglia Ferrari 166 10.overall/2. 2000S class
GP Monaco/Prix Montecarlo OSCA 1350 2. overall in the 1500cc race
Circuito Senigallia [1100cc race] OSCA 2.
12h Pescara OSCA 4. overall 1. 1100S class
GP Bari [1100cc race] OSCA 1.
1953
Coupe de Vitesse (Monthléry) 1. Gordini 2300
Targa Florio Gordini 2300 6. overall
Coppa Toscana Gordini 2300 4. overall
Circuito Senigallia Gordini 2300 2.
Trullo d'Oro Gordini 2300 1.
GP Pergusa Gordini 2300 1.
GP Supecortemaggiore Gordini 2300 4.
Coppa d'Oro Siracusa 2. Gordini 2300
Italian Champion sportscars unlimited class
1954
works Gordini drive at 1000km Buenos Aires DNF
Coppa Toscana Gordini 3L 2.
Aosta-Gran San Bernardo 3. Gordini 3L
Circuito di Senigallia 3. Gordini 3L
Trullo d'Oro 1. Gordini 3L
GP Pergusa 1. Gordini 3L
1955
GP Agadir 2. Gordini 3L
GP Dakar 4. Gordini 3L
5h Messina 1. Maserati 300S
GP Pergusa 1. Maserati 300S
Tourist trophy 5. Maserati 300S
1956
1000 km Nurburgring Alfa Romeo SV 14. overall
Targa Florio Maserati 300S 5.
5h Messina 2. Maserati 300S
GP Venezuela 7. Maserati 300S
1957
GP Frontières 1. Maserati 200S
12h Reims Alfa Romeo SV 10. overall
1958
Targa Florio OSCA 1500 5.overall/2. 1500S class
Circuito Sassari 2. Maserati 200S

Dates of birth and death in the URL quoted by Doug. I have no way of checking this.

#8 Barry Lake

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 22:10

Thanks Alessandro.

I hadn't thought to look at the web site - for the same reasons quoted above. But this one does appear to be well researched.

:up: