Dave Nawrocki, founder of Dimostra Automuseo, wants you to become a part of a unique on-line museum, dedicated to luscious photography and wonderful narrative of cars you and I are interested in.
“At Dimostra, we digitally archive the documentation and records of a collector car, professionally photograph a car and feature the car in an online gallery that will allow an owner to share their car in a discreet, professional and secure manner.”
Vividly outlined in photos and text, Dimostra Automuseo brought to life for me a particular race and car from a long time ago, and puts my rants about having to buy new driving shoes into perspective.
Photos used with permission from Michael Furman.
For the 1933 Mille Miglia, dillentante Count Carlo Castelbarco needed a winning car. He ordered from Alfa Romeo a full Monza chassis and had the body modified by Zagato, which added beautiful flowing front and rear fenders, a spare, and headlights, to the magnificent grand prix car Alfa provided for him. With Franco Cortese as co-driver, they were certainly contenders in this race, and their most serious competition was, in fact, other 8C 2300 Alfas.
Cortese was excited to see the car that, in typical fashion, was to be completed the day before the race. I must recount literatim the oft repeated comments of Count “Johnny” Lurani in his exciting book Racing Round the World as follows: “Franco Cortese had carefully prepared, together with Castelbarco, the very new Monza 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo which would certainly be the fastest in the race. And one can imagine what a terrible shock it was for him, on arriving at the works early on Sunday morning (the morning of the race) to find the car abandoned, almost unrecognizable, in a corner of the garage; with a tail, tires and seats completely burnt out, the piping melted, and the electrical fittings destroyed!
“What happened was that around 7:00 the previous evening, when the car was still in the works after the final test, the mechanic set about filling the tank but failed to notice that an electrician was still working under the car and the spark set fire to some spilt fuel and the car burst into flames. Bonini, the tester and Caracciola’s mechanic, was seriously burned and the car was reduced to a pitiable state and pushed to one side as it was reckoned that it could be used no longer. It was in this state that Cortese found it just four hours before the start of the Mille Miglia but he could not lose heart. He immediately telephoned Castelbarco and shouted and stormed so much that he mobilized the entire personnel at the works. The workmen were able to take parts from other Monzas, reinstall electrical fittings, wheels, and tires and remarkably the car was ready to race.”
Lurani goes on, “By then it was just an hour before the start of the race and everything seemed to be set, when the last piece of luck nearly spoiled everything. While filling the petrol tank a mechanic inadvertently poured in a can of water. There was nothing to do but to dismount the tank again, clean it carefully and remount it! All this was while precious minutes slipped by and it seemed impossible for them to start the race.” In fact, Cortese and Castelbarco sped down the autostrada averaging 200 kilometers per hour and “while the time keepers were calling them to line up they managed to leave with only a few seconds delay on their time. This dramatic start was lucky for them and in fact Cortese, who drove uninterruptedly from the start to the finish after an exciting duel with Taruffi-Pellegrina managed to finish second.”
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