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Author Topic: Autodelta, an insider's view (not Lancia but...)  (Read 1992 times)
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DavidLaver
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« on: 24 February, 2015, 07:43:16 PM »


There's been a series of seven of articles in "Veloce Today":

http://www.velocetoday.com/inside-the-walls-of-autodelta-part-6-at-the-targa-florio/

There's an extended version in three parts on the author's own web page:

http://www.robertlittle.us/partthree.html
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David Laver, Lewisham.
simonandjuliet
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« Reply #1 on: 24 February, 2015, 08:41:42 PM »

Fantastic, evocative series of articles and photos
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stanley sweet
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« Reply #2 on: 24 February, 2015, 11:40:46 PM »

I've been rivetted to this too. It's the era and type of story I like. The Alfa garage they were given to work in at Le Mans seemed far better than the actual Autodelta workshop! To be honest, I'm finding my Tuesday dose of Veloce Today far more interesting than Motorsport magazine.
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DavidLaver
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« Reply #3 on: 25 February, 2015, 10:54:41 AM »


I'm torn between the Targa photos and that scrap pile as my highlight.
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David Laver, Lewisham.
Richard Fridd
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« Reply #4 on: 26 February, 2015, 09:37:23 AM »

Two very exciting venues, I especially like the colour of 1972 Le Mans. No more standing on top of the pits these days I suppose.
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Richard Nevison Fridd
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« Reply #5 on: 26 February, 2015, 11:28:24 AM »

I've only been to Le mans twice, in 1989 and 1990. I was lucky that in 1989 I saw the old pits as they were in the Autodelta photos. The following year I was amazed to be confronted by the new complex - although we did get to go to a free Jean-Michel Jarre concert on the Friday evening along with a few thousand locals to celebrate the new pits. Which reminds me of something funny that happened. The pits were quite often in darkness during the show and at one point a mechanic from the Lancia-Ferrrari pit rolled up the steel door to reveal a square of light and him lighting up a fag. A huge cheer went up from the crowd and he looked all around to see what had caused it. He had no idea he was the centre of attention. When he stubbed his fag out and went back in and shut the door there was another big cheer.
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westernlancia
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« Reply #6 on: 27 February, 2015, 07:40:03 PM »

There's been a series of seven of articles in "Veloce Today":

I used to go to F1 races when the Brabham-Alfas were around, in the 70s and early 80s (I stopped in 86 when Bernie took over - the entrance fee for the Brands Hatch GP went from 17 to 50 in one go...). At that time Carlo Chiti was a regular sight in the pits, and back then you could get into the pits for nowt by hanging around until about 6 p.m. when the bloke collecting the money went home, and then sneak in and have a look round (no Al Qaeda or Isis back then..). Anyway, I got Niki Lauda's autograph just after his crash, by finding him in the pits cleaning his visor and asking in my then-halting German if I could have 'Ihr Autogramm bitte, Herr Lauda'.

Niki was my hero at the time because I have always been a Ferrari fan, although I have to confess to being a bit shirty when he defected to Alfa, who have always, for me, been 'the enemy', as most of my GP and motorsport watching was in the days when Fiat/Lancia/Ferrari were one entity and Alfa were the state-owned monolith opposition (with terrible build quality to boot - as witnessed by the largely disastrous performance of the F1 cars).

Anyway, I digress. Carlo Chiti was a regular sight in the pits, and I wish I had photos of him (in 1978ish it was a lot harder getting photos than it is now, and, ever the traditionalist, I used (use) a Kodak Box Brownie that takes rather expensive 127 film). I used to absolutely love Carlo Chiti though, because he looked like my granddad, except a bit scruffier (my granddad was a Peak District farmer...). A far cry from the way they all dress in designer shades and Lycra gear now (you couldn't mistake Flavio Briatore for my granddad).

Finally a bit of narcissism - I went to Zandvoort in 79 and 81, and I always used to stand at Tarzan when I went to Zandvoort because it was the best corner in motor racing (200+ mph down to 1st gear for the hairpin). In 79 I was standing there when Villeneuve (who by this time had taken over from Lauda as my hero, as Lauda had defected to Alfa...) had his famous blowout which resulted in him completing the lap on 3 wheels - he went off the track right in front of us. So the next time I went, in 81, I went with a group of friends. I was (of course - Brits have NO imagination!) the only Ferrari fan, and they all kept telling me that Villeneuve would go off at the first bend (which was of course Tarzan, where we were standing). I poo-pooed this - but in fact he DID do exactly that, and this time it wasn't a tyre or the car but driver error - he got tangled up in the mle at the beginning and spun out, being craned out of the sand trap literally right in front of us - much to my chagrin and my friends' mirth.

But I got the last laugh - as were were on the outfield and the marshals were on the infield they couldn't get at the car. So I climbed over the fence and got in it, although as I am a big bloke and he was a little bloke, I didn't quite fit (see attached pic - I even had my Villeneuve hat on!). The marshals were in the background waving their fists and yelling, but there wasn't a blind thing they could do about it. Autosport described me as 'a spaced-out fan' - the only time I have ever been called anything like that!


* Villeneuve.jpg (668.73 KB, 2322x1675 - viewed 124 times.)
« Last Edit: 27 February, 2015, 07:45:15 PM by westernlancia » Logged

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westernlancia
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« Reply #7 on: 27 February, 2015, 07:51:04 PM »

they all kept telling me that Villeneuve would go off at the first bend

Found it! I knew I had a pic of him walking away from the car, as well...


* IMG_8343.JPG (631.62 KB, 1446x1080 - viewed 149 times.)
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Parisien
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« Reply #8 on: 27 February, 2015, 07:54:07 PM »

Unbelievable Alan, didn't you always travel to F1 races with a 1 kilo tub of goose fat in case you had the chance to slip into any unoccupied F1 cockpit you came across??!!


 Grin


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Frank Gallagher
westernlancia
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« Reply #9 on: 27 February, 2015, 08:19:11 PM »

Unbelievable Alan, didn't you always travel to F1 races with a 1 kilo tub of goose fat in case you had the chance to slip into any unoccupied F1 cockpit you came across??!!
 Grin
P

That would have been a brilliant idea! Smiley Smiley

At the time I used to cruise the GPs with a Mini woody traveller and a pup tent, and in 79 I actually managed to persuade my wife to come with me, for a one-and-only time (that was nearly as big a test of our relationship as buying the 2nd Appia recently...).

I used to love Tarzan because, although the high catch fencing that now plagues F1 was already making its presence felt there, everyone used to make large sandcastles and platforms out of driftwood, which were so high that you could stand behind the 10-foot-high fencing and fold your arms on it (it's also how I managed to climb over to get into Villeneuve's car, although I had to be pulled back up!). Great camping spot though - I defy you to find ANY photo of ANYONE at ANY GP at ANY time with their tent closer to the fence than ours is in this pic!

This pic shows my wife (she's the shirty-looking lady in the pink plastic mac) at Zandvoort in 79. As I said, I learnt my lesson and went back in 81 with a group of friends instead...


* Zandvoort 1979 copy.jpg (1625.96 KB, 1493x1080 - viewed 135 times.)
« Last Edit: 27 February, 2015, 08:28:46 PM by westernlancia » Logged

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DavidLaver
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« Reply #10 on: 27 February, 2015, 08:27:43 PM »


Brilliant photos Alan...
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David Laver, Lewisham.
Richard Fridd
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« Reply #11 on: 27 February, 2015, 08:57:50 PM »

Happy daze!
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Richard Nevison Fridd
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« Reply #12 on: 27 February, 2015, 10:28:09 PM »

Epic, the young ones today wouldn't believe any of your adventures actually took place, most of which are arrestable now!


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Frank Gallagher
westernlancia
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« Reply #13 on: 27 February, 2015, 11:56:09 PM »

Epic, the young ones today wouldn't believe any of your adventures actually took place, most of which are arrestable now!

Yes the thought of getting in a crashed GP car at a race policed by Bernie's hired thugs gives me the heeby-jeebies.

Plus the fact that as there are cameras everywhere, the long arm of the law would chase me down and bring me to justice.

I am wondering which of the things I currently do will be illegal in future - I'm sure driving classic cars will be regulated or banned at some point, because so many people hate them, legislators view them as a target, etc., and it would already be a no-no trying to do much significant bodywork in France or the UK without a 'proper' premises, as Simon found out to his cost with the Furgoncino. It's probably a good thing that I am a good way through my life, as that gives me a reasonable chance of staying out of prison for the rest of it...
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