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October 11, 1928 – Alfonso de Portago is born

Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Angel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, Marquis of Portago, better known as Alfonso de Portago, was a Ferrari race car driver, Olympic bobsledder and stunt pilot from Spain, who was born on this day in 1928. Although a storied race car driver, one of his first transportation feats wasn’t by land but by air, when the millionaire heir flew his plane beneath a bridge at age 17, winning a $500 bet. 

Above: Alfonso racing at the 1957 Cuban Grand Prix in Havana. Top: Alfonso and co-driver Edmund Nelson at the 1957 Mille Miglia. They’d die later that day.

After meeting a Ferrari importer in 1953, Alfonso began a successful racing career. He took first at many prestigious events. Notable wins include the Tour de France automobile race, the Grand Prix of Oporto and the Nassau Governor’s Cup. Sadly, Alfonso and his co-driver, Edmund Nelson, died in a crash on May 12, 1957, during the Mille Miglia. A tire blowout caused the wreck, sending the car careening into the crowd, killing nine spectators.

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