Edoardo Tenconi, always on track since 1958

Laura Ferriccioli
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The races in Monza with the stables of the sixties, the rallies, the birth of the big Italian classic car events. Witty and gritty, this Lombard collector who looks like an eternal boy full of enthusiasm has always been a champion of speed and motoring


In the stretch of the Castell’Arquato-Vernasca plain, my 850 Abarth took 7,100-7,400 laps during practice but on race day, in 1963, it did not go beyond 6,500-6,700, so I ended up as angry as a beast. So, through the mountain curves I went up like a lion: when you go angry you go faster! If I remember correctly, in the uphill part I did excellent times also for the 1000 class”. Edoardo Tenconi is an institution in the Milanese world of historic cars. Everyone knows him, or has heard of it. One of the first collectors, he grew up on bread and motors in the dealership and, above all, in the Fiat workshop that his father had from 1927 to the end of the nineties.


Edoardo Tenconi in one of his garages with his superb Fiat 8V
An ultra rare Moretti Algeri Le Cap 54. The car, with a 750 single overhead camshaft engine, got its name due to the fact that in 1954, when it was built, the Turin based Moretti has sent four specimens to Algiers and from there to Cape Town to test them. Given the excellent success of the operation, without the slightest problem, the cars also made the return route to Algeria and back to Italy: all four in perfect working order


A Topolino for the winter and a spider for the summertime.I was born in 1940 in Milan and they immediately took me to the Bergamo area. Then, when I came home, after the war, if I was good they let me put on the overalls and go among the mechanics”, says the enthusiast. He got his driving license in 1958 and with a Topolino A he raced at the Purfina trophy in Versilia the following year, then with a Balilla at the Cortemaggiore-Merano, where for his intervention in an accident he was awarded as a “gentleman of the road “. Both cars are still in his garage: “I finished La Balilla in August of that year,” he recalls. He has always prepared his cars for racing by himself and still restores himself the wonderful pieces of exception of him.

Mimal tools and muddy paths. In 2006 with my 1100 Sedan from 1957 we made the second overall in the Italian Historic Car Speed Championship, on the circuit. First came a Lotus 22 and then us. My co-driver was Arrigo Cocchetti, there was no one better than him, he taught me how to make every corner, he had a photographic memory of all the race courses, including 1000 Miglia. I was 75, he was 82 and the car was 50: we were the oldest of all! With the same 1100 I had already done the first Rally dei Fiori e dei Sassi, later called Rally di Sanremo: there were 2000 km, of which very few of paved roads, and my assistance was a jack, the box of irons and two wheels in the trunk. So it was going like this“.


This 1939 Siata 508 C was built for Mr. Ruggeri, the owner of Scuderia Milan, who drove it in the 1940 1000 Miglia. It weighs only 480 kg and has an engine that reaches a maximum speed of 180 km/h

The Siata during a re-enactment of the 1000 Miglia (ph.: 1000 Miglia press office)


A mine of enthusiasm. The men, the cars and the stories that peek out from Edoardo Tenconi’s memory span fifty years. By being quick a few questions for an interview, you may also be able to slip them, between the story of one adventure and another. But it’s not easy, the stories travel in bursts, and it’s a burst of overwhelming irony and enthusiasm. Edoardo laughs heartily, recalling certain racing episodes, sometimes winning and sometimes funny, or the past of cars of distant times. His eyes light up as soon as he enters the subject. The only problem is being able to keep up with him, especially if he is not well versed in the tight Milanese. Energetic and pragmatic, like a true Lombard with petrol instead of blood, he shows off his splendid red Ottovù bodywork Fiat Special Bodywork Department, the Siata that had been built for the president of the Milan team, and again, the pre-war, the 1100 and the 850 Abarth with which he raced; then the Lancia Aurelia B20, the Ermini and many others. Meanwhile, he focuses on anecdotes and technical peculiarities. Cars have always been his life, for years ago he also assisted the races of his son Pietro, a regular at the Monte Carlo Historique Rally. He too, Edoardo, took part in it personally with his Fiat 8V about ten years ago.


On the Monza track with the great ones. “I raced for several stables, in the sense that we used to call each other in the evening: “So, come and make up the number?! ”. And so once I was with the Scuderia del Lario, another time with the Sant’Ambroeus, then with the Jolly Club, depending on where the others went”. Good times, there is no doubt. Also because “the others” were often called Gigi Villoresi, Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio … “About Fangio it is said tha he was elegant, but in reality they all were: there were no braggart and if one happened he was left out. We were all friends. Once at the Monza racetrack – where Tenconi was route commissioner for about fifteen years, since 1957 – there was Lorenzo Bandini testing a Ferrari and I was there with the Balilla Tre Marce (Balilla with Three Gears). He asked me… “Oh how beautiful, woul you make me try it?”, “Sure, jump right!”, I replied. Holy shit, he gave a lot of those scratches! (Laughs). He was not used to the very stoned reports of the Tre Marce: if you didn’t know them there was nothing to do, you didn’t get on! Even with Arturo Merzario we took for a ride a number of times when I was competing with the 850 Abarth: he ran with it as well, he was faster than me, though! ” (laughs).


A dolphin shaped Fiat 509 by a coach builder called Martelleria Italiana Riva Panzeri who designed it between 1925 and 1926 to take part in a contest


Come here, let’s go for a ride!”. Once “the Tenconi” – as they say in Milan – also competed abroad, at Silverstone. “And I battled with someone who had a Veritas 2500! Until at a certain point I found a connecting rod on the seat next to it … oh yes, I didn’t want to let go of that one! “. He pulled and pulled: in short, he blasted. And speaking of major events, between the end of the sixties and the beginning of the following decade in Italy he participated in the most important historical reenactments of today. “The spark was given by Giulio Dubbini, patron of Caffè Diemme: from the Coppa delle Alpi to the Gold Cup of the Dolomites, from the Stella Alpina to the Mille Miglia, from the Trento-Bondone to the Bolzano-Amendola and the Italian Speed ​​Cup. Then, after 2-3 years, he entrusted them to someone else. One day he calls me and asks me: “Do you have a car that works? Come here and let’s go for a ride! “. He meant Padua, where he was. It must have been 1969 or maybe 1970. We went to eat a little something together in the evening, then at 11 past 11 we left at 11 or 12, we arrived in Rome and went back. Without stopping, as was the real Mille Miglia of speed. We drove all night, in the morning we just had a snack in the capital and in the afternoon we returned to Padua.


Champions without a podium. “We repeated the route again for two or three years until the Automobile Club of Brescia, seeing that the Municipality had not given us permission to leave the city, told us that it would let us find the podium of the Mille Miglia in Corso Venezia. But in the evening when we arrived we didn’t find anything, just a group of young ladies annoyed because we were ruining the square! Who knows, maybe they had the wrong date, I never knew what had happened. We went on like this for six or seven years. Maybe eight. I did the first reminiscent lap with Ermini, the second with a Balilla Coppa d’Oro, the third with a Balilla Siata and then a couple with the Ottavù!”.



The savior of the Fiat 8V.I found my Fiat Ottovù by ​​accident while looking for a Fiat 1100 Sport, which was the car my father used to race with. I have never been able to find one to restore”, continues Edoardo. “They told me that there was an abandoned 1100 in a petrol station but when I went there it was a Fiat 8V: what a disappointment! I took it home, put it in place and said to myself: “Nice to drive, after all! It is a fun car!”. And since then, since I was “the guy of the 8V”, everyone offered me more. In the seventies nobody wanted them, they weren’t understood, they weren’t even known. So I took one, then another and another… In total, at least a dozen have happened to me. At that point I tried to convince my friends to buy them on the basis of 300-350 thousand lire”. Very lucky friends, we would say today, given the exceptional nature and beauty of the model of which, from 1952 to 1954, only 114 frames were made. And so, these beautiful high-end sports berlinettas, built under the supervision of Dante Giacosa, have arrived safely to this day. Keeped in the most prestigious car collections in the world.


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TopClassico | Registrazione del Tribunale di Milano n. 25 del 9.02.2021
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