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Benoit Falchetto


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#1 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 22 September 2000 - 19:16

Benoit Falchetto raced in France for sure between 1928 and the late thirties. In cars like a Tony Speciale, Bugatti, Amilcar and Maserati. So far I cannot find any information about his background and what he did in 1927. Together with Hans Etzrodt I made up a file with his racing history. Furthermore he was an Italian fighter pilot. He ran a garage Helvetia in Nice. And he drove the car that killed worldfamous dancer Isadora Duncan when her scarf was caught by the left rearwheel of most probably an Amilcar or Bugatti.

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#2 Don Capps

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Posted 22 September 2000 - 20:24

It was an Amilcar.

This is another name that has cropped up lately from several sources. Interesting.

#3 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 22 September 2000 - 21:19

Joris,
Its nice to finally see you here. I hope you had a relaxing vacation.

#4 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 23 September 2000 - 20:38

Thanks Don, But do you have any proof for your statement it is an Amilcar? I have found many, many leads claiming it was either an Amilcar or a Bugatti, but not one with any substantial evidence.

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 September 2000 - 04:36

We could have a poll...

#6 Barry Lake

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Posted 30 September 2000 - 12:01

I have been trying to contact my friend the Amilcar historian to ask what he is prepared to say about this, but he appears to be away on holiday. I will speak to him when he returns.
I do know he is 100 per cent certain that it was an Amilcar and he has been on the case for many, many years.

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 September 2000 - 12:38

Do you mean Steen, Barry?

#8 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 08:28

From Leif Snellmans Golden Age I would like to add :

Born 8/7 1885 - Died 4/8 1967

Raced a Bugati in 1932 , then teamed up with Louis Braillard and in 1934 they raced Maserati 8CMs. For 1935 season he paired with Brunet , both years for the Ecurie Braillard.(Maserati)

Other additions , anyone ?

#9 ReWind

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 09:45

There were two drivers of the same name!
The first one with the dates Bjørn gave (1885 - 1967)
and the second one: b. 05 March 1911 Nice, d. 16 August 1984.

#10 rudi

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 18:25

Benoit Falchetto (1885-1967) built after WWII a Bugatti Special.
The car was enterd in some races in the south of France and raced in the 1947 Belgium GP.
An image of that strange special can be found in one of the Delsaux books.

#11 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 07:26

Thanks for the infos. Can anyone solve the "double" Falchetto ????

#12 GIGLEUX

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 17:17

In 1932 he oftenly raced, under the name "Benoit", a Bugatti owned by Ernest Friederich (the Nice Bugatti agent and ex works driver). Because of that some historians made confusion wrote Robert Benoist returned to Bugatti in 1932!

#13 David McKinney

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 19:52

Originally posted by GIGLEUX
In 1932 he oftenly raced, under the name "Benoit"....

Who did? Benoit Falchetto or Benoit Falchetto?

#14 GIGLEUX

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 23:15

Originally posted by David McKinney

Who did? Benoit Falchetto or Benoit Falchetto?


The Benoit, then Benoit Falchetto I spoke was described in 1932 as a young driver. If born in 1885 it seems to me a man aged 47 is not a young driver! Second point: he raced in 1946 with a Darlmat and in 1947 with his Bugatti special: mind 61 and 62 years old! In 1947 he had the pain to loose his 8 years old son. If 62 it was rather the age to be a granfather...

#15 David McKinney

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 05:31

Thanks Jean-Maurice
When at what did the older Falchetto drive?

#16 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 11:21

Post 8 .

#17 David McKinney

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 11:27

I don't think so, Bjorn
It seems fairly unlikely that two people named Benoit Falchetto raced Bugattis in 1932 (though not of course impossible)

#18 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 11:50

If "my" BF is from 1885 and ends his racing in 35 he would be 50 ! And the yonger BF could well be his son ?
Being from 11 he could have started in 32 and continued after the war ? And racing under Benoit could be not to mistake him with BF (the older/his father ?)!
Perhaps Leif Snellman could solve this , my infos is from his site !

#19 Leif Snellman

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 20:02

Originally posted by Bjørn Kjer
Perhaps Leif Snellman could solve this , my infos is from his site !


No, Leif Snellman is as confused as Bjørn Kjer at the moment! :stoned:

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#20 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 21:24

To feed the confusion perhaps:
It is like Jean-Maurice told us already. He raced under “Benoit”. Benoit won the small car event 1931 at Geneva.

Benoît Falchetto was driving the Bugatti in which the great dancer Isadora Duncan famously lost her life (strangled to death when her scarf got stuck in the wheels) in 1927. We discussed this before in length. I have pictures of both but we are not allowed to post any longer pics at this forum.

#21 bradbury west

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 21:50

Originally posted by rudi
Benoit Falchetto (1885-1967) built after WWII a Bugatti Special.
The car was enterd in some races in the south of France and raced in the 1947 Belgium GP.
An image of that strange special can be found in one of the Delsaux books.


One of his mechanics was Guidobaldi, creator of the infamous but curious device bearing his name, see under BB search for thread, in the museum at Mougins, north of Nice, the town where Guidobaldi was based. Perhaps he had something to do with the Bugatti Special.

BTW Any photos of the Bugatti Spl by e mail to respect and protect copyright etc?

Roger Lund.

#22 bradbury west

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 22:20

Researching Guidobaldi three of four years ago, I recalled websites giving the Isadora Duncan car as a Bugatti. I have just googled Benoit Falchetto ; Isadora Duncan and, without looking hard, at least 3 websites give that information, a red Bugatti seen in a Nice dealer's showrooms, and they cite her love of high performance cars.

Roger Lund

#23 Tim Murray

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 22:44

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
We discussed this before in length.

Isadora Duncan died in an Bugatti?

#24 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 08:18

:wave: Reading the above , and noting a IVAN Falchetto , wich I assume WAS a name mistake ? Thinking of the 2 Falchettos we have ??

#25 raoul leDuke

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:55

OK, so one of our Falcetto's was born in 1885.

So he was 42 in 1927 when Isadora Duncan took a shine to him and 43 when he started racing.

It is also not impossible that he was 54 when his son was born or that he was still racing in his early 60s.

I'm sure there are many members of this forum over the age of 50 who are more than capable of racing cars and of becoming fathers, though we can't do both at the same time any more.

And frankly the older you get the younger 47 seems!

Also I am following up a reference to Benoit Falchett being granted a concession on the Marquesas Islands by the Governor of the French Settlements in Oceania in 1936.

#26 D-Type

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:53

Originally posted by raoul leDuke
OK, so one of our Falcetto's was born in 1885.

So he was 42 in 1927 when Isadora Duncan took a shine to him and 43 when he started racing.

It is also not impossible that he was 54 when his son was born or that he was still racing in his early 60s.

I'm sure there are many members of this forum over the age of 50 who are more than capable of racing cars and of becoming fathers, though we can't do both at the same time any more.

And frankly the older you get the younger 47 seems!

Also I am following up a reference to Benoit Falchett being granted a concession on the Marquesas Islands by the Governor of the French Settlements in Oceania in 1936.

At the time of her tragic death Isadora Duncan was 49 so the two people in the Amilcar/Bugatti were of similar age.

Is this simply a case of someone having confused father and son? Was the younger Benoit Falcetto ( b. 05 March 1911 Nice, d. 16 August 1984 from post #9) his son? The dates match as Benoit senior would have been 26 in 1911. The place of birth also fits. The 8 year old son (was this Ivan?) that Gigleux refers to was born in 1939 and could have been either the son of a 54 year old Benoit snr or of a 28 year old Benoit jnr (more probably the latter). If so, then the postwar Bugatti Special could have been built by the father for the 36 year old son to race.

All pure speculation fitting the information on this thread into a logical pattern.

#27 raoul leDuke

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 11:05

The Benoit, then Benoit Falchetto I spoke was described in 1932 as a young driver. If born in 1885 it seems to me a man aged 47 is not a young driver! Second point: he raced in 1946 with a Darlmat and in 1947 with his Bugatti special: mind 61 and 62 years old! In 1947 he had the pain to loose his 8 years old son. If 62 it was rather the age to be a granfather...

If this other Benoit was his son born in 1911, then I suppose it is possible that the son who died at the age of 8 in 1947 could well have been Falchetto senior's grandson.

#28 ReWind

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 12:06

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
Benoît Falchetto was driving the Bugatti in which the great dancer Isadora Duncan famously lost her life (strangled to death when her scarf got stuck in the wheels) in 1927. We discussed this before in length.

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt in the "Isadora Duncan" thread 7 years ago
This story is on the last page of Automobile Quarterly, Vol.6, No.1, La Mort d’Isadora, reprinted from U.S.A.: The Big Money by John Dos Passos. It says that Isadora Duncan was a great American dancer, born 1878 in San Francisco, but lived mainly in Europe. She died at the French Riviera in Nice September 1927, when "she picked up a good looking young Italian who kept a garage and drove a little Bugatti racer." She went with him in the car and as they took off, the long scarf she had wrapped around her neck became entangled in a wheel, pulled her back and she broke her neck.

“Young“? The older Falchetto (b. 1885) was 42, too old to be „young“. The younger Falchetto (b. 1911) was 16, too young to keep a garage and drive a race car. "Italian"? Each Falchetto was French.

Originally posted by Don Capps in that same thread
More fuel for the fire. This is from someone on the Maserati group I am a member of:

Hi Don,

This in German medical chronicles

aus: Rechtsmedizin 7, pp. 28-29, 1996

Abstract
Accidental Strangulation Caused by a Vehicle: The Death of Isadora Duncan
Isadora Duncan, one of the world´s most famous dancers, died on 14. September 1927 by accidental strangulation caused by a vehicle. Sitting on the front passenger´s seat, Duncan´s scarf came into the the spokes of the rear
wheel of a Bugatti. The driver, Duncan´s friend Ivan Falchetto could not see Duncan while looking forward but immediatly stopped immediately after 20 m. Duncan died at the scene. In the hospital, fractures of the nose,
the spinal column and the larynx were oberved; furthermore, cartids were torn. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the accident in forensic

literature.

Key words
Accidental strangulation • Ashyxia • Ligature • Car accident • Scarf

Regards,

David

Well, as they say: "If this were simple..."

So it seems to fit that the dancer’s friend was a young Italian named Ivan Falchetto (Ivan being a familiar Italian given name) instead of one of the two Benoît Falchettos (Benoît being a familiar French given name).
But this

Originally posted by Joris Bergsma also in that thread
The name Ivan Fachetto is a small mistake by the German doctor. I know him through the web. He mixed up names of eyewitnesses including an Ivan and mr. Benoit Falchetto. Also in other literature there are mistakes with Benoit Falchetto when he is mixed up with Robert Benoïst, a Delage driver certainly not unknown to for instance Hans Etzrodt.

says there was no Ivan Falchetto at all!

#29 raoul leDuke

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 12:33

1885 Falchetto was half Italian and was an Italian fighter pilot in WW1.

#30 raoul leDuke

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 14:35

On the basis that I way well be writing about two different Falchettos thisis what I had come up with...........

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Though French, Benoit Falchetto was half Italian and flew for the Italians in WW1.

In 1927 he was working at the Helvetica Garage in Nice, France and first came to prominence that year when he took Isadora Duncan out for a drive on the Promenade des Anglais in his 1924 Amilcar Grand Sport. There are a number of different stories as to how this came about but it would appear that Benoit had a eye for the ladies.

They had spotted each other a few days earlier at a Restaurant called Tétu just down the coast from Nice. Duncan was lunching with her friend Mary Desti and had nicknamed the handsome Benoit, 'Buggatti', mistaking the spelling and the Amilcar for one of Ettore's machines. The next time Falchetto visited the restaurant he found that she had left her number for him with the proprietor.

He called on her at her hotel on September 13th but was turned away by Desti as Isadora was sleeping and just left his calling card. The following day after returning from working on a customer's Maserati he was informed that an American lady had called wanting to buy the Bugatti. However the Helvetica Garage had no Bugatti for sale so Falchetto assumed that she meant the Amilcar. She had left the address of her studio and Falchetto went round with the car. She told him she didn't want to go for a test drive then and there but to come to her hotel at nine that evening. Falchetto duly arrived at the appointed time and Duncan came down to meet him.

Mary Desti followed her down and reported that before getting into the car, she said "Adieu, mes amis. Je vais a la gloire!" (Farewell, my friends, I go to glory). Later, Desti admitted that in fact Duncan's last words to her were "Je vais à l'amour" ("I am off to love"). Desti considered this unsuitable to go down in history as her final utterance.

Duncan often wore scarves which trailed behind her and on this occasion she had on an immense handpainted silk scarf, a gift from Desti, which was long enough to be wrapped around her body and neck and to flow out behind her. As Falchetto pulled away, it caught around one of the back wheels. Isadora Duncan was pulled out of her seat and died instantly from a broken neck. The tragedy gave rise to Gertrude Stein's mordant remark that "affectations can be dangerous."

In 1928, Falchetto finally got to race, driving a cyclecar called a Tony Spéciale. He finished second in the Circuit de la Riviera in Cannes on 1st April and fourth in the Grand Prix d'Antibes in Juan les Pins on the 9th April.

In 1931 he raced an Amilcar finishing third in the Circuit d'Esterel Plage in April at St. Raphael and winning the Grand Prix de Geneve at the beginning of June.

By 1932 he was racing Bugattis, winning the Nîmes GP in May and the Antibes GP in September in a T35B.

In 1933 with Louis Braillard, he formed Ecurie Braillard, financed by Braillard's sister Nelly. Falchetto started the year racing a Bugatti T35B but at the Grand Prix de Monaco he raced a Type 51. At the Grand Prix de la Baule he came third in the Type 35B behind Williams and Marcel Lehoux. Another third place at the Grand Prix d'Albi, which was won by his team mate, Braillard in a Type 51.

In 1934, they bought two Maserati 8CM's and ran them under Ecurie Braillard banner. Braillard retired at the end of 1934 but the team carried on with Robert Brunet joining Benoit until the end of 1935. Falchetto won the Circuit de Picardie on 27 May and was second in his heat at the Grand Prix de Vichy. A fourth at the Grand Prix du Comminges in August was followed by a win at the Grand Prix d'UMF. This was an event organised by the French Motorcycling Federation and consisted of a number of races for motorcycles and both racing and sports cars.

In 1936 he was granted a concession on the Marquesas Islands by the Governor of the French Settlements in Oceania.

By 1946 he made an appearance back in Europe driving a Darl'Mat-Peugeot in the Coupe du Palais de la Mediterranée in Nice where he finished 5th and in 1947 he raced a Bugatti Special in the Belgian Grand Prix held at Spa-Francorchamps and the Grand Prix de Nimes, retiring in both.

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#31 bradbury west

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 15:06

I know it may be a long shot, but

when I was interested in M Guidobaldi, Falchetto's mechanic, and his device, at the Musee d'Automobile at Mougins, during a meeting there the helpful Directeur of the Museum told me that when Guidobaldi died his family had no interest in the car of the boxes of old stuff which he had left, so they had given it to the museum which was local to them. Perhaps in among those boxes, which were still held in store by the mueum, there may be some information about the races and cars from his time with Falchetto. I know it is a long shot, as I have said already. As the museum is funded by some sort of government grant, IIRC, it may well be in their interest to assist you

Roger Lund

#32 David McKinney

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 15:48

Still trying to get to the bottom of all this...
Is this a fair summary?
Benoit Falchetto (1885-67) flew in WW1, was present at Isadora Duncan's demise in 1927, and raced a Tony Speciale under the nom de course of "Benoit" in 1928.
Benoit Falchetto (1911-84) raced a Bugatti 35B in 1932 and 1933, and a Maserati 8CM in 1934 and 1935. He is presumably the man who raced the Darl'Mat in 1946 and the Bugatti Speciale in 1947.
I never realised until this thread that there were two drivers of the same name
And I still don't know which of them raced the Amilcar in 1931 under the nom de course of "Benoit"
I have no record of anyone of either name racing in 1929 or 1930

#33 raoul leDuke

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 16:03

You may very well be right.........but we still need something more concrete. I have a few feelers out at the moment and hope to have something tomorrow.

#34 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 17:31

And to make things even more confusing , Leif Snellmans Benoit Falchetto (1885-1967) appears to be Mckinneys (1911-84) Benoit Falchetto ! Or vice a versa !

#35 ReWind

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 17:50

Originally posted by David McKinney
I never realised until this thread that there were two drivers of the same name.

I learned the birth & death dates from McRonalds who is a TNF member but hasn't posted here since April 2005 : . Never asked where he got his info from.

#36 raoul leDuke

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 17:58

That may present another problem! If it is the same man with two sets of dates who was the young man nicknamed Buggatti by Isadora Duncan??? Because neither set of dates would give us a 'young' man of the right age in 1927!! In Mary Desti's biography of Duncan I am not sure that she actually mentions Fachetti by name!