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Tags » ‘gran prix’

the Alfa Romeo Tipo 158

September 1st, 2017 by admin

the Alfa Tipo B that made its first appearance in 1932. Between then and 1934, it won every grand prix in which it was entered, driven by the likes of Rudolf Caracciola and the great Tazio Nuvolari, who many rate as the greatest driver of all time. In 1933, Alfa Romeo was nationalized and officially withdrew from the sport, although Ferrari continued to field the cars on a semi-works basis.

Even against the might of the emerging German marques such as Mercedes and Auto Union, Nuvolari managed some mighty feats with the Tipo B, none better than his win in the 1935 German Grand Prix.

Alfa took full control of its racing programme again in 1938, but the war intervened. Put off by the German dominance of grand prix racing in the late 1930s, Gioacchino Columbo designed an Alfa Romeo Tipo 158 for the smaller voiturette class in 1939.

Legend has it that three Alfettas spent the war hidden in a cheese factory in northern Italy while the Germans occupied Italy, but were subsequently brought out in 1946 and under the new, pragmatic postwar regulations it automatically became a grand prix car and dominated the scene for the remainder of the 1940s. Alfa Romeo enjoyed a string of 26 unbroken wins.

By 1951, some 13 years after it was designed, the supercharged car, now in 159 guise, took Juan Manuel Fangio to his first world title in the final race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix, in a shoot-out against the Ferraris of Alberto Ascari, Froilan Gonzalez and Piero Taruffi. It was the car’s last race and Alfa Romeo then turned its attention to sports car racing.

The moment the flag fell to mark the beginning of the first ever F1 World Championship race on May 13th 1950 at Silverstone there was little doubt what car would cross the finish line first. Four Alfa Romeo 158s lined up ahead of all others thus continuing their 3 year long domination. One Alfetta (which means ‘Little Alfa’ in Italian because of its compact dimensions) retired during the race but the others finished 1-2-3 and left their nearest opponent 2 laps behind.

What is most incredible is that this car was already a 13-year-old design. When the new German Nazi government decided to go motor racing it did so with remarkable funds, technology and people. Other nations’ manufacturers couldn’t keep up with these newly set standards. Italy, keen to stay at the forefront of at least one aspect of motor racing turned its back to Grand prix cars and decided to build cars for the Voiturette class. ‘Voiturette’ or, in Italian, ‘Veturetta’ was considered a ‘step-down’ class similar to Formula 2 or Formula 3000 of today. Gioacchino Colombo designed a new Alfa Romeo 158 (‘15’ for 1,500cc and ‘8’ for 8 cylinders) on behalf of Alfa Romeo and its chief Orazio Satta.

Its straight-eight supercharged engine produced nearly 200bhp at 7,000rpm. It had a single-stage Roots supercharger with 17.6psi boost and twin overhead camshafts. The engine block was cast in Elektron (magnesium) and what was unusual for that time, it consisted of two separate castings integrated with a common head. The sump and crankcase were cast with identical material. The crankshaft was chrome nickel steel and the whole engine weighed only 363lb

1951 saw the Alfa Romeo’s first major defeat since 1939 when Froilan Gonzalez drove a Ferrari 375 to victory in British GP at Silverstone. The 27-race-long winning streak had ended. Ferrari’s won 2 more races that year but Alfa Romeo’s Fangio managed to claim the World Championship at last race of the season. There Alfa brought the 159M (Maggiorata = increased) cars with reinforced frame tubes and cantilevers above both frame rails.

By then, Alfa’s fuel consumption, thanks to ever-increasing supercharger pressure and rpms, had fallen to 1.7mpg (170liters/100km)! The cars needed 2 or 3 refueling stops to complete a race distance while the 4.5-liter unsupercharged competition could run virtually non-stop. The engines were thermally stressed to such a degree that a so called ‘fifth stroke’ was needed. This required that some amount of unburned fuel was needed to be run through the cylinders just to cool them down a bit.

The cars had reached the limit of their development and with not enough funds to build a completely new car Alfa Romeo was forced to withdraw from racing and thus the incredible story of these cars came to an end.

In late December 1942, after the bombing of Italian cities had started but had not yet targeted the Alfa factory, the removal of strategic documents and departments commenced. The Air Force spent 10 million, later extended to 30, to move the offices and workshops. The Design and Experimental Department was the first moved to a safe place, joined by the technical archives. They were installed at Orta, on a lake of the same name, located west of the Major Lake.

A few kilometres away, in a hilly north-eastern location called Armeno, were transferred the experimental workshops, where the parts for the AR 1101 28 cylinder were built. Ing. Gatti, transferred from Naples to Armeno with his staff, as there was no space left in Orta; he recalls they were housed in a knife factory called Inuggi.

They first worked on aeroplanes projects, then switched to the famous stoves and other postwar transition products. The transfer to and supply of the new locations was very difficult for both the material and the workers. The nuts and bolts production was moved to Vanzago (west of Milan, not far from Arese) and the auxiliary production together with metallurgic and chemical laboratories to Melzo, east of Milan, not far from Gorgonzola.

Jim Hall 8th in the 1963 Mexican GP, Lotus 24 BRM.

December 25th, 2016 by admin

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Jim Hall 8th in the 1963 Mexican GP, Lotus 24 BRM.

Repco’s 1966 promo film, the Fantastic Year

December 19th, 2016 by admin

Read the original here: 
Repco’s 1966 promo film, the Fantastic Year

Carroll Shelby racing a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport at the 1957 Cuban GP where he finished 2nd behind Juan Manuel Fangio.

August 1st, 2015 by admin

Found on

The Argentine Gran Prix looks like an adventure, and challenge

April 5th, 2015 by admin

Full article and gallery at

the GP drivers graceful exit from the seat

March 25th, 2014 by admin

If you wanted to see the most similar races to the 1907 and 1908 gran prix of England, Germany, and France, you might look at the 1968 movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

March 20th, 2013 by admin

after the racing beginning, then the movie gets into the affect of racing… one car, the winner of the 1907 and 1908 Gran Prix racing series, was in a wreck, and burned. It ends up in a mechanics yard, and the neighborhood kids play on it,

Tom Cotter, author of the Barn Find book series, also

August 21st, 2012 by admin

he is also the president of the Gran Prix of America organization.

Stirling Moss and Fangio in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix

July 12th, 2012 by admin

good photography, found on