In 1909 the Futurists dramatically declared “that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath . . . a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.” This was intended to be a shocking pronouncement, a wake-up call to a sleeping Italian populace lost in the glories of its past and largely uninterested in the future.