All this month on the Decor Girl our car posts we are going to focus on the world renown Mille Miglia and the cars allowed to participate. As one of the greatest historic races which carries on the torch of tradition we salute the Mille Miglia.
What is the Mille Miglia?
First and foremost, Mille Miglia stands for thousand miles, now you have this road race in its true context…distance. In 1927 the Brescia Automobile Club created an event through the rolling hills and winding roads of Italy from Brescia to Rome. This was at a time when economics weren’t so great and cars barely went 600 km without an oil change, it was a big deal.
What started as a challenging endurance race dominated by Italian makes and Italian drivers turned into a legend. Enzo Ferrari proclaimed it, “the most beautiful race in the world.” This time honored endurance race of historic automobiles first took in 1927.
From 1927 – 1957 the Mille Miglia was the endurance race, testing car, driver, and fortitude. Companies campaigned their best cars and winning drivers became sensations, Nuvolari and Moss are just two you would recognize. If you think motorsports is big today, imagine back before major television coverage and ease of travel, this one event commanded 5 million spectators!
The event was halted by the Italian government after the 1957 race when a tragic spin-out killed a driver, co-driver and 10 spectators. The race was reborn in 1977 as a regularity race.
What cars can participate?
The modern race is open to classic and vintage cars which were produced prior to 1957 and either ran or were registered in the original races. Today’s race is made up enthusiasts rather than fully professional drivers. Interesting to note between 1927 and 1957, excluding the war years when the race was not run, Alfa Romeo won every year but three until 1948 when Ferrari became the top marque winning all but the 1954 and 1955 race.
1955 was the year Stirling Moss and Dan Jenkinson won an achieved a still unbroken record with their time in the famous Mercedes 722.Here Sir Stirling is behind the wheel of the same famous Silver Arrow again just a couple of months ago at Amelia Island.
When and where is it?
Though roads have changed a bit the race is essentially similar running from Brescia to Rome and back.
Vintage car lovers have their focus turned to Italy this month for the Mille Miglia, we shall do the same. Next week we’ll feature more photos of past events courtesy of the Suixtil Archives.
Map via Mille Miglia