In the last of a two-part series, Robert Newman explores the amazing life and career of “The Flying Mantuan” – Tazio Nuvolari
In 1930, Nuvolari had the most serious accident of his career in the minor Circuito di Bordino at Alessandria, Italy. It was raining and while overtaking textile millionaire Count Carlo Felice Trossi, Nuvolari’s Maserati skidded unexpectedly, zigzagged violently, rolled and smashed into a tree. Tazio was thrown out of his car yet again and lay stunned and injured on the track. Fortunately, he was lucid enough to realize Varzi was bearing down on him in an Alfa P3 at about 90 mph: Achille would have inadvertently killed Nuvolari had the little Italian not managed to painfully wriggle his way on to the grass verge, where he passed out.
Tazio woke up in the hospital screaming with pain: His left leg had been shattered. One of the doctors told his wife Carolina that they could either amputate the leg or treat it and risk infection, but she had to decide quickly. The thought of Tazio condemned to a wheelchair for the rest of his days would be a living nightmare for both of them, she thought, so she withheld permission to amputate – and Nuvolari’s leg mended in a month, without infection.