1933 Monaco Grand Prix Bugatti poster. The 1933 Monaco Grand Prix, the third race of the season, proved to be as dramatic as its reputation promised.
From the outset, there was no love lost between fellow Italians Achille Varzi and Tazio
Nuvolari, and it came as no surprise when, throughout the race, the lead position switched constantly between these two arch rivals. Nuvolari led for sixty-six, and Varzi for thirty-four of the scheduled one hundred laps, frequently driving side-by-side and often touching wheels.
Then, on the ninety-ninth and penultimate lap, Nuvolari’s Alfa Romeo ‘Monza’ dramatically burst into flames when a piston broke due to over-revving. In attempting to push his car over the finish line he used outside assistance and was subsequently disqualified, leaving Varzi in the Bugatti Type 51 as victor, with team-mate René Dreyfus, also in a Type 51, taking third position. The Alfa Romeo ‘Monza’, driven by Italian driver Baconin Borzacchini, took second place on the podium.
This Monaco event was the first Grand Prix where starting positions were decided by practice time rather than the previous method of balloting; Varzi taking pole and Nuvolari in fourth place on the grid.
This poster celebrates one of the rare victories for the Type 51 machine during its four-year career, and marks the beginning of the decline in Team Bugatti’s dominance of motor sports events.
I first stumbled upon a picture of this lovely Vittorio Jano designed Alfa Romeo 1750 some years ago in an Italian Alfa Romeo book, and wanted to use the image as reference for a new poster. But I needed some background information about the car’s achievements to feed me ideas how I might build the design, and not being an Italian speaker I looked to the internet. And here I found a wonderful story about the 1930 Mille Miglia event in which the charismatic Italian driver Tazio Nuvolari (pictured on the right) cheekily overtook his great rival Achille Varzi, also driving an Alfa, by sneaking up in the dark with his headlights turned off, only turning them back on after he had passed Varzi. Of course, I couldn’t resist using this excellent yarn as the basis for my design, despite the fact that eyebrows are raised among the cognoscenti as to the accuracy of this version of events. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story?
The Coppa delle Mille Miglia is run over a figure of eight course starting out from Brescia to Rome and back to Brescia; a distance, as the name suggests, of close to a thousand miles. And after sixteen hours of racing Nuvolari beat Varzi by seven minutes to win the race.
This particular poster has been my most popular design by a considerable distance and is still selling well. If you’d like further details of this and other posters in my collection you can find them here.