1929-1937 – The partnership between Zagato and Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo

Home road cars supercars 1929-1937 – The partnership between Zagato and Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo

It all began in Abu Dhabi, during my visit to Ferrari World.

Our ambassador in the United Arab Emirates, Farhan Al Bastaki, found a beautiful framed photograph of a Scuderia Ferrari stand in 1932 at a local bookstore – and gave it to me.

It was obvious that the photo was taken immediately before Enzo Ferrari started using Francesco Baracca's Prancing Horse emblem, which would appear for the first time on July 9, 1932 on the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 MM of Antonio Brivio and Eugenio Siena that won at Spa, complete with Zagato bodywork.

1929-1937 – The partnership between Zagato and Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo
1929-1937 – The partnership between Zagato and Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo

One of the most famous photographs of their long-lasting collaboration depicts the Alfa Romeo Zagatos of Scuderia Ferrari in Modena in 1932

And this led to my curiosity in wanting to understand better how Zagato could be portrayed as a partner of Scuderia Ferrari.

That curiosity was satisfied when I met Mario Tadini about a year ago, on Lake Maggiore. Mario is well-known and respected as a master of golf, and he is also the grandson of another Mario Tadini: a founder – along with Alfredo Caniato and the legendary Enzo Ferrari – of Scuderia Ferrari.

As  luck would have it, like many notable families, the Tadini family kept an archive of papers at Stresa.

And that allowed me to delve deeper into the fascination inspired by that photo acquired in Abu Dhabi. Like everyone, I had time: courtesy of a two-month lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

By starting with the annals of Scuderia Ferrari – often filled with Zagato publicity photos – and re-reading several books, but above all by studying countless photographs, I concluded my research: 23 different cars were prepared for the Scuderia between 1929 and 1937 including a road car made in 1934.

When I came back to the office in May, I asked our design office to make models of the 23 different cars, using the original photos from the Tadini archives.

Andrea Zagato

The Alfa Romeos raced by Scuderia Ferrari from November the 16th 1929 bore the black Zagato badge on their sides.

In the 1930-1931-1932 yearbooks of Scuderia Ferrari there is a list of their partner-suppliers among which also Zagato is mentioned plus a page where the Carrozzeria Zagato advertises its work.

Zagato's bodyworks can be easily recognised: they were made in Milan, the city where the two men had met at Alfa Romeo's headquarters and where Enzo Ferrari chose – perhaps right in 1923, after that win – his first Partner for his incredible automotive adventure.

In the eight years (1929-1937) of Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo, Zagato develops quite a number of 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder models with different engine displacements: 1500, 1750, 2300, 2600 and 2900 cc.

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The prancing horse appeared only in 1932, first on the company letterhead, then, on July 9, on the Alfa Romeo 2300 MM Zagato driven by Brivio-Siena, who won the 24 Hours at Spa-Francorchamps.

Therefore, it happened that a fourth version of the Cavallino Rampante appeared: it had already its tail upwards and a blue and yellow background even before the black Prancing Horse was first used as an emblem of Scuderia Ferrari, that is in 1932 at Spa Francorchamps on an Alfa Romeo 2300 MM Zagato.

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