Dating back to 1927, Italy’s Mille Miglia is one of the most iconic and historic road races on the planet.
First run in the same year as the debut race on Germany’s infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife, the Mille Miglia, or ‘Thousand Miles’, starts and finishes in Brescia in northern Italy.
Despite the immense automotive passion of Brescians – six automobile manufacturers were founded in Brescia – the original ‘race’ was ceased in 1957, after two fatal crashes and more than 50 reported deaths.
Several iterations of the race took place between 1958 and 1977, before the Mille Miglia returned in 1982 as a reliability and regularity endurance road rally event for historic automobiles.
While always taking in approximately 1000 miles (a little over 1600km) of Italian public roads between Brescia and Rome, the Mille Miglia route isn’t always the same, and this year, CarAdvice was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Taking place between May 18 and 21, the 35th edition of the Mille Miglia was spread across four days, and comprised four legs stretching between Brescia and Padova, Padova and the Vatican City in Rome, Rome and Parma, and finally Parma and Brescia.
In central Italy’s stunning Umbria region for a feature story on one man’s impressive homage to the Mazda MX-5 – called 'Miataland' – we were able to get a brief look at some of the more than 400 1923-1957 historic sports cars that took part in this years event.
As the Mille Miglia rolled through the small town of Todi, during Day Two’s run between Perugia and Terni on the group’s way to Rome, we managed to catch a drool-worthy collection of cars from the likes of Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Austin Healey, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Chrysler, Citroen, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, Jaguar, Lancia, Lotus, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, MG, Oldsmobile, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Studebaker, Triumph, and Volkswagen, among others.
Surprisingly, while we were expecting a field of solely historic vehicles, it turns out a raft of far more modern high-end metal was also taking part in the epic cross-country drive, including cars from Ferrari, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. No bad thing… Although it was also somewhat amusing to note just how much attention the little car we had arrived in attracted – a 1994 Montego Blue NA Eunos Roadster RS-Limited from Miataland.
Though not quite as old as the world-famous Targa Florio, started in 1906, the Mille Miglia, which can trace its roots back to the 1926 establishment of the Brescia Automobile Club, is still an incredibly special event to witness and one we would certainly recommend you check out for yourself.
If you do want to go, however, be aware that the event marshals and local police are fairly strict with non-competitors following the main cars. That means, your best bet is to pick a spot on the route, get comfy, and spend a day watching as much automotive cool fly by you as you can.
For the record too, the winners of the Mille Miglia 2017, and therefore the winners of the second Roberto Gaburri trophy, were Andrea Vesco and Andrea Guerini, with their 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport taking top points ahead of the race’s other 372 finishers.
Click on the Photos tab for more Mille Miglia 2017 images by Glen Sullivan and David Zalstein.