70 years ago on Easter Monday 1950, shortly after withdrawing from the Coppa Florio, “The Flying Mantuan” Tazio Nuvolari bowed out from the racing world at the Palermo Monte Pellegrino GTS -- the world’s oldest hill climb race circuit. Behind the wheel of Carlo Abarth’s Cisitalia 204A Abarth Spider Corsa, Nuvolari won the 1100 cm³ Sport class, and came 5th overall, outstripping a host of much more powerful cars. “The Flying Mantuan” had dominated the racing scene for almost 30 years, and had made a habit of upsetting the odds.
In the post war years, Nuvolari was known to wear a surgical mask during races to protect his lungs, which had been severely damaged by dust, rubble and fumes. So compromised was his respiration that he much preferred open top cars! It was as much his stubbornness and fearlessness as his talent that allowed Nuvari to prevail on the race track with lesser means, as well as rise above family and health issues.
Nuvolari’s last victory came at the age of 58, and came despite him battling severe illness. He would die two years later, having never officially retired from racing.
Ferdinand Porsche called him "the greatest driver of the past, present and future".