Boillot (Peugeot)
21 André Boillot
André Boillot
Peugeot L25
Moriondo (Itala)
5 Antonio Moriondo
A. Moriondo
Itala 35 hp
Lopez (Diatto)
18 Domenico Gamboni
D. Gamboni
Diatto 4-DC


Medio Circuito Madonie - Palermo (I), 23 November 1919.
Targa Florio: 4 laps x 108 km (67.1 mi) = 432 km (268.4 mi)


Category V - 011 to 110 mm bore
1Carlo FerrarioC. FerrarioLancia4.9S-4
2Giuseppe BaldoniG. BaldoniNazzaroTipo 34.6S-4
3Giuseppe CampariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo40/60 hp6.1S-4
4Guido LandiFabbrica Automobili ItalaItala35 hp4.9S-4
5Antonio MoriondoFabbrica Automobili ItalaItala35 hp4.9S-4
6Giovanni NegroG. NegroNazzaroTipo 34.6S-4
7René ThomasEtablissements BallotBallotIndy4.9S-8
8Eraldo FracassiE. FracassiAlfa Romeo40/60 hp6.1S-4
Category IV - 91 to 100 mm bore
9Giorgio ZanirattiG. ZanirattiFiat3 Ter4.4S-4DNA - Did not appear
10Nino FranchiniSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo1914 GP4.5S-4
11BozziBozziFiatunknownDNA - Did not appear
12Carlo MasettiCount C. MasettiAquila-Italiana35/50 hp3.5S-6
13Antonio AscariA. AscariFiat14B/574.5S-4
14Giulio MasettiCount G. MasettiFiat14B/57A4.9S-4
Category III - 81 to 90 mm borec
15Alfredo GallanziA. GallanziGallanzi-PuchS-4
16Luigi LopezL. LopezFiatunknown
17Giacinto GhiaG. GhiaDiatto4-DC2.8S-4
18Domenico GamboniD. GamboniDiatto4-DC2.8S-4
Category II - 71 to 80 mm bore
19Samy RevilleS. RevillePeugeotL 252.5S-4
20Ugo SivocciCostruzioni Macchaniche NazionaliCMN15/20 hp2.3S-4
21André BoillotA. BoillotPeugeotL 252.5S-4
22Enzo FerrariCostruzioni Macchaniche NazionaliCMN15/20 hp2.3S-4
Category I - 60 to 70 mm bore
23Jack ScalesEric, Campbell & Co.Eric Campbell1.5S-4
24Cecil SnipeEric, Campbell & Co.Eric Campbell1.5S-4DNS - Did not start

André Boillot wins the Targa Florio with Peugeot

by Hans Etzrodt
The Targa Florio was the second important race in 1919 and the first major race in Europe since the war, run to the free formula. The entries were divided into seven categories by engine bore. A severe rainstorm the day and night before the race had soaked the track with mud and snow covered the high mountain roads. The terrible road conditions made it more a contest of drivers than of cars. André Boillot, brother of famous Georges who died in the war, drove a small Peugeot with such determination and boldness until his total exhaustion winning the race, a ruthless way he would never drive again. His opponent was the veteran René Thomas with the fastest car in the 21-car field, a large 8-cylinder Ballot. For three laps the Peugeot was leading. When Thomas was eventually told after the third lap that he might lose, he started to chase after the Peugeot and in one of the many turns, he was too fast and crashed to let Boillot take the victory. This was the essence of the race.
      The remaining 19 drivers never posed a danger to the two leaders. Moriondo (Itala) finished second, 30 minutes after the winner, Gamboni (Diatto) was third followed by Giulio Masetti (Fiat), Negro (Nazzaro), Carlo Masetti (Aquila), Sivocci (CMN) and Baldoni (Nazzaro) eighth. Ferrari (CMN) and Lopez (Fiat) exceeded the maximum time of 10 hours and were not classified. The rest of the 11 cars retired, most of them crashed, amongst those was Ascari, who was transported with his mechanic to the Palermo hospital, suffering minor injuries
The Targa Florio was named after its founder, Count Vincenzo Florio, President of the Automobile Club di Sicilia. 1919 was the 10th recurrence of the race. It was planned to take place in May but was postponed until September and finally took place on 23 November as the first major event in Europe.
      The Targa Florio regulations, published in the September issue of the Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung specified cars with 4-cyl. engines with a bore of 60 and 130 mm, divided into 7 categories, also allowing 6, 8 and 12-cylinder engines, provided that the bore was correspondingly smaller to assure that the power of the 4-cylinder engines was not exceeded.
    1. category: 4-cyl. engines with 60-70 mm bore, 6-cyl. with 52-56 mm bore.
    2. category: 4-cyl. with 71-80 mm bore, 6-cyl. with 57-63 mm bore, 8-cyl. with 51-55 mm bore.
    3. category: 4-cyl. 81-90 mm, 6-cyl. 64-72 mm, 8-cyl. 56-62 mm bore.
    4. category: 4-cyl. 91-100mm, 6-cyl. 73-83 mm, 8-cyl. 63-70 mm, 12-cyl. 53-60 mm bore.
    5. category: 4-cyl. 101- 110 mm, 6-cyl. 84-94 mm, 8-cyl. 71-78 mm, 12-cyl. 61-68 mm bore.
    6. category: 4-cyl. 111-120 mm, 6-cyl. 95- 105 mm, 8-cyl. 79-87 mm, 12-cyl. 69-77 mm bore.
    7. category: 4-cyl. 121-130 mm, 6-cyl. 106-117 mm, 8-cyl. 88-98 mm, 12-cyl. 78-88 mm bore.
      The cars had to cover four laps of the 108 km Medium Madonie circuit, equal to 432 km. It was in use for the first time in 1919 and included approximately 1500 turns per lap through the mountainous Madonie region of Sicily. The narrow circuit with its steep gradients was a true measure of both driver and car. The start and finish took place near Cerda train station just a few meters above sea level. The road led several miles up to Cerda village at 273 meters altitude. From here the course twisted uphill to Caltavuturo at 640 meters after which the tight, twisting road wound through the Madonie Mountains and turned back past a depot to refuel and change tires in the town of Polizzi, 917 meters above sea level. Tortuous hairpin bends followed next, snaking downhill through the mountain village of Collesano at 500 meters and then on to Campofelice, just 50 meters above sea level. From there it was downhill to the seven km fast coastal straight where it was possible to use top gear. Then the circuit turned inland to the finish near the Cerda train station.
The Alfa Romeo 40/60 model for Campari was a works entry while Fracassi raced independent. The car was based on a 1913 design with a 4-cylinder (110 x 160 mm) 6082 cc engine, producing 82 hp at 2400 rpm, capable of 150 km/h with a racing weight of 1100 kg. Nino Franchini was also a works entry but he was assigned the 1914 Alfa Grand Prix car of which only one of the was made, taken out of storage and prepared for racing. The 4-cylinder (100 x 143 mm) 4490 cc engine, produced 88 hp at 2950 rpm with the car's weight 1050 kg and top speed 150 km/h.
      The Ballot driven by René Thomas, was the same 8-cylinder type raced at Indianapolis, the fastest car in the field. For the Targa Florio the 4.9-Liter Ballot had the tail changed to carry two spare wheels. The car had a straight-8 (74 x 140 mm) 4900 cc engine with 32 valves, driven by two o/h camshafts, delivering 125 hp at 3000 rpm, with peaks of 150 hp at 4000 rpm.
      The CMN factory entered two 15/20 hp, 2297 cc 4-cylinder cars for Sivocci and Ferrari who was CMN test driver.
      Diatto entries were independent, with 4DC cars for Ghia and Gamboni, the corsa version of their 3-Liter cars, with 4-cylinder (85 x 120 mm) 2724 cc engine, producing 50 hp and had a top speed of 150 km/h.
      Eric Campbell cars were British design of 1919 with 1505 cc 4-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine. Paul Sheldon wrote: "The name was derived from Hugh Eric Orr-Ewing and Noel Campbell Macklin".
      The Fiat entries were independent. Ascari had bought his prewar Grand Prix model, model, a 1914 racecar type 14B/S57 with a 4-cylinder (100 x 143 mm) 4492 cc engine producing 135 hp at 3000 rpm and a weight of 1150 kg, estimated maximum speed of 165 km/h. With this car he had already won the 1919 hill climbs of Parma-Poggio di Berceto and Coppa della Consuma. Count Giulio Masetti drove a type 14B/57A, which had a 4-cylinder (104 x 143 mm) 4859 cc engine producing 150 hp at 3500 rpm, a weight of 1170 kg and top speed of 180 km/h.
      The Itala works arrived with 1914 type 35 hp cars with 4.9-L 4-cylinder rotary valve engine for Landi and Moriondo.
      The Peugeot were independent entries for André Boillot and Samy Reville in the L25 type, with 2.5-L 4-cylinder (73 x146 mm), engines, designed in 1914 for voiturette racing. One of these cars had been driven by Boillot at Indianapolis.
      A complete list of entries is at the beginning of this report.
On Saturday practice before the race, a violent storm was raging, shaking the waves and vegetation. All drivers were drenched in water and covered with mud. They expressed a rather dark picture of their predictions on the progress and outcome of the race. Thomas and Campari, who returned to Termini around noon, said they had to stop at certain points due to the violence of the wind and water. In the night before the race, it still rained heavily - a threatening storm had drenched the area. An abnormal coolness prevailed in the morning with snow covering the roads on top of the Madonie Mountains, five to eight cm high. Despite the terrible weather, an enormous pilgrimage of local enthusiasts arrived from Palermo by special trains, cars and on foot in the first hours of Sunday morning. The totalizator game had Ascari as the big favorite as he had won this year the hill climbs of Parma-Poggio di Berceto and Coppa della Consuma.
      The starting order was decided by drawing lots for each category. All cars started individually in order of race numbers at intervals of three minutes. The starting times were determined beforehand according to the race numbers. Amongst the non-starters were Zaniratti, Bozzi and Snipe who before the start encountered engine damage on his Eric Campbell and abandoned the start. That left 21 starters for the 7:00 a.m. start with the last driver leaving at 8:06.
7:001FerrarioLancia110 mm bore
7:032BaldoniNazzaro102 mm
7:063CampariAlfa Romeo110 mm
7:094LandiItala105 mm
7:125MoriondoItala105 mm
7:156NegroNazzaro102 mm
7:187ThomasBallot8-cyl. 74 mm
7:218FracassiAlfa Romeo110 mm
7:249ZanirattiFiat100 mmDid not appear
7:2710FranchiniAlfa Romeo100 mm
7:3011BozziFiat95 mmDid not appear
7:3312C. MasettiAquila Italia6-cyl. 80 mm
7:3613AscariFiat100 mm
7:3914G. MasettiFiat95 mm
7:4215GallanziGallanzi90 mm
7:4516LopezFiat84 mm
7:4817GhiaDiatto85 mm
7:5118GamboniDiatto85 mm
7:5419RevillePeugeot75 mm
7:5720SivocciCMN75 mm
8:0021BoillotPeugeot75 mm
8:0322FerrariCMN75 mm
8:0623ScalesEric-Campbell66 mm
8:0924SnipeEric-Campbell66 mmDid not start
The starts were given just beyond the Cerda station, from where the road immediately climbed uphill for two short long lines of about three hundred meters. The starts took place perfectly but the popular Campari had to stop just 200 meters from the start due to a breakdown with engine valves. He repaired very calmly, but lost exactly 15 minutes, restarting immediately behind Fracassi.
      After about two hours, the times were announced as reported at Polizzi after 56 km: Thomas 1h03m, Ferrario 1h12m, Campari 1h33m, Landi, Moriondo and Negro in 1h09m, Franchini 1h14m, Boillot 1h01m, with the best time. During the first lap, five cars did not reach the finish. The Alfa Romeo of Fracassi seized its engine bearings. Ascari's Fiat was over the first 50 kilometers the fastest until he grazed one of the road marker stones, he carried on with unchanging speed and overturned in a corner immediately after Polizzi. He crashed with his mechanic into a ravine with the radiator stuck in the ground and the rear wheels looming in the air. W.F. Bradley wrote: "He had fallen to such a depth that he was not discovered until a search party went out when the race was over. He was not seriously hurt, but he was unable to climb out unaided." Ascari was not seriously injured and together with mechanic Mannini was transported to the Polizzi hospital. Later Ascari and Mannini were transferred to the Palermo hospital, where it was diagnosed for Ascari a fracture of the iliac bone, various bruises, no visceral injury. Mannini suffered a fracture of a rib and the distortion of the right clavicular sternum. Reville's Peugeot first spun off into a road marker stone and retired later when he crashed at a speed of 65 km/h into a stone wall near Polizzi. Gallanzi's Gallanzi-Puch retired when his car caught fire but driver and mechanic were unharmed. Ghia demolished the front axle of his Diatto when he crashed into a wall on the first lap near Polizzi and retired.
      Some sections of the race course high in the mountains were covered by snow and mud. The drivers and mechanics who passed the grandstand, covered in mud, were hardly recognizable, just as much as the race numbers which were unreadable. Goggles were useless, most drivers wore wire-gauze masks. The first car arriving at the grandstand was that of Thomas who had passed the six cars that had started ahead of him. He was all gray with mud, his face covered with a competition mask. He stopped at the pits to change tires for six minutes and during this time was overtaken by Landi. When Boillot passed the grandstand at the road fork, on the last left-hand bend before the finish, his car skidded and drove over the higher road border, the car jumped one meter into the air, landed on two wheels and only a pile of stones prevented him from crashing down the escarpment. Boillot tried to drive out of the stone pile but to no avail. He and the mechanic jumped out, made the car clear and left even before nearby spectators could reach the place. It was a moment of great excitement. Boillot was leading in adjusted time with 56.5 km/h average speed. The field was down to 16 cars in the following order after the first lap:
1.Boillot (Peugeot)1h54m36.4s
2.Thomas (Ballot)1h58m25.4s
3.Gamboni (Diatto)2h08m11.6s
4.G. Masetti (Fiat)2h08m24.4s
5.Moriondo (Itala)2h09m15.0s
6.Negro (Nazzaro)2h10m19.6s
7.Franchini (Alfa Romeo)2h12m05.8s
8.C. Masetti (Aquila-Italiana)2h13m19.8s
9.Landi (Itala)2h14m02.2s
10.Ferrario (Lancia)2h20m20.2s
11.Scales (Eric-Campbell)2h27m08.0s
12.Sivocci (CMN)2h28m33.4s
13.Campari (Alfa Romeo)2h28m45.6s
14.Baldoni (Nazzaro)2h53m06.8s
15.Lopez (Fiat)2h59m50.2s
16.Ferrari (CMN)3h04m50.0s

On the second lap, the battle continued with Boillot leading Thomas by seven minutes. Giulio Masetti passed Gamboni for third place. Moriondo held fifth position followed by Negro, Carlo Masetti, Sivocci, Lopez, Baldoni and Ferrari in eleventh place. After five drivers retired on the second lap, the field was down to 11 cars. Franchini (Alfa Romeo) retired at the end of the second lap after he returned to the finish line due to a first lap crash into the parapet of a low wall. Landi's Itala broke the differential when he hit a curbstone and retired before the end of the second lap. Ferrario (Lancia) retired for unknown reasons. Jack Scales who drove a small English Eric-Campbell retired after 50 kilometers with the left side steering arm broken off. Campari's race ended due to a miscalculation in a corner in the middle of the second lap, suffering tire cuts, steering failure and inability to continue. If Boillot did not want to be caught by Thomas in the faster Ballot, he could not stop unnecessarily. While slowing his drive at his separate pit, a 35-liter can of gas was thrown to his mechanic. As Boillot drove down at a hill, the mechanic released the pressure of the fuel tank and poured into the tank the contents of the can, then threw it overboard. Boillot led with 55,7 km/h average speed with the field in the following order after the 2nd lap:
1.Boillot (Peugeot)3h52m54.4s
2.Thomas (Ballot)3h59m52.4s
3.G. Masetti (Fiat)4h12m17.0s
4.Gamboni (Diatto)4h14m41.8s
5.Moriondo (Itala)4h17m35.8s
6.Negro (Nazzaro)4h20m31.4s
7.C. Masetti (Aquila-Italiana)4h28m49.2s
8.Sivocci (CMN)5h03m28.2s
9.Lopez (Fiat)5h19m09.2s
10.Baldoni (Nazzaro)5h19m15.2s
11.Ferrari (CMN)5h25m24.0s

At the end of the second lap Thomas stopped to get gas. Drivers and cars arrived covered in an identical crust of sun-dried mud, and were unrecognizable. Giulio Masetti with the Fiat stopped after his second lap to refuel and started again. Boillot had taken the shortest time for this lap. The duel between Thomas and Boillot continued. One who drove fast and regular was Carlo Masetti who passed in his Aquila after the second lap and stopped for gasoline.
      On the third lap Thomas was now closer, only 73 seconds apart from Boillot. Moriondo had passed Gamboni and Giulio Masetti for third place. Masetti was now fourth and Gamboni fifth. Negro and Carlo Masetti held the following positions ahead of Baldoni, Ferrari, Lopez and Sivocci who had dropped to last place. Boillot led the field with 55,7 km/h average speed in the following order after the third lap:
1.Boillot (Peugeot)5h48m58.6s
2.Thomas (Ballot)5h50m11.0s
3.Moriondo (Itala)6h20m11.6s
4.G. Masetti (Fiat)6h23m56.0s
5.Gamboni (Diatto)6h25m08.2s
6.Negro (Nazzaro)6h33m01.4s
7.C. Masetti (Aquila-Italiana)6h55m17.8s
8.Baldoni (Nazzaro)7h41m51.6s
9.Ferrari (CMN)7h44m46.4s
10.Lopez (Fiat)7h52m18.8s
11.Sivocci (CMN)8h16m37.8s

Boillot stopped during the race only once, at the end of the third lap, hundred meters before the stands to refuel at his special fuel station. As the roads had dried up, he changed the rear wheels with the non-skid tires against smooth ones. Like most others, he used Pirelli tires and had no tire failures. Only after the third lap could Thomas be warned that he was being beaten by the Peugeot. At that time the weather had changed, the sun was shining, the roads had dried up.
      On the fourth lap, Boillot kept the lead but Thomas, who had been warned of the fast Peugeot and thus had raised his pace, retired near Caltavuturo when he spun against a road marker stone and broke the differential. Ferrari and Lopez were still driving at the end of the field. Some cars were reaching the finish. Then, a thrill in the crowd when Boillot came at full speed. A hundred meters from the finish, the road was blocked by a wall of spectators opposite the grandstand. He braked hard, the car spun three times, then darted into the flimsy wooden structure below the grandstand. Two soldiers and a civilian were slightly bruised. Totally exhausted, Boillot and his mechanic freed themselves out of the crash site, with the Peugeot's nose in the wrong direction, the driver put it in reverse gear and crossed the finish line backwards. He was then told that finishing this way was a violation, and as he did not want to be disqualified, Boillot drove back 30 meters to the crash site, turned around and then crossed the finish line once more, shouting: "C'est pour la France" and slumped down in his seat, totally worn out. He completed the race half an hour ahead of Moriondo's Itala. Gamboni's Diatto finished third followed by Giulio Masetti's Fiat, Negro's Nazzaro, Carlo Masetti's Aquila-Italiana, Sivocci's CMN and Baldoni's Nazzaro in eighth place. At the end of the race after 10 hours, Ferrari and Lopez were still on the course but exceeded the maximum allowable time and did not qualify.

Targa Florio Results


1.21André BoillotAndré BoillotPeugeotL254.5S-447h51m01.8s
2.5Antonio MoriondoA. MoriondoItala35 hp2.8S-448h21m46.0s+     30m44.2s
3.18Domenico GamboniD. GamboniDiatto4-DC2.8S-448h33m28.4s+     42m26.6s
4.14Giulio MasettiCount G. MasettiFiat14B/57A4.9S-448h49m19.0s+     58m17.2s
5.6Giovanni NegroG. NegroNazzaroTipo 34.6S-448h52m51.0s+ 1h01m49.2s
6.12Carlo MasettiCount C. MasettiAquila-Italiana35/50 hp3.5S-649h13m03.0s+ 1h22m01.2s
7.20Ugo SivocciCostruzioni Macchaniche NazionaliCMN15/20 hp2.3S-449h26m35.0s+ 1h35m33.2s
8.2Giuseppe BaldoniG. BaldoniNazzaroTipo 34.6S-449h59m47.0s+ 2h08m45.2s
DNC22Enzo FerrariCostruzioni Macchaniche NazionaliCMN15/20 hp2.3S-44exceeded max. time
DNC16Luigi LopezL. LopezFiatunknown4exceeded max. time
DNF7René ThomasEtablissements BallotBallotIndy4.9S-83crash, differential
DNF3Giuseppe CampariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo40/60 hp6.1S-41crash, steering
DNF23Jack ScalesEric, Campbell & Co.Eric Campbell1.5S-41broken steering arm
DNF1Carlo FerrarioC. FerrarioLancia4.9S-41
DNF4Guido LandiFabbrica Automobili ItalaItala35 hp4.9S-41crash, differential
DNF10Nino FranchiniSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo1914 GP4.5S-41crash damage
DNF17Giacinto GhiaG. GhiaDiatto4-DC2.8S-40crash, bent front axle
DNF15Alfredo GallanziA. GallanziGallanzi-PuchS-40car caught fire
DNF19Samy RevilleS. RevillePeugeotL 252.5S-40crash
DNF13Antonio AscariA. AscariFiat14B/574.5S-40crash
DNF8Eraldo FracassiE. FracassiAlfa Romeo40/60 hp6.1S-40engine bearings
Fastest lap: André Boillot (Peugeot) on lap 1 in 1h54m26.4s = 56.6 km/h (35.2 mph).
Winner's average speed: 55.0 km/h (34.2 mph).
Weather: cold, overcast, later sunshine.
In retrospect:
The Final and intermediate times often differed between the sources. We believe to have selected the correct times.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Automobil-Welt, Berlin
Automobilia, Paris
La Domenica Sportiva, Milano
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
L'Auto, Paris
La Stampa, Torino
La Stampa Sportiva, Torino
Rapiditas, Palermo
Special thanks to:
Alessandro Silva
Giuseppe Prisco
Vladislav Shaikhnurov


© 2021 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 31.03.2022