Moto Magazine

On the Banking at Monza

Posted on the 12 July 2011 by Gardenamateur

Those wonderful banked corners at the old Monza circuit are a classic case of "it seemed like a good idea at the time" but as things turned out they weren't such a brilliant idea after all. Nevertheless, in their short glory days through the 1950s, when they were built, they provided a venue not only for some memorable Grands Prix, but also a fair bit of speed record setting, and that's what I'm planning on celebrating with several dioramas I have made.

On the banking at Monza

The scene is 1956, and the red car is the Bertone-bodied Fiat Abarth 750 streamliner; the
silver and yellow car is the Bertone Fiat Abarth 500 streamliner. These things would set
records in their capacity class for the hour, six-hour, 24-hour, 48-hour, etc and also the
5000km and 10, 000km marks. These must have been colossally gruelling drives for
the teams involved, and a testament to how well they built the engines and chassis.
Both the models in this diorama are 1:43 scale, made by Metro.

On the banking at Monza

Moving on to 1956, and the yellow streamliner whizzing around on the Monza banking is
a Pinifarina-bodied Fiat Abarth 500. A bit later on in this posting I have another photo of
this little record-setter sitting in the pits, so you can have a closer look. Like the models
above, this is also a 1:43 by Metro.

On the banking at Monza

Moving on to 1961 and the Pininfarina Abarth has taken on an entirely different shape again.
Here it is glimpsed through the trees, flying around on the banking. This model is a bit nicer
close up than the Metros, heavier in the hand, too, a 1:43 by Solido.

So let's have close-up look at some of these cars. First the Bertone-bodied cars from 1956.

On the banking at Monza

I've parked these models in front of a suitably ancient garage, but as far as I know this
garage is nowhere near Monza.


And now for something completely different from me, not a diorama done in Photoshop, but instead a genuine black and white photo of the real car from the era, colourised by me in Photoshop instead. As my only reference for colours is my little scale model, please accept my apologies for any errors in the choice of colours.

On the banking at Monza

The wonderful thing about this photo is that it's real. My wife is a graphic designer with a
great eye for how a photo should look (her timly advice has rescued a couple of my dioramas
from disaster),and so when she walked into my study and saw me colourising this photo,
she immediately thought it was another diorama and said "you've got the proportions on
the driver allwrong, he looks too big." And so I was very glad to tell my art director that the
proportions are in fact absolutely perfect. These cars were tiny!

And so, to finish off this celebration of Monza and its banking, and the wonderful Abarth-powered streamliners which set records galore there in the 1950s and early 60s, let's have a look at the banking itself, and then let Fangio take us for a spin around there in an Alfa. First, the banking.

On the banking at Monza

One of the best ways to appreciate the banking is to look at it from the underside. It's steep!

And now, courtesy of a Pirelli tire ad on You Tube, Fangio at Monza in an Alfa.

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