Ferdinando Minoia was born in Milan on June 2, 1884. Known by his friends as Nando, he started racing in 1904 and his first major race was the 1907 Targa Florio. That year he won the Coppa Florio held near Brescia in Italy in an Isotta-Fraschini. In 1914 he drove a Peugeot in some Italian hill climb races including Poggio di Berceto and Moncenisio. At the 1923 Italian Grand Prix at Monza he finished fourth in the world’s first mid-engine Grand Prix car, the Benz Tropfenwagen, trailing behind the superior supercharged Fiats. Edmund Rumpler’s ground breaking design used a normally aspirated, 1991 cc, 6 cylinder, twin cam Benz engine delivering only 65 bhp (48 kW) which was mounted behind the driver in the ‘tear drop’ design. The car also featured swing axle independent rear suspension and inboard brakes.
Over the years he had driven Isotta Fraschini, Storero, Fiat, De Dietrich, Benz, O.M., Steyr, Bugatti and Alfa Romeo cars. In the 1927 Mille Miglia of in an O.M. 665 “Superba” sports car. The O.M. 665 “Superba” of Minoia and Morandi led a sister car of Danieli and Balestreo up the Adriatic coast. With darkness falling enterprising spectators lit torches to help the drives on their way. The third place Alfa of Marinoni and Ramponi failed at the 20-hour mark and thus scored a 1-2-3 in the inaugural Mille Miglia. Superstitious and very attached to the family, he asked the chief mechanic OM Fausto Schena, Minoia asked to fix the sandals of his child on the front leaf springs of the “Superba”, for good luck.
In 1931 he was contracted to drive for Scuderia Ferrari and SA Alfa Romeo. The Italian was very experienced and still fast despite his age and won the first European Drivers Championship when the A.I.A.C.R. introduced a European Championship for drivers narrowly beating his teammate Campari even though he had not scored a single win. In early 1932, Nando Minoia was appointed Cavaliere of the Italian Crown. He died on 28. June 1940 in his hometown Milan, aged 56.