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1900 - At the Gordon Bennett Cup, one of the earliest international automobile races, the cars of each nation are allotted a speci c colour for the rst time in recorded history: blue to France, yellow to Belgium, white to Germany, red to USA.
1902 - British enters the Gordon Bennett Cup for the rst time and, unable to employ the already allocated red, white and blue, it is assigned the colour green for its livery.
1903 - The Gordon Bennett Cup is raced in Ireland. In honour of its host nation, Britain paints its automobiles Shamrock Green. It is this green which will become the legendary British Racing Green.
Early 1910s - By divine right, possession of the colour red is transferred from American cars to Italian cars, which up until that time had traditionally been painted black.
1922 - Italy’s divine right to the colour red is con rmed in the AiaCr’s rst of cial declaration of the regulations of automobile racing. Stripped of the right to red, American car’s are given the colour white with blue chassis which in time, as chassis are always more hidden underneath bodywork, become blue strips lengthwise across the body of the car. These blue stripes later became known as “Cunningham stripes”.
1927 - Together with a small group of similarly passionate friends Count Aymo Maggi founds the Mille Miglia, an endurance car race to be raced on the open roads of Central Italy. The race is designed to cover a mix of the newly built autostrade and still primitive mud and dirt roads. The 1000 mile route represents the “extreme synthesis of adventure... an explosion of the irrational. But how beautiful is sporting madness when it is also heroic?” (Jacques Ickx).
1940 - To the tremendous annoyance of Italians long the peninsula, an aerodynamic BMW 328 Berlinetta Touring sets the all-time average speed record of 166,7 km/h for the race (this year’s route has been simpli ed and shortened because of the war). It will never be broken. The car is driven by the relatively un- heralded Baron Fritz Huschke von Hanstein and Walter Baum because star drivers of the time prefer to ride open-body cars, so that their fans can see them race. “They would have been ashamed to be wrapped up inside a racing car.” Remembered the Baron years later. Whilst the traditional BMW and German racing colour is white, the 328 is painted silver, like the legendary Mercedes “Silver Arrows” of the time. The legend goes that Germans began painting their cars silver in 1934 when, in the lead up to the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring, Alfred Neubauer weighed his Mercedes W25 at found it to tip the scales at 751 kg, 1 kg over the newly introduced FIA Grand Prix Car weight limit of 750 kg. Neubauer immediately ordered his W25 to be stripped of its white paint, exposing the silver-grey of its al- uminium body. As the aristocratic participants of automobile racing of the time would have known, in heraldry silver is con- sidered to be the same colour as white. Both the 1940 BMW 328’s silver livery and its driver’s white overalls are adorned with prominent, black, SS logos.
1948 - Tazio Nuvolari, “the greatest driver of the past, the present and the future” (Ferdinand Porsche), now 56 yeas old, makes his way down to Brescia for the beginning of the 15th edition of the race. He travels directly from a convent of the shores on the Lake of Garda where he has been trying to cure himself of acute respiratory problems. He arrives dressed in a stan- dard shirt, tie and jacket since as far as he’s concerned his only come down to chat with friends and colleagues. Instead, soon after arriving he nds a stubborn but charming Enzo Ferrari at his elbow, insisting that he race one of his new Ferrari 116Cs, initially intended for Prince Troubetzkoy, who can no longer make it. Suddenly Nuvolari nds himself agreeing. Instead of his signature out t of yellow jersey, blue trousers, brown gilet and gold lucky charm in the shape of crawling tortoise gifted to him by the Italian Decadent Gabriele D’Annunzio, a journal- ist of the time notes that Nuvolari is dressed in a “a tight black leather gilet and a white leather helmet”... His unexpected participation in the race will end at Reggio Emilia when, leading the race with more than 29 minutes over his nearest competitor and hundreds of thousands of spec- tators lining the streets encouraging him crazily, his battered Ferrari nally gives in.
1950 - “Ragazzi” says Count Gaetano Marzotto to his four racing car-obsessed sons, Vittorio, Paolo, Umberto and Giannino “Ferraris are too fast and too dangerous, stop risking your lives in these red rockets!” The children look at each other, perplexed. Then Giannino goes out and buys a blue Ferrari. Umberto a white one. Problem solved. Giannino turns up at the 1950 Mille Miglia wearing a double breasted suit with a blue tie matching the glassy metallic blue of his car. He races in the same suit and tie and wins. Years later asked to explain his insistence on racing in formal attire he replies that, simply: “Since these were the clothes I wore for driving in my normal life, day in, day out, all the organs of my body whose ef cien- cy was demanded by car racing were used to them. If I had dressed differently – overally, scarf, pullover, helmet – I would have introduced an element of distraction in an activity which required maximum concentration.”
1952 - Alberto Sorlini, of cial photographer of the Mille Miglia from 1947-57, begins using colour lm to document the event.
1953 - Historical race journalist Giovanni Canestrini notes that this year’s edition of the race welcomes “the rst American drivers we’ve seen, and together with them their new looks, new rac- ing clothing and the strident colours of suits, ties and hats: the same ones that horri ed us when we rst went to the Carrera Panamericana.” Count Giannino wins the race for the second time, this time in a red Ferrari, but always in suit and tie (and woolen v-neck). The Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio is second, in a short- sleeved yellow shirt.
1955 - A silver car (Stirling Moss’s Mercedes 300 SL) wins the race for the second time, in a record time of 10h 07’ 48”.
1957 - A tyre of the Ferrari 335 S driven by Alfonso De Portago and Edmund Nelson explodes whilst the car is traveling at high speeds through Corte Colomba in Cavriana. The car veers of the road, ploughing into a crowd of spectators killing both the pilots and nine people, including ve young children. Following the incident the race will never again be run in its original form.
1977 - The Mille Miglia is reborn as a vintage car race.
1988 - Massimo Osti, passionate fan of vintage sports cars and himself owner of a cream-coloured 1958 Porsche Cabriolet 356AT2, takes a C.P. Company eld jacket with lenses inte- grated into the collar (today known as the ‘Explorer’ model) that he had designed for his most recent C.P. Company collec- tion and begins modifying its design for the imaginary function of protecting the heroic open-top endurance car drivers of his youth. He cuts the jacket long (long enough to cover the upper thighs) but with a noticeably short zip, which ends just above the waist (allowing for easy sitting). He copies the capacious pockets of a 1957 Swiss Army Field jacket and he moves the lenses from the collar to the hood, designing a complex but easy-to-use of ties for achieving tight and close t to the face. The jacket is made from ve different fabrics: emery-brushed 50 li with an internal polyurethane coating, Irlanda Fix linen, Salina Fix linen, nylon mesh and satin cotton. Garment dyeing the jacket is an extremely complex operation but results in the fabrics taking on the following colours: brown russet, with a hint of crimson, pale purple brown, drab green, caked-earth brow, wheat brown and champagne brown, all of which have a broken-in and faded nal appearance. In this way the colours achieved by garment dyeing allow the jacket to poetically sim- ulate the effects of dust, then mud, then rain, then brutal sun, then dust again to which a piece of clothing might have been subject during the epic period of automobile racing. Accord- ingly, Osti decides to sponsor the 1988 (and 1989) iteration of the Mille Miglia race, providing racers with jackets and re- lated accessories. His wife Daniela Facchinato photographs the photo, consigns the photos to Osti who, as per his aesthet- ic predilection at the time, photocopies the images, “fading” them, and designs and publishes a book in honour of the event and his wife’s photographs.
C.P. Company sponsored the Mille Miglia in 1988 and 1989, designing the most iconic itera on of its goggle jacket in honour of the race. Since 2014 it has sponsored La Festa Mille Miglia race in Japan. Since 2015 is has provided o cial wear for all drivers. La Festa Mille Miglia 2016 will be held between October 14-17th racing a 1200 km circular route depar ng from Harajuku.