Car Rally Culture

Celebrating the finest in auto performance and the outdoors

For almost as long as the automobile has been in existence, humans have figured out a way to compete against each other at this new higher level of speed. In as early as 1867 the first organized race was run. Many of these early races were more about the reliability of the car than who actually won the race.

One of the most famous open-road endurance and reliability races was the Mille Miglia in Brescia, Italy. Although there were numerous races in this region from 1885 to 1925, from 1927 to 1957 the Mille Miglia ran from Brescia-to-Rome-to-Brescia for a total of 1,500 km (roughly 1,000 miles).

Brescia is known for its deep connection to the automobile. There is an old saying that fuel rather than blood flows through the veins of the people who come from Brescia.

Today, the reenactment of the Mille Miglia has combined tradition with innovation, and vividly colored vehicles along with that combination of elegance, beautiful scenery, historic cars, and the Italian way of living. This abundance of rich elements has made the Mille Miglia a symbol of Italian excellence all over the world.

To participate in the Mille Miglia, you must own or purchase one of these original and very valuable vehicles that was raced at this prestigious event, or one that is eligible based on the year, make, and model along with its history.

West Coast Roads

If you are looking for a similar experience of driving your classic car in an exclusive and prestigious rally/tour through the beautiful rolling hills covered with vineyards drenched with warm sun, look no further than the California Mille Miglia.

Every April, the event covers over 1,000 miles of twisty back roads in California. The annual rally brings 65 historic cars from all over the world to San Francisco to salute Italy’s most famous open road race, the Mille Miglia and starts at the prestigious Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill.

Co-organizers David Swig and Howard Swig carry on the Mille tradition founded by their late father Martin Swig in 1991. The California Mille is open to cars that either ran or would have been eligible to run in the original event, which ran from 1927 to 1957; and must be designs from 1957 or earlier. Each day is highlighted by several stops for meals and refreshments, with arrangements having been made at significant wineries and restaurants, and overnight accommodation is generally at some of California’s best hotels. Entry Fee is $4,000.

Rocky Mountain Place

Another great tour is The Colorado Grand, an annual charity tour for sports and race cars from the 1960s or earlier. Run through some of the most beautiful roads and locations in Colorado, the event was founded in 1989 by Englewood automotive enthusiast Bob Sutherland. Every September approximately 85 vintage cars are driven in this relaxed, non-competitive event, covering 1,000 miles through the colorful Rockies over a five-day period.

The tour attracts entrants from around the world and always includes several significant motorcars. Typical makes include Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Maserati, Allard, and such exotic names as Amilcar, Cisitalia, Squire, Delahaye, and Talbot-Lago.

The event is run with the cooperation of the Colorado State Patrol and periodic lunch and ice cream stops are planned in small quaint towns along the route. This year’s event is scheduled for Sept. 12-17.  The event is concluded with a “Concours d’Non Elegance.” Entry fee is $7,500.