Retromobile 2022, Gordini in majesty

NEWS – From February 2 to 6, the Parisian show pays tribute to this figure of the automobile through a collection of vehicles of his design, in partnership with the historian Christian Huet and the National Automobile Museum – Collection Schlumpf from Mulhouse.

Amedeo Gordini was born on June 23, 1899 in Bazzano, in Emilie. A little over a year after Enzo Ferrari. Like the craftsman of Maranello, Gordiniva left his mark on the automobile industry and motorsport. His father, a farmer, died when he was only 8 years old. Four years later, the young Amedeo began an apprenticeship with a wheelwright-blacksmith in Bologna. War breaks out. Amedeo is mobilized. Returning to civilian life, he married, became the father of a boy named Ado and joined a workshop for mechanics and bicycle manufacturing. If he shows good dispositions for the engines, Amedeo is passionate about boxing, in particular Georges Carprentier, a French champion.


To follow his exploits, Amedeo decided to go to Paris in January 1925. Guided by a large Italian community, he found a job as an apprentice mechanic in a garage in Suresnes then set up on his own, renting a workshop opposite the factories. Talbot de Suresnes. The quality of his work is rewarded. He becomes a Fiat agent and prepares racing cars for an upscale clientele. In 1933, he won a slow race in the Mont-Valérien coast at the wheel of a Fiat 514. The following year, he immediately replaced one of his clients at the Bol d’Or… which he won. . With this victory, Amédée (Amedeo became a French citizen) discovered a passion for racing.

The Simca 5 prepared by Gordini. Mulhouse National Museum

In early 1936, he signed with Henri-Théodore Pigozzi, the founder of Simca, a contract stipulating that he undertakes to participate in a number of sporting events and to set world records in return for his financial support. It was the start of a great harvest of success: a Simca 5 prepared by Gordini won its class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and set 22 world records at the Linas-Montlhéry autodrome. Faced with such feats, Charles Faroux, a renowned journalist, awarded him the title of sorcerer. A qualification that will continue him for the rest of his life.

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Boulevard Victor

Gordini wins the Robert Benoist Cup, a few weeks after the end of the war. Retromobile

Gordini moved up a gear and now designed his own bodywork, but the war, which broke out, postponed all projects. In 1940, he moved his activities boulevard Victor, in Paris XVth, in a service station. When the war ends, he has a front row seat to reconnect. On September 9, 1945, in the Bois de Boulogne, he won the first post-war race. There will be many other victories, whether in Sport or in single-seater. Despite limited resources, Gordini succeeded in working miracles, creating efficient chassis and engines. On September 9, 1945, in the Bois de Boulogne, Gordini won the Robert Benoist Cup, one of the races in the first post-war sporting event.

Bricout Archives

He also knows how to find talent, thus giving a chance to a young unknown pilot, Juan Manuel Fangio. Whereas Bugatti is only a shadow of himself, Gordini is the first brand to shine the French colors in the stammering F1 world championship. She is the ambassador of a good period for French motorsport. The 1960s marked the advent of Matra. In the meantime, on June 29, 1952, Jean Behra beat the single-seaters of the Scuderia Ferrari, winning the French Grand Prix in Reims with the T16 six-cylinder engine. If victory eludes Behra by a hair in the Tour de France Automobile 1953, the following year, Jacky Pollet makes the brand of Boulevard Victor triumph at the wheel of the 36 S tray. Despite these successes, the finances of the Gordini team are bloodless. The novelist Françoise Sagan, keen on speed, helped the 15th century craftsman by buying a tray in 1956, but that was not enough.

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The first R8 Gordini. Renault

Without the help of a builder, the survival of the activity is a miracle. It arrives at the beginning of 1957 in the form of a contract with Renault to make a Dauphine-Gordini but also a V6 and a V8. While he has produced 33 chassis and entered more than 600 events, the sorcerer cuts the contact of his racing team. After the Dauphine, it was the turn of the R8, in 1964, to have its Gordini version. The ancestor of the GTi gives birth to a one-design cut that will reveal a whole generation of French drivers. In 1970, the R12 took over but the enthusiasm was no longer the same. No doubt the consequence of the switch to front-wheel drive. The R17 coupe will also be entitled to its Gordini version.

The R8 Gordini Cup. Renault

Recognition of his genius: the competition department of the Régie in Viry-Châtillon bears the inscription “Renault-Gordini”, like the camshaft covers of the V6 Turbo which equips the Formula 1 single-seaters of the Renault team. Amédée Gordini died on May 25, 1979. Next February, thanks to the assistance of the expert and historian Christian Huet who worked with him and who dedicated a book to him, and to the National Automobile Museum – Schlumpf Collection of Mulhouse which has the largest collection of Gordini in the world, visitors to the Retromobile show will be able to discover some of the wizard’s finest achievements.

C. Huet for Rétromobile


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