Since 1977 the Mille Miglia revived as a rally. From 1927 to 1957 (with exception of the years of 1939 and 1941-’46), the Mille Miglia was one of the world’s great racing events. Cars drove with high speed along the Italian countryside, when the present nice high speed roads only existed in the minds of people that still had to be born. In 1957 a terrible accident with public casualties made the organizers stop with this public road race. The event was started up again later as a vintage rally following the old route. The Mille Miglia is only open to cars that participated (or may have participated) prior to 1958.
One could say that having a rally like this every year might become boring. That would be a great misunderstanding of this driving, living and throbbing circus of historic racing and civilian cars. When the cars are in a museum, they barely live, but once on the roads in Italy one can again get an impression of how motoring in the grand old days of automobile history must have been.
Therefore Cinecars is addicted to events like this. Events where classic cars are used the way they should be used: driving on the roads.
Yes, they do not race anymore, and must not exceed an average speed of 50 km/u, but given the low speed in villages, once on the country roads one can push the throttle and make the engines roar. Believe me, it is sometimes hardly possible for us to keep up with those classics on their narrow tires with a very modern and fast car. The low weight and the skilled drivers can achieve a considerable speed.
And we are not alone. These famous words are from Denis Jenkinson: “Mille Miglia is more than race cars, pilots, winners and losers. Mille Miglia is part of Italian lifestyle and its effects extend all over Italy down up to Sicily” Jenkinson, the famous bearded journalist won the 1955 Mille Miglia with Stirling Moss as driver.
Exactly sixty years ago “Jenks” invented the road book never used by anyone before to “give notes” to Stirling Moss during the 1955 Mille Miglia edition. The result was that the two Englishmen, on a 300 SLR Mercedes- Benz routed everybody, winning a red arrow edition, that become famous for the incredible record average of 157,65 km/h, over the about 1600 km, from Brescia to Rome and back, that remained unbeaten.
This year 35 Dutch teams will take part in the Mille Miglia. A good reason to closely follow this rally. The Houtkamp equipe will not drive the Jaguar 140 OTS they have driven for the last years, but a Healey 2400 Silverstone. Geert van de Velde’s daughters will drive their huge pale blue Talbot and Nico Aaldering an Aston Martin 2 litre Speed Model. Evert Louwman drives his Mercedes Benz 710 SS. Great comfort will be experienced by Roel and Sip Dijkstra in their fifties Citroen DS19! Lou Jedelo and Pieter Gabriels will drive a rare left hand drive Rover they have purchased in Belgium.
Enough about the Dutch. What about Wolfgang and Ferdinand Porsche driving a 356 1500 Speedster? And Derek Bell driving the Jaguar C-type, and British TV celebrity Jodie Kidd taking part in a Jaguar 120 OTS?
Wednesday and thursday we have witnessed the technical assessment at the Piazza della Vittoria, which is more for the show, because the real thing on technical research and assessment took place Wednesday. Still it is the place for the nice pics of the cars and people in historic Brescia.
Drivers and navigators will experience 29 degrees Celsius in cars with hot engines the next days, so although it is not a race anymore, it’s still a challenge. And if you see the two guys in the narrow Amilcar, also physically it is a great challenge to hold on. We wish the drivers good luck.
Tomorrow we will hit San Marino and then Radicofani.
Let’s see what we will be able to capture for Cinecars. With 456 participants, lots of support cars and a lengthy field of participants, it will be a nice challenge. Stay tuned.