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In the late 1990s, Dick DeLuna came across a tired old Italian race car for sale. It had clearly been used hard and then left out to rot, discarded like so many other race cars of its era.
Upon examination, DeLuna discovered that this car was a Nardi-Danese 6C 2500, one of only three ever made. As you might suspect, the “Nardi” in the marque’s name owes its presence to one Enrico Nardi, who would go on to prominence for his beautiful steering wheels but who first made his mark in the car world as a test driver and engineer at Lancia and for Scuderia Ferrari.
After parting ways with Mr. Ferrari, Nardi did not abandon his car-buildling aspirations. Among other creations, he created three 6C 2500 models for the 1948-49 Mille Miglia and Targa Florio races. After running in these and a few other races, however, the car found its way to the United States where, after a time, its owners swapped out its original Alfa Romeo engine and replaced it with one from a Cadillac. Many more races later, the car was parked and forgotten until DeLuna came across it.
DeLuna’s Nardi has since been reborn after an extensive restoration, and DeLuna has wasted no time in returning it to the racing world. In recent years, DeLuna – usually with his wife by his side – has driven the car in the Tour Auto in France, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and at the Monterey Historics.
When he’s not racing, DeLuna loves nothing more than to squeeze into the low-slung cockpit and take the Nardi for a roaring drive into the hills near his house. Today, we went along for the ride.