Although not Louis Klemantaski’s favorite photograph, this is perhaps his most famous. Color in the mid-1950s was something pretty rare, especially action color. Color photographs were almost never run in either magazines or books because of the high printing cost. Klemantaski used to say that every color photograph he took was one that would never be published. Fortunately, time and technology would overcome that problem.
This unique image was one from a single roll of color film that was taken by Klemantaski during the 1957 Mille Miglia when he rode as navigator for Peter Collins in a Ferrari 335 Sport. This evocative image was taken in the mountains not long before their arrival in Rome. Collins, as did his Ferrari teammate Mike Hawthorn (who had run once in the Mille Miglia and refused to repeat the experience), preferred a four-spoke steering wheel as can be seen here. For this Mille Miglia, Klemantaski used a roll of paper pace notes in a metal holder, as had Denis Jenkinson when he had ridden with Stirling Moss to win the 1955 edition of the race. Moss and Jenkinson had set a record pace in 1955 with their Mercedes-Benz 300SLR, but Collins and Klemantaski with their much more powerful Ferrari were already leading the Moss record when they came to Rome.
However, the strain on the Ferrari’s transaxle imposed by the tight hairpin turns and hard acceleration from low speeds, both here and during the subsequent Apennine passes of the Radicofani, the Futa and the Raticosa caused loud worrying noises which led Enzo Ferrari to suggest retirement at the refueling stop at Bologna. But Collins and Klemantaski, now well in the lead, chose to continue carefully but the differential finally gave up at Parma, some 80 miles short of the finish at Brescia.
Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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