2009 Mille Miglia
I took my Father to view the 2009 Mille Miglia in Italy. We'd heard a lot about it, but nothing could quite prepare us for the scectacle of the World's most beautiful car race!
Nearly a century after its inception, the Mille Miglia remains one of the most popular and culturally significant endurance races in Europe, with this year's event drawing thousands of spectators lining the roads and streets. The race runs through as much as a day before the preliminaries had even begun.
The 2009 Mille Miglia had a lot of star attractions, with some Jaguars, Alfa Romeos, Fiats, Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs being taken out of the museums and put on the road where they rightfully belong. It wasn't just the actual competitors on the road, though. Some of the more creative fans took to the course in their look-alike vintage cars and drove through the checkpoints to give the stopwatch holders a run for their money. This is actually becoming something of a modern Mille Miglia tradition and it's just part of the support the Italians show for the event.
Conditions were generally rainy, (although Dad and I enjoyed every part of our viewing in glorious sunshine, except after dark when it was still hot and dry!) making many of the rocky rural roads all the more difficult to navigate, but most of the three hundred ninety odd cars that competed actually did wind up finishing the course.
Fiat 1100 TV Transformabile (1955)
Mercedes Benz SSK Roadster (1929)
While the original historic Mille Miglia races took place over a single stage, this year's event as with all modern Mille Miglia stretched four full days and then some, from early May 13th to the wee hours of the morning on the 17th, with the race itself having been divided into three stages over the final three days, with the first cars racing from Brescia to Ferrara on the evening of the second day, Ferrara to Roma the next day, from morning to midnight, and finally, Roma back to Brescia on the final day.
Jaguar XK 120 OTS (1951) - and my Dad (still with his MM cap on!
Coming in first were Carlo and Bruton Ferrari in the 1927 Bugatti Type 37 followed just two points behind by their Argentinean rivals Carlos Sielecki and Juan Hervas in a 1926 Bugatti Type 35 A, with the third spot being grabbed by the 2008 winners, Luciano and Antonion Viaro in a 1928 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500.
Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR
Besides the winning cars, there were a few other stars on display, as well. Three time Mille Miglia winner and all-around legend Sir Stirling Moss showed up in his namesake, the one point one million dollar 2009 Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Stirling Moss (lucky for the Ferrari team that Sir Moss is retired), and long-time Mille Miglia photographer Giacomo Bretzel was present accounted for, documenting the event with his iconic images.
At one stage I was pushed out of the way by a panicking policeman and running photographers. It was the new Mercedes Benz McLaren SLR arriving. Shown here in
Must-see DVD about UK Celebrity Chef James Martin's abortive and horrendously expensive attempt to race the Mille Miglia. Over 1M sterling spent, didn't even finish the race... but great viewing.
Far too many cars entered to list here, so you can check out a full list of the registered cars on the official Mille Miglia site, but some of the most striking on display included a pair of 1955 Ferrari 750 Monzas and a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL W198-I with gull-wing doors.
While the majority of the cars on display were Italian and German, as usual, this year's race broke the pattern of uniform-European cars with around thirty American cars on the road, including a 1929 Chrysler 75.
Allard J2 (1951)
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