The Great Depression of the early 1930s led to a lack of money and interest in Grand Prix racing, but saw the emergence of the legendary Tazio Nuvolari, whose wins in the Alfa Romeo P3 “Monza” in the Mille Miglia, at Monaco and the Italian GP at Monza were stunning. His victory in the 1933 Monaco GP was the first in which staring grid positions were determined by qualifying times. But in 1934, the balance of power in racing would begin to shift from Italy to Germany, with the emergence of factory teams from Auto Union (now Audi) and Mercedes-Benz, behind massive financial support from the Third Reich government on orders from Adolph Hitler.
These powerful and beautiful German machines introduced aerodynamics into Grand Prix car design and ran on exotic, secret fuel brews. Driving the sleek, silver 3-litre V12 Auto Union in his trademark canary yellow jersey, Nuvolari achieved new greatness with these incredibly well-engineered automobiles — but nothing to top his 1935 German GP victory at the Nürburgring, where he defeated nine modern German cars in a four-year old Alfa Roméo.
The photo above is from a non-championship Vanderbilt Cup race in the US in 1936, with Nuvolari behind the wheel of his winning Ferrari.