Alfa Romeo And FCA Heritage At The Mille Miglia
By Kyle Lindsay
Friday, May 19, 2017 - 13:20
The historical re-enactment of the Mille Miglia – the race famously defined by Enzo Ferrari as “the most beautiful travelling museum in the world” – will be held from 18 to 21 May.
Now in its 35th year, the event will welcome several rare classic Alfa Romeo and Lancia cars from the FCA Heritage collection.
In line with tradition, this classic race – of which Alfa Romeo is the automotive sponsor for the third year running – will start and end in Brescia, having crossed some of the most striking locations in Italy, with the turning point in Rome.
Three superb cars from the Alfa Romeo Museum, the 6C 1750 Gran Sport (1930), the 6C 2300 Mille Miglia (1938) and the 1900 Super Sprint (1956), will be travelling the roads where the Mille Miglia was staged from 1927 to 1957. The race was won by Alfa Romeo no less than eleven times: a record that can never be beaten.
These rare classic cars will be flanked by the latest additions to the Alfa Romeo line-up, the Stelvio, the first SUV in the history of brand, and the Giulia, the sporty saloon that represents the new paradigm of the brand.
Not by chance, these new cars embody all the elements that historically made Alfa Romeo one of the most desirable brands: quintessentially Italian design, high-performance engines, perfect weight distribution, unique engineering solutions and the Giulia also offers the best power-to-weight ratio in its category.
6C 1750 Gran Sport (1930)
All eyes will be on the 6C 1750 Gran Sport, the legendary model in which Tazio Nuvolari and Giovanni Battista Guidotti won the Brescia-based race in 1930. That was the race of the legendary “overtaking in the dark” episode, when Nuvolari achieved the unprecedented feat of averaging 100km/h over the entire course.
The bodywork was created by Milan atelier Zagato, and still draws gasps of admiration from those lucky enough to see it today.
6C 2300 Coupé Mille Miglia (1938)
The 6C 2300 Coupé Mille Miglia, with body made by Touring, will be on the start platform in Viale Venezia. The name “Mille Miglia” pays homage to the excellent performance of the 6C 2300 Pescara in 1937, on which it was based: finishing first in its category and fourth in the general ranking.
Under the bonnet is a 2,309cm3 straight-six capable of delivering 95hp at 4,500rpm and propelling the vehicle to 170km/h. The car will be driven by a crew of excellence: Arturo Merzario and Jean-Pierre Jarier.
The competitive duo represents the glorious history of Alfa Romeo in motorsports. They took the sport prototypes world championship in 1977, winning all the races on the calendar in their category in an Alfa Romeo 33 SC 12.
1900 Super Sprint (1956)
According to the consolidated 1900 family tradition, the Sprint was replaced by the Super Sprint in 1955: it was similar to the previous model but with a new snappier five-speed gearbox.
It had the same mechanics as the Berlina T. I. Super, namely 1,975cm3 displacement, double-barrel inverted carburettor and double rear CV joint. The second version which competed in the Mille Miglia delivered 115hp at 5,500rpm and reached a remarkable top speed of 190km/h.
The Aprilia, introduced in 1936, was the spiritual legacy of Vincenzo Lancia, who had passed away a few months before the commercial launch of the car. Provided with a unitised body integrated with the chassis without B-pillar, the appearance of the car was truly innovative.
It stood out among the sedans of its day for its particularly aerodynamic line and light-weight, securing a top speed of about 130km/h and good fuel efficiency at the same time. The narrow-V4 with hemispherical combustion chambers contributed to this result.
In addition to telescopic independent front suspensions, by now standard on Lancias, the car fitted independent suspensions on the rear axle.
Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider (1955)
Designed by Pinin Farina and considered by many to be the most beautiful spider in the world, the B24 was presented at the Brussels Motor Show on January 15, 1955. Two-hundred and forty units were made, with production ending in October 1955.
The car had distinctive design details, such as the “wing-shaped” bumpers, doors without handles and panoramic windows and windscreen with American-style retracted pillars. The engine was the legendary V6 designed by Francesco De Virgilio.
It had a displacement of 2451cm3 and developed 118hp, driving it to a top speed of 180km/h. The later “Convertible America” version, which debuted at the Turin Motor Show in January 1956, appeared much more classic and comfortable: the engine was slightly less powerful and the doors were fitted with handles and winding windows.
The production continued until the end of 1958. The Aurelia will be driven by Helio Ascari, a descendant of the legendary Alberto who triumphed at the Mille Miglia in 1954 behind the wheel of the Lancia D24.
Each edition of the Mille Miglia is part race, part adventure and part wonder for the “the most beautiful traveling museum in the world”, and certainly never the same as the year before. The route of the Mille Miglia once again presents some variations.
This is the secret of the event which every year brings together admiring, enthusiastic spectators with cars that still rouse strong emotions, even among the youngest in the crowd. The presence of FCA Heritage is confirmation of the dedication of FCA to the classic car world and the events that highlight the racing traditions of its brands.