The above is a fantastic Mille Miglia video containing a boatload of historical reference and footage, both current and past. The Mille Miglia, as it was known from 1927 to 1957, was an endurance race of the open road variety that took place on a championship level 24 times in total. Thirteen of those races were pre-war and eleven post. Similar to the older Targa Florio, the Millie Miglia made Grand Touring sports cars like BMW, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari and Porsche significantly more famous. In total, the races from 27-57′ brought out an estimated five million spectators emphasizing it’s popularity.
In the end, the race was banned after two horrific crashes. The first was a Ferrari 335S in 57 that killed drivers Alfonso de Portago and his co-driver Edmund Nelson. This crash also killed 9 spectators and all took place in the village of Guidizzolo. Of particular note, 5 children were killed as they watched the race. The crash was cause unfortunately by a worn tire, a situation that arose because of de Portago’s desperation to win and refusal to change the tire earlier. The manufacturer ultimately was blamed and sued, in this case Ferrari.
As of 1977, the Mille Miglia has been recreated as a race for classic and vintage cars with the stipulation for entry being that production on the car must not have occurred post 1957 and must have attended the race in period in order to maintain the historical relevance of the race. The route of the modern race is similar but not exactly the same as the original race.