Tribute to Mille Miglia 2014.
A long journey.
The Mille Miglia as it is held in 2014 has a long history. In the mid-1920s, dictator Benito Mussolini drastically curtailed political freedom in Italy. During this difficult time it was an enormous strain to hold a 1600 kilometre-long car race across Italy. But there were hopes that the prestigious car race would pave the way for an economic upturn. The organisers made a virtue out of necessity: they held the race on the major roads of northern Italy rather than on a remote race track, thus creating more publicity.
The starting point, which was also the finishing line of the route, was in Brescia. But before the first car could cross the finishing line, there was a long journey to be made – and both politically and literally, it had to go via Rome.
On 26 March 1927 everything was finally ready. 77 cars drove on the race course under military surveillance. Not only car-lovers and racing fans were enthusiastic. Thanks to the fact that many Italians only had to step outside their front door to see the race close-up, the Mille Miglia soon became very popular all over Italy. It was a major achievement of organisation, and the technology of the racing cars was impressive too: the winners, Minoja and Morandi, only took 21 hours to cross the finishing line. Their success was not limited to the race track; word of it spread. Mussolini’s comment was concise but clear in a letter he wrote to the organisers: “Si ripeta!” – “Do it again!”
In the years that followed, the Mille Miglia soon became firmly established as a motor sports event. The first non-Italian driver to win the race was Rudolf Caracciola in April 1931 with a legendary triumph. At the beginning of May 1955, Stirling Moss drove the best time to date in a 300 SLR, 10:07:48, taking the next victory for Mercedes-Benz. Two years later, the Mille Miglia was halted. In 1977 it was revived in the form of a reliability run, and exclusively for cars which had been built before 1957 and whose model series had already taken part in official races in the past. Today, the automobile event is more than just a pleasure trip. The phenomenon of 1000 miles comprises social and historic customs.
The secret ingredient of this fascination is the successful combination of a media event, a tourist attraction, cultural heritage and the unbroken first-class performance of the classic cars. It is a mobile museum which winds its way through the beauty of the Tuscan countryside.
Modernity meets classicism.
In 2014, Mercedes-Benz is holding the 'Mercedes-Benz Tribute to Mille Miglia' as a homage to this legendary event: in it, vehicles of current model series will be driving around the route of this year's Mille Miglia. The contemporary counterparts to the historic cars will set off on the journey to Rome and back in the middle of May, about an hour before the official start of the race.
With a touch of modernity, Mercedes-Benz pays a respectful tribute to its classic predecessors. Further information is available online: www.mercedesbenztribute.1000miglia.it.