at the Mille Miglia Part I
Italy is a country of full of passion. Passion for love, the arts, beauty, style and of course food. These values, food apart, are only too apparent when it comes to their motor cars.
As I walked along the narrow streets in the centre of Brescia watching enthusiasts from all over the world parading their cars in preparation for the 1000 Miglia, one could not fail to sense the enthusiasm that Italians have for these beautiful machines. Classic racing and road going Maseratis, BMWs, Mercedes, Jaguars, Ferraris, Aston Martins, Alfa Romeos, Lancias, Stanguellinis and many more formed an arterial network through the streets. Entrants formed a long queue as they waited their turn to enter the Piazza Vittoria for scruteneering and of course to receive their 'goody bags', which included 'Choppard' watches and 'Prada' bags. It costs around L.5,000,000 (US$1,650) per vehicle to enter the 'race' so I think they're entitled to some 'perks'.
I arrived in Brescia early that morning and was surprised to see that they had started without me. I met Andy Heywood from Bill McGrath-Maserati who I knew would be there with Alexander Fyshe, the distinguished president of the Maserati Club, and his pretty little OSCA MT4 1100. Mr Fyshe is a well known collector of classic cars. They had done the wise thing and got through scruteneering early and then had the easy task of finding a parking space in a nearby Piazza, something that became increasingly more difficult to find as the day wore on.
I was only interested in photographing Maseratis and OSCAs and I am happy to say there were plenty to chose from. I walked along this seemingly endless queue of cars watching and sometimes asssisting as owners pushed their cars along. Their progress being so slow that it was a waste of time to start the engine. Some of these old cars are very heavy indeed and it doesn't help when they are pushing up a slight incline. Most of the owners are very friendly and are only too happy to discuss their cars. Some were pretty offish!
The friendliest Maserati owners I came across were Bruce Male and his son Jason, from the United States. He had entered two cars a 1954 A6 GCS and a 1956 A6G 54 Zagato Coupé. Bruce was driving the A6G 54 and Jason the A6 GCS. They very kindly gave me some commemorative postcards which they had printed for the occasion. Another owner who kindly opened the bonnet allowing me to photograph the engine was Mr Read, who owns a beautiful 300S. Tom Hellfelder shipped his fabulous 450S from the States, and he too was kind enough to let me photograph the engine.
At these events the one way to draw a crowd is to show the car's engine and it's a pity that most owners don't, after all competition cars of that period were all about ENGINES!
The Official Programme.
The Edizione speciale Brescia Club.
An idea of the atmosphere generated at this annual event.
Traffic flows freely while cars queue on the right.
A giant paella being prepared by the Spanish contingent.
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