VM Monoplace

The sad story of the VM Monoplace

Unraced 1950 - 1959

Probably you never heard of the VM Monoplace, neither did i until a week ago when i came across the entrant. I search in my own archive and I came across information that said the VM Monoplace was on the entry lost for the XXIII Grand Prix des Frontières held on June 6, 1954. The story behind the entrant will flabbergast you.

The VM Monoplace was constructed by the Italian or Belgium driver Viglielmo Matozza (It is not sure if Viglielmo was an Italian with a Belgium license). Before the war, he participated in several races. In 1933, he was on the entry list for the VIII Grand Prix des Frontières though after a couple of laps he was done racing. That same year he appeared during the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps were he drove an Alfa Romeo RLTF together with Edmond Meert and finished ninth overall.

In 1935, Viglielmo participated once again during the Grand Prix des Frontières and finished seventh.  After the war when Grand Prix racing became popular again Tatra made its first attempt to compete in the Grand Prix racing. Tatra appeared in 1951 with their type 607 that was fitted with a 2.5l engine. It never was a success. However, in 1954 Viglielmo Matozza decided to build his own Grand Prix car. To compete once more during the Grand Prix des Frontières. Both his VM Monoplace and the Tatra 607 looked similar in design.

Viglielmo started in his garage located in Fraire constructing the VM Monoplace. VM were the initials of him. Perhaps the most interesting about his car was the choice to power the car by the Tatra V8 engine.  Matozza skipped a couple of nights to finish his car on time for the XXIII Grand Prix des Frontières. When he arrived on the track, he unloaded his car, with number 36, and decided to take a short sleep in his support vehicle. He woke up just minutes before the training ended, and was too late to qualify his car. The reason he didn’t start was “Overslept”.

Only one photo is known of the VM Monoplace. The photo appeared in a local Charleroi newspaper just a day before the start of the Grand Prix. The car was sitting in the garage, probably in Fraire, where Viglielmo was working on the car.  The rumours went that Viglielmo transformed his car in a 2L sportscar and entered a couple of hillclimb races. Years later his son, also a race driver, Richard confirmed that the car was transformed.

The VM Monoplace is probably one of the saddest stories in the rich history of Formula One and Grand Prix Racing.