Felice Nazzaro

4/12/1881 - 21/3/1940

Record updated 22-Oct-06

Nazzaro was one of the truly great drivers. Starting with Fiat he quickly became one of their most valued drivers. Twice winner of the Targa Florio.

Felice Nazzaro
Felice Nazzaro's career spanning almost three decades. He started as an apprentice at Fiat and quickly became one of their most valued drivers. He had an ability to get on with even the most difficult customers which led to him becoming Vincenzo Florio's chaffeur and in that capacity he went on driving in races.

Nazzaro won all three major events of 1907, the Targa Florio and the Kaiserpreis, all driving Fiats.

His European wins in 1907 resulted in an invitation to compete in the 1908 American Grand Prix in Savannah, Georgia where he finished third. He returned to the United states for the 1910 event but a damaged rear axle forced him out of the race.

Felice Nazzaro, like many other successful drivers of the period, also wanted to try his hand at producing cars and in 1911, together with his brother-in-law Pilade Masoero, engineer Arnaldo Zoller and some other colleagues, he founded Nazzaro & C.Fabbrica di Automobili in Turin. Initially his name was enough to ensure sales of the first model, the Tipo 2, which emerged in 1912.

He won the Targa Florio again in 1913 with a Nazzaro.

A couple of years later an improved model, the Tipo 3 was released, which also had some success in motorsport. When WWI started, Nazzaro swithched to making trucks for the war effort. Tese were powered by Anzani 10 cylinder engines. The organisation, however, was weak and even the business from the Government was not enought to prevent the company going into liquidation in 1916, having produced around 230 cars and a few trucks.

After the end of the war Nazzaro tried again, this time at Firenze. The Tipo 5 was built in around 210 examples before he finally gave up for good in 1923.

His final victory came at Strasbourg in the French Grand Prix of 1922. His Fiat 804-404 was the only Italian car to stay in one piece until the finish. Unfortunately failing rear axles had caused his team mates and rivals Pietro Bordino and Biagio Nazzaro to crash on the last lap. Bordino lived but Felice's nephew was sadly killed on the spot.

Later that same year he and Vincenzo Lancia were given the honour of turning the first sods to start off construction of the brand new Monza track.

In 1924 Felice broke the Land Speed Record in a Fiat fitted with a 21.7 litre aeroplane engine with a speed of 145.90 mph.

Nazzaro was a master at keeping his cars in one piece, this enabled him to put pressure on his rivals just as they were begining to have to start preserving theirs.

He became head of Fiat's competition department.