Sport Antiques Catalogue - Antique Motoring and Transport
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Motor Racing Picture, 1930 Targa Florio, Varzi in an Alfa Romeo.
A striking newly framed image of car number 30, Alfa Romeo P2, driven by Achille Varzi during the 1930 Targa Florio Endurance Race, Sicily. Varzi's starting position for the race was 12th but he was the eventual winner of this event. This rather impressive motoring pastel painting is by Frederick Nevin and the picture shows the Alfa Romeo passing what looks like a Bugatti having a wheel changed. The 1930 Targa Florio was a non-championship Grand Prix motor race held on a 67 mile (108 km) course made up of public roads on the mountainous Italian island of Sicily.
The following text is taken from 'Maserati: A History' by Anthony Pritchard. This book first published in 1976 is sadly out of print, thankfully it has been re-published by Mercian Manuals and can be found at any good motoring bookshop.
Yet again in 1930 Maserati strove to win the Targa Florio. The new 2.5L cars made their debut in this race and four were entered for Luigi Arcangeli, Baconin Borzacchini and Ernesto Maserati. The opposition included a strong entry of Bugattis and OMs and from Scuderia Ferrari (now entering cars on behalf of the Alfa works) one of the rebuilt P2 for Achille Varzi and 1,75Occ six-cylinder cars for Tazio Nuvolari, Giuseppe Campari and Count Aymo Maggi. Campari was originally supposed to drive a P2, but did not and Luigi Fagioli was on the roster for the Maserati team, but didn't appear.
Scuderia Ferrari set a searing pace from the start of the race and the young and fiery Varzi pulled out a lead of 1½ minutes over team-mate Nuvolari on the first lap. Ernesto Maserati was the highest placed Bologna driver in eighth place, but he gradually fell back further down the field. Arcangeli went off the road on lap 2 because of a locking brake and retired soon afterwards. A lap later race-leader Varzi, with Chiron's Bugatti now hot on his heels, found himself in trouble. His P2 had shed its spare wheel which had damaged the fuel tank as it fell off. At the end of the lap Varzi rushed into the pits, all four wheels were changed, the mechanic grabbed a can of fuel and the Alfa roared back into the race.
When the fuel level became low and the Alfa's engine started to misfire, the mechanic knelt on his seat and began to pour the fuel from the can into the rear-mounted tank. The Alfa was bouncing badly over the rough Sicilian roads, much of the fuel was spilled and some drops falling on the hot exhaust ignited. The flames shot up round the driver's neck, but Varzi drove on while the mechanic beat them out with a scat cushion. Eventually the fire was extinguished, but valuable time had been lost and Chiron was now in the lead. It was not, however, destined to be a Bugatti race and on the run down from the town of Polizzi Chiron's brakes locked up on the loose surface and the Type 35 smashed into a retaining wall. Chiron rejoined the race to finish second behind Varzi and Conelli took third place for Bugatti ahead of the Alfa Romeos of Campari and Nuvolari. The Maseratis of Ernesto Maserati and Borzacchini finished eighth and eleventh.
Because of the extreme length of the course, the last driver to finish finished one hour and 21 minutes behind Varzi.
This was the last time the 67 mile variant of the Targa Florio course was used. For the following year, the original 92 mile variant was used because the exclusive section of the medium course that ran through the town of Polizzi was hit by a rainstorm and was deemed in no state to be driven on, and in 1932, a shorter 44 mile variant was used; which was the variant used until the final race in 1977.
Taken from motoring art website:-
Nevin Frederick (PAT OR PADDY)
Year working: 1912 - 1995
Pat Nevin used many different forms to sign his art Frederic, Pat, Patrick Nevin or just plain Nevin. He also said that he signed some art Nevinsky because it was easier to become famous with a foreign name. Pat Nevin's art falls into three periods early art, the second period as professional artist when he was working for Temple Press and other companies and the third period of later work from the 60's and 70's when he was doing retrospective art for the collector's market. Nevin was born in Northern Ireland and was said to be interested in motoring from an early age going to the Irish TT races. He was employed by Temple Press in 1937 to take over from Bryan de Grineau where he worked for The Motor and The Light Car. This second period work is normally black and white, charcoal and gouache with lots of contrast and is normally signed just Nevin. This is upper case block lettering leaning forward. He covered lots of Brooklands races and several Grand Prix of the time including the Irish races and produced some excellent art. After the war he worked for a variety of magazines and comics including Swift, Girl and Eagle also advertising art and book illustration. Pat Nevin also completed posters for Cunard and British Rail. It is difficult to ascertain when the third period of his motoring art commenced but it was probably in the 1960's when Pat Nevin started drawing and painting retrospective scenes from pre-war racing. It is not easy to date these works whether they are first, second or third period because often he used old papers and particularly his charcoal work often looks old. Pat Nevin also added the date alongside his signature. This is the date of the event or race, not when the art was completed. The third period art is not as harsh as the earlier work plus he used a variety of signatures including the pre-war Nevin. During the third period he also painted several oil paintings of motor races, these are quite thickly applied on hardboard base.
H 43.5 cm x W 51.5 cm
H 17" x W 20¼"