La Piazza Vittoria

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The beginning of a great adventure: before the start of the Mille Miglia, all the competing cars and their drivers had to check in with the organizers at the Piazza della Vittoria in the center of Brescia to show their documents and licenses for inspection. Here a line of cars, mostly Maseratis in the highly competitive two-liter sports class, are going through this process on April 30, 1955. This was the year when the race was won at an all-time record speed by a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR driven by Stirling Moss with journalist Denis Jenkinson as his navigator.

The car numbers indicate the starting time for the cars, the 600 series will start between 6 and 7 o’clock the next morning. For the 1955 Mille Miglia starting numbers were issued for 1,020 cars, some of which started shortly before 9 PM on April 30th.  Moss and Jenkinson’s elapsed time for the race was just under 10 hours and 8 minutes whereas the slowest competitor to finish was a Fiat 1100 driven by I. Marzani who required almost 22 hours and 40 minutes to complete the course.

Some of the cars you can see include the following:

638 – Maserati A6GCS, a two-liter sports car, driven by Pietro Paglianini to 29th overall and sixth in class / 645 – Maserati A6GCS, driven by Attilio Buffa who did not finish / 615 – Maserati A6GCS, driven by Giorgio Scarlatti who did not finish / 627 – Fiat 8V berlinetta, driven by Giancarlo Bornigia with Aldo Sellaroli who finished 48th overall and 8th in class / 648 – Maserati A6GCS, driven by Piero Airaldi who did not finish / 634 – Maserati A6GCS, driven by Paolo Pineschi who did not finish / 036 – Renault 4CV (special bodywork), driven by Jean Bianchi who did not finish / 006 – Siata 750, driven by Giuliano Vielmi with  Angelo Loda who did not finish / 641 – Maserati A6GCS, driven by Silvio Cesarin who did not finish / 717 – Ferrari 250 Monza, driven by “Kammamuri” (Erasmo Simeoni) who finished 15th overall and 6th in the over two liter sports class / 647 – Maserati A6GCS, driven Luigi Olivari who finished 20th overall and 5th in class. At the top of the photograph are cars 401 – a Lancia Aurelia B20, driven by Germano Nataloni with Franco Malatesta who would not finish and 631 –  a Maserati A6GCS, driven by Siro Sbraci who finished 11th overall and 3rd in class. The best Maserati A6GCS won the two liter class, finishing an excellent 4th overall, driven by Francesco Giardini. Ferraris in the two liter class were nowhere.

A number of the “DNFs” never got to the time control at Rome, the half-way point. In the smaller classes many drivers just wanted to say they had competed in the Mille Miglia, took the start and then drove for a bit before going home. Thus ended their great adventure…

Photo by Yves Debraine ©The Klemantaski Collection

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5 comments

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