Edoardo Lualdi on his way to 1st place overall on the 1964 Coppa Città di Volterra hillclimb, finishing the 10.2km course with a time of 6m 9.3s.
There were road and circuit races in Italy in the early 1960s – notably at Monza, of course, plus the great Mille Miglia and Targa Florio road races, and another event, the Coppa Emilio Materassi, that covered five 66.2km laps on public roads around the town of Mugello. But the mainstay of Italian racing at that time, and indeed continuing to the present day, was the national Hillclimb Championship held on mountain road courses stretching the length of Italy from the Alps in the north to Sicily in the south.
During the 1964 racing season – that ran from the Stallavena-Bosco Chiesanuova ’climb at the beginning of April to the Rally Jolly Hotels in early December – there was at least one hillclimb, and often two, virtually every weekend somewhere in Italy. These were the domain of gentlemen racers and up-and-coming hot-shots looking to make their mark, encompassing cars and drivers of every type from the rank amateur in his road car to semi-professional outfits with manufacturer backing.
Pitted against the likes of Paolo Colombo in a Porsche 904GTS, Corrado Ferlaino could manage only 8th place at the Bologna-Passo della Raticos hillclimb, finishing the 32.7km course with a time of 20m 52.3s
And it is in this environment that three of the rebodied cars were to be found, those owned by Corrado Ferlaino and Oddone Sigata appearing only sporadically – Ferlaino at three events including that year’s Targa Florio, and Sigata at six – with the Coppa Emilio Materassi the only race entered by both.
This was not the case for Edoardo Lualdi Gabardi, however, the owner of the third rebodied car. Racing under the shortened name Edoardo Lualdi, he was a seasoned and highly accomplished competitor who had started his racing career behind the wheel of a Fiat ‘Topolino’ in the 1950 Mille Miglia. With co-driver Ranzini he finished 160th after an epic drive of just over 20 hours. But this was merely the beginning and by 1956, now driving a Ferrari 250GT, he was declared Campione della Montagna, winner of that year’s Italian Hillclimb Championship. He repeated the feat in 1957, and remained a fierce adversary in the series into the late 1960s.
Short but sweet, Edoardo Lualdi dominated the 1964 Predappio-Rocca della Caminate event, completing the 4.0km climb with a winning time of 3m 20.0s.
Unsurprisingly, as the best possible advert for Ferrari cars, he became one of Enzo Ferrari’s most favoured drivers, Lualdi selling his cars at the end of each season and replacing them with the latest model, moving on from a 250GT Tour de France in 1958 to Ferrari 250GT SWBs, 1961-62, 250GTOs, 1962-63, and of course the Ferrari 250GTO/64 in 1964. He entered 14 national hillclimbs that year, plus the Internationaler Alpen-Bergpreis in Germany and the Mont Ventoux hillclimb in France, winning overall in six events and finishing first in class in six others. Unsurprisingly, he yet again ended the year Campione della Montagna.
Rarely covered in English-language publications, these national Italian hillclimbs and other races are covered in some detail in the book, including 25 events in 1964 and 20 more in 1965, when the three GTO/64 continued to race, though now under new ownership.
Click on the ‘SEE EXCERPT ’ button on the left to see the layouts and text for the section describing the Stallavena-Bosco Chiesanuova hillclimb at the start of THE ITALIAN SCENE 1964 part 1 chapter from the book.
Rising 1612 metres, the Mont Ventoux hillclimb is one of the jewels in the European Mountain Championship attracting a world-class field. Maurice Trintignant won in Graham Hill’s 1962 F1 Championship-winning BRM578 in 1964, with Lualdi down the field in 8th.
© Watermark Publications (UK) Limited
© Watermark Publications (UK) Limited