Results: 1935 Mille Miglia Results / Dates: April 14-15, 1935 / Winner: Pintacuda – Della Stufa / Winning Speed: 71.72 mph / Starters: 86 / Finishers: 47
This year saw the entry of thinly disguised Grand Prix cars with two-seater coachwork barely able to fit a co-driver. Varzi in a dispute with Ferrari over his co-drivers left the team for Maserati who prepared a special six supercharged cylinder car that was capable of speeds in excess of 150 mph and sounded according to witnesses as no less than the wrath of God. Nuvolari upon seeing what his nemesis would be racing skipped that years race to the disappointment of his many legions of fans. Still 86 cars would leave the start that morning of which only 47 would see the next day in Brescia.
Ferrari met the Maserati challenge with his own super car in the form of the legendary Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Tipo B. In 1934 Scuderia Ferrari called Carlo Pintacuda to test drive a P3 Alfa Romeo at Monza. When the test ended he remarked to Ferrari, “If you could adapt this car for the Mille Miglia, it would be a winner”. He was very impressed with the power of the Tipo B. Ferrari had already entered a brace of 2.3 Alfas and 2.6 Monzas, but decided to help Pintacuda with the P3. The agreement included the assistance of the Scuderia during the race.
According to Giovanni Lurani, the “single seat Alfa P3 was powered by a 2654cc engine with twin superchargers, developing 220 bhp at 5500 rpm. Transforming this ‘monoposto’ into a sportscar involved fitting two small seats, moving the steering wheel and fitting a self starter, dynamo, lights, spare wheel, battery and mudguards.” Only the wiry Pintacuda could fit behind the wheel, and his co-driver was a brave fellow Tuscan, the Marquis Della Stufa, who also barely fit into the confined cockpit. Not aware of this story many felt that the less renowned Pintacuda was only a stand in to their hero Tazio. Alas the Mantuan would be a no show.
The Maserati of Varzi whose engine sounded like the end of the world would instead sound the ending of the race when all oil pressure was lost and with it the race. The Alfa Romeo of Tadini had the early lead but was eventually passed by the car driven by Pintacuda. All the way to the end in Brecia the three leading Alfas were in close pursuit on the road though Pintacuda had a comfortable lead on elapsed time, taking the checkered flag.
Given Nuvolari’s future history battling the German Silver Arrows it seemed incongruous that he would shy away from racing against Varzi’s Maserati regardless of the odds and it seems to this writer at least that his absence was more due to conflicts between Ferrari and himself than a lack of nerve.