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Le Mans 1928 Alfas

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#1 cabianca

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 17:07

The Bill Boddy  report below (written in December 2003) on the 1928 Belgian 24 Hours says two supercharged Alfas were not allowed to start at Le Mans  because their bodies did not meet the 4 seater specification. One Alfa 6C 1750 is shown as a reserve that year. It was a DNS to be driven by Ivanowski, Marinoni and Rachevsky. Is it possible that there were two Alfas at LM and they were the two 6C Alfas that ran at the Belgian 24 hours that year with Ivanowski/Marinoni and Rachevsky/Chinetti. The riddle is that the Ivanowski car was the winner at Spa and is shown as a 6C 1500 SS, while the Rachevsky car was supposedly a 6C 1500, which would not have had a supercharger.



Fortunately for the race's reputation, all was normal in 1928. This time 30 cars lined up for the classic Le Mans start, with the drivers sprinting across the road to get the engines going on the starter motors. All, that is, except an Auburn which collided with a Chrysler as they started to move, both having to cease until their damaged mudguards and headlamps had been repaired, to comply with the regulations. As before, the grandstand overlooking all this was brilliantly lit and powerful lamps outlined the pits. Those Britishers who made the journey to Spa must have been disappointed that Sir Henry Birkin's 4.5-litre Bentley had been withdrawn, as it was being prepared for Nurburg where it was the only unsupercharged car to finish, and one of the Alfa Romeos had also defaulted.

Italy was making an impressive bid for an outright win, to make up for the French having banned the supercharged 1.5-litre Alfa Romeos from running at Le Mans as their bodywork was found not quite to comply with the required measurements. It worked. The Russian driver Ivanowski and the Italian Marinoni came home first, in spite of their car's modest engine capacity, 145 miles ahead of the first of two American Chryslers, setting a new record of 1532 miles, at an impressive 63.80mph. They had broken the previous record distance by 105 miles, and had obviously won also the 1.5-litre class, from a Bugatti and a Chenard et Walcker. The Chryslers, five in all, two of them 1927 Le Mans runners, had dominated the 3-litre class, a Georges Irat took the 2-litre section, and an 1100cc Aries did splendidly to finish a place ahead of another 2-litre Georges Irat, and a 750cc Senechal, little known in England, was last of the 15 placed finishers, with 867.3 miles completed.

It had been an eventful and thus interesting struggle, calling for more skill than at Le Mans. Quite early the BNC broke a valve. Both drivers were permitted to work on it at Spa, but in the end they gave up; a supercharger had been added since it ran in the French race, which may have exacerbated the trouble. One Bugatti went out, but after four hours a s/c Bugatti had the lead, Ivanowski's Alfa Romeo in hot pursuit. As darkness began to close in the Alfa took the lead, never to lose it. The challenging Bugatti wore its tyres out, and a different make was hastily found and fitted — shades of the current tyre war! The second Alfa succumbed to what was quoted as broken piston rings.

Edited by cabianca, 29 October 2017 - 21:30.


#2 Henk Vasmel

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 17:51

In my database, I have the Alfa at Le Mans as a 6C1500, not a 1750. It is listed as having an unsupercharged engine. Drivers were only Ivanovski/Marinoni with Rashevskiy as a reserve. No 3 driver teams in those days. No other Alfas listed.

The entry is marked as RS (refused to start) and not res (reserve) although there is always a risk that these two get mixed-up.

The dates for Le Mans are 16/17 June 1928. Spa is 7/8 July, so Spa is 3 weeks after Le Mans.

In Spa I have 2 Alfas, a 6C1500SS for Ivanovski/Marinoni with license plate MI22548 and a plain 6C1500 for Chinetti and Rashevskiy. This might well have been the Le Mans car.

#3 Kpy

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 12:23

According to Moity/Teissedre/Bienvenue Tome 1, The Ivanovski/Marinoni Alfa was rejected at scrutineering as "trop sportive d'allure et manquant notoirement de confort"  (too sporty in appearance and clearly lacking in comfort).

Quentin Spurring lists the car as a supercharged 6C1500. 

The registration plate on the scrutineering photograph is  I.22548M or possibly I.22548MI, so it must be the car that raced at Spa.

I can't find any reference to a second Alfa at le Mans in 1928.

#4 cabianca

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 19:43


They had two 6Cs at Spa. I believe the Marinoni winner was supercharged and the Chinetti one was not. Could they have brought both cars to LM and the supercharged one was excluded, while the second car was accepted as an alternate? Doesn't really work if it was a question of bodywork, as they both must have been similar.

#5 VDP

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 10:14

At Spa there were obviously 3 cars entered for sure one 1500 ss and a std one, the other one was DNA   with no drivers