Vet­er­ans brave Ro­man del­uge

The 90th-an­niver­sary Mille Miglia brings out a strong BMW her­itage-fleet presence

Classic Cars (UK) - - Month In Cars -

Heavy rain left parts of Rome flooded, but the Mille Miglia vet­er­ans fought on to Bres­cia’s fin­ish line. BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadster

BMW Clas­sic Group’s Hen­drik von Kuen­heim and team­mate Carl Chris­tian Jancke en­tered the her­itage wing’s re­cent restora­tion – the 1939 328 Mille Miglia Roadster, nick­named ‘Sil­ber­linge’ (or Sil­ver­line). ‘The tem­per­a­ture in the footwells was a real is­sue’ said Jancke. ‘My team­mate’s shoes melted with the heat, and I had se­ri­ous burn blis­ters, but the sound of the car on the nar­row streets of the old towns, and the wel­come of the crowds more than made up for it.’

Orig­i­nally built to com­pete in the 1940 Mille Miglia, the alu­minium bod­ied 328 stream­liner con­trib­uted to the BMW team vic­tory in that year, in front of an es­ti­mated five mil­lion spec­ta­tors. Weigh­ing in at 750kg, the 135bhp 2-litre straight-six­pow­ered car’s re­build has been a joint project be­tween ZF, the orig­i­nal man­u­fac­turer of the car’s gear­box, and BMW Clas­sic Group. ‘It drives al­most like a mod­ern car’ says Jancke ‘But it does want to go side­ways in the wet, all that power on skinny tyres.’ Although hard to value – it’s never been sold – the 328 MM Roadster is es­ti­mated to be worth north of 10 mil­lion Eu­ros (£8.7m). Von Kuen­heim and Jancke brought the Sil­ver­line in at num­ber 227. ‘I just wanted to get the car home in one piece,’ said Jancke.

Fiat 1100 MM Ber­linetta

The restora­tion of En­rico Re­nal­dini and team­mate Giuseppe Boscarino’s unique 1938 Fiat 1100 MM Ber­linetta hadn’t ac­tu­ally been fin­ished when the event started, but the car ran and was cleared to take part. ‘The MM Ber­linetta was an ex­per­i­men­tal car – the first to in­te­grate the wheels in­side the body – and ahead of its time in the use of aero­dy­nam­ics, which ex­plains its bizarre rear end,’ said Re­nal­dini. ‘It was ad­vanced for the time, but Fiat’s de­ci­sion to use steel meant the weight, com­bined with an un­der­pow­ered en­gine, left the car’s po­ten­tial un­ful­filled.

‘Af­ter the war it was ac­tu­ally con­verted to right-hand drive for an English buyer be­fore it found its way back to Italy, where we be­gan the restora­tion. Un­for­tu­nately this will now in­clude an en­gine re­build too – but that’s the Mille Miglia for you!’

Unique Fiat stream­liner was let loose on the Mille de­spite un­fin­ished restora­tion BMW 328 MM Roadster kept its pi­lots hot on their heels

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