I have alluded to my Bucket List before — those things I’d like to do before I kick the bucket — and I was going to put up the entire list, but that’s too much to digest in one gulp, I think. So rather than that, I’ll do one item at a time. Here’s the first.
The Mille Miglia (Thousand Miles) was an open-road endurance race which took place in Italy twenty-four times from 1927 to 1957 (thirteen before the war, eleven from 1947).
Like the older Targa Florio and later the Carrera Panamericana, the MM made Gran Turismo (Grand Touring) sports cars like Alfa Romeo, BMW, Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes Benz and Porsche famous. The race brought out an estimated five million spectators.
From 1953 until 1957, the Mille Miglia was also a round of the World Sports Car Championship.
Since 1977, the “Mille Miglia” has been reborn as a regulated race for classic and vintage cars. Participation is limited to cars, produced no later than 1957, which had attended (or were registered) to the original race. The route (Brescia-Rome round trip) is similar to that of the original race, maintaining the point of departure / arrival in Viale Venezia in Brescia.
And here’s the course:
Remember that the course uses only public roads, and in the old days, it was one of the most dangerous races in the world… for spectators. (That’s why the actual race was suspended, by the way. Cars were getting so fast that they were becoming uncontrollable, and because people are stupid, they weren’t backing off from the cars whizzing past; they were trying to get closer to the track — with the inevitable results.) Nowadays, it’s more like a moving Concours D’Elegance, more’s the pity.
Now let me be perfectly clear: I don’t want anything to do with the race. What I do want to do is drive the circuit, but in a gentlemanly, leisurely fashion, with a companion in a small but quick car which can navigate some of the tiny, ultra-narrow village streets through which the course runs when it’s not barreling through the northern Italian countryside.
I also don’t care what vintage car I use, as long as it’s a convertible. It could be an actual Stirling Moss-type Mercedes 300 Gullwing in powder blue:
Lovely, except that the color is really gay. How gay?
Or the car could be modern, so that we don’t spend a week or two marooned in some tiny dago village while the car’s getting fixed, with nothing to do but drink and… okay, let’s leave that part in abeyance for the moment, until we get to the discussion of Kim’s Partner.
So, a more modern conveyance, there’s the Fiat 124 Spider Lusso:
…which fits the bill best in terms of beauty and the ability to make it through some really narrow streets:
But enough about cars. Let’s talk about my companion. There are two options, male and female. Leaving aside the obvious attractions of a comely wench for the trip:
…I think I’d rather make the trip with a buddy than with a broad. Why? Let me count the reasons:
There aren’t many public restrooms along the Mille Miglia. This means I’d have to stop at several intervals along the way — i.e every time we saw a public WC — so that Milady would not be caught short in the middle of the countryside. Also, I’d probably want to stop often because romantic countryside plus miniskirt in the passenger seat… well, you get my drift, ’nuff said. Finally, most women are not capable of consuming large quantities of Italian plonk en route — something which cannot be said about any of my rowdy friends.
I’ll let you know if this part of my dream comes true.