In just a few weeks the most intriguing classic car rally on the planet will take place once more. Jan van Hylckama Vlieg and his camera were present at the 1000Miglia in 2011.
On Wednesday the 16th of May 2018 the participants in the 1000Miglia will leave Brescia for the 91st time to accomplish the most famous 1000 Miles of them all. Being a one day race from 1927 up to 1957, the 1000Miglia now is a three day spectacle open for all vehicles that took part in the years the Mille was still a genuine race. In this photo series we look back at the 2011 1000Miglia, when fashion brand State of Art was still main sponsor. They brought some great Porsches themselves, but there are all kind of vehicles participating. From Saab to Peugeot, Alfa Romeo to Ferrari, every make that has been represented in the race from ’27 to ’57 has returned to this holy ground. Mercedes is here with an SLR 300. Now piloted by Mikka Häkkinen, this is the type of Mercedes in which Stirling Moss and Dennis Jenkinson achieved the 1955 1000Miglia speed record with starting number 722. A record that has never been beaten; in 1957 De Portago and his Ferrari crashed, taking 12 casualties. It meant the end for the infamous race.
We are the guests of State of Art at the Piazza della Loggia in the Brescia city center, where the participating vehicles are sealed. This ‘punzonature delle vetture’ is a spectacle on its own, absolutely worth witnessing. By closing a steel cable round the steering column with a lead seal, it is guaranteed that the car that is finishing in Brescia in three days will be the very same car that is starting here today. The atmosphere on the Piazza della Loggia is great. Knowing this seal is the last formal hurdle towards actually starting the 1600 kilometer event, creates some kind of thrilling excitement amongst the participants. One of the other traditions is the Italian beauty elected ‘Madrina delle 1000Miglia’. In 2011 Madalina Ghenea is the chosen one, paraded around the Piazza in a BMW 328 from the factory’s historic collection. The interest in the ‘Madrina’ is at least as big as the looks the classics get when they are leaving from the Viale Venezia that same afternoon, parading the Piazza della Vittoria once more, before they finally leave Brescia.
The Italians praise the current three day classic car event as ‘La Corsa più Bella del Mondo’ and maybe they are simply right. The audience can enjoy the classics lined up in the Brescia streets on the day of departure from a really close range. Drivers and co-pilots become raconteurs when they tell the tales on their vehicles’ pedigree. Many of them have been in the 1000Miglia for years; it’s like former Formula One driver Jochen Mass remarked: ‘Every year when I finish the Mille I think by myself, this was the last time I participated, but come spring the next year it starts itching again and I find myself enlisting once more.’ In 2018 Mass will be there, as predicted, this time in a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing.
Jan van Hylckama Vlieg