Advice from Il Commendatore

ferrari, mille miglia, ferrari, Peter Collins, Eugenio Castellotti, Luigi Musso, Maranello

Here we are at the Ferrari factory in Maranello, probably on April 27, 1956, before the team drove to Brescia for scrutineering and the start of the Mille Miglia. Enzo Ferrari is easily recognizable gesticulating as his drivers look on. On the left is Luigi Musso and on the right is Peter Collins, wearing Argentinean Suixtil driving clothing, who will take along Louis Klemantaski as his navigator. In the middle, to Ferrari’s left and wearing his familiar polo shirt, is Eugenio Castellotti. The leader of the Ferrari team, Juan Manuel Fangio whose tragic experience in Argentina long distance racing made him no lover of the Mille Miglia, is missing from this photograph although he will compete.

The Ferrari team drove from Maranello to Brescia where official inspection was held in the Piazza Vittoria. Ferrari, Eugenio Castellotti, Luigi Musso, klemcoll, mille migliaThe three drivers above drove in convoy but before setting out Musso leaned across to offer a cigarette to Castellotti. Castellotti and Fangio would drive 290MM cars with 3.5 liter V12 motors. Musso and Collins were given four cylinder 860 Monzas, also of 3.5 liters displacement. Both models used identical chassis and drivelines and it was not at all unusual for Ferrari to swap motors between them for different races. The V12 would have some advantages on the long straight roads along the Adriatic and then on the flat countryside in the final section from Bologna north to Brescia. However, the torque of the 860 would offer better performance going over the mountains, both from the Adriatic across to Rome and from Rome on to Bologna, as well as much more engine braking which made slowing down from high speed more efficient and less stressful.

The 1956 Mille Miglia was even more difficult than usual due to seemingly endless rain all over the route which resulted in numerous accidents and a number of fatalities. Castellotti would create his reputation by storming to the win by a margin of over 12 minutes ahead of Collins/Klemantaski who in turn would have over a 22 minute advantage ahead of Musso. Fangio would finish fourth while only three minutes behind him was Olivier Gendebien and his cousin Jacques Washer in a 250GT Ferrari.

Photos by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection

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  1. Johnny Rives · · Reply

    Le récit écrit par Denis Jenkinson sur son aventure comme coéquipier de Stirling Moss en 1955 a une réputation mondiale et très justifiée. Cependant j’ai une préférence pour le récit que Klemantaski a pu faire d’une expérience semblable (et tout aussi émouvante) auprès de Peter Collins. Une des photos qu’il avait réussie (en 1957 ?) constitue également une oeuvre d’art: gros plan de Peter empoignant son volant pour virer dans un virage serré (la Futa?) sous l’oeil des spectateurs visibles au second plan. Une pure merveille.


  2. cher M. Rives, Le photo de Klemantaski de laquelle vous avez écrit était prendu pendant le MM de 1957 dans le montagnes avant Roma près d’Aquila. Vous pouvez la voir ici:


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