Juan Manuel Fangio, called by the Argentinos “El Chueco” the bandy-legged one, is considered by many to have been the greatest Grand Prix driver in the world. Five times a world champion Fangio won his titles driving for Alfa Romeo (1951), Mercedes-Benz (1954–55), Ferrari (1956), and Maserati (1957).
Like most Grand Prix stars of his era, Fangio also drove sports cars. During the 1955 season, Mercedes entered a team of 300SLR cars, direct derivatives of the GP machines, in the premier European events. For the Mille Miglia, Fangio’s teammate and the eventual winner, Stirling Moss, chose to use Dennis Jenkinson as a navigator, however, “El Chueco” opted to drive alone. A broken injector pipe robbing his engine of full power until it was rectified in a stop at Florence, Fangio persevered to finish 2nd only 20 minutes behind Moss after 1,000 miles and over 10 hours of racing. There was not a scratch on the car.
On Fangio’s passing, Forrest Bond wrote: “Fangio was from a different time in the broader sense, a time in which honor, duty, ethics and fair play had meaning in the larger society, which carried over even into racing’s cloistered community.”
Fangio’s Mercedes 300SLR in Mille Miglia trim is shown flat-out running at its maximum of around 175 mph.
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