Owen Sound, ON, Canada
September 14 - 15, 2019
by Jay Koka
The 7th annual concours started out drizzling, dreary and wet but as the day progressed, by noon it turned into a classic sun-filled "bay" day.
Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield showed his 1955 white “Snowshoe” Thunderbird and sang after the KickOff dinner auctioning off the guitar to help raise over $30,000 to benefit Sunnybrook.
Best in Show was a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K cabriolet owned by Robert S. Jepson Jr of Savannah, GA, Most Outstanding Prewar was a 1917 Locomobile 48 type M series seven owned by John and Mary MacAlpine, Most Outstanding Postwar was a 1954 Siata 200CS owned by Walter Eisenstark, Bluffton, SC.
Weekend total attendance was about 10,000.
Story and photos by Rob Alen
The Mille Miglia Storica is a homage, a remembrance of the open road race that ran in Italy between 1927 to 1957.
Today it is the pinnacle event of the historic classic car racing community. While there are other famous events, this one has a whole country behind it.
Like many motor races today, in the 1920s business leaders of Brescia, between Milan and Venice, wanted to publicize the city. The race went point-to-point: Brescia to Rome and back to Brescia...1000 Roman miles. Enzo Ferrari called it the most beautiful race in the world, and why not? His Ferrari cars won it seven times, and numerous Alfa Romeos won under his management.
Great drivers raced here, mostly Italians creating the myth.
Like when Tazio Nuvolari turned off his headlights to sneak up on Achille Varsi in the early morning hours to pass him and win in 1930.
The little known Clemente Biondetti, born in Sardinia, won the Mille Miglia three straight years (more times than anybody else) and the Targa Florio twice.
Of course, Stirling Moss and Dennis Jenkinson's win in 1955 in a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR is famous. Moss was the world's best driver at the time and drove in record time following Jenkinson's innovative pace notes. It didn't hurt Jenkinson was a respected motorsports writer who chronicled their race in a magazine article. If you want to become famous it helps to have a good publicist.
Even with today's Mille Miglia Storica, driving a 70-to-90-year old car, 12-hours a day for three days is no small accomplishment.
If you love Italian cars, you will see cars not seen in North America. Year-by-year the cars get older, more valuable and fade from memory to become mythical. There is no admission or grandstands, it is a time to live and experience Italy's art of living.
Picture Credits: Rob Alen, Jay Koka, Cobble Beach Concours