Alfa Romeo 1936 Mille Miglia poster

Alfa-Romeo-1936-Mille-Miglia-poster

3-AlfasAfter a year of sabre rattling between Italy and Ethiopia, Mussolini’s army invaded Ethiopia in October 1934, prompting the League of Nations to impose sanctions against Italy. As a consequence, the country found itself suffering severe shortages in many areas, including fuel.

But the Italian motor racing authorities were determined not to let a small matter like international condemnation and lack of fuel stand in the way of running an important event like the Mille Miglia. To calm any public opposition, they devised special categories for cars running on wood, charcoal and a mixture of coal and petrol, called ‘carbonella’. Only one of these cars, a Fiat 508 Balilla Gas, would complete the race, and that crossed the finishing line eighteen hours after the race winner, being obliged to weave through regular traffic by that time. As a result of a great deal of nationalist fervour and International boycott, only one non-Italian car, an Aston Martin, entered the race. This plucky Brit lined up against twenty-three Alfa Romeos, twenty-five Fiats, four Maseratis and a Lancia.

The three works cars entered by Scuderia 1936-Alfa_romeo-75Ferrari comprised of the new 8C 2900A Roadsters, which were purpose built by Alfa Romeo to race and win at Mille Miglia, and were driven by Count Antonio Brivio with mechanic Carlo Ongaro in car number 75, Carlo Maria Pintacuda with Stefani in 79, and Giuseppe Farina with Meazza in 82.
These three cars battled for supremacy throughout the thousand-mile route, with the lead changing hands frequently, although Pintacuda was later slowed by a malfunctioning carburettor and subsequently delayed by thirty minutes for repairs. Farina now took the lead with only seventy seconds separating these three magnificent cars after six hundred gruelling miles.

Brivio finally caught and overtook Farina just outside of Perugia, and clung onto the lead for the remaining four hundred miles to narrowly win by just thirty seconds. Pintacuda managed to recover, despite his delay, to finish in third position, just thirty minutes behind Farina.

The following year Alfa repeated their success in taking the first three places at Mille Miglia, an achievement that prompted the company to produce a road-going version, the 8C 2900B. This new model made the claim of being the fastest production vehicle in the world with a top speed of 110 mph and many of them were raced.

You can find out more about this poster HERE.

Ferrari 1953 Mille Miglia Poster

Ferrari Mille Miglia art deco poster

enzo-ferrariEnzo Ferrari began his motorsport career as a driver with the Alfa Romeo team in 1920 and retired from driving in 1932 following the birth of his son Dino. He would now concentrate on management and the development of his racing team, Scuderia Ferrari, within Alfa. In 1939, after a falling-out with Alfa boss Ugo Gobbato, Ferrari left to build his own factory, but it wasn’t until after the war in 1947 that Enzo formed the racing team that we know today.

The team’s first major victory came in 1949 with the 24 hours of Le Mans race, and further successes quickly followed. But it was always his main aim to defeat the still dominant Alfas.

In 1953 Ferrari entered the newly built 340 MMMarzotto in the high-profile Mille Miglia endurance race, with the Italian driver Giannino Marzotto behind the wheel, to take on the Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 driven by the Argentinian, Juan Fangio. Surviving a couple of crashes during the race and being forced to cut a hole in the bonnet of the car to add oil after the bonnet jammed, Marzotto carried on and eventually overtook Fangio’s crippled Alfa to win the race.

Whenever I formulate a composition for a Mille Miglia poster, I like to place the drama in the open countryside to concentrate on the cars and the headline text, as posters are supposed to do. Many paintings that attempt to recreate the race will feature cars racing through the towns and villages of Northern Italy, but I find this a distraction from the immediacy of my posters.

programme-textWhilst I would dearly love to claim the full credit for the beautiful design of the headline text in this poster, I need to confess that I redrew it from this image (pictured left), albeit tiny and very low resolution, which I believe appeared on the original programme cover for this event. So at least, I know it is authentic.

You can view this poster in our shop HERE.

 

 

 

Alfa Romeo Mille Miglia poster

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.