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This week we welcome Sean Smith to the ranks of our contributors. Sean writes about the life, family and shop of Lancia and Alfa mechanic Domenico Spadaro. Jonathan Sharp freezes frames and fingers at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting; we have a new mini feature, “And How!” Don’t forget to subscribe, do it for a year!
Story by Sean Smith
Domenico Spadaro began his apprenticeship as a mechanic at twelve years old. Initially, his father wanted his son to be a cabinet maker. However, after spending only one day in a woodworking factory, he decided that he’d become a mechanic. The very next day, he strolled into the only garage in town and asked to be made an apprentice.
He went on to open his own shop in his father’s barn in 1936 at the tender age of sixteen. At the time, the only vehicles seen on the rugged roads of pre-war Sicily were motor bikes and the occasional Fiat. If you were wealthy, the car to have was a Lancia or an Alfa Romeo. These affluent landowners came to learn of Domenico’s talents and hired him to come and repair their autos at their estates. One interesting client owned an Alfa Romeo 8C that was occasionally used as an ambulance to ferry rich patients to hospital. Domenico worked hard at mastering how components of an engine worked with one another to make an engine sing. The war came and he served in the Italian army, returning to formally open his own garage on the “small” main street of Roccalumera, Sicily.
Story and photos by Jonathan Sharp
The shovels of the hard working Track Marshals are more used to spreading cement on deposited motor oil rather than shoveling up the deposited horse manure left by the mounts of the local Charlton Hunt as they run the hounds to open the 2017 Members’ Meeting at Goodwood on the Saturday morning of the event. [Read more…] about Goodwood Members’ Meeting 2017
And How! is a new regular feature in VeloceToday. It’s for those articles which are too short or too little or news items that don’t qualify as full length articles.
By Gijsbert-Paul Berk
The Countess detested it!
In 1913 A.L.F.A (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, later to become Alfa Romeo) started the production of its 40/60 HP chassis, designed by Giuseppe Merosi. With its four cylinder 6082 cc OHV engine, this chassis was used for both touring and racing cars. The competition model, the 40-60 HP Corsa had 73 bhp (54 kW) which gave a top speed of 137 km/h (85 mph). It won its class in the Parma-Berceto race. [Read more…] about And How! March 28
By Gijsbert-Paul Berk
This story originally appeared in VeloceToday on April 15th, 2014.
Alexis Kow was born in 1900 near St. Petersburg in Russia as Alexis Kojewnikow, sometimes spelled Kogeynikow. His grandfather was a famous neurologist who discovered a treatment for a rare form of epilepsy, today still known as the Kogeynikow Syndrome. In 1915, his father, a writer, journalist and globetrotter, who spoke seven languages, became so worried about the political situation in his homeland that he decided to send young Alexis to a boarding school in Lausanne to learn French and other foreign languages.
A nice variety for you this week – Supercars at Geneva, Supercar GT racing from Australia, Graham Gauld reflects on rare sights and classic coincidences at motor shows, and we bring you a very special article on the brilliant Alfa 1900CSS Touring—a much underestimated classic now given its due. And, you can now subscribe to VeloceToday for a year without using PayPal – so do it, now!
Story and photos by the VeloceToday staff
To appreciate the Alfa 1900, the firm’s first new postwar car, we Americans need some historical perspective. It wasn’t built for us. It was built for Italians, and Italian conditions, both of which its designers understood completely. Except in towns, Italy had no speed limits, and every Italian tried to emulate Nuvolari or Farina when he got behind the wheel. He would push every gear to the redline, take every corner to the limit. He’d hurl the car over potholed mountain roads, brake at the last moment, but still expect to ride in comfort, and never to have the car fail him. He wanted it to be handsome, and spacious enough for his family.
Story and photos by Graham Gauld
As most of you probably know there was a motor show in Geneva last week, where all the attention appeared to be on supercars with weird and wonderful aerodynamics; it all looked terribly serious. Editor Pete asked me if I was going to attend the show, but had to admit that it has been about twenty years since I attended the big salons of Geneva and Paris..
I knew that Pete will have plenty of photos of the Geneva event from other correspondents so wasn’t too worried. However, Pete’s comments reminded me of an interesting show I attended in 1999. It was organized by the well-known Italian collector Franco Lombardi in his home town of Genoa and I knew I had to be there. I was not disappointed! So to get you into the Motor Show mood let me tell you about three of the cars there.
Story and photos by Graham Earl
A few years ago people in the know were predicting the end of the supercar. A visit to this year’s Geneva Salon would quickly disabuse anybody of such pessimistic thoughts, because the overriding feeling I came away with is that the supercar is King. And it isn’t just the obvious traditional makers of these types of cars who are flaunting their wares to an eager marketplace, but an ever increasing clique of niche manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon and offering ultra expensive, ultra exclusive fodder for those with deep enough pockets. Looking at the many options available, there is clearly an awful lot of people with pockets deep enough to sustain such a growth in this market sector.
Manufacturers are increasingly aiming for the money-is-no-object customers, so what we get to see is an ever wider range of jaw dropping, highly impractical but utterly sensational motorcars. [Read more…] about Geneva Auto Show 2017
Story and Photos by Vince Johnson
Italians at the Clipsal 500, South Australia, 2-5 March 2017
It was up to the Lamborghinis to fly the flag for Italy in the first round of the Australian GT Championship on the Adelaide street circuit during the Clipsal 500 V8 Supercars weekend. Last year’s sole Ferrari, Brenton Griguol’s 430GT3, had been replaced by his Reiter-engineered Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX, joining six others that had been breathed on by the Bavarian company. With the Huracan of Jim Manolios/Dean Canto, Sant’Agata cars were the most numerous in the 26-car field. [Read more…] about Australia’s Clipsal 500: Lamborghini Rising
Much of this edition of VeloceToday is devoted to John Surtees, who passed away March 10 at the age of 83. Surtees touched our lives and showed us guts, determination and strength in the face of immense tragedies and triumphs. Graham Gauld, Jim Sitz, Hugues Vanhoolandt and Jonathan Sharp do the Tribute while the Editor re-publishes an exclusive interview with Surtees from 2001. Also, Jonathan Sharp covers the London Show, and we present 1958 Lancia trucks!