The automobile history of the world is packed with iconic events that had defined eras and have established legends that will forever be remembered and awed for what they were and what they came to be. Among the most iconic parts of probably the most glorious era of automobile world, the race of Mille Miglia has carved its place as one of the most thrilling and the toughest races the world has ever seen. Our regular readers would know that we have covered Mille Miglia in our story here, where we discussed BMW’s participation at the years Mille Miglia with six of its glorious BMW 328 which will be coming back to this historic event. Continuing further in our stories about Mille Miglia, we bring you the illustrious history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia.
The record book suggest that the history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia is one that would have been an envy of its rivals, and still now, seldom you see any one manufacturer in any form of racing to be that dominant. Alfa Romeo won a staggering 11 races out of the 24 ever to be held at Mille Miglia, and considering just how tough this legendary circuit was to race on, it just makes this achievement by Alfa Romeo much more special. As the 2016 Mille Miglia classic race is underway at the legendary circuit, we will look back to the history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia and the cars it won the races in.
History of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia:
1928 Mille Miglia – Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 SS:
In just the second year of the Mille Miglia race, Alfa Romeo showcased its mantle by winning its first Mille Miglia race with its Alfa Romeo 6C 1500SS which was driven by Cavaliere Giuseppe Campari and Giulio Ramponi. Of the duo, Campari was a renowned Opera singer while Ramponi was an automobile technician and both these Italians were racing drivers at the Gran Prix level. And hence the epic history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia had begun.
1929 Mille Miglia – Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Spider Zagato:
For the second year in a row, the duo of Cavaliere Giuseppe Campari and Giulio Ramponi won the Mille Miglia in style; this time around they were driving the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS, bringing home the second Mille Miglia victory in the history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia. Among other achievements by these two Italian racers, Ramponi had the honour of winning the 1928 Brooklands Six Hour Race. Campari on the other hand, had been a seasoned racer with a few wins and a number of great results in racing throughout Europe, it included the famous 1920 Mugello win which was also Alfa Romeo’s first ever race win. Campari died in a crash while leading the 1933 Monza Grand Prix, that same race took his team mate Baconin Borzacchini’s life also when he tried to unsuccessfully avoid Campari’s wrecked vehicle. Ramponi spend the last years of his life in South Africa with his wife, he died in the year 1986.
1930 Mille Miglia – Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Spider Zagato:
Next up in the history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia, even without its two race winning race drivers in 1930, Alfa Romeo still was a force to reckon with and showcased it by winning the 1930 Mille Miglia, third year in row. The race winning Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS was driven by the Italian duo of Tazio Nuvolari and Battista Guidotti. Nuvolari was affectionately called, ‘Il Mantovano Volante’ meaning ‘The Flying Mantuan’ in Italian. He had a illustrious racing career with 72 race wins out of 150 races he participated in all. Ferdinand Porsche once called him “the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future and his victories included, 24GP, 5 Coppa Cianos, 2 Mille Miglias, 2 Targa Florios, 2 RAC Tourist Trophies, 1 Le Mans 24-Hour Race, along with a European Championship in GP racing. This legendary Italian racer who was born in 1982 also used to race motorcycles in his early years and he won his last race at Pallermo Hillclimb in his class, he died of a stroke in 1953.
1932 Mille Miglia – Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider Touring:
After seeing defeat at Mille Miglia for the first time in three years by the hands of the first ever non-Italian factory at Mille Miglia in 1931, Alfa Romeo returned with vengeance to win the 1932 Mile Miglia race with its Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider Touring driven by Italian duo of Baonin Borzacchini and Amedeo Bignami. The Alfa Romeo 8C which they drove had a straight 8 cylinder 2300cc engine, the car was lovingly called, Monza because of its victory at the Monza Grand Prix while Tazio Nuvolari was at its wheels in 1931. Thus it was the beginning of the legendary victory run of the Alfa Romeo 8C race car platform in the motorsports world and the history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia.
1933 Mille Miglia – Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider Zagato:
Another year, another dominant run by Alfa Romeo with its Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider Zagato saw the Italian marquee win the 1933 Mille Miglia race. The car was driven to victory by none other than Tazio Nuvolari who was supported by Decimo Campagnoni.
1934 Mille Miglia – Alfa Romeo 8C 2600 Monza Spider Brianza:
Next up in the history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia, the Italian racers Achille Varzi and his co driver Amedeo Bignami won the 1934 Mille Miglia in the Alfa Romeo 8C 2600 Monza Spider Brianza. It was the same car that entered as a works Ferrari at the Grand Prix.
1935 Mille Miglia – Alfa Romeo Tipo B “P3”:
The staggering victory run of the history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia continued in 1935, hen Alfa won the Mille Miglia for the 7th time since the races started in 1927. The race was won on an Alfa Romeo Tipo B “P3”, which was driven by Italian race drivers, Carlo Maria Pintacuda and Alessandro Della Stufa. The car had a supercharged dual overhead cam straight 8 cylinder 3200cc engine.
1936 Mille Miglia – Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 A Spider:
The relentless history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia brought in the company’s 8th ever and the 5th consecutive Mille Miglia victory. The car that won the race was a Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 A Spider and it was driven by the Italian race car drivers, Antonio Brivio and Carlo Ongaro. The race again proving just how incredible a race car platform the base Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 was.
1937 Mille Miglia – Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 A Spider:
The 1937 Mille Miglia race brought the 9th in total and the 6th in a row Mille Miglia win in the history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia. This dominant feat was achieved by the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 A Spider by the hands of Carlo Maria Pintacuda and Paride Mambelli, and as usual both were Italian racers.
1938 Mille Miglia – Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B MM Spider Touring:
The history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia chartered new heights in 1938 when the Italian sports car company took the victory with its Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B MM Spider Touring driven by Italian’s Clemente Biondetti and Aldo Stefani. This was Alfa Romeo’s 7th consecutive win at the then toughest race in the world and their 10th in total out of the 12 races that were held till 1938.
1947 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Berlinetta Touring:
It took a world war to stop Alfa Romeo domination at the legendary Mille Miglia race, when in between 1939 to 1946 only one race was held, which was won by BMW in 1940. In 1947 when the race came back in full swing, Alfa Romeo took its 11th and their last ever victory at the original Mille Miglia race with their Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Berlinetta Touring which was driven by their race winning driver of 1938 Mille Miglia, Clemente Biondetti and this time around his co-driver was Emilio Romano.
This is not all, Ever since Mille Miglia circuit returned to racing in 1977 with the Mille Miglia Storica, a parade for pre-1957 cars that takes several days, Alfa Romeo had won 5 times adding to the rich and dominant history of Alfa Romeo at Mille Miglia.
Do let us know of your views on this story in the comments below.
Images Courtesy: WikiPedia