Macdill AFB, Florida in February 1953. Paul Gougleman, left with his Nardi 750 and fans. Photo credit: Mark Brinker and Paul Gougleman Jr.
By Cliff Reuter
Nardis were some of the first Italian racing cars to be imported to America following World War II. The first three Nardis to come ashore were the Danese Alfa 2500cc cars, a coupe and two spyders with a cycle fendered “siluro” body.
This is the ex-Perry Fina Nardi-Danese Alfa spider, (chassis 948/5) one of two spiders brought into the U.S., pictured here at Bridgehampton NY in 1951. For a free pdf article about this car, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill Giltzow photo.
These raced with moderate success and were all eventually modified by their owners to race with Cadillac, Wayne Chevrolet, and other engines. Both of the spiders have survived and are in California, but the coupe has long since disappeared.
The Nardi-Danese Alfa coupe went through several iterations before disappearing. Here it is the Duryea Hillclimb in 1956. The chassis number is 948/4.
In early 1952 Paul Gougelman imported a ND 750 BMW, he then raced it many times and won the H mod class (750cc and under) at the 1952 Guttenberg Hill Climb, the 1953 Bergstrom AFB race, the 1953 Lockbourne AFB race, and the 1954 Wisconsin Grand Prix. After the 1954 season he sold the car to Bob Schroeder who raced it at Lawrenceville, Elkhart Lake, and Smartt Field (St. Charles Missouri).
Schroeder’s BMW powered Nardi in the paddock at Lawrenceville.
This car still exists in a garage in Illinois with a blown engine and a seemingly uninterested owner.
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The next Nardi to be imported to America was actually the first post war car produced by Enrico, it was affectionately called the “Boby Sport” after Nardi’s daughter Roberta. This car was raced extensively in Europe and was then purchased and modified by Berardo Taraschi who rebadged it a Giaur. Frank Dominianni owned the car next and he raced it in the US with great success but as a “Giaur Crosley” and not a Nardi. It is now restored to its original configuration and is in Italy.
“Boby” while in the hands of Frank Dominianni, at right in glasses. It was renamed a Giuar by Taraschi.
Another early Nardi in the US was imported by Californian Al Coppel (through Tony Pompeo), it was a 750cc BMW Siluro and the car took class honors at its maiden race at Madera California in 1952.
Al Coppel’s Nardi BMW 750, taken by John Ritchey at the 1953 Pebble Beach event.
The Coppel Nardi BMW has since disappeared.
Don Vitale imported and raced the ex-Gino Munaron Crosley 750cc Motto bodied barchetta with good success in the SCCA at tracks like Thompson, Suffolk County AFB, Westover AFB, Brynfan Tyddyn, and Beverly.
Don Vitale with the pretty Motto bodied Crosley powered barchetta at Thompson.
This car was last seen painted yellow in the central US in the 1970’s. Nardi sports racing cars were an integral part of the American SCCA Etceterini racing scene. True survivors are among the most rare and cherished Etceterinis.
For more information about Nardis:
*Visit Cliff Reuter’s Etceterini Website
*The the full history of the Perry Fina Nardi on pdf, free by emailing email@example.com
*Buy Dino Brunori’s fascinating book, “Enrico Nardi, a fast life.”
And more, just click on the story of your choice.