Sep 02 2013

Mystery Foto #31 Solved: The FIAT Team for the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race

This Mystery Foto was from the collection of Paul Osika, who has the best vintage racing photos at Hershey.

Answers to the Mystery Foto questions:

- Identify the three cars in the photo

The three FIATS entered for the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race


-Name the drivers

Felice Nazzarro (#8), Vincenzo Lancia (#4 FIAT)  and Dr. Aldo Weilschott  (#16 FIAT)


-What was the likely month and year for the photo?

October, 1906 prior to the October 6, 1906 race date.


-Bonus: Name the three mechanicians

Antonio Fagnano, Batista Ajassa (maybe Ajassa Batissa), and Columbo

See below.


Congratulations to Ariejan Bos, Jean-Yves Lassaux and Greg Oreiro for correctly identifying the FIAT team.  Art, you confused Lancia and Nazzaro. Good try Ted!

If you wish to submit a Mystery Foto, please send a jpeg to me at .


Howard Kroplick

#8 FIAT driven by Felice Nazzaro. Mechanician was Antonio Fagnano. Thanks Ariejan for the correct spelling.

#4 FIAT driven by Vincenzo Lancia.  According to trade journals of the day, the mechanician was Batista Ajassa, Lancia's assistant in 1906. Spelling of his name has been corrected on the website. Jean-Yves Lassaux thinks the passenger is Emanual Cedrino, who drove  a FIAT in the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

September 3, 2013 Update: from Ariejan Bos

Because I was wondering if I could find some more info on this Battista Ajassa, I did some additional research. However this was only possible, because of the fate of the mechanician: in these years they often only got a name if they were injured or killed! In this case he was fortunately only injured. He appears to have been also Lancia's mechanic during the Cuban Cup of 1906, which was held on February 12th, 1906. During this race, which counted only 4 participants and one finisher, the mechanician Batista (only one t?) was thrown out of the car because Lancia was driving with his "wonted recklessness", breaking an arm and putting Lancia out of the race. Based on this, I must also conclude that Batista was his surname and Ajassa apparently his first name. He must have been rather reckless himself to join Lancia again after his recovery!

I sent you a copy of the article from the "Cornell Daily Sun" of February 13, 1906 (hurray for the internet!), in which his name was mentioned. The "nin" in the article was Bernin, by the way.

A short description of this curious race is also given in the great compilation "A Record of Motorsport" by Darren Galpin (although the mechanician's names are not mentioned).


In this rare film of the 1906 race, Felice Nazzaro can be seen at the 56 second mark and Vincenzo Lancia at 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

#16 FIAT driven by Dr. Aldo Weilschott. His mechanician was Columbo. Ariejan Bos believes he may have been Dan Columbo (see his comments below).


Aug 30 2013 Ariejan Bos 10:37 AM

The photo shows the FIAT-team for the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup. From left to right we see the works drivers Felice Nazarro and Vincenzo Lancia, and Dr. Aldo Weilschott, the Italian driver millionaire with his private FIAT. The photo will have been taken somewhere between the first practice day (Monday 1 October) and the race itself (Saturday 6 October).
Nazarro’s mechanician was Antonio Fagnano (his name is spelled somewhat odd at this site). In these years he was Nazarro’s regular mechanician. After being mechanician for De Palma in the 1912 French Grand Prix he would become a Fiat driver himself in the 1914 French Grand Prix (with his brother as a mechanician).
Lancia’s mechanician would have been Ajassa Battista according to this site. However I can’t find this name anywhere. Pietro Bordino was Lancia’s regular mechanician, at least during the 1905 Gordon Bennett Cup en the 1906 French Grand Prix. So I hope you can give some more information on this?
Weilschott’s mechanician was Colombo. There was a Colombo driving a SCAT at the 1914 Coppa Florio and the 1914 Targa Florio. And then there was a Dan Colombo who was killed at Omaha Speedway on July 15, 1916 while driving as a mechanician for Franchi on a Peugeot-Sunbeam. I wonder if they were all the same Colombo?

Aug 30 2013 Ted 4:31 PM

Know what guys, I’m going to leave this one for you guys. Most of the car look the same to me,with the square radiators and known of the others are a team. Good luck to you all

Sep 01 2013 Art Kleiner 5:56 PM

Let’s try this:
All three cars were Fiats that competed in the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race.  Picture probably taken in September or October of 1906.
Photo #1 - Car #4 driven by Vincenzo Lancia, Finished 2nd - Mechanician was Ajassa Battista
Photo #2 - Car #8 driven by Felice Nazzaro, Finished 6th - Mechanician was Fagnaan Antonio
Photo #3 - Car #16 driven by Dr. Aldo Weilschott, Finished 17th - Mechanician was Columbo

Sep 02 2013 Jean-Yves Lassaux 4:34 PM

Just back from holidays and no time for researches, so from my memory:
the Fiat team for the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup
From left to right: Felice Nazzaro, Vincenzo Lancia (Fiats from Hollander & Tangeman) and Aldo Weilschott (owner of the car).
Photo probably taken at the end of september prior to the race.
Next to Lancia is Emanuele Cedrino. Sorry, I don’t remember the two other mechanicians… but I’m sure at least one guy will! wink

Have a good day.

Sep 02 2013 g 7:16 PM

Had some computer issues submitting my answers again the other day. To be sure, I’m re-submitting. DIsregard if duplicated.

This would be the 1906 FIAT race team presumably taken in Sept/Oct 1906.
Car #1 Felice Nazzaro-Mechanician: Fagnaan Antonia
Car #2 Vincenzo Lancia-Mechanician: Ajassa Battista
Car #3 Aldo Weilschott-Mechanician: Columbo

Sep 04 2013 Ted 2:07 AM

Real quick,you guys are great,I kinda though they were Fiats,but couldn’t find if they were a team

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