Admittedly, the revival of the historic Mille Miglia is more of a gigantic marketing event than a sports event. But nowhere else than in Italy can one perfectly dream of the good old days of the automobile. With and especially without plugs.

Automotive reality has long since arrived in Italy. With substantial subsidies, tailored to the vehicle, clientele, and user behaviour, the Italian government is trying to entice its drivers into the electromobility of tomorrow. This is not an easy task, as most cars on the Italian market are affordable small and compact cars—often even of older vintages. Switching to a new model with a plug can be a financial burden, and the power infrastructure in many regions is not prepared for a significant number of fast-charging stations and users. The Lancia Y, one of the best-selling vehicles of recent years, will see its price increase by almost 8,000 euros in its new generation—from the previous market price of nearly 15,000 euros—despite all subsidies.

A new Lancia Y is also part of the Mille Miglia Green—a true flop, because while the number of participants in the historic Mille Miglia has increased to well over 400 despite a substantial entry fee of over 12,000 euros, with long waiting lists, only seven vehicles with plugs are starting in the 2024 Mille Miglia Green. For many car enthusiasts, the reason is clear. “Electric cars have no place in the Mille Miglia,” says Thomas Kempner from Switzerland, who visits his friends in Brescia every year, “what’s the point? We want to see the historic racing cars.”

Simultaneously, the revival of the historic Mille Miglia is once again a true crowd-puller this year. Even though some towns have withdrawn permission for the high-profile regularity race with hidden ambitions of a road race, participants and the public alike are enthusiastic about the vintage car rally between Brescia and Rome. People cheer along the roadside, children wave Mille Miglia flags, and when the sun shines, there’s a festival atmosphere for a few hours—with tramezzini, espresso, and dolce included. Anyone who loves old or young timers, owns a classic car, and is passionate about cars should visit the Mille Miglia at least once in their lifetime. Most who come once keep coming back, as the atmosphere is uniquely one-of-a-kind, despite numerous similar events worldwide. Bella Italia on four wheels—although now stretched over five days to pass through cities like Turin, Lucca, Viterbo, and Siena, not without passing well-known locales such as the Passo della Futa or Lake Garda.

Many of the participating classics—all of which must have been eligible to start in the historic Mille Miglia rally from 1927 to 1957—are worth millions. Collectors from Europe, Asia, or the USA wait years for their prized vehicle to finally receive the nod from the profit-oriented organisers. Magnificent Alfa Romeo 6Cs, spectacular Mercedes 300 SL gullwing models, Fiat 508 Cs, Bentley Blowers, or BMW 328s—if these masterpieces on narrow wheels don’t make you swoon, you are unlikely to be moved by any car. Where else would ex-DTM champion Nicola Larini start in a spectacular 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 Sport Spider, or where could one see a 1930 Mercedes Super-Sport from the W 06 series, once owned by the Maharaja of Kashmir? The elegant supercharged four-seater recalls Rudolf Caracciola’s victory in the 1931 Mille Miglia in the SSKL. And for the Mille Miglia Green, a mere new start in 2025 will not suffice.

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