“When Nuvolari Raced…”

Ferrari, Nuvolari, Livorno, klemcoll

The title of our blog this week is also the title of a superb book about Tazio Nuvolari, published in Italy in 1994. And here the great Flying Mantuan is racing a Ferrari during the Coppa Montenero which was held at Livorno on Tuscany’s Mediterranean coast on August 24, 1947. The car is one of the very earliest Ferrari sports cars with a 1.5 liter V12 motor and was called the 125 S, the S standing for Sport and indicating a sports car. This car was probably the first such Ferrari, chassis number 01C. We showed a photo of the same car, in a later modified form, two weeks ago.

The original Montenero Circuit, some 22.5 km. in length, ran along the seafront then went up into the hills behind the town much like the circuit at Pescara on the Adriatic coast. It had had a long prewar history for both sports and Grand Prix cars hosting the Coppa Ciano series of races, so named for local politico Costanzo Ciano who donated a trophy for his local race. The races in 1947, one for sports cars and one for voiturette racing cars, were the last major event held on the Montenero Circuit and used a shorter in-town street circuit only 5 km. long.

Ferrari entered a series of races in 1947 with the 125 S, primarily with Franco Cortese as their driver, but joined on occasion by Nuvolari. For the Coppa Montenero, Ferrari entered cars for both Cortese and Nuvolari, but the former’s car had been involved a recent testing accident at Maranello so only the one for Nuvolari was available. Nuvolari was forced to start from the back row of the grid and lasted only three laps before engine failure caused his retirement.

Ferrari, Mille Miglia, klemcoll, NuvolariNuvolari’s health was declining postwar, perhaps as a result of breathing unhealthy exhaust gases during his long prewar career. He appeared for a few races during the next three years before sickness forced him to quit. His most famous result in his final years was nearly winning the 1948 Mille Miglia in a rather scruffy Ferrari 166 SC (seen on the left before the race) which was literally falling apart around him in the final stages.

Photos from the Archivio Corrado Millanta ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com

To see more of our photographs please go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx

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