In racing terms, Luigi Fagioli, affectionately called "The Old Abruzzi Robber" by all who liked him, was a late developer. Not before 1926, at the age of 28, did he compete in his first race. In 1930 he won his first race, the Coppa Principe di Piemonte, in a Maserati. In 1933 Fagioli became Italian champion for the Alfa Romeo squad run by Enzo Ferrari. He did not look like a racing driver. But behind the wheel he stood out because of his stamina and passion.
These characteristics earned him an invitation to join the Mercedes-Benz works team in 1934. Fagioli returned the favour with the Grand Prix wins in Monza (shared with Rudolf Caracciola) and in Lasarte, Spain. In 1935, he topped this with another first in the season opener in Monaco. He also justified his inclusion by scoring victories in the Coppa Acerbo in Pescara (1934) as well as on the Avus and in Barcelona (1935). His contract expired in 1936.
After that he drove for Auto Union, and after the Second World War for Alfa Romeo, where he ranked among the "Three Great F's": Fangio, Farina and Fagioli who by and large fought out the 1951 Formula One races among themselves. While practicing for the 1952 Monaco Grand Prix, which was held for sports cars only in that year, he lost control of his Lancia in the tunnel and crashed into a stone balustrade. "The Old Abruzzi Robber" died on 20 June 1952, three weeks after the accident.