One of the world’s legends in racing, Walter Röhrl, acknowledged by 100 independent rally experts as “The Best Race Driver of All Times” once said that “a car cannot be treated like a human being, a car needs love.” It’s hard to argue with these words - especially after spending but a moment in FIera di Brescia - an exposition hall in Brescia. You don’t need to be an orthodox auto fan to understand the deep truth in these words.
This ordinary object, similar to many of such constructions in the world, becomes an unquestionable worldwide center of motorization for a few days. The minds of all persons, for whom cars and motorization are not just empty slogans, spiral around it once in a year. Brescia welcomes the rarest and most expensive antique race cars from the world, to stroll off into the heart of Lombardy like every year, into the 1600 km Mille Miglia Storica. Tomorrow, 450 classic cars representative to 71 various car brands will stand at the starting point of this event, deemed as one of the most prestigious sports-social events in the world. Nine hundred participants from 41 countries will take part. No other automotive event can boast with such success and at the same time, prestige. It should also be noted, that this year nearly 150 cars of this groups are officially considered priceless.
The cars are now rolled into the hall. Crews wearing their team costumes are handling them without a rush and in a friendly atmosphere. This is the most surprising - there is no shadow of rivalry here. Mille Miglia resembles the marathon with its philosophy: there is a front runner or two, and unless nothing unexpected happens, he will most likely be the first on the finish line. However, if something were to happen - the second one will win, therefore the remaining participants, that is all 99% of them, take part for the very pleasure of riding one of the most picturesque routes in the world. Everyone’s looking at the cars. And they are true pieces of art. Literally. Once - when cars were not designed by computers that scaled the standards - created in car manufactures was most often finite beauty... Lines... Embossments... Richness and rawness... Usability and disobedience... They had it all. Fiera di Brescia may not have a specific model, but paradoxically, it has everything.
The organizers take care of respect for tradition. They only allow cars that partook in the struggle of 1927-1957 or were manufactured at that time and have certificates of authenticity confirmed by the International Federation of Vintage Vehicles. In the central hall, cars are subject to detailed inspection which decides on their admission to the race. The judges attentively observe every detail. It’s difficult to remain indifferent to this spectacle - each of the 450 machines is unique and worthy of love...!
We particularly feel for the Aton Martin DB2 with the Polish flag and Perlage Team logo on the fenders. This silver convertible from 1952 with a 2.6-liter petrol motor and rear-wheel drive is one of the 411 models ever made. We partner Mille Miglia not only as the main rally sponsor, but we also actively partake in this - as Enzo Ferrari once said himself - fascinating museum on wheels, put into beautiful frames of the cheering audience. And we rejoice, as well.
Mille Miglia is the King of All Races, and Brescia is therefore the King’s Mother. Tomorrow at midday, we will depart heading off to Rimini into the first stage of the four-day Gran Turismo. As per the definition, the target is not the finish line, but the route itself. It’s a philosophy that is close to us; we do not drink Perlage to satisfy thirst, but for the very pleasure of it.