Few words are as evocative for classic car enthusiasts as “Mille Miglia.” The epic 1,000 mile race from Brescia to Rome was originally held from 1927–1957, and not only became the ultimate test of skill for well-heeled gentlemen driving the world’s finest grand touring sports cars, but was also the proving ground for many marques looking to develop and establish their reputations for speed and reliability – especially from 1953–1957 when it was also a round of the World Sports Car Championship. The young Stirling Moss achieved the most famous triumph during that time, driving the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR #722 to victory in 1955.
In 1982 the Mille Miglia was revived in all its glory, but entry is severely restricted; only models of which at least one example registered for or took part in the original race series are eligible to compete, making it a rather exclusive club with no vehicles newer than 1957, of which there are only a certain number worldwide. From time to time famous people like Jay Leno, Jeremy Irons, David Gandy and Adrien Brody have taken part in the race but it is much more about the cars than the personalities.
© Mille Miglia – 1000 Miles of Passion, published by teNeues, www.teneues.com. © The Classic Car Trust, Photo © Julien Mahiels
There is no large monetary prize to be won (although the watches gifted by sponsor Chopard are rather nice) and participating requires significant investment, but the prestige is incalculable and competing can add value to classic cars. An incredible new coffee table book from German luxury publisher teNeues, Mille Miglia: 1000 Miles of Passion, is an imperative addition to any gentleman’s library.
© Mille Miglia – 1000 Miles of Passion, published by teNeues, www.teneues.com. © The Classic Car Trust, Photo © René Staud
Renowned French photographer René Staud captured every aspect of the the 2014 race in both color and black and white for the impressive volume, which features prefaces by Mille Miglia President Roberto Gaburri and Fritz Kaiser, Chairman of the Classic Car Trust. Today the Mille Miglia “promotes a positive image of Italian excellence around the world within a climate of international friendship and sportsmanship,” Gaburri notes. Very well said, signore.
All images courtesy teNeues