2018 Mille Miglia Participants and Their Cars
The Mille Miglia is just around the corner. We’ve already discussed the fact that the iconic rally will be one day longer this year. But up until recently, it hasn’t been clear who will actually be allowed to drive the course from Brescia to Rome and back. A maximum of 440 cars can join the line-up, and places are highly sought after. This is why great excitement always accompanies publication of the (preliminary) list of participants. Now the 1000 Miglia organizers have shown their hand, we have gone through the list and picked out some particularly interesting competitors and cars for a miniseries of blogs on the legendary race – starting with the following duo:
Johann Georg Fendt (D) with his 1927 O.M. 665 Superba
One of the best ways to enjoy driving the Mille Miglia without having to worry about congestion is to choose a car from 1927. This is because the oldest cars in the Mille Miglia are always allowed to start first. They get maximum attention from spectators and have an open road in front of them. Meanwhile, the cars behind often get stuck in traffic. With their 1927 O.M. 665 Superba, Johann Georg and Corinna Fendt are very likely to be among the first on the road – as you can see in the header photo from Mille Miglia 2014.
O.M. at the Mille Miglia
Cars built by Officine Meccaniche (O.M.) dominated the first years of the original Mille Miglia. The Milan-based company also produced trams, busses and machinery, but it actually manufactured its sports cars in Brescia, home of the Mille Miglia, where O.M. had bought vehicle brand Brixia Züst. The 665 Superba model was launched in 1923. It soon earned countless speed and endurance records before entering the first edition of the Mille Miglia in 1927. O.M.’s combination of speed and reliability soon became the standard formula for winning the race.
Martin Gruss (US) and his 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Castagna
American Martin Gruss is a collector who sees driving as the central element in his passion for classics. His 1959 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder Competizione is a good example. Although the car had already won its class years ago at the 1981 Pebble Beach Concours, he decided to use it for the Copperstate 1000 rally in Arizona (US). For Italy’s legendary 1000 Miglia however, his car of choice is an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport. The car was built in 1933, the last year this model was manufactured. At that point it was rivalled by the bigger and more powerful Alfa 8C. But with its perfect power/weight ratio, the 6C stayed competitive.
The Alfa Romeo 6C features a 6-cylinder engine, constructed by legendary engine specialist Vittorio Jano. In the Gran Sport version, the engine is supercharged by a Roots compressor for a short and noisy power boost. Around 360 units of the Gran Sport version were built. The body of Gruss’s car was designed and built by coachbuilder Castagna, which was well-known for the brilliant bodies it made for brands like Isotta Fraschini, Lancia and Mercedes-Benz. The 6C embraces both forward-looking technology and Castagna’s classic design language, making it a great choice for the legendary race through Italy.
For more info on the Mille Miglia, please visit the website of 1000 Miglia.