Anna-Maria Peduzzi

12/7/1912 - 24/8/1979

Anna-Maria Peduzzi
Anna Maria Peduzzi was one of the best female Italian drivers of her time. She won her class in the Mille Miglia in 1934 and raced in the Targa Florio five times. Anna-Maria Peduzzi died 42 years ago, she was 67

Born in Olgiate in Northern Italy, Anna Maria Peduzzi was one of the best female Italian drivers of her time. Described as tall, elegant and handsome, in 1932 she married to Gianfranco 'Franco' Alessandro Maria Comotti, who also used to race (though with little success outside of non-championship Grand Prix). Her nickname was Marocchina, meaning Moroccan Girl, on account of her dark complexion.

She started racing in 1933 when Gianfranco bought her a brand new Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 Grand Sport Testa Fissa with a Zagato Body. She raced and hillclimbed the car extensively in 1933 and 1934, winning the 1500cc class in the Mille Miglia that year entered by Scuderia Ferrarri with her husband.

In 1936 Mussolini changed his title to 'His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire'. For Gianfranco it was all too much and, being vehemently anti-fascist, he moved with Anna Maria to Paris. During the war he returned to Italy and only narrowly managed to escape execution after being identified as a member of the resistance and sentenced to death by the Germans.

With the war over and after a break of some 17 years Anna Maria returned to the tracks with a Stanguellini Sport Bialbero 750 and promptly won the 750cc class at the Eifelrennen on her first reappearance in July 1952. However she was disqualified for receiving outside assistance after a spin. This ruling was heavily criticised as she had suffered with polio which had left her incapable of push starting the car by herself and it is not clear whether she was reinstated. She had a number of other good results that year including a third in the Coppa Ascoli and a second in the 750 cc Circuito di Senigallia just north of Ancona on Italy's Adriatic coast. She also won he class in the Trofeo Sardo in September and finished 4th in the Bari Grand Prix two weeks later.

The following year she entered both the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio. In the Mille Miglia, driving with Franco Goldoni, she finished a very respectable 3rd in the 750 class which had 63 entrants. In the Targa she unfortunately crashed out.

Sticking with the Stanguellini in 1954 she had a mixed season which started with a DNF in the Giro di Sicilia driving with Augusto Zocca. She managed a class 3rd in the Circuito Santa Gorizia but failed to finish in the Mille Miglia, teamed with Franco Goldoni, and in the Targa Florio. She won her class once more in the Trofeo Sardo and had a 3rd in class in the Castelfusano 6-hour race at the end of October.

1955 started with another attempt at the Mille Miglia with Zocca. With slightly better luck than 1954 they finished 5th in class, 99th overall. This was followed by a 2nd in the 750 class in the Circuito di Gorizia and a 5th overall at Mugello. In the Circuito di Reggio Calabria she entered the 1100cc class and was seventh (the first 750 car home). This was followed by the Giro di Calabria which resulted in a disappointing class 7th. her final race of the year was the NĂ¼rburgring 500 Km race where she was entered by Stanguellini Automobili. She came home in 22nd overall and 4th in class.

From 1956 until 1959 she raced the D'Oro Ferrari 500 TR (0620MDTR), the only LHD 500 TR sold in 1956. Her first outing in the car was at the Paris 1000km race at Monthlery in June where, driving with Gilberte Thirion, they won their class and finished 10th overall. They teamed up again for the Supercortemaggiore at Monza finishing 10th overall. She raced the car a few more times that year before switching to a 1100 Stanguellini Sport for the Rome Grand Prix in October.

In 1956 she raced it in the Giro di Sicilia and in 1957 in the Giro di Sicilia. In 1958 she was due to race 0620 in the 1000km of Buenos Aires driving with Gino Munaron and Luciano Mantovani but in the end she didn't make the trip but Munaron and Mantovani brought the car home in 6th overall and 2nd in class. In Italy she failed to finish the Targa Florio driving with Francesco Siracusa and in 1959 raced 0620 in the Coppa St Ambroeus at Monza, finishing 3rd in class, and the Messina sportscar Grand Prix at the Circuito dei Laghi di Ganzirri. She also race a Scuderia Sant Ambroeus Osca S750, finishing 20th overall and 3rd in class in the Targa Florio with Giancarlo Rigamonti.

Anna Maria continued racing in 1960 driving a 600cc NSU Prinz in the Coppa Ascari with Luisa Pozzoli and an Osca F2/S 1500 in the Targa Florio with Francesco Siracusa, finishing a fine 3rd in class.

Her last race was the Coppa Ascari in 1961 driving an Alfa Romeo Giulietta with Alma Cacciandra but failing to finish.

Her husband died in 1963 and Mark Gessler, who currently owns the ex-Peduzza Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 6C, informs us that Anna Maria passed away a few years ago though we currently do not know the exact date.

Throughout her career she rarely raced outside Italy never the less she raced against and beat a number of renowned international stars and was unquestionably a very competent driver.


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