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Arturo Merzario is 80


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#1 Parkesi

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Posted 11 March 2023 - 20:27

Buon compleanno - happy birthday: Arturo 80 today  :clap:



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#2 Doug Nye

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 08:12

Many happy returns to the man Mr Ferrari himself rated as "uno grande stradista" - a great road racer - and who was the subject of the painting which hung behind The Old Man's desk at Fiorano, which represents praise indeed.  

 

'Little Art' was also an exceptionally courageous charger who, by circumstance, rushed in to rescue not just one driver trapped in a burning car - plus, I believe, a similarly trapped truck driver in a public-road accident in Italy.  It was he who eventually hauled his co-driver, Ignazio Giunti, out of their crushed Ferrari 312P at Buenos Aires in 1971 - though Giunti was, sadly, beyond help - and he was also involved in the more successful rescue of Niki Lauda at the Nürburgring in 1976.  Under his favourite cowboy hat and with his long curly hair he might resemble someone's favourite eccentric granny, but he is a driver commanding greater respect than his mere Formula 1 results might ever suggest...

 

DCN



#3 ensign14

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 09:30

Question is, where are the Merzario race cars, and when are they coming to Goodwood?  :)

 

A Little Art (auto)biog would be interesting; his career went on for decades.



#4 RacingCompagniet

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 14:24

I have already posted this on an other thread, but here it is again.  A rare photo: Arturo without his hat.

 

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#5 RA Historian

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 15:43

As I have said a number of times, you gotta love Little Artie! Cowboy hat, shaggy hair, and still driving at 80!

 

Tom



#6 Doug Nye

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 18:36

I understand that Art is really touched by the good wishes expressed here and from other enthusiasts around the world...and that he "...thanks you profusely".

 

DCN



#7 funformula

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 19:32

Question is, where are the Merzario race cars, and when are they coming to Goodwood?  :)

 

A Little Art (auto)biog would be interesting; his career went on for decades.

 

One of them took part at last years Historic Minardi Days in Imola.

I have a soft spot for these F1 cars from the far end of the starting grid, probably because they aren´t seen so often on a race track.

For me the Merzario was one of the highlights of the weekend... and I shared my pit with four F1 Ferraris. Well, most of the tifosi visiting the event might have had another opinion   ;)

 

Minardi-Days-Imola22-Kl-2.jpg



#8 SamoanAttorney

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 19:58

I recall that Art was part of the madness nicknamed Mango's Barmy Army or ISRS or SRWC or FIA SCC, that, shamefully, I was associated with. He was a true gentleman, racing the Tampolli and then with Pierre Bruneau's Deborah and Pilbeam efforts. The last time I had the privilege of speaking to him was in the car park of the Döttinger Höhe some 10 or 15 years ago, he and a bunch of mates had towed a Nissan 350 all the way from Italy to race in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. He pretended to remember me, it made my day. He is truly special. And they finished in 114th place....



#9 marksixman

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 20:20

Many congratulations, and much respect to him.

 

So good that he is still motoring on - after all, how many M-r-b-r- must he have smoked ?!



#10 ensign14

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 21:09

52743284316_994d656fe7_b.jpg

 

I assume this sticker is from the F2 days?  I don't recall JVC being one of his F1 sponsors.



#11 funformula

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 21:52

The sticker is from 1981 as JVC sponsored Merzarios F2 team that year.

 

march-812-BMW.jpg



#12 AJCee

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 22:27

I trust that a very happy birthday was had. May I add my respect, and indeed thanks for all the entertainment, to a remarkable man whose exploits are fondly remembered.

#13 d j fox

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 23:55

Forza Arturo! Happy Birthday to a real charger!

#14 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 02:30

Happy birthday, Arturo!

 

:clap:



#15 john aston

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 07:11

My first memory of Art coincides with my first memory  of Brands Hatch . It was 1972 and I'd taken the overnight bus from Wakefield , not sleeping as I was over excited . A Green Line bus from Victoria to Wrotham ( which I thought was pronounced as it is spelled ) and I was enthralled as soon as I saw the circuit . What a contrast to the bleak and windy acres of Silverstone. Not having slept for 36 hours I fell asleep at Clearways in the lunch break but was awoken by the screaming , howl of two Flat 12s , as Ickx and Merzario left the pits . Both instantly recognisable , one in dark blue Kent sponsored helmet and the other almost invisible in the cockpit - Art . He wasn't quite as fast as Ickx , but he was an Italian , he was driving a works Ferrari , I was 19, the university vacation still had many weeks to run , and the sun was shining . Which is almost as good as life can get .

 

Now I'm 70 , Art is  80 - how the hell did this happen ?  



#16 davidbuckden

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 07:28

I too want to 'celebrate' (an overworked concept/word nowadays) Arturo.  As a fan of Abarth, especially in the Sixties, Art is a big favourite. Despite his apparently jokey demeanour and style, Carlo himself - who didn't suffer fools - always looked very pleased to be photographed standing next to his diminutive driver. He has added a lot to the scene over the years with a personality that has not been spoiled by having the luck to regularly get into cars that would have enabled absolutely top level, consistent success.  But don't misread that comment - in the 33 (and the 312P) Art was capable to mesmerising drives. Like many here I'd guess, as soon as I see that hat, I'm smiling. Buon compleanno Art!



#17 doc knutsen

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 11:22

Many happy retuns to an Italian charger, whose achievements are so much more than what appears from hos F1 statistics. I take it he is very much an enthusiast as well as a very good racing driver. Happy memories of the Autosport cartoon caption contest, featuring Mario Andretti sticking his head deep into an F1 cockit....with the caption reading  "Need a hand with the belts in there, Art?"

At Anderstorp in 1976, Art had a go at chatting up my then sister-in-law, a long-haired blonde Nordic youg lady....who stood a good foot taller than him. Did not turn out successful, but neither did it deter him from trying! Lovely man, out of lovely times...when an enterprising fellow was able to get into an F1 paddock and even pits. using a ruler and a set of coloured crayons to modify a humble press pass issued to the local media...



#18 davidbuckden

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 12:13

As I was saying . . .           

Carlo-Art71.jpg

 

©Giorgio Nada Editore


Edited by davidbuckden, 13 March 2023 - 12:28.


#19 nmansellfan

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 12:46

Many happy returns Arturo!

 

Over the road from my work there is an independent garage that has recently closed, to be flattened for housing.  Based on the antics I used to see and hear from our office windows, any customers car would be subjected to an Italian Tune Up as part of their customer service, with free tyre tread removal thrown in...

 

One of their service bays had a huge 4x3 metre print on the wall of a closeup of Arturo sparking up one of his chosen smokes, with cowboy hat firmly in place.  I suspect none of the garage workers knew who he was, just that they liked the photo.  Every time I looked out of the office window it made me smile.

 

One question that's come to my mind from RacingCompagniet and David's photo's; when did Little Art start curling his hair...!



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#20 SamoanAttorney

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 12:56

And here is Arturo at Kyalami in '99 with Pierre Bruneau. If I recall correctly his famous hat was stolen on that trip....

 

1999SRWCKyalami_jb_1012_cr.jpg



#21 2F-001

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 14:02

One question that's come to my mind from RacingCompagniet and David's photo's; when did Little Art start curling his hair...!

Or when did he stop straightening it...?

:)



#22 john winfield

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 14:25

My first memory of Art coincides with my first memory  of Brands Hatch . It was 1972 and I'd taken the overnight bus from Wakefield , not sleeping as I was over excited . A Green Line bus from Victoria to Wrotham ( which I thought was pronounced as it is spelled ) and I was enthralled as soon as I saw the circuit . What a contrast to the bleak and windy acres of Silverstone. Not having slept for 36 hours I fell asleep at Clearways in the lunch break but was awoken by the screaming , howl of two Flat 12s , as Ickx and Merzario left the pits . Both instantly recognisable , one in dark blue Kent sponsored helmet and the other almost invisible in the cockpit - Art . He wasn't quite as fast as Ickx , but he was an Italian , he was driving a works Ferrari , I was 19, the university vacation still had many weeks to run , and the sun was shining . Which is almost as good as life can get .

 

Now I'm 70 , Art is  80 - how the hell did this happen ?  

 

 

That 1972 British GP is when Art first made an impression on me too. His first GP, deputising for Regazzoni at Ferrari, and he did really well, sixth place after a pit stop and winner of the Jo Siffert Prix Rouge et Blanc for his efforts.  I'd first seen him in the Ferrari 512 in 1970, and  later in the smaller Abarth - wish I'd been at Silverstone in 1972 as apparently he was terrific there in the wet.  Last saw him at Donington in 1999, driving the Tampoli. (Come on Samoa, those series were great to see!)

 

Well done Arturo!  And how, in early 1974, did you keep on qualifying that ISO-Marlboro in the top ten?  Third fastest at Kyalami!  Amazing.



#23 2F-001

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 14:36

That wet Silverstone is a special memory of Art for me: the Martini International Trophy - in the European 2-litre championship.

The dry first part was dominated by Quester's Chevron (with BMW engine - which I presume was the forerunner of the dominant F2 engine?).

Merzario seemed to 'walk on water' when the rain came.

Having decided to walk the circuit for the second part, and made it as far as Club, we got our feet wet right up to the armpits.



#24 Michael Ferner

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 15:02

A bit late, but I would like to add myself to the list of well-wishers - Lil' Art has always been a favourite of mine. He was perhaps the last 'true' privateer in F1, and even while it looked like a hopeless enterprise, I was always happy when he made the field against all odds, and sad to see him disappear, even from F2 a little bit later. I guess he was just born twenty years too late - that would make him 100 today! :eek:

 

No, seriously, good to know that he's still going strong, and here's hoping he'll be around for some time still! For me, he's a giant - I remember meeting him a few years ago at an old car show, and even though I'm six feet seven I don't recall looking down on him... certainly not figuratively, but also not actually: in his presence, I was transformed into the little kid that was looking up at the hero racing driver! Bravo, Arturo - grazie per i ricordi!  :clap:



#25 SamoanAttorney

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 15:56

Mango's Barmy Army? Well the '99 Donington round had 30 cars turn up, probably the biggest turn out they ever had, though four managed to fall by the wayside before the start. 

 

Here is Arturo duelling with Raffaele Raimondi in the Picchio, long ago and far away.

 

 

99SRWCDonington_jb_0037.jpg


Edited by SamoanAttorney, 13 March 2023 - 20:28.


#26 FastReader

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 17:35

Many happy retuns to an Italian charger, whose achievements are so much more than what appears from hos F1 statistics. I take it he is very much an enthusiast as well as a very good racing driver. Happy memories of the Autosport cartoon caption contest, featuring Mario Andretti sticking his head deep into an F1 cockit....with the caption reading  "Need a hand with the belts in there, Art?"

At Anderstorp in 1976, Art had a go at chatting up my then sister-in-law, a long-haired blonde Nordic youg lady....who stood a good foot taller than him. Did not turn out successful, but neither did it deter him from trying! Lovely man, out of lovely times...when an enterprising fellow was able to get into an F1 paddock and even pits. using a ruler and a set of coloured crayons to modify a humble press pass issued to the local media...

This reminded me of a story recounted by Brian Redman in his excellent book, Daring Drivers, Deadly Tracks which I repeat here verbatim:

 

Arturo, thin and delicate in his python driving shoes and white cowboy hat, was as nimble socially as he was on the track. On the way to dinner one evening, Regazzoni and I knocked on Arturo's hotel room door. 'Ciao', he called, which we surmised was an invitation to enter. To our amazement, the undersized Arturo was happily bedded between two Viking-proportioned damsels, both unabashed professionals. Clay examined the scene thoughtfully, then enquired, 'Wata-a-you do wis Arturo, gurls? E ees so leetle.' One of the ladies giggled, 'Oh, ja wohl: sehr leetle, but sehr gut!' Clay and I went on to a celibate dinner, with our conversation unusually muted.

 

Happy birthday Arturo!



#27 68targa

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 19:25

Reading these posts reminds me of just how many different makes and categories of car he has driven. Even though he may not have achieved the results he would have liked with his own cars, given the right equipment he was a match for anyone.

 

Surely he was the most aerodynamic of drivers as well !

 

img483.jpg



#28 d j fox

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 20:34

If I may add a further contribution… my overwhelming memory of Art is at Le Mans 1972. I was standing on the inside of the old/ real Dunlop curve ( pre chicane nonsense)
It was fairly early on in the race but Arturo was thundering around lap after lap in the glorious sounding Ferrari 312 PB barely skimming the bank but also barely able to see over the cockpit!! Wonderful stuff!

#29 10kDA

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Posted 13 March 2023 - 21:59

Happy 80th Birthday Arturo! Congratulations on a life well lived, both on and off the track. :smoking:



#30 JacnGille

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Posted 14 March 2023 - 03:14

:clap:



#31 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 14 March 2023 - 08:48

Happy Birthday Arturo!!! This summer he was at the Zandvoort Historic GP to demonstrate a 246 SP. He was quite interested and blinking an eye to the lovely girls who smiled back to this young Italian gun. When walk past me to the car I said: "Forza Arturo" upon which he gave me the quintessential Italian nod with smile, put his helmet on and went for the track. His natural habitat.  


Edited by Arjan de Roos, 14 March 2023 - 08:55.


#32 Gabrci

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Posted 14 March 2023 - 13:35

What a charming gentleman, I have had the pleasure of meeting him a few times at Goodwood and I will always remember him sitting on a small chair for hours next to a Sharknose replica waiting to go out. Always happy to chat to fans (lady fans do take priority) with the little English he can speak and seems to genuinely enjoy life. I hope we will have the pleasure of him driving something red for many times to come. 



#33 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 20 March 2023 - 12:26

Arturo.jpg



#34 barrykm

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Posted 20 March 2023 - 12:51

What a great thread  :clap:



#35 jcbc3

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Posted 20 March 2023 - 12:58

When I was 14, I got this poster in a year book (long lost, this is one I found on the interweb just now) of some kind and remember thinking how bad it was that Merzario didn't have much success, because it was the car (along with the Wolff) that was easiest to draw and it was my favorite colour combination.

 

Spoiler


#36 davidbuckden

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Posted 25 March 2023 - 08:29

Looks like Art's spotted crumpet!

 

73-Art-Dijon.jpg