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Mille Miglia (Retro)


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#1 David Birchall

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 15:17

DCN just posted a beautiful photo he had taken on the MM recently. I have to admit it is one of those events that has been on and off my "bucket list". It started out as a real thrash for genuine cars but seems to have changed over the years-the different organizing bodies probably not helping.
Anybody care to share their experiences, or failing that, since this is TNF, their opinions? :smoking:

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#2 RS2000

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 17:03

I don't think its image will ever recover from the James Martin TV programme. Misleading as that was, most true enthusiasts, leave alone those from here, could see through it and it did the MM no favours.
Interestingly, after chef Martin moved on and bought an ex-works Cooper S, informed Mini circles tore him apart on the basis of his MM portrayl. He then had the guts to appear on their forum and show he wasn't the total to**er they had just called him!

Edited by RS2000, 29 October 2012 - 17:04.


#3 Nick Savage

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 17:34

DCN just posted a beautiful photo he had taken on the MM recently. I have to admit it is one of those events that has been on and off my "bucket list". It started out as a real thrash for genuine cars but seems to have changed over the years-the different organizing bodies probably not helping.
Anybody care to share their experiences, or failing that, since this is TNF, their opinions?


David,
Paul Gregory invited me to co-drive his car on the MM 2008. It was the first time we had done the event. The car was a 1956 Alfa Giulietta Sprint, and it was the first year of the new organising body, which is why we lucked into an entry. We carried all our own gear without a support crew, as we normally do for these tours.

The good bits first : the roads, the scenery (Tuscany at dusk !), the sights and the driving experience are wonderful. Driving into San Marino, or the Palio at Siena or climbing the Raticosa or driving out of that famous old entrance to the Ferrari factory, shooting red lights at speed with your police motorcycle escort .... I could go on, but sufficient to say that part is exhilirating.

Now the other parts : first I should say that at birth the Good Lord did not deal me a long hand in patience. The Italian ability to take a tangled situation - which if left alone, would resolve itself - and then try to 'organise' it and make it ten times worse was to the fore. Practically everything at the beginning and end of each day was a chaos of queues and overheating cars. Just one example - we drove into Rome at 2100 hours, fairly shattered, on the second night. We reached our hotel at 0200 after an incredibly futile traffic jam while 350+ cars filtered through a one-car-wide hole in a hedge to queue up to hear Simon Kidston deliver an enconium ("... here comes another Alfa Giulietta Sprint ....") in three languages as you drove over a ramp. Not blaming Simon - he was doing what the organisers wanted. When we finally got to the hotel, they had binned the promised meal, so another day without sustenance.

I thought I lacked patience, but some of the wealthier American entrants were going tropopause nuclear ...

Second, the MM is an Italian social event. It is not hostile to foreigners, but you do not really exist. The sponsors vanity tour (modern Ferraris, Maseratis etc) which runs alongside the MM is a pain, with some genuinely crap drivers. The huge retinue of support vehicles trying to keep ahead of their man were a serious problem, lousy and thoughtless driving.

And the endless queues .... arrival at Brescia scored a new record - we joined the jam to the ramp at 2030 and got to our hotel at 0300. We weren't just exhausted, we were catatonic-fatigued. Sort of takes the edge off the experience.

So, if you like Italy and just love futile queuing, the MM is for you. But I would not put it at the top of the list .... by contrast, the Tour Auto, organised by Patrick Peter, is a model of how to do it and one which I would thoroughly recommend.
Nick


#4 Doug Nye

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 18:48

Nick pretty much says it all. The final leg from Rome back up to Brescia in 2010 took some of the pre-war runners more than 17 hours. If their intrepid pilots had been truck drivers they would have been locked-up for grossly exceeding EU regulation hours behind the wheel.

Tackling the event without any support whatsoever is pretty bold. And the end of stage, end of section delays Nick describes are horrific even to those of us who are laid-back and stoic by nature. I don't think I'm particularly weedy, but I was also shocked by numerous examples of outrageously thoughtless, reckless, brainless and needlessly aggressive driving exhibited by a fair percentage of the participants, but particularly by support and media crews in accompanying modern vehicles. An unusually high percentage of American and Japanese enthusiasts in historic cars seemed to assume that we Brits and the European participants would look down upon them if they didn't adopt obviously death or glory tactics. Some of the chances they take and the situations they get themselves into are just unacceptable.

Friends of mine some years ago came upon an OSCA, which had been dicing in and out of the traffic for many miles, very finally smeared across the front of an oncoming truck. One of those who stopped to assist, one of the world's most eminent neurologists, told me that even if he'd had all the facilities of the finest American emergency room instantly available there, he still couldn't have saved that crushed driver - who just bled out before his eyes.

I applaud absolutely the theory of an active homage to the wonderful old event, but amongst modern traffic and with such a mix of lousy or inexperienced drivers in old cars that are very fast or tricky - or both - backed up by inexperienced drivers of modern vehicles racing along in ancillary roles, it's not much fun for those who want to be quick, want to savour all that the old event once provided, but who also intend to see home, family and friends again...

It's also a pretty expensive way of spending a max four hours per night in some of Italy's poorest hotels...

DCN

#5 David Birchall

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 21:34

OK, following those two responses I have crossed it off my list of events to do.

Doug, perhaps this would be a better place to post a copy of that photo you took from the cockpit of the Merc?

#6 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 00:20

I did the 1982 event and it was magic. It felt like a social event for the old guard who had done the real thing. Amusing to think back that Patrick Lindsay was not alone in refusing to go on the grounds that he expected to be paid to attend not the other way around!

Piero Taruffi. I am so grateful that he autographed my programme but sadly its almost faded away now.

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#7 john aston

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 08:11

Timely- I was just talking to my wife about possibly going to the 2013 event; she loves Tuscany (so do I ) and I adore Italain cars. But the above posts paint a very different picture to the paeans of praise I have read in Octane and the like. Any other Spring events there which aren't as high profile ?

#8 bill p

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 09:39

Timely- I was just talking to my wife about possibly going to the 2013 event; she loves Tuscany (so do I ) and I adore Italain cars. But the above posts paint a very different picture to the paeans of praise I have read in Octane and the like. Any other Spring events there which aren't as high profile ?



The above Posts outline the downsides of competing - what about spectating??

Any advice appreciated :)

Thank you, Bill P

#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 09:42

Doug, perhaps this would be a better place to post a copy of that photo you took from the cockpit of the Merc?


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Photo Strictly Copyright: The GP Library

DCN

#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 09:48

The above Posts outline the downsides of competing - what about spectating??

Any advice appreciated :)

Thank you, Bill P


Sounds like less pressured fun, to be honest. The Appenine passes like the Futa and Raticosa or Radicofani offer perhaps the most evocative views, and as always - of course - there's people watching to be enjoyed amongst a bunch of wildly enthusiastic Eyetalians. I found on the two or three occasions we stopped to watch the cavalcade blaring by it was at least as enjoyable as the driving on the less congested sections. But don't expect to see competition pace, it's more like watching a traffic stream on the A3 or the Embankment. It's just that the owners' HP repayments are higher...

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 30 October 2012 - 09:49.


#11 john ruston

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 11:59

There are bits that are marvellous but mostly these days its a travelling Motor Show between crappy car parks in that bit of Italy.
At least they have reverted to the original route for the first night as the run to the Brescia to Bologna car park was awful.Its paying for a 6/7000 grand watch and getting a free tour of bits of Italy.So much better fifteen years ago when the roads were more or less closed.
Same thing happens to most of these events as Tour Auto is not what it was with less interesting cars and less stages and circuits.
Probably the best event at present is the Flying Scotsman which is good but only for Pre War cars

Bring back Tour Espania ,now that was special.

#12 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 21:44

Here a few memories from those early years,

1982
Contessa Camilla Maggie
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Prize giving Sunday, not that many of us!
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1984
? signing my Lurani book, but I've forgotten who! There are a couple of Aussies standing behind me, some here might recognise Fred Vogel and Kerry Manolas (two years later I met Johnny Lurani and got him to sign his book. He mentioned that a lot of the photos are wrongly captioned, he was not happy about it)
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1986
Grabbing a bite to eat near Siena and a much needed spark plug change
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Now if you're going to park a Maser somewhere why not outside the Ferrari Factory?
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My brother & I didn't come away empty handed!
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Edited by Andrew Fellowes, 31 October 2012 - 22:25.


#13 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 22:49

In 1982 I drove solo, no support crew unaware of what I was in for!

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I made to Sienna before a tiny part in the gearbox broke. I took the box to bits in a local garage and got it working again but nothing to hold 1st/2nd in place decided to park it!
Wonderful Italian hospitality the garage owner took me to his house for a shower and then to the nearest station some 16kms away. I caught a train to Rome, found the other competitors and asked around to hitch a ride back to Brescia, which I did with what turned out to be the winners!

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and one more for good measure,
Bernard Worth and ex Ecurie Ecosse mechanic Pat Meehan in the main square Brescia, Day 1. Pat warned me not to leave the ramp too quickly that night as he remembered back in 57 a car's suspension collapsed and they made all of 10 feet before it was all over for them!
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#14 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 01:16

The above Posts outline the downsides of competing - what about spectating??

Any advice appreciated :)

Thank you, Bill P


We went in 2008. Very enjoyable to see what I had only read about.

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Simon Kidston interviews Hans Herrmann while the 1950 winning Ferrari pulls up

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The 1951 winning Ferrari

We also watched the cars going through Florence, which was fun.

We were back in Europe this year and I saw the cars coming into Rome. Not so much fun. Had to wait a while for the "real cars" to come at night. and then they were through and off to where they were staying.

Vince H.



#15 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 02:49

1982 Hans Hermann was there too in a 300SL
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Valenzano in Lancia Carrera D25, although entered with Bonetto he drove solo, very, very quickly!
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Stunning A6GCS
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& interior
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#16 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 03:26

1982

Ferrari Testa Rossa 500
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Alfa 1900 Zagato
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Verona, not a bad place for a traffic jam late in the evening. (That Cooper Jag on the right was lucky to be included)
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#17 Alan Cox

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:51

Great photos, Andrew, from the best years of the Retrospective's history. Many thanks for posting.
PS Love the 'period' colour :up:

#18 john ruston

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:22

One of the best MM tales from the past couple of years is that of John Clark of Morgan fame.He and his mates looked through the list of eligible cars and found that a Sunbeam Rapier was included.Bought a cheap car ,got FIVA papers,bit of a service and much to their surprise got an entry.
Had a great time doing the event ,came back to UK ,sold the car with modern MM history,flogged the watch and a few of the bits and pieces which paid for whole enterprise.


#19 David Birchall

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 15:37


Can I ask for a quick aside?
Does anyone know how to achieve the brushed aluminium effect that is on the gearbox cover of the Lancia D25 in the photo in post 15?

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#20 Doug Nye

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 19:08

1982

Ferrari Testa Rossa 500
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Alfa 1900 Zagato
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Verona, not a bad place for a traffic jam late in the evening. (That Cooper Jag on the right was lucky to be included)
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I never thought I would find photos from a 'pretend' event quite so evocative. Thanks for posting them Andrew. Are they scanned from prints? Good effort...

DCN

#21 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 22:04

Had to scan from the photos as they were easier to get to, hence as Alan says that period look! Its been a pleasure reliving old memories. Getting to talk to Klemantaski, seeing the smile on Enzo's face when he saw the 450, but it didn't all go to plan, far from it but those bits can stay locked up.

For £3,000 that 450S was quite a buy, at the time of course relatively expensive, and my A6 always belonged to Barclays Bank to whom I am extremely grateful for 5 wonderful years.

Edited by Andrew Fellowes, 31 October 2012 - 22:27.


#22 Bruno

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:17

[quote name='Andrew Fellowes' date='Oct 31 2012, 05:26' post='5997894']
1982

Ferrari Testa Rossa 500
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500 TR