Maserati, Nuvolari, klemcoll

Today we are showing you a series of images of the great prewar driver Tazio Nuvolari during the Grand Prix des Nations in Geneva on July 21, 1946. The Geneva city street circuit was approximately 1.9 miles in length and the race was held in two 32-lap heats and a 44-lap final. Although not the first race after the end of the War, it was perhaps the most important and attracted an important and varied entry. It was held for voiturette  cars, meaning single seater racing vars with motors limited to 1500cc supercharged.

Maserati, Nuvolari, klemcollNuvolari, seen again at he left is driving a Maserati 4CL entered by Scuderia Milano which was a racing team organized by the Ruggeri brothers in Milan. They entered three other Maserati 4CLs of which two arrived in Geneva these being driven by Raymond Sommer and Luigi Villoressi. 

The 4CL was first raced by Maserati in 1939. It used a box section chassis, as used in the company’s prior racing car, but with a new four cylinder motor which had more power and used a more streamlined body which was also produced by Maserati.

The Grand Prix had a large field of entries, some 27 in all, of which only four either did not arrive or failed to start their heat. Alfa Maserati, Nuvolari, klemcollCorse, the newly-resurrected factory team, sent four of their prewar type 158s, two with dual supercharging. These were entrusted to Giuseppe Farina, Achille Varzi, Jean-Pierre Wimille and Carlo Trossi. There was rain early on for the first heat so its times for the 32 laps were slower than those for heat 2, even with the fastest Alfas in the initial heat. Here is Nuvolari in hi somewhat acrobatic style. He ran in heat 2, finishing third behind Farina and Trossi.

Twelve cars were allowed to take the starter’s flag for the 44-lap final – being the six top finishers in each heat. Farina proved to be the winner, followed by his teammates Maserati, Nuvolari, klemcollTrossi and Wimille. Nuvolari was fourth, the best of the Maserati contingent albeit two laps down. During the final Nuvolari was in a fit of temper when passed by Wimille and forced the other’s Alfa into a spin. Wimille rolled downhill to restart before overtaking Nuvolari again, the Italian having received black flags which he chose to ignore. Varzi made several pit stops to cure engine maladies and was seventh.

Photos by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com

To see more photos from our archive go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx




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