Morning Qualifying – History Lesson, Part VIII

The Ferrari 340 MM Vignale Spyder of Marzotto and Crosara about to start the 1953 Mille Miglia

As the effects of the Second World War slowly receded, auto manufacturers in Europe were anxious to gain whatever market share they could in their own countries, while capitalizing on the consumer goods boom in the United States.   Governments gave every possible incentive for auto makers to export, and enacted protectionist measures to assist the recovery of their manufacturing base.   In this environment, auto racing once again took on great significance as a laboratory for the latest technology, an advertising and marketing tool, a place to display national pride, and a means of entertainment.

Ascari and Villoresi lead the pack at Zandvoort, during the 1953 Dutch Grand Prix.

On the race circuits of the world in 1953, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, France and the United States were represented in all forms of Motorsport.  In the World Sports Car Championship, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati would again duel with Jaguar and Aston Martin for supremacy.  At the Mille Miglia, Giannino Marzotto and his Ferrari would narrowly edge Juan Manuel Fangio in a stricken Alfa Romeo.  In a LeMans that would forever live in racing lore, Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton would overcome the rest of the field and raging hangovers to win in their Jaguar C-type.  Briggs Cunningham’s Chrysler Hemi powered C-4R would win at Sebring and finish 3rd overall at LeMans. Later in the year, Juan Manuel Fangio would win the Carrera Panamericana in a Lancia D24.
In Formula One, it was an all Italian battle between Scuderia Ferrari’s updated 500, driven by Alberto Ascari, Mike Hawthorn, Luigi Villoresi and Giuseppe Farina, and the works Maserati teams’ new A6SSG, redesigned by Gioacchino Colombo with Juan Manuel Fangio, Frolian Gonzalez, Felice Bonetto and Onofre Marimon behind the wheel.  In the end, the Ferraris were just more reliable as Ascari won his second consecutive driver’s title.
Scuderia Ferrari at rest prior to the 1953 German Grand Prix.

As usual, we have a clip winding up some of the best racing moments of 1953; As as bonus, we have some rare home movie footage of Le Mans shot by Allard team member Frank Burrell.






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