Coming up
Ferraris   by Serial Number
Maseratis   by Serial Number
Art & More
Address Book
 Home  Home
 Home  Home
Price Development
Parts and    Restoration
Find your dream car !

10.12.2012, 19:56:34 cet

The Classic and Sports Car Portal
Created with StudioLine
 Previous page
Giannino Marzotto, 13.04. 1928 – 14.07.2012
 Next page
Find your dream car !

... where you find your dream car

One of the great Italian gentleman racing drivers of the fifties, Count Giannino Marzotto, passed away on Saturday 14 July at 84 years of age. He was the third of five sons of Count Gaetano Marzotto, four of whom, Vittorio, Umberto, Giannino and Paolo, were proficient gentleman racing drivers, only the youngest, Pietro, didn’t follow his brothers down that road. Between them they owned a number of Ferraris in the early fifties, having started racing, predominantly in Lancia Aprilias, in the late forties. However, their father disapproved of them racing those “red cars”, so they frequently had them painted in other colours, and were not averse to changing bodies on occasion.

Giannino was the most successful and possibly the most proficient of the brothers in racing, and amongst his successes he could count two Mille Miglia wins, in 1950 and 1953, both times at the wheel of a Ferrari. Most of his racing career was in Italy, but in 1953 he competed in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race, where partnered by his brother Paolo he finished 5th overall in a works entered Ferrari. He retired from racing the following year, to concentrate his efforts on the family business and his other varied interests.

Enzo Ferrari in his book ‘Piloti, che gente’ had this to say of Giannino: “He was an extremely quick driver; a youngster with the character traits of Varzi in the way he could coldly calculate risk and chance, as well as for his seriousness and grit… Giannino would have been an excellent professional driver – perhaps even a champion.”

I was fortunate enough to meet him in 2009 for an article on his 1950 Mille Miglia winning Ferrari 195 Sport for Cavallino magazine. This article appeared just a couple of months before he passed away. A friend in Italy, Gabriele Artom, had enquired whether I would like to accompany him, and the 1950 Mille Miglia winning car, to visit the Count at his home to reunite him with a car that he hadn’t seen for nearly sixty years. This came to be, and the following is an extract from the article, which hopefully provides an insight into the man.

“A silver Mercedes-Benz estate car swept up the driveway to the building, and out stepped the Count, cigarette in hand, a tall, powerfully built, imposing figure, not at all like the jockey size race drivers of today. One immediately had the feeling that this was a man of substance and power, even though he was in his eighties, and had been in poor health shortly prior to our visit, he had an indefinable presence, and exuded an air of grace and dignity as he greeted us graciously with a firm handshake and a warm welcoming smile. After the general introductions, Gabriele cheekily commented on the large ashtray sitting atop the regular ashtray in his car, brimmed with cigarette butts. He asked him whether he smoked when driving in the Mille Miglia, to which he replied in the affirmative, adding that it was dangerous, but he still did it, and now I smoke as much as I can, with a wink in his eye! The greeting smile broadened into a wide grin when we swung open the doors to reveal his “mistress” of nearly sixty years ago, still radiating her seemingly eternal youthful beauty. Any misgivings he may have had about a reunion must have dissipated immediately upon setting eyes on the beauty, as he talked animatedly (in Italian, so much of it was lost on me until Gabriele translated later) whilst walking around her and caressing her radiant body. He slipped inside to grip that slim wood rimmed steering wheel once again, and casting his eyes across the dash panel, he immediately noted a gauge suspended below it, saying that it wasn’t there when he owned the car, and that the interior mirror was lower, also commenting that there was no way that you could heel and toe with the pedal set-up as it was; what a memory for an Octogenarian who hadn’t seen the car for close to sixty years!

By now the rain had ceased, so we were able to bring the car out of the gloom into the hazy sunny afternoon, whereupon he noticed something else that he didn’t recall being on the car when he owned it, the vertical extractor slots in the rear side windows. Of course, once again he was right; they were added by the current owner to aid cabin ventilation, although similar slots had been a feature of some cars in the series. We then went to his office in the villa, where he showed us some of the trophies that he had won during his racing career, things that he had kept without any great thought, as he said that he always looked forward and didn’t really reminisce. Only in recent times has he given any thought to the past, but mainly as a legacy for the family, not for his own gratification.”

It was an honour and a pleasure to have met him, albeit briefly, and I offer my sincere condolences to all his family and friends

Keith Bluemel

Giannino Marzotto