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Italian Motor Racing History


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#1 blueprint2002

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 12:38

Not being critical, just stating what I think is a fact: motor racing history in the English language tends to be rather Anglo-centric. Actually, that’s not surprising, but as a result, much of significance, that was done in other countries, is inaccessible to those who are not multi-lingual; perhaps French, German, and Italian would be the main languages useful in this context?

Coming to the point, I have had almost no success in the following (English language) searches:

  1. The history of the Dolomite Gold Cup sports car races (Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti?) of the fifties and maybe the forties.
  2. Possible uses of the early-fifties Alfa Romeo 1900/2000 cc dohc four as a Formula 2 engine by Italian or other makers: of all the production engines in the world at the time, this was by far the most promising, at least on paper. (Yes, I’m aware of the Cooper-Alfa of that era: surely it wasn’t the only one?)

Can anyone suggest some useful sources, printed or virtual, that might be available for consultation?

Thanks in advance.



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#2 Parkesi

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 13:33

Regarding the Dolomite Gold Cup there is THE book:

"Polvere e Gloria"/La Coppa d`Oro delle Dolomiti (1947-1956) by Cancellieri/de Agostini, Giorgio Nada Editore, Milano 2000.

I just checked the usual suspects - Chater`s 59,99 GBP ist quite reasonable, me thinks. As is Amazon.com 69,99 GBP.

Abebooks.com 129,37$, Nada Editore 150€, Motors Mania 180€ - what a difference!

If you just need some Information & details and not prepared to spend money, let me know.

I can copy/scan it for you. Andreas



#3 Sterzo

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 13:38

I'd be surprised if there's much information about Alfa Romeo that hasn't been covered in English language books. I hadn't heard of an early fifties Cooper-Alfa (maybe proving your point!). Moss's Cooper-Alta, yes, but not an Alfa-engined one until the early sixties when Trevor Blodkyk and several other South Africans raced 1.5 litre cars.

 

In the early fifties, Alfa had their hands full with road car production, but did work on a still-born flat 12 for the 2.5 engine formula.



#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 13:50

A correct observation about Anglo-centrism, but of course unless - like DSJ - you were lucky enough to be allowed to roam the roads of Europe and get paid for it you were unlikely to be able to witness this stuff first-hand and you were probably relying on Royal Mail to eventually bring you that (expensive) subscription copy of Auto Italiana. Even assuming you could read Italian.  ;)

 

Autosport probably felt they had enough on their plate reporting the myriad little meetings and minutiae of British racing, so really didn't need to provide their readers with too much detail about what all those foreign chappies were up to. [ETA: and there was probably still a lingering anti-Italian sentiment amongst some of their readership - discussion of 'ex-enemies' had dominated the correspondence columns of the weeklies in the aftermath of WW2.]

 

My own researches into the 1930s have led me to the conclusion that a lot of foreign stuff was simply ignored as irrelevant ('Brooklands syndrome') and that most of what little real news that filtered through was sourced to whatever the news agencies sent out or the French sporting daily l'Auto, which might even have been available for over the counter purchase in London from specialist newsagents. Oddly, reporting of matters Italian improves between September 1939 and June 1940, with Harold Hastings in Light Car regularly quoting what are said to be letters from Johnny Lurani - although that's probably a bit of journalistic licence!

 

Anyhow, in addition to the book mentioned by Parkesi ...

 

Auto Italiana is of course the primary first-hand source, but good luck with finding copies of that outside Italian archives!

 

The La Stampa online archive (free) is a good starting point. A national newspaper, but with pretty good sporting coverage.

 

http://www.archiviolastampa.it/

 

Also worth exploring is the CONI archive: http://dlib.coninet.it/?q=node/1

 

There's also the Zwischengas website, which has an online archive of the German-language edition of Automobil Revue. Subscription required, but how much coverage there is of Italian events of that era I don't know.

 

https://www.zwischen...iv/ar/index.xml



#5 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 17:06

I'd be surprised if there's much information about Alfa Romeo that hasn't been covered in English language books. I hadn't heard of an early fifties Cooper-Alfa (maybe proving your point!). Moss's Cooper-Alta, yes, but not an Alfa-engined one until the early sixties when Trevor Blodkyk and several other South Africans raced 1.5 litre cars.

 

In the early fifties, Alfa had their hands full with road car production, but did work on a still-born flat 12 for the 2.5 engine formula.

Alan Brown raced a Cooper-Alfa at Goodwood on Easter monday 1953.



#6 Doug Nye

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 17:08

The Coppa d'Oro book is great - and Italian racing has generally been blessed with some very good historical publications indeed...in many respects better than the French scene. 

 

DCN



#7 Nick Savage

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 17:14

As a support for Parkesi's recommendation, the Coppa del'Oro is a wonderful volume with brilliant photography : I was lucky enough to get mine as a leaving present from a good friend  .... and you know how good a friend is receiving a book like that....

Nick



#8 faber

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 20:28

hello guys. La Stampa was very useful tip, tks Vitesse2.

 

But could not found a single picture of Gendebien´s Mercedes 300 SL anywhere, neither on Mercedes public archive... according La Stampa, this car was a private entry from the belgian driver and racing as #115.

 

If Parkesi could scan a picture of this car, if it even exists, would love it. Tks in advance.



#9 Parkesi

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 22:07

Faber, please send me an e-mail.

There are TWO pictures of the Mercedes #115 in the book.

Plus a portrait of Gendebien in 1955. 



#10 faber

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 14:14

great news Parkesi, I am so grateful for that.

 

it´s  fabehr@yahoo.com