Felice 'II Pirata' Bonetto, a fearless competitor with more courage than was healthy for him.

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26-May-20/Chris Bowen/

Ladies and gentleman (Drum roll, please), just in case you missed it the first time around, for your unbridled pleasure we bring you our old favourite; the one, the only, the very dead; Felice “The Pirate” Bonetto !

Posing as the very embodiment of our vision of a 'Proper Chap', we see our man in deep concentration as he holds his little Cisitalia D46 in a full-blooded, opposite-lock slide, while smoking a fag and wearing his protective goggles perched pointlessly and uselessly on the top of his head!

You’d better believe that Felice Bonetto was a “Chap” to his very last breath. Which incidentally came after skidding off the road and crashing into the veranda of a house in the village of Silao on the 1953 Carrera Panamericana. He was survived by wife Liliana and 15-years-old son Roberto.


Some years later Roberto became a well known motorsport journalist in Italy. During his honeymoon in the 1970s he went to Mexico to visit the place of his father’s death. In the village of Silao he found two memorials to his father, one on the wall of the house where the accident happened, and a monument with a bronze bust in Silao cemetery. According to local legend, Bonetto’s heart is preserved inside the monument. Apparently the day after the accident, the Mexican doctor who did the postmortem decided that such a strong heart should remain in Mexico!

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