Posted 05 May 2000 - 07:49
He scored a point in his first GP, looked
good in the revised B3 (ran as high as fourth
at Zeltweg in 1973) and drove that March 761
so well in the 1976 British GP.
Just flashes in the pan? Or a potential GP
winner who never had the right car at the
Posted 08 May 2000 - 05:01
I agree little Art had far more talent than the bare figures show. I don't know what happened at the end of 73, but I cant see Ferrari to Frank's Iso Marlboros as a blinding flash of inspiration.
His weight would have to have something to do with his speed, but a look at all the cars he drove does point to a lack of visibility as a handicap!
Posted 08 May 2000 - 21:34
You beat me to the lack of visibility point.
I have seen photos of Merzario in F1 cars where you could swear there is no way he could have seen where he was going. His eyes don't even show over the front of the cockpit.
He apparently was a character. A mechanic who once worked with him in F1 told me they used to call him "Little Arthur" (English mechanics).
This same mechanic told me that when they would buckle Art into the car and pull the crotch straps tight, he would say, "Ooohhh! Thats'a nice!"
It stuck in my mind and ever after, when someone would strap me into an open-wheeler with full harness, it would just come out, without my even thinking about it.
"Ooohhh! Thats'a nice!"
Posted 08 May 2000 - 23:16
He and Brambillia drove Alfa Romero sports cars for a year or two and won a lot of races and raced against each other. One year at the Glen they jumped the start, and were made to stop. They got yelled at.
Arturo seemed like a happy fellow. At the Canadian Grand Prix one year I found myself in the pits when a supporting race for sedans took the green. Arturo and a couple of friends ran to the wall and watched with great enthusiasm. His eyes lit up as though he was watching the greatest thing in the world. Here he was, a Grand Prix driver, yet he was enjoying watching a bunch of amatures race sedans.
Posted 09 May 2000 - 10:57
Life and love are mixed with pain...
Posted 10 May 2000 - 21:22
I actually met Arturo Merzario in 1978 during the GP of Brazil at Jacarepagua.
My dad and I managed to get pit passes from Ferrari (the team flew on our same flight and my dad was the captain - it was exciting to see the cars being loaded into the 747 and knowing they were traveling with us to Rio de Janeiro).
On the same flight, there was the Merzario crew, which the Italian journalists on the flight called "Armata Brancaleone" after a movie with this guy - a sort of Don Quichote - who had a bunch of disorganized followers. I mingled with them and then saw them again during practice on Friday.
Through them I then had a chance to spend quite some time with Arturo. He was extremely nice and laid back (I was only 15 back then), very funny and jovial man. He was almost wearing all the time a cowboy hat, which was extremely funny if you think this was an Italian guy in Brazil, not a Texan in his ranch.
The highlight was going to dinner with him, 2 of his team members, my dad and 2 more Alitalia crew members. As we were getting ready to leave Jacarepagua for the day (Saturday after qualyfing - Arturo had failed to qualify even if he had the same time as Keegan, because he recorded it after him), Arturo (who had rented an Alfetta 3000) asked me if I wanted to go with him to the restaurant. You can imagine how overjoyed I was to be in a car with an F1 driver. However, as he inserted the reverse to take off, he almost grinded the entire gearbox, I don't know what he did wrong, but I found it very funny that even pro drivers could make such mistakes. We both laughed and we left with screeking and smoking tires. I doubt after Arturo used it for almost a week, that that Alfetta was rented for much longer....
Posted 10 May 2000 - 23:16
Posted 09 July 2001 - 17:53
Why do they call the Kaushen effort "kit car"? Any other information on the Kaushen effort is welcomed.
Posted 09 July 2001 - 18:28
That leaves the monocoque, suspension and bodywork the main parts which should be designed and built by themselves - but these could be subcontracted as well, of course.
The Kauhsen had a DFV and Hewland gearbox - so it is a kitcar.
Posted 09 July 2001 - 23:41
Posted 10 July 2001 - 00:45
Posted 10 July 2001 - 02:24
The term "kit cars" originated back in the days when Cooper and Lotus among others used the Coventry-Climax engine; so it would probably be around 1960 when the "kit cars" was first used.
Sorry, can't help with info on the Kaushen.
Posted 10 July 2001 - 05:44
Posted 10 July 2001 - 11:42
A few random kit car examples:
de Tomaso 308
etc etc etc ....
Posted 10 July 2001 - 12:50
But in 1966 there were so many different engines and gearboxes as the new formula came in that there could not be anything considered a kit car.
Only when the Cosworth V8 became readily available and the Hewland become universal could the term really apply and so it was about 1971 that it became popular probably because Tyrrell could quickly build his own cars and win with them.;)
Posted 10 July 2001 - 12:57
Basically, if you constructed a F1 chassis, then bought in standard spec components like a DFV, Hewland box, AP brakes, etc etc, you were building a "kit-car". In the early 1970s, pretty well everyone was doing that except Ferrari, BRM and Matra. Later, the demands of aerodynamics and better general packaging meant that teams started to make their own transmission (albeit still with Hewland cogs) and then the end of the DFV era meant that off-the-shelf cars died out.
Posted 10 July 2001 - 18:12
Posted 24 November 2001 - 11:02
Does he have a personal sponsorship with Marlboro? In many photos, he is smoking a cig or wearing a big Marlboro hat.
Posted 24 November 2001 - 12:33
But two things I always remember about "Little Arthur".
The mechanic who told me that was his nick-name in the team (can't remember the mechanic or the team, sorry) also told me that, in the early days of six-point harnesses, when the mechanics would pull the crotch straps tight, on strapping him in, Merzario would always say "Oh! Thats-a niiiice!"
The second thing I always remember is that Arturo pioneered the current "sit on the floor and pop your eyes out on stalks to see over the scuttle" driving position. I have seen photos in which it appears certain he could not possibly see out of the front of the car.
Posted 24 November 2001 - 14:14
Posted 24 November 2001 - 16:21
Considering he was well over 50 already, (ha was born on 11th March, 1943) it's quite a feat! What a character!
Posted 24 November 2001 - 16:30
Not much to do with the Marlboro Man but this Maserati 250F c/n 2521 is from the same historic meeting, I think some forum members will appreciate it!
Posted 24 November 2001 - 17:24
Isn't the 250F "THE RACING CAR" of the fifties? Beautiful!
Did'nt Little Art compete in the Maserati Ghibli Cup until very resently?
Posted 24 November 2001 - 19:18
Arturo Merzario was, by my best opinion, a far better Grand Prix driver than his record shows. He had his Grand Prix debut for Ferrari in 1972 but at this time Ferrari was struggling to keep up and in 1973 Ferrari went into deep crises. Jacky Ickx left the Italian team midseason and it was then up to Merzario to bring back success to Ferrari. The odds was impossible as the Ferrari 312B3 was a really poor design at least in its first two layouts.
At the end of 1973 Ferrari decided to shut down their successful Sportscar programme to concentrate solely on Formula One. But unfortunately for Merzario - Ferrari decided to call on Clay Regazzoni from BRM and together with him the Swiss, a young promising driver by the name Niki Lauda, for their 1974 line-up.
Merzario went to Franck Williams and his Iso Marlboro team. But once more the odds was against the little Italian and while Ferrari saved their name in F1 in 1974, Frank William was still in the making of his and the Iso car left much to desire. And once again Merzario faced an uphill struggle throughout 1974. But it most certainly speaks in Merzario’s favour that he drove the Iso Williams to a fine fourth place in the Italian Grand Prix and notably on the same lap as the winner, Ronnie Peterson. But despite the fine result at Monza 1974 was the year where Merzario F1 dreams evaporated, and from then on he only enjoyed second and third hand drives at Williams, Fittipaldi, Wolf Williams and March before putting up his own team at the end of 1977. In 1978 he entered as a driver and constructor with a car design by G. Piola, today better known for his nice F1 cutaway drawings in many F1 magazines. The project was a failure and at the end of 1979 the F1 project was put on hold and the popular Italian left the F1 arena.
Arturo Merzario has raced in FIA Sportscar World Championship this season and is still going strong. Note that Merzario was one of the most successful Sportscar drivers in the mid and late seventies.
some pictures on the links below
http://latphoto.co.uk/html/*2PV_019188 and http://latphoto.co.uk/html/*2PV_026785
Posted 24 November 2001 - 20:44
Arturo, Guy Edwards and Brett Lunger have saved Niki unconscious and penned in the burning Ferrari.
A great little man from Civenna.
Posted 25 November 2001 - 12:09
He is a charming person, not very much outgoing but very witty .
And absolutely not the "Look, I'm a living legend" type.
The thing I was more impressed of was his everyday driving style , when I snatched a ride on his Station Wagon : calm , disciplinated... even slow.
A man with brains.
About his guts, Niki Lauda will tell you...
Posted 25 November 2001 - 19:57
He was wearing the Marlboro-cowboy hat like in Rainer Nyberg's picture.
Posted 26 November 2001 - 01:24
Posted 26 November 2001 - 13:36
Does anyone know if he has any connection to the Merzario trucking company? Or is it a common name in Italy?
Posted 26 November 2001 - 15:50
I know the Monaco incident was Alex Ribeiro in the Medical car. The safety car is usually driven by some German TC star, Bernd Mayländer I think.
Originally posted by Gary C
Wasn't it Arturo who dumped the Mercedes safety car into the gravel at Monza a couple of years ago, or was it him who stuffed the same car at Monaco last year???!?
Posted 26 November 2001 - 18:12
The only other memory I have of Arturo is from the Canadian Grand Prix. I had snuck into the pit lane. Grand Prix practice was over and a local sedan race took the green flag. Arturo (wearing his hat, of course) ran with a couple of mechanics to stand on the pit wall to watch the race. Mind you, this was just a little sedan race (BMW 2002s, Datsun 510s, Mini Coopers, etc.) comprised of local amateur drivers. But Arthur has a big smile on his face, and his eyes glowed...
Posted 26 November 2001 - 18:33
I think I first realised that Arturo was something special at the ''Martini International'' 2-litre Group 6 at Silverstone in '72 (?). My father and I had decided to walk right around the track during the 2nd part and we had a downpour of biblical proportions - we got our feet wet right up to our armpits. Deiter Quester had won the 1st dry part with the new-ish BMW M12(?) engined Chevron, but in the wet little Art ran rings around everyone, sliding and spinning but keeping it all going and even finding time to wave to crowd as he recovered from a few lurid moments.
I think I saw him race last year, or the year before in the lower class of the Sports Prototype series (or whatever it's called this week).
Once saw his race team disgorging its car and equipment into the paddock from a tarpaulin-sided truck bearing the legend 'Mezario Trucking Co' (or Italian equivalent) so I always assumed there was a family connection at least - but as someone pointed out, it could be a co-incidence.
Posted 10 March 2003 - 22:25
Maybe we should remember some of the special achievements in the career of this piccolo grande pilota : a career spanning almost 40 years (scored a class win in the 1963 Rallye Sardegna driving an Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ, scored a class win in the 2002 Carrera Panamericana driving an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider). And in between - around 2000 races entailing Grands Prix, F2, F3, sports cars, touring cars and go-karts.
Many may remember Merzario's Grand Prix career as a struggling driver/constructor, but consider these oft-overlooked facts:
A competitive 6th in his first GP (Brands Hatch 1972)
Two 4th placings for Ferrari in 1973 in a woeful season for the Scuderia
1974: Planting Frank Williams' Iso Marlboro (on Firestones at that) an amazing 3rd on the Kyalami grid and generally doing heroic things with the equipment at his disposal, particularly in Austria, Italy, and at the Glen
His privateer March performances (1976-1977) also provided performances which regularly outshone the works team's efforts.
Let's move on to sportscars, probably Art's forte:
Hillclimb victories for Abarth against Peter Schetty's works Ferrari
Victories at Targa Florio 1972 with Sandro Munari, and Kyalam 9 Hrs
Securing Sportscar championships for Alfa Romeo in for 1975 and 1977 (was the opposition really that bad?
Italian National Sportscar Championship victories, and ISRS class wins
There are many other noteworthy aspects to distinguish his career; like the variety of cars driven: how many other top-line drivers of the time can claim to have raced all of the classic Italian marques: Abarth, Alfa Romeo, De Tomaso, Ferrari. Fiat, Iso, Lancia, Maserati - and I believe Art also piloted a Lamborghini as a pace-car at Monza somewhere in the late 90's. (Don't know about Bizzarrini though). And then there were marques from other nationalities like Porsches and BMW Procars as well.
Another aspect to consider is Art's heroism - apart from the Lauda accident he was also on hand to render assistance at the Peterson incident and I believe at the Giunti accident as well.
This post may be getting over-long, and as you may have concluded, my favourite (not best , butfavourite ) driver of all time is the subject of this post. But there is still so much to know, like: why Arturo Merzario prior to 1977, but Arturi o Merzario afterwards? Why (by some accounts) an acrimonious split with Frank Williams in 1975, only to rejoin the team in 1976?And what about the presumed antipathy between him and Jacky Ickx?
Like the Amon and De Cesaris threads, all of this merits a thread of it's own and TNF is the most knowledgeable place for this to happen. But on the 11th of March 2003, Saluti ai suoi Sessant'anni
Posted 10 March 2003 - 22:59
Here's Arturo in Zolder 1997 where he drove a Centenari-Alfa Romeo in the International Sports Racing Series:
and here he is posing with my brother and John Surtees who was there to drive a pre-war Mercedes W-125 and the 300SL Panamericana:
Posted 10 March 2003 - 23:13
"Oooh, that's a-nice !!!" Courtesy of an esteemed previous poster on TNF.
Posted 11 March 2003 - 17:24
Originally posted by Kpy
Thanks for the photos of a great guy. But where's the hat?
Posted 11 March 2003 - 17:51
Thanks for the pic.
I read somewhere, around 1998 (an ISRS related website if I remember correctly) that Art's capello famoso (the famous Marlboro hat) was stolen during a trip to my native country, South Africa. But I swear officer, it wasn't me......
Posted 11 March 2003 - 19:52
Posted 11 March 2003 - 20:59
I always liked the little man, he was so... different!
And good to see at least one heavy smoker still alive...
Posted 11 March 2003 - 21:02
Originally posted by Geza Sury
OK, we've had the hat but what about the ever-present Fruit of the Loom T-shirt?
Posted 11 March 2003 - 21:21
Posted 11 March 2003 - 22:38
Strange that Little Art has got older, but his hair hasn't.
Posted 12 March 2003 - 19:37
Posted 17 March 2003 - 08:52
"Turn one is flat out. OK. But is it to the left or to the right?"
...when (which track?) did he say it?
Posted 19 March 2003 - 14:30
Posted 06 May 2003 - 21:09