eBay Watching: Mille Miglia Stage Winner’s Trophy

Mille Miglia Trofeo Franco Mazzotti

It’s always fascinating to dig through eBay (the world’s attic). The seller of this Mille Miglia Trofeo Franco Mazzotti doesn’t specify the year, the winner, or much else about this piece of Mille history, but it sure does make this red arrow fan’s pulse climb a bit. The Brescian silversmith’s marks at least lend it a bit of tantalizing authenticity.

More details (well, not really) on the auction listing page.

1957 Race of Two Worlds on Film

Reader Photos: Gary Mason’s 1957 Race of Two Worlds

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Thankfully, yesterday’s Monzanapolis track map forced my hand in sharing some of these amazing images from Gary Mason. In the mid-1950s, Gary was a teenager traveling through Italy with a pair of cameras on his hip—hitting every race he could (and rooting for Maserati whenever possible). What a tremendous opportunity to take in one of the great spectacles of mid-50s racing in Europe—the Race of Two Worlds.

Can you believe how empty these stands are? What a tragedy.

Can you believe how empty these stands are? What a tragedy.

What a rare chance to see Offenhauser-powered Kurtis and Kuzma sprint cars square off against Jags and Ferraris. Can you imagine seeing Indy cars and ALMS prototypes going head to head on a modern speedway? It’s almost comedic. But incredible. And beautiful.

Race of Two Worlds. Monza. 1957.

More of Gary Mason’s photos in the archives. Thanks again, Gary! There’s more to come.

Track Maps of the Past: Monzanapolis

Monzanapolis Track Map 1958

There’s some fascinating things happening in this track map created for the 1958 “Race of Two Worlds” event at Monza. Unofficially dubbed “Monzanapolis” for the event, the race was a battle between American USAC speedway machines typically seen at Indianapolis versus European road racing machines. Because the race used only the banked oval portion of Monza’s fabulous double loop “combined” configuration (and it ran in the opposite direction), the event required it’s own map. They really outdid themselves with this one.

Not only does it show the track from above, there is also fantastic details like the cross sections of the banking, (this was where I learned that the North and South banking were so different) and an attempt to demonstrate the elevation change in the track (highly unconventional on a speedway).

I usually lean towards the freehand illustrated maps so commonly seen in CalClub and SCCA event programs, but this professionally drafted map is so rich in detail that I absolutely adore it.

A Sleeping Beauty of a Cisitalia D46

Giorgio Oppici sent in his spectacular short film showcasing a perfectly patinaed Cisitalia D46. There are a lot of ways to make a film about a car, but usually they feature quick cuts, loud music, and booming exhaust notes. They get your adrenaline up. They get you excited about the subject. Advertisers and music video directors have known how to pull those emotions out of us for a long time.

Giorgio’s approach is the exact opposite. This isn’t a music video (although the music is perfect). This doesn’t get your adrenaline up. It doesn’t even motivate. What it does do is all the more rare. It forces you to pause… To appreciate… To wonder. It is a love letter to the magnificent Cisitalia D46 that I want to read again and again.

Thank you for sending this in, Giorgio. It’s fantastic. Check out Giorgio’s equally beautiful film on BMW Motorcycles that we featured last year.

El Maestro

Topps World on Wheels: Maserati

Maserati Trading Card

Keep your rookie cards and let’s dig back into the Topps World on Wheels trading cards sets. This time, Maserati.

From the card’s reverse:

“Maserati is one of the great names in racing cars. Some of the most famous drivers in racing history have used the Maserati to win prizes… Wilbur Hatch having twice driven one to victory in the Indianapolis Races. In Italy, the Maserati Company is known more for production of spark plugs and batteries than for racing cars.”

Fascinating to me that they played up the Indy 500 connection and were so dismissive of Masers in Europe.

More Topps World on Wheels in the archives.

Stanguellinis at the 1950 Coppa d’Oro Dolomiti

Supremo Montanari's Stanguellini S1100 at the 1950 Coppa d'Oro Dolomiti

Those mountain vistas! I’ve grown so used to seeing wide runoff areas and flat(ish) topography that when I see these images of the Dolomite Mountains captured in the 1950 running of the Coppa d’Oro Dolomiti, I’m just dumbstruck. We always imaging switchback mountain roads and winding valley tarmac as perfect sportscar roads for a Sunday afternoon drive. It’s a shame that so few events still have this kind of scenery to look forward to. Even events like Pike’s Peak or the more mountainous legs of the WRC don’t seem to have peaks quite as sharp and romantic as the Dolomites. Of course, the Coppa d’Oro Dolomiti still runs (sort of) today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for bringing back these decidedly less forgiving runoff areas. But even more than small town street racing, I think the loss of this kind of combination of beautiful racing machines and breathtaking mountain roads is a tremendous loss.

Sergio Sighinolfi's Stanguellini S1100 at the 1950 Coppa d'Oro Dolomiti Just look at that shot of the 26-year-old Sergio Sighinolfi piloting the #123 Stanguellini 1100. He won his class, finished fourth overall, and beat the previous class course record by over four minutes. Those are just statistics. The fact that he did it in this kind of environment with this level of enchanting beauty and horrific danger around him is heroic. In just the same way, it’s one thing to DNF on the local track, it’s quite another to DNF in the Dolomites. That Supremo Montanari didn’t make to the finish in his outdated #111 Ermini-powered Stanguellini Sport Nazionale doesn’t make his running any less heroic. Twisting along these mountain roads and keeping your foot down is enough to earn my respect.

Am I forgetting about any contemporary events that are run in these kinds of environments? Let me know. I probably need to get more into hillclimbs.

Birdcage on the Track

With Race-Car Sureness

Alfa 1750 GT Veloce AdThere’s just one thing wrong with Alfa’s 1750 GT Veloce.

We can’t get enough of them.

Maybe it’s the name.

1750 Gran Turismo Veloce. You just know it means a fast, luxurious car in the great tradition of European road machines, always ready to race or roam.

Or maybe it’s the body. That brilliant styling has made this Bertone masterpiece a modern classic. Inside, the GTV is handsomely fitted with solid mahogany trim. New-design bucket seats the enfold you in arm-chair comfort even at nearly 120 mph. And a full complement of instruments, including a tachometer.

Most likely, though, it’s the famous Alfa performance, even livelier this year. A new stronger engine with race-proven fuel injection. Five forward speeds to cope with any traffic or terrain. Four-wheel disc brakes that stop you right now, in a safe, straight line. Wide-tread radial-ply tires that seem part of the road, take corners with race-car sureness. Racing suspension and precise steering that makes the car do what you want to do, the instant you want to.

Alfa Romeo’s new 1750 GT Veloce. Better hurry to your dealer now.

Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce®. $4446 Ease POE.
Alfa Romeo Inc. 231 Johnson Ave., Newark, N.J. 07108 / 215 Douglas St. So., El Segundo, Calif. 90245 / Alfa Romeo (Canada) Ltd., 26 Greensboro Dr., Rexdale, Toronto, Canada.

As someone who works in advertising, I don’t think any contemporary creative director would let a copywriter get away with calling the product by three different names: 1750 GTV, 1750 GT Veloce, 1750 Gran Turismo Veloce… Make a decision!

As seen in Road & Track, July 1969 on Sensei Alan’s Flickr via Chromjuwelen