DRIVERS: PIERO DROGO

Name: Piero Drogo
Nationality: Italy
Date of birth: August 8, 1926 - Vignale, Monteferrato
Date of death: April 28, 1973 - Bologna

Piero Drogo was born in Vignale Monferrato, a small town near the city of Alessandria in Piedmont. Those were turbulent times in Italy and the family soon immigrated to Venezuela. Drogo began racing in Venezuela in the 1950s. He raced extensively across the South American continent in sports cars and in the road races that were popular at the time and he knew most of the top racers of the era, notably Fangio.

His best result came in 1956 when he finished seventh in the Venezuelan Grand Prix, a sports car event raced on the Los Proceres circuit, which was laid out on roads in the Fuerte Tiuna military base. The following year, racing with Julio Pola, he won his class in the Buenos Aires 1000 in Argentina. A year later he finished fourth in the same event and decided to head for Europe where he raced at Le Mans in a Ferrari which he shared with Alfonso Gomez-Mena. Not having the funding to go on racing Drogo then found a job as a mechanic at Stanguellini in Modena.

In 1960 the British Formula 1 teams all boycotted the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and Drogo took the opportunity to take part in a Formula 2 Cooper-Climax which was entered by Scuderia Colonia. He finished eighth but was five laps behind by the end.

He then went into business himself, establishing a coach-building company called Carrozzeria Sports Cars in Modena and in the years that followed created bodywork for a variety of different customers, notably Ferrari. These included the P-type sportscars, the Dino 206S, the Ferrari 250 California and the famous "Breadvan". In addition to these Drogo built bodies for Scuderia Serenissima and Bizzarrini and even made his own GT car, based on a Ferrari chassis. For private customers he created new versions of the Jaguar E-Type, the Birdcage Maserati and others. Later he worked closely with Ferrari rival Renzo Rivolta, a refrigerator magnate, who built Iso-badged cars.

Drogo was killed in April 1973 at the wheel of a Ferrari 250 California when he ran into a truck that had stopped in an unlit tunnel near Bologna. He was 46.

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