Meregalli (Fiat)
4 Guido Meregalli
G. Meregalli
Nazzaro 1914 GP
Ferrari (Alfa Romeo)
14 Enzo Ferrari
SA Italiana Ing. N. Romeo & C
Alfa Romeo 1914 GP
Lopez (Darracq)
13 Luigi Lopez
L. Lopez
Darracq 1906 GP


Medio Circuito Madonie - Palermo (I), 24 October 1920.
Targa Florio: 4 laps x 108 km (67.1 mi) = 432 km (268.4 mi)


Category 1 - up to 1400 cc
No competitors
Category 2 - 1401 to 2000 cc
1Enrico RestelliE. RestelliRestelliType R1.5S-4
3Giuseppe PiroG. PiroFiat5011.5S-4
Category 3 - 2001 to 2500 cc
No competitors
Category 4 - 2501 to 3000 cc
5Guido PeyronG. PeyronDiatto4-DC2.8S-4
6Pietro Di PaolaP. Di PaolaDiatto4-DC2.8S-4
10Guido AiroldiG. AiroldiItalaTipo 50 25/35 HP2.8S-4
18Paolo TascaBaron P. TascaItalaTipo 50 25/35 HP2.8S-4
19James TagliaviaJ. TagliaviaItalaTipo 50 25/35 HP2.8S-4
Category 5 - 3001 to 4000 cc
No competitors
Category 6 - 4001 to 5000 cc
2Giuseppe CampariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoGP 19144.5S-4
4Guido MeregalliG. MeregalliNazzaro1914 GP4.4S-4
7Pio MaravignaP. MaravignaFiatunknown
8Augusto TarabusiA. TarabusiSCAT25/35 hp4.7S-4
12Maria A. AvanzoM. A. AvanzoBuickSix3.9S-6
17Giuseppe BaldoniG. BaldoniNazzaro1914 GP4.4S-4
Category7 - over 5000 cc
13Luigi LopezL. LopezDarracq1906 Spcl. 35 HPS-4
14Enzo FerrariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo40/606.1S-4
16Mario VeronesiM. VeronesiIsotta-Fraschiniunknown

Meregalli wins the Targa Florio with a Nazzaro car

by Hans Etzrodt
The 1920 Targa Florio, a free formula race, was the third important event in the calendar. The 16 cars from 10 different makes were divided into four categories, driving four laps around the 108 km twisting mountain course with 1500 turns per lap. Although Campari (Alfa Romeo) was the favorite, Airoldi (Itala) led after the first lap in corrected time, nine seconds ahead of Meregalli (Nazzaro), followed by Maravigna (Fiat), Lopez (Darracq), then Ferrari and Campari in Alfa Romeos. The driving was difficult after prolonged and severe rain storms had softened the roads and turned many parts into muddy sections. After lap two Meregalli had taken the lead, Ferrari was second ahead of Airoldi, Piro (Fiat), Lopez's Darracq and Campari was sixth. After three laps the order was Meregalli, Ferrari, Lopez, Piro, Airoldi and Maravigna. Campari retired with six other cars. After the last lap the order of the first four remained the same although Maravigna passed Airoldi for fifth place. Tagliava (Itala) completed four laps but exceeded the maximum time and was not classified.
The Targa Florio was named after its founder, Count Vincenzo Florio. 1920 was the 11th recurrence of the race held for regulations were only for cars with production chassis as was delivered per catalog to the public. The cars were divided by engine capacity into 7 categories, namely for cars with an engine capacity of 1400 cc, 2000 cc, 2500, 3000, 4000, 5000 and category over 5000 cc. Drivers and riding mechanics could be changed during the race, but had to be predetermined beforehand with changes only at the end of a lap in presence of an official.
      The cars had to cover four laps of the 108 km Medium Madonie circuit, equal to 432 km. It was in use since 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 was 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 A. C. di Sicilia organized the event, with the skillful experience and great enthusiasm of Count Vincenzo Florio despite the country's economic problems, political disturbances, strikes, elections, and worsening transport conditions that required repeated postponement of the date. Eventually, the race took place on October 24. The bad road conditions made it impossible to complete the lap in less than two hours.
From 20 entries only 16 cars made the start, split up into seven categories at the beginning of this report.
Category up to 2000 cc:
There were two entries for Giuseppe Piro in a 501 Fiat while Enrico Restelli drove a Restelli type R, both were 4-cylinder 1500 cc cars.
Category 2001 to 3000 cc:
Guido Peyron and Pietro Di Paola had Diatto 4DC types, these were the corsa and sports version of their 3-Liter cars with 4-cylinder (90 x 116 mm) 2952 cc engine, providing 105 hp at 3700 rpm. Guido Airoldi, Baron Paolo Tasca and James Tagliavia drove Itala cars type 50 25/50 hp with 2.8-L four-cylinder engine.
Category 4001 to 5000 cc:
There were six entries for Guido Meregalli and Giuseppe Baldoni both in 1914 GP Nazzaro types with 4-cylinder 4.4-liter engine. Giuseppe Campari drove a 1914 Grand Prix ALFA of which only one was made with a 4-cylinder (110 x 143 mm) 4490 cc engine, producing 102 hp at 3000 rpm in 1921 with a weight of 1050 kg. Augusto Tarabusi had a 25/35 hp SCAT with 4-cylinder 4.7-liter engine. Maria Antonietta Avanzo drove a Buick type six with 6-cyliner 3.9-liter engine. Piro Maravigna had a Fiat but the type was unknown.
Category over 5000 cc:
Enzo Ferrari drove a 40/60 Alfa Romeo that was based on a 1913 ALFA 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. Luigi Lopez drove a Darracq, based on a modified 1906 model with 35HP chassis and 4-cylinder engine. Mario Veronesi raced an Isotta-Fraschini, but the type was unknown.
Awful weather had been raging on Sicily for a few days, changing the roads of the circuit into bad condition. Despite the rain, practice on the difficult course continued intensively. Ferrario, Meregalli, Tarabusi and Restelli made daily practice runs. The times obtained were acceptable and gave hope to the faster drivers to beat Boillot's record. All participants had established their quarters at Termini Immerse.
At the finishing line in Cerda, the road in front of the new grandstand presented the roughest stretch for the drivers, but offered the public the best views. Rain had fallen at intervals throughout the night and compromised not only the race but also affected the spectators. The violent autumn rain fell in the morning and reduced the roads to ribbons of mud. Shortly after midday, the sun and wind would help improve road conditions, but drivers faced severe difficulties.
      The starting order was decided by drawing lots. All cars started individually in order of race numbers at intervals of six minutes. The starting times were determined beforehand according to the race numbers. The start for the 16 cars began at 7:00 a.m. and the last driver left at 8:30.
7:001RestelliRestelli2000 cc
7:062CampariAlfa Romeo5000cc
7:306Di PaolaDiatto---"---
8:0013LopezDarracqover 5000
8:0614FerrariAlfa Romeoover 5000cc
The group of Sicilian drivers, Airoldi, Lopez and Baldoni received numerous handshakes and good wishes from friends who came from Palermo. After taking the start, Baldoni, after eight hundred meters, made a swerve that took him off the road, but he immediately resumed. It was raining and the Madonie was shielded by a circle of mist. Due to the rain and mud, the most frequent problems were those related to ignition. The rain, which continued with short stops, slowed down the pace of the daring drivers. At the end of the first lap, the best time achieved by Airoldi exceeded that of Boillot last year by eleven minutes. Tarabusi, Lopez, Ferrari, Donna Avanzo did not refuel. Baron Tasca did not complete the lap due to a lack of fuel supply pressure. After completing the first lap, Di Paola arrived very late and withdrew at the grandstand having broken the brakes of his Diatto. Veronesi, who arrived after about half an hour, also retired at the stands and had to be treated for an eye injury caused by a bouncing stone. Airoldi made the best time and secured the lead ahead of Meregalli, Maravigna, Lopez, Ferrari and Campari, with the corrected times in the following order after the first lap:
1.Airoldi (Itala)2h05m41s3000 cc
2.Meregalli (Nazzaro)2h05m50s5000 cc
3.Maravigna (Fiat)2h09m50s---"---
4.Lopez (Darracq)2h11m29sover 5000 cc
5.Ferrari (Alfa Romeo)2h13m39s---"---
6.Campari (Alfa Romeo)2h13m40s5000 cc
7.Peyron (Diatto)2h17m30s3000 cc
8.Piro (Fiat)2h21m49s2000 cc
9.Restelli (Restelli)2h23m11s---"---
10.Baldoni (Nazzaro)2h29m08s5000 cc
11.Tarabusi (SCAT)2h29m15s---"---
12.Tagliava (Itala)2h30m08s3000 cc
13.Avanzo (Buick)2h40m31s5000 cc
14.Di Paola (Diatto)2h31m47s3000 cc
15.Veronesi (Isotta-Fraschini)3h09m59sover 5000 cc

The field of now 13 cars went into the second lap. Meregalli drove a time in 2h05m42s, which gave him the lead at the end of lap two. Ferrari passed three cars which advanced him to second place ahead of Airoldi, who had dropped to third position, delayed by damaging the front axle of the car. During the second lap, Baldoni (Nazzaro) retired. Campari abandoned after completing the second lap, because the magneto had stopped working. This very sensitive and delicate ignition device had been located in the car too low and too exposed. The easy and probable prediction of a bad day, with the continuous bad weather of the last few days could perhaps have suggested a better and less exposed location. The field was now reduced to 12 cars in the following order after the 2nd lap:
1.Meregalli (Nazzaro)4h12m32s5000 cc
2.Ferrari (Alfa Romeo)4h19m12sover 5000 cc
3.Airoldi (Itala)4h36m46s3000 cc
4.Piro (Fiat)4h37m01s2000 cc
5.Lopez (Darracq)4h41m03sover 5000 cc
6.Campari (Alfa Romeo)4h43m04s5000 cc
7.Peyron (Diatto)4h48m07s3000 cc
8.Maravigna (Fiat)4h48m36s5000 cc
9.Tagliava (Itala)5h02m37s3000 cc
10.Restelli (Restelli)5h22m04s2000 cc
11.Tarabusi (SCAT)5h29m02s5000 cc
12.Avanzo (Buick)7h47m49s---"---

After Campari's retirement, the 11-car field went into the third lap. Meregalli was still first, accelerating to protected himself from an attack by Ferrari, who was second, ten minutes behind, followed by Lopez and Piro. Maravigna, who stopped three times to repair the magneto, also changed a tire. Restelli continued steadily and wasted a lot of time refueling but remained very calm. Peyron, who arrived last, was forced to retire at the end of the lap. He had crashed off the road, breaking the apron which consequently flooded the magneto. There was no news of Tagliava, who was ranked ninth on the second lap. Tarabusi retired with a car breakdown, while Donna Avanzo stopped ten kilometers away due to lack of petrol. The field was reduced to eight cars in the following order after the 3rd lap:
1.Meregalli (Nazzaro)6h19m42s5000 cc
2.Ferrari (Alfa Romeo)6h30m08sover 5000 cc
3.Lopez (Darracq)6h59m06s--- " ---
4.Piro (Fiat)7h02m50s2000 cc
5.Airoldi (Itala)7h08m43s3000 cc
6.Maravigna (Fiat)7h19m52s5000 cc
7.Restelli (Restelli)8h09m10s2000 cc
8.Peyron (Diatto)8h18m48s3000 cc

A field of eight cars was going into the last lap. Meregalli continued his race but significantly slowed down, having an advantage of eleven minutes. On the contrary Ferrari, who on this last lap tried hard to close the gap, gained time and completed the lap in 2h05m39.6s, the fastest lap of the race, while Meregalli completed it in 2h08m41s. The final gap dropped to 8m24s compared to the 11m26s on the third lap, a gain of about three minutes. The quick return of Ferrari deserved praise and made Meregalli's victory neat, his first win of a major event. The order did not change, although Maravigna passed Airoldi for fifth place. Restelli painfully had to retire on the fourth lap due to a broken steering wheel of his car. Tagliava completed the fourth lap but exceeded the maximum time and was not classified.

Targa Florio Results


1.4Guido MeregalliG. MeregalliNazzaro1914 GP4.4S-448h27m23.8s 
2.14Enzo FerrariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa Romeo40/606.1S-448h35m47.6s+       8m23.8s
3.13Luigi LopezL. LopezDarracq1906 Spcl. 35 HPS-449h19m25.4s+     52m01.6s
4.3Giuseppe PiroG. PiroFiat5011.5S-449h22m13.6s+     54m49.8s
5.7Pio MaravignaP. MaravignaFiatunknown49h55m27.0s+ 1h28m03.2s
6.10Guido AiroldiG. AiroldiItalaTipo 50 25/35 HP2.8S-449h58m20.0s+ 1h30m56.2s
DNC19James TagliaviaJ. TagliaviaItalaTipo 50 25/35 HP2.8S-44exceeded max time
DNF1Enrico RestelliE. RestelliRestelliType R1.5S-43steering wheel
DNF5Guido PeyronG. PeyronDiatto4-DC2.8S-43magneto 
DNF2Giuseppe CampariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoGP 19144.5S-42magneto
DNF8Augusto TarabusiA. TarabusiSCAT25/35 hp4.7S-42car breakdown
DNF12Maria A. AvanzoM. A. AvanzoBuickSix3.9S-62fuel supply 
DNF16Mario VeronesiM. VeronesiIsotta-Fraschiniunknown1crash
DNF6Pietro Di PaolaP. Di PaolaDiatto4-DC2.8S-41brakes 
DNF17Giuseppe BaldoniG. BaldoniNazzaro1914 GP4.4S-41  
DNF18Paolo TascaBaron P. TascaItalaTipo 50 25/35 HP2.8S-40fuel supply 
Fastest lap: Enzo Ferrari (Alfa Romeo) on lap 4 in 2h05m39.6s at 51.6 km/h (32.0 mph)
Winner's average speed: 51.1 km/h (31.7 mph).
Weather: rain, overcast.
In retrospect:
The final and intermediate times differed between the sources. We believe to have the correct times.

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


© 2021 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 24.02.2022