1955 Mille Miglia

1955-04-30 Mille Miglia starters.jpg

The 22. edizione Mille Miglia was a motor race held on a 992.332 mile (1597 km) course made up entirely of public roads around Italy, mostly on the outer parts of the country on April 30-May 1, 1955. The route was based on a round trip between Brescia and Rome, with start/finish, in Brescia. It was the 3rd round of the 1955 World Sportscar Championship and for the Coppa Franco Mazzotti.[1]

As in previous years, the event this not strictly a race against each other, this is race against the clock, as the cars are released at one-minute intervals with the larger professional class cars going before the slower cars, in the Mille Miglia, however the smaller displacement slower cars started first. Each car number related to their allocated start time. For example, Luigi Musso’s car had the number 651, he left Brescia at 6:51am, while the first cars had started late in the evening on the previous day. Some drivers went with navigators, others didn't; a number of local Italian drivers had knowledge of the routes being used and felt confident enough that they wouldn't need one.[1]

This race was won by Mercedes-Benz factory driver Stirling Moss with the aid of his navigator Denis Jenkinson. They completed the 992-mile distance in 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds- an average speed of 99 mph (160 km/h). The two Englishmen finished 32 minutes in front of their second-placed teammate, Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio.



A total of 661 cars were entered for the event, across 12 classes based on engine sizes, ranging from up to 750cc to over 2.0-litre, for Grand Touring Cars, Touring Cars and Sport Cars. Of these, 534 cars started the event.[1]

For this year's Mille Miglia, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati and Aston Martin all came to Brescia wanting to win. Scuderia Ferrari brought cars for Umberto Maglioli, Sergio Sighinolfi, and Piero Taruffi, Aston Martin had a DB3S for Peter Collins and DB2/4s for Paul Frère and Tommy Wisdom; and Maserati only had one 300S for Cesare Perdisa. Daimler Benz AG, who were making their Championship debut in this event, had probably the strongest line-up: Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Hans Herrmann and Karl Kling in their Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs. Lancia decided to put all their efforts into Grand Prix and did not attend the race.[2][3]


Moss and Jenkinson on their road

Moss and Jenkinson were the favourites to win, although they had no knowledge of the local roads despite this being Moss’s fifth attempt at the Mille Miglia. Moss was relying entirely on Jenkinson's pace notes (now used ubiquitously in modern rallying) that they had spent months compiling. Jenkinson's innovative pace notes were written on a home-made roller scroll. Initially the race wasn't in favor of the Mercedes duo, as Eugenio Castellotti streaked away from the field in his privately entered Ferrari 735 LM. With its massively powerful 4.4-litre engine, he had sufficient speed to do the job, but he was trying the extract more than the car had to offer. By the time the fastest cars reached the town of Ravenna on the Adriatic Sea, he was two minutes ahead of Moss/Jenkinson, but Castellotti was driving like a madman as he slid his Ferrari through the corners, his tyres leaving large black streaks on the road and enveloping itself in a cloud of dust. However, as the cars streaked down the coastline towards Pescara, Castellotti had simply been pushing too hard, and he ended up breaking his Ferrari. His teammate, Marzotto had a promising start but disaster struck when a tyre threw a tread as he was traveling at 174 mph. He was able to keep the car on the road but as he stopped to grab the spare, he noticed that it was a different size from the others, so he was forced into retirement.[3][4]

Moss surged into the lead as the fastest Ferrari expired, but there was still opposition to be dealt with – this time from the Scuderia Ferrari driver, Piero Taruffi. Taruffi had averaged a stunning 130 mph on the sprint down to Pescara, leaving all previous Mille Miglia records shattered in the dust of his 376 S. At this time, only a wafer-thin margin now separated the lead two cars as they refuelled, with Moss snatching the advantage thanks to a quicker stop. Fangio at this stage began to develop engine problems.[4]

The next checkpoint was in the town of L’Aquila. In order to get there, a 62.5 mile (100 km) route through the mountains had to be bypassed. By the time Moss and Jenkinson reached this town, they were leading by 35 seconds, followed by Herrmann, Taruffi, Fangio and Kling - All the Mercedes cars entered were running 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th.

By this time, Jenkinson’s map-rolling device was paying off well. Moss’s supreme confidence in his co-driver allowed him to slam over blind brows in absolute confidence at around 170 mph; on occasion the Mercedes actually flew for about 200 feet before crashing back on the tarmac. In that 28 second stop at Pescara, the 300SLR was quickly topped with 18 gallons of fuel, sufficient to reach its main stop in Rome.[4]

Moss’s winning Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR in the Mercedes-Benz Museum

The next checkpoint was the Italian capital of Rome, which was the halfway point. Moss had taken 1 hour and 6 minutes to reach Rome from L’Aquila and he had extended his lead to 1 minute and 15 seconds over Taruffi. Kling crashed just outside the city and was now out of the race. His Mercedes was up against a tree, as he crashed avoiding some spectators; luckily he only suffered broken ribs. Meanwhile, Fangio was still struggling with engine problems; his complaints were ignored by Mercedes pit personnel in Rome. Moss buckled down to tackle the most challenging and demanding section of the route. Constantly on his mind was a fierce desire to disprove one of the old sayings – ‘He who leads at Rome never finishes’.[3][4]

The mountainous 140 mile (227 km) route from Rome to the next time control in Siena was a race of attrition. Perdisa and Taruffi both retired, and by the time he reached Siena, Moss had extended his lead to 5 minutes and 40 seconds over Herrmann - he had extended 1 minute and 36 seconds on Herrmann on this section alone. At this point, 690 mi (1,101 km) of distance had been covered in 6 hours, 51 minutes and 16 seconds by Moss and Jenkinson.

The next stage was from Siena to Florence, 44 mi (70 km) long. Moss had pulled out only 8 seconds over Herrmann, who was pushing hard. Fangio's engine began to make unhealthy noises, and when the mechanics checked the engine, one of the very advanced fuel injection pipes had broken; the engine in Fangio's car was now running on 7 cylinders.

Fangio’s Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR on the 2012 Mille Miglia

After Florence was Bologna, 65 miles (107 km) away, through the fearsome Futa Pass in Tuscany - one of the most difficult parts of this race. Bologna was nearby Modena, which was home to the headquarters of both Ferrari and Maserati. Herrmann crashed on this stage and was out; Moss was at his best, out to shatter the one-hour bogey, and he was now 27 minutes and 38 seconds ahead of Fangio, and was fastest on this section, 4½ minutes ahead of Magiloli.[4]

By the time Moss and Jenkinson had reached the town of Cremona, they had extended their lead over Fangio to 30 minutes. They were once again fastest over this 115 mile (185 km) stage.

Now Moss and Jenkinson were on the final stage from Cremona to Brescia, however there was no letting up as Moss would bring the Mercedes up to 170 mph for a quick finale. At the finish, fêted by the Italian fans and surrounded by their team, the Englishmen discovered just how successful they had been. They had won the Mille Miglia, and had left all records shattered in the wake of their victorious 300SLR. In second place came Fangio driving alone in the only other 300SLR to finish 32 minutes behind. Third was the Ferrari 376 S of Umberto Maglioli/Gino Monetferrario and fourth ’s 2-litre Maserati A6GCS. Moss and Jenkinson reached Brescia at 17:29; 10 hours and 7 minutes after they left Brescia at 07:22. Moss became the first and only Briton and one of the few non-Italians to win the Mille Miglia. As if that was not enough, Moss also won the Index of Performance, normally preserved for the smaller capacity cars.[3][4][5][6]


Official Results

Of the 521 starters, 281 were classified as finishers. Therefore, only a selection of notably racers has been listed below.

Class Winners are in Bold text.

Pos. No. Class Driver Navigator Entrant Car - Engine Time Reason Out
1st 722 S+2.0 United Kingdom Stirling Moss United Kingdom Denis Jenkinson Daimler Benz AG Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR 10hr 07:48
2nd 658 S+2.0 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Daimler Benz AG Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR 10hr 39:33
3rd 705 S+2.0 Italy Umberto Maglioli Italy Luciano Monteferrario Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 376 S Scaglieti 10hr 52:47
4th 621 S2.0 Italy Maserati A6GCS/53 11hr 15:32
5th 417 GT+1.3 United States John Fitch United States Kurt Gesell Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 11hr 29:21
6th 724 S+2.0 Italy Sergio Sighinolfi Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 750 Monza 11hr 33:27
7th 428 GT+1.3 Belgium Olivier Gendebien Belgium Jacques Washer Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 11hr 36:00
8th 541 S1.5 West Germany Wolfgang Seidel West Germany Helmut Glöckler Porsche KG Porsche 550 Spyder 12hr 08:17
9th 646 S2.0 Italy Maserati A6 GCS 12hr 09:10
10th 445 GT1.1 Italy Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 12hr 55:08
11th 700 S+2.0 United Kingdom George Abecassis Austin-Healey 100S 12hr 11:15
12th 631 S2.0 Italy Maserati A6GCS 12hr 24:31
13th 408 GT+1.3 Italy Italy Angelo Savoretti Fiat 8V Zagato 12hr 24:43
14th 542 S1.5 France France Robert Nicol Osca MT4 1500 12hr 29:56
15th 717 S+2.0 Italy Ferrari 250 Monza 12hr 40:42
16th 441 GT+1.3 Brazil Hermano da Silva Ramos France Jean-Charles Vidilles Aston Martin DB2/4 12hr 43:50
17th 650 S2.0 Italy Italy Vittoriano Vigano Maserati A6GCS 12hr 49:04
18th 411 GT+1.3 Italy Lancia Aurelia 12hr 52:29
19th 451 GT+1.3 Italy Italy Ivo Badaracco Alfa Romeo 1900 SS Zagato 12hr 56:11
20th 647 S2.0 Italy Maserati A6GCS 12hr 57:31
21st 244 GT1.3 West Germany Richard von Frankenberg West Germany Peter Oberndorf Porsche 356 1300 Super 12hr 58:39
22nd 354 GT+1.3 West Germany Porsche 356 1300 Super 12hr 58:46
23rd 548 S1.5 West Germany West Germany Porsche 550 Spyder 12hr 59:52
24th 518 S1.1 France Osca MT4 1100 13hr 01:21
25th 238 GT1.3 West Germany Wolfgang von Trips Porsche 356 1300 Super 13hr 02:55
26th 416 GT+1.3 Italy Italy “Ippocampo” Alfa Romeo 1900 SS Zagato 13hr 13:08
27th 720 S+2.0 Italy E. Pinzero Ferrari 750 Monza 13hr 14:01
28th 334 T+1.3 Italy Italy Alfa Romeo 1900 TI 13hr 14:05
29th 638 S2.0 Italy Maserati A6GCS 13hr 14:07
30th 344 T+1.3 Italy Italy Manuel Vigliani Alfa Romeo 1900 TI 13hr 14:57
33rd 533 S1.1 Italy Italy Raffaele Foglia Osca MT4 1100 13hr 18:27
34th 532 S1.1 Italy Italy Luigi Bettiol Osca MT4 1100 13hr 18:38
35th 021 S750 France D.B. HBR Panhard 13hr 19:03
36th 708 S+2.0 United Kingdom Lance Macklin Austin-Healey 100S 13hr 19:55
37th 501 GT+1.3 Italy Italy Massimo Leto di Priolo Fiat 8V Zagato 13hr 21:36
46th 614 S2.0 Italy Franco Cortese Italy Achille Stazzi Fiat 8V Zagato 13hr 35:25
55th 118 T1.3 Italy Italy Luigi Bertassi Fiat 1100/103 TV 13hr 48:12
56th 243 GT1.3 Argentina Oscar Cabalén Italy Ottavio Guarducci Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint 13hr 49:04
57th 554 S1.5 Belgium Switzerland Nadège Ferrier Thirion/Bousquet Gordini T15S 13hr 52:18
59th 611 S2.0 United Kingdom Leslie Brooke United Kingdom David Lampe Triumph TR2 13hr 54:52
62nd 026 S750 Italy Vincenzo Auricchio Vincenzo Auricchio Stanguellini 750 Sport 13hr 55:22
65th 041 S750 France Panhard Dyna 13hr 58:01
67th 022 S750 France Élie Bayol D.B. HBR Panhard 13hr 58:45
74th 2254 TN1.1 Italy Fiat 1100/103 14hr 14:43
83rd 203 GT1.1 Italy Fiat 1100/103 TV 14hr 32:50
93rd 93 T750 France France Maurice Michy Renault 4CV Allemano 14hr 44:58
100th 325 T+1.3 Italy Italy Luigi Grassi Alfa Romeo 1900 TI 14hr 50:42
108th 84 T750 France Jean Rédélé France Louis Pons Alpine-Renault A106 MM 15hr 01:43
201st 04 D West Germany West Germany Wolfgang Larcher Mercedes-Benz 180D 16hr 52:25
215th 09 D West Germany West Germany Wulf Wsnewski Mercedes-Benz 180D 17hr 12:14
273rd 2211 T750 Italy Italy Luigi Villoresi Fiat 600 20hr 51:18
DNF 045 S750 France Jean Lucas D. B. HBR Panhard DNF
DNF 346 T+1.3 Sweden Jo Bonnier Sweden B. Boscen Alfa Romeo 1900 TI DNF
DNF 418 GT+1.3 Belgium Paul Frére United Kingdom Aston Martin Ltd Aston Martin DB2/4 Clutch
DNF 436 GT+1.3 United Kingdom Tommy Wisdom United Kingdom Peter Bolton Aston Martin DB2/4 Clutch
DNF 615 S2.0 Italy Giorgio Scarlatti Maserati A6GCS 5hr 55:06 DNF
DNF 620 S2.0 Italy Maria Teresa de Filippis Maserati A6GCS 6hr 04:29 DNF
DNF 628 S2.0 Italy Luigi Taramazzo Ferrari 500 Mondial 5hr 52:07 DNF
DNF 651 S2.0 Italy Luigi Musso Maserait A6GCS 5hr 36:41 DNF
DNF 701 S+2.0 West Germany Karl Kling Daimler Benz AG Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR 5hr 13:20 Accident
DNF 702 S+2.0 United Kingdom Peter Collins Aston Martin Ltd Aston Martin DB3S Con rod
DNF 704 S+2.0 West Germany Hans Herrmann West Germany Hermann Eger Daimler Benz AG Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR 5hr 07:06 Accident
DNF 706 S+2.0 Italy Luigi Piotti Italy Luigi Zannini Ferrari 750 Monza DNF
DNF 709 S+2.0 United Kingdom Ron Flockhart Austin-Healey 100S Accident
DNF 712 S+2.0 United Kingdom Donald Healey United Kingdom Jim Cashmore Austin-Healey 100S 8hr 43:27 DNF
DNF 714 S+2.0 Italy Piero Carini Ferrari 750 Monza DNF
DNF 718 S+2.0 Italy Piero Scotti Ferrari 375 MM DNF
DNF 718 S+2.0 Italy Eugenio Castellotti priv. Ferrari 735 LM Scaglietti Tyres
DNF 725 S+2.0 Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 376 S Scaglietti Tyres/accident
DNF 727 S+2.0 Italy Cesare Perdisa Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 300s Fantuzzi 5hr 19:01 DNF
DNF 728 S+2.0 Italy Piero Taruffi Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 376 S Scaglietti 5hr 04:54 Oil


Class Winners

Class Winners
Sport oltre 2000 722 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Moss / Jenkinson
Sports 2000 621 Maserati A6GCS/53 Giardini
Sports 1500 541 Porsche 550 Spyder Seidel / Glöckler
Sports 1100 518 Osca MT4 1100 Bourillot
Sports 750 021 D.B. HBR Panhard Storez
Gran Turismo oltre 1300 417 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Fitch / Gesell
Gran Turismo 1300 244 Porsche 356 1300 Super von Frankenberg / Oberndorf
Gran Turismo 1100 203 Fiat 1100/103 TV Viola
Turismo serie speciale +1300 334 Alfa Romeo 1900 TI Cestelli-Guidi / Musso
Turismo serie speciale 1300 118 Fiat 1100/103 TV Mandrini / Bertassi
Turismo di serie speciale 750 93 Renault 4CV Allemano Galtier / Michy
Gruppo Diesel 04 Mercedes-Benz 180D Retter / Larcher


Standings after the race

Pos Championship Points
1 Italy Ferrari 18
2 Italy Maserati 11
3= United Kingdom Jaguar 8
West Germany Mercedes-Benz 8
5 West Germany Porsche 3
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included in this set of standings.

Championship points were awarded for the first six places in each race in the order of 8-6-4-3-2-1. Manufacturers were only awarded points for their highest finishing car with no points awarded for positions filled by additional cars. Only the best 4 results out of the 6 races could be retained by each manufacturer. Points earned but not counted towards the championship totals are listed within brackets in the above table.


  1. ^ a b c d e http://www.racingsportscars.com/race/Mille_Miglia-1955-05-01.html
  2. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/entry/Mille_Miglia-1955-05-01.html
  3. ^ a b c d http://www.grandprixhistory.org/mille_miglia_1955.htm
  4. ^ a b c d e f Alan Henry, “Fifty famous motor races" (Patrick Stephens, ISBN 0-85059-937-7, 1988)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2014-03-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/photo/Mille_Miglia-1955-05-01.html
  7. ^ http://www.teamdan.com/wsc/1955/55mille.html[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-22. Retrieved 2015-02-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading

  • Anthony Pritchard. The Mille Miglia: The World’s Greatest Road Race. J H Haynes & Co Ltd. ISBN 978-1844251391
  • Leonardo Acerbi. Mille Miglia Story 1927-1957. Giorgio Nada Editore. ISBN 978-8879115490

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12 Hours of Sebring
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