1955 Mille Miglia

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RaggedMan
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1955 Mille Miglia

Post by RaggedMan »

An interesting read over at ESPNF1 on Sirling Moss' drive during the '55 Italian race.
http://en.espnf1.com/f1/motorsport/story/77349.html
Makes me want to try to find the article they cite throughout for the full story.
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Blake
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by Blake »

Find yourself a copy of Stirling Moss' book "In the Track of Speed". It was written in the 50s and is his personal account of his early career with a chapter dedicated to the Milli Miglia with Denis Jenkinson. I can't find my copy right now to tell you the printer or the copyright date, but it seems like it was first published in maybe 1957?

I have read the book several times...starting when I was in grade school. It is fun to get Moss' personal view with everything so fresh in his mind.
:D
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mcdo
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by mcdo »

How strange, I was just reading about this yesterday. It sounded epic in every way.

Here's a great article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/273 ... -race.html

Fangio's "pep pill" kept him going throughout the race, all that night and through til at least lunchtime the following day.
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Balibari
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by Balibari »

Could the '55 Mille Miglia be the most legendary individual race of all time? I feel like I know every key detail even though I wasn't born til 22 years later. Hardly an issue of Motorsport goes by without reference to it and Moss's performance is always up there in the 'best drives ever' lists.

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Volantary
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by Volantary »

I read that article a few days ago, one of the few articles that long that I actually finished!
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RaggedMan
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by RaggedMan »

Balibari wrote:Could the '55 Mille Miglia be the most legendary individual race of all time? I feel like I know every key detail even though I wasn't born til 22 years later. Hardly an issue of Motorsport goes by without reference to it and Moss's performance is always up there in the 'best drives ever' lists.

Image

I was born 8 years after this race myself, but have heard about it many times before. However for some reason this particular article brought it to life enough for me to finally look more into it.

The impression I got was that Mercedes wasn't necessarily looking for Moss to win, but rather to be a "rabbit" by setting a really fast pace that the Italians would break their cars trying to match him. If his car broke in the process, no worries, because Merc had 2 other cars to fill the void.

Instead, he set the fast pace, caused the competitors to break their cars, and kept his car together enough to win the race by a wide margin. Despite plowing through a few hay bails.
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by Saorsa »

Very nice car!

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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by SnakeSVT2003 »

Balibari wrote:Could the '55 Mille Miglia be the most legendary individual race of all time? I feel like I know every key detail even though I wasn't born til 22 years later. Hardly an issue of Motorsport goes by without reference to it and Moss's performance is always up there in the 'best drives ever' lists.

Image


I would hope that people remember Nuvolari enough not to think that. ;)
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by phfft... »

That Merc is ridiculously good looking. To think those days racing cars actually looked better than road cars.

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Porsan
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by Porsan »

Every time that I see racing images of the fifties, two ideas spring to my mind:

1) How incredibly awesome the cars were back then, specially the sports cars: Mercedes 300 SLR, Jaguar D-Type, Ferrari Testarrosa, Maserati Birdcage, Scarabs,...

2) How incredibly dangerous the sport was. Think about the Mille Miglia: blasts at 300 kph along tree-lined straights, mountain passes, uneven surfaced roads, buildings bordering the road, level crossings,...hardly a surprise that the death toll was huge. Sometimes I wonder if the best drivers were not the most gifted but, simply, the most dare-devils. And don't forget that it was also dangerous for spectators, in fact the Mille Miglia was cancelled more for the killed onlookers than for the killed drivers...and Le Mans 1955 was only a couple of weeks after the Mille Miglia.
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scouse
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by scouse »

Blake wrote:Find yourself a copy of Stirling Moss' book "In the Track of Speed". It was written in the 50s and is his personal account of his early career with a chapter dedicated to the Milli Miglia with Denis Jenkinson. I can't find my copy right now to tell you the printer or the copyright date, but it seems like it was first published in maybe 1957?

I have read the book several times...starting when I was in grade school. It is fun to get Moss' personal view with everything so fresh in his mind.
:D

Great book isn't it Blake. I've read it a couple of times over the years. Jenkinson also wrote a magazine article about him being Moss's co-driver for the Mille Miglia. One of the fun anecdotes was when Moss comes around a corner and there's a man driving a donkey cart in the middle of the 'track'. Moss goes off the road along a ditch and then back on without lifting off. Then he turns and winks a Jenkinson.

I've recently read Phil Hills "The Limit" book with hairy tales from those old races and all the drivers we lost in those days.
Talking of during the Mexican road race, the Carrera Panamericana, how the spectators would take down or change road signs....wooohooo. Ah, the good old days!!!
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by ob1kenobi.23 »

A lot of Jenk's book The Racing driver is about this race.
Jenk's practically invented pace notes during this drive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... Lg2VAFKo7g

This is the pace note roller he invented.

http://www.stirlingmoss.com/sites/defau ... ainpic.jpg
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by POBRatings »

The Moss/Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia of 1955 was an epic. How about Caracciola, who was the only other non-Italian to win? In 1931 he drove his big SSK from Stuttgart to Bresica, won and then drove home again the next day. Two of ther greatest drivers.

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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by RaggedMan »

POBRatings wrote:The Moss/Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia of 1955 was an epic. How about Caracciola, who was the only other non-Italian to win? In 1931 he drove his big SSK from Stuttgart to Bresica, won and then drove home again the next day. Two of ther greatest drivers.

That'd be hard to do with a modern car, on modern roads. While the SSK was no ragged jalopy, I'm sure it was quite stiffly sprung, and being open topped I think it would be very fatiguing to drive that much over the course of 3-4 days on 1931 roads. Two of those days at race pace!

The SSK is a beauty though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1930_Mercedes-Benz_SSK_34.jpg
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minchy
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by minchy »

When you see the drivers after the races in that era with all the dirt over their faces and a nice white goggle line around the eyes....

firstly it looks sooooo cool and secondly in some strange way it makes me respect them so much more than modern drivers!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjXVGUlKoEA
(not the best quality, but 0:46 for the money shot!)
Last edited by minchy on Fri May 04, 2012 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Blake
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by Blake »

scouse wrote:
Blake wrote:Find yourself a copy of Stirling Moss' book "In the Track of Speed". It was written in the 50s and is his personal account of his early career with a chapter dedicated to the Milli Miglia with Denis Jenkinson. I can't find my copy right now to tell you the printer or the copyright date, but it seems like it was first published in maybe 1957?

I have read the book several times...starting when I was in grade school. It is fun to get Moss' personal view with everything so fresh in his mind.
:D

Great book isn't it Blake. I've read it a couple of times over the years. Jenkinson also wrote a magazine article about him being Moss's co-driver for the Mille Miglia. One of the fun anecdotes was when Moss comes around a corner and there's a man driving a donkey cart in the middle of the 'track'. Moss goes off the road along a ditch and then back on without lifting off. Then he turns and winks a Jenkinson.

I've recently read Phil Hills "The Limit" book with hairy tales from those old races and all the drivers we lost in those days.
Talking of during the Mexican road race, the Carrera Panamericana, how the spectators would take down or change road signs....wooohooo. Ah, the good old days!!!


It is indeed, scouse... as was the follow-up book, "A Turn at the Wheel". I think I about wore them out from the library when I was in school... checked out each one at least once a year..and sadly, my name was the only one one the check out card (the way the libraries USED to do it).

Those books are the primary reason that I became a Stirling Moss fan above all other drivers.
:]
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Stuntman Mike
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by Stuntman Mike »

Was the Mille Miglia not the essence of what all motor racing has ever aspired to be?

Aren't all other events of any sort less complete variations on that theme?

Was the win of Moss/Jenkinson not the finest example of the Mille Miglia?

I say yes.

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POBRatings
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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by POBRatings »

The Moss/Jenks win of 1955 is the most publicised MM, certainly in the English-speaking world. Fangio came in second driving solo, and did well considering a persisitent misfire all the way through; he reckoned he'd have had a good chance of winning had it not been for this problem. Not a driver given to exaggeration.

There have been many epic MM wins, most hardly mentioned in English media.

In 1930 Nuvolari/Alfa Romeo switched his lights off to catch arch rival and team mate Varzi, pass him to win; must have been quite scary/brave to drive at racing speeds on those roads! Caracciola/SSK was great drive. In 1948 Nuvolari in a 1100 Cisitalia drove one of his best races to come second to a 3-litre Alfa Romeo. Again in 1948 Nuvolari was doing so well, but his Ferrari had bits falling off, causing retirement. Some of the early fifties Ferrari wins in rainy weather: by Marzotto in 1950, Villoresi in 1951 event and Bracco in 1952, were great drives too. Ascari/Lancia won solo in 1954 ; Castellotti/Ferrari in rain in 1956 was one of the best MM drives.

Without detracting from Moss and Jenks' great feat, there have been others. They just lack media promotion.

The MM must have been so much harder than any grand prix, so much longer, rally-like in its unknowns and very dangerous.

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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by Stuntman Mike »

Point well taken, POB. Didn't Fangio finish second enduring one steerable wheel for a good distance one year?

Seems to me that every track exists in order to replicate the road racing experience in a much more convenient fashion, not least for the promoter's benefit. Racing on roads was always living on borrowed time and we haven't done badly by the use of tracks.

But, to think, there was a time when the sport's reality matched the sport's essence. Which is mano a mano in the best real cars available over real roads and distances sufficient to remove excuses. As Mike Hawthorn put it, "Challenge me the race."

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Re: 1955 Mille Miglia

Post by Asphalt_World »

My honeymoon was spent driving round Italy following the route the Mille Miglia took for part of its existence.

Greatest race ever.

Oh, and we took 2 plus weeks to complete out tour!!!!!
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