In an event the size of the Mille Miglia it is not possible to mention every praiseworthy effort, but one that was particularly good was that of the Belgian driver Gendebien who won the Tulip Rally, flew to Italy and drove a Jaguar XK120 coupé into 21st place. Likewise, Gatsonides competed in the Tulip Rally and the Mille Miglia, finishing 28th with a Triumph TR2.
The first British car to finish was the Austin-Healey driven by Macklin, who drove on his own and likened the event to a one-lap Grand Prix of interminable length, but more interesting than covering lap after lap of the same circuit. He finish in 23rd place and fifth out of the six finishers in his class.
Other English cars to compete the course were a Jaguar coupé, driven by two French drivers, in 37th place, the coupé Fraser-Nash driven by the Swedish drivers Nottorp and Bran, in 53rd place, and Brooke and Fairman with the Triumph TR2 in 94th place.
An intrepid couple were the German drivers Strable and Spingler who had a Volkswagen fitted with a Porsche engine, Porsche brakes and wheels. They finished third in the sports class, out of 12 finishers, and 44th in General Category, with what must surely have been a very “dicey” hot-rod!
The last car to complete the course was an Isetta, a midget economy saloon balanced on wheel-barrow wheels and powered by a 350-c.c. two-stroke engine, that arrived back at Brescia 24 hr. 37 min. 2 sec. after leaving, but it could not be classified as 24 hours was the maximum time allowed. Seven of these incredible little vehicles competed, four qualified, and the fastest averaged approximately 45 m.p.h. for the 1,000 miles.
Venezian, who finished fifth in General Category, was indebted to the officials at Bologna, for he arrived at the control too fast, locked his wheels and skidded into one of the grandstands, injuring a small boy and denting the nose of his Maserati. The accident looked serious at first and he seemed prepared to abandon the race, but the officials pushed the car back on the road and sent him on his way before he could really appreciate what had happened.
Unluckiest man was surely Mancini who crashed his Maserati within a few miles of Brescia, his mechanic unfortunately receiving fatal injuries.
It was most impressive at Bologna the way most of the Alfa-Romeo 1,900 and Lancia Aurelia cars arrived at speed and still had sufficient brakes to leave marks on the road or lock the front wheels. Most of the Alfa-Romeos left in a flurry of wheelspin. All this after some 10 hours of racing.
An unknown driver received exactly the same speedy attention at the controls as Ascari or Marzotto, the officials merely did their jobs as fast as possible, irrespective of car or driver. At one point four 1,100 Fiats arrived together and they all got away together, less than 10 seconds being lost by any of them. The marshals who did the official stamping and punching of the cards had the remarkable ability of never being upright, they were continually at an angle of 45 deg. either accelerating, braking or cornering round a car.
The worst car I ever drove - French Farce
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