Porsche Classic Mille Miglia: Strength in Numbers

Porsche Classic on the Mille Miglia is rich in shades of 1953’s “downright phalanx”. Mille Miglia – literally a thousand miles – is for cars approved by the FIA or FIVA that would have raced in period, so up to 1957, when the 24th and final Mille was run.

From the press release, it sounds like the Porsche museum is sending two Porsche 550 Spyders, 356 Speedster 1500, 356 Speedster 1600, 356 Speedster 1600 S and 356 Coupé, the so-called “Knickscheibe” (bent windscreen).

Hats off to Stuttgart if it really is sending all that precious metal. Entry fees for the Mille Miglia are €7260 per car, for three nights B&B, some parking and a road book. Single beds, additional stickers or road books for support crew, and parking for transporters while the race is going on are all extra. Times that by six cars, plus drivers and navigators, plus transport, plus support, plus PR, plus staff costs and I guess you are knocking on €200k, for three days driving around Brescia to get some promo pics. Heavy duty!

Of course, for some people, it’s a proper race: 1,600 kms in three days. A few years ago, I pitched a story idea to Porsche, to follow his highness Gijs van Lennep in the State of Art 550 Spyder around the Mille Miglia in a Boxster Spyder. Got big thumbs down on that one, but one of the days I will follow the race in a Boxster: the only modern Porsche worthy of the jaunt.

Before I leave, back to that fabulous word. In ancient Greece, phalanx was a military formation, made up of heavily armed troops in tightly packed ranks. The soldiers stood shoulder-to-shoulder, several rows deep, often with shields interlinked. It was a formidable force that was difficult to match. At the turn of the 20th century, a Munich art cluster including Bauhaus legend-to-be, Wassily Kandinksy, formed a group known as Phalanx “to oppose old-fashioned and conservative viewpoints in art”.

Combining the two interpretations, I doubt there is a better collective noun for racing Porsches than ‘phalanx’. An impenetrable group of conquering soldiers, opposed to old fashioned concepts in art? That’ll do nicely, phalanx.

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