California Mille

California Mille – April 15-19, 2018

The 28th Anniversary of the California Mille.

One of the premier vintage motoring events in the world – 1000 miles over 4 days on California’s best backroads.

The event is open to cars manufactured prior to Jan. 1st, 1958.  Approx. 65 cars are chosen from those submitted for entry.  The event space is limited due to the hotel accommodations chosen for the route each year.

Request for entry form will be available by December 1..

Car Eligibility

The event is open to cars manufactured prior to January 1,1958.  Approximately 65-70 cars are chosen from those submitted for consideration with space limited by the availability of hotel accommodations.

All requests for entry must be in the spirit of the Mille Miglia. The event is open to any and all cars that did, or could have, participated in the original Mille Miglia during the years of 1927-57, and can be of foreign or domestic manufacture.

The organizers will select the most interesting cars while seeking a variety of makes and types. Each vehicle must be road legal, registered, and covered by liability insurance, proof of which must be carried in the vehicle at all times during the event.

A clear, current, reproducible photograph or jpeg must accompany each application along with an accurate description of the vehicle.

Insurance Requirements

Every participant is required to have their cars properly insured according to the laws of the state and /or country of the car’s registration.  Please note that some insurance policies may have limitations on mileage or restrict coverage when your car is not parked in a secured garage overnight, driven in road rallies, or while in transit.  We recommend that you verify that your car will be covered for a 1,000 mile organized multi-day rally event that involves hotel parking lots and commercial shipping.  If you need insurance or have questions regarding coverage, our insurance sponsor, Chubb, can assist. Chubb can be reached at 866-227-9648 or at collectorcar.chubb.com.

Drivers Say It Best

David Reidie, Australia

“There are few places left on the planet where you can drive your authentic classic sports car on the best twisty roads imaginable, surrounded by cars of similar pedigree driven by like-minded enthusiasts.”

Keith Martin, Portland

“As the publisher of Sports Car Market, and also a vintage car enthusiast, I’ve had a chance to participate in vintage events all over the world, from the classic Mille Miglia in Italy to the Colorado Grand. Of them all, the California Mille stands out as the perfect blend of great scenery, fantastic cars and great people.”

Previous Years

California Mille 2016

California Mille’s Salute to Italy’s Mille Miglia
to Head South for Four Days of Back Roads Adventure

67 Historic Cars Displayed on Nob Hill April 24 Prior to April 25 Departure
The 26th annual celebration of Italy’s most-famous, open-road race, the Mille Miglia, will visit the small towns and see the big vistas of coastal California.
Cars that could have qualified for Italy’s thousand mile event that ran from 1927-1957, will arrive at San Francisco’s Nob Hill from a dozen states and two foreign countries on Sunday, April 24. The public is invited to see the cars and meet the drivers from 11 AM- 6 PM on Mason between California and Sacramento streets.
Co-directors David and Howard Swig will host a special presentation beginning at 1:30 PM on Sunday, recalling how their father Martin Swig introduced the Mille to America after noting that “Northern California looks more like Italy than…Italy.”

Read whole Press Release

Read the great article in Automobile Magazine
about the California Mille 2016.

Press Release

California Mille’s 25th Annual Celebration of Italy’s Most Famous Race Begins Sunday, April 26, in San Francisco

Free Car Show, Live Italian Music on Nob Hill Precede 1000-Mile Drive

The 25th annual California Mille will bring 67 historic cars from all over the world to San Francisco on April 26 to salute Italy’s most famous open road race, the Mille Miglia. The public is invited to see the biggest free car show of its kind in America, meet the drivers and enjoy live Italian music on Mason Street between Sacramento and California Streets from 12 noon until 4 PM.

Co-organizers David and Howard Swig, carrying on the Mille tradition begun by their late father Martin Swig in 1991, will introduce dignitaries, recall the colorful history of the original event and its California counterpart, and spotlight significant classics that could have qualified for the Mille Miglia that ran from 1927 to 1957.

On Monday morning, April 27, Italian Consul General Mauro Battocchi will wave the Italian flag by the partenza (departure) arch spanning Mason Street, signaling the start of a four-day, thousand-mile drive–not a race–that celebrates the spirt of the original event with “important cars, little roads and wonderful friends.”

Day 1 will see the Mille crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to parts of California that Martin Swig said, “Look more like Italy–than Italy”: Mill Valley, Fairfax, Pt. Reyes Station, Occidental, Santa Rosa and Napa for the night.

Day 2 (April 28) the Mille will depart for Calistoga, Cloverdale, Boonville, Ukiah, and Little River.

Day 3 (April 29), the California Mille will motor to Fort Bragg, Garberville, and Victorian Ferndale, returning to Little River for dinner and an overnight.

Day 4 (April 30) will see the California Mille heading for Jenner, Petaluma, Glen Ellen and concluding the adventure in Calistoga.

International entrants from Japan, Colombia, Britain and Germany will join California Mille participants from 13 U.S. states, with California accounting for 46 of the classics.

Cars in this 25th anniversary celebratory drive are:

  • 1927 Bentley 3 liter, Calif.
  • 1928 Bentley 3/8 liter, Calif.
  • 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C2300, Calif.
  • 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C2300, Calif.
  • 1938 BMW 328 streamliner, Japan
  • 1950 Lancia Ardea, Calif.
  • 1952 Aston-Martin DB24 dhc, Calif.
  • 1952 Cunningham C3 coupe, Calif.
  • 1952 Jaguar XK120 ots, Florida
  • 1952 Jaguar XK120 roadster, Calif.
  • 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900C Touring, Calif.
  • 1953 Aston-Martin DB2, Hawaii
  • 1953 Ford Comete, Calif.
  • 1953 Lancia Appia, Calif.
  • 1953 Nash Healey, Calif.
  • 1954 Lancia Aurelia B20, Calif.
  • 1954 Lancia D24, Texas
  • 1954 Maserati A6GCS , Calif.
  • 1954 O.S.C.A MT4 1500, Calif.
  • 1954 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 coupe, Maryland
  • 1955 Austin-Healey 100M, Calif.
  • 1955 Austin-Healey 100M, Oklahoma
  • 1955 Ford Thunderbird, Calif.
  • 1955 Jaguar XK-140 ots,Calif.
  • 1955 Lancia Aurelia B20S , Calif.
  • 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS, Calif.
  • 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS series 3, Calif.
  • 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900 SSZ, Calif.
  • 1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Lt.Wt., Calif.
  • 1956 Austin-Healey 100M, Colorado
  • 1956 Ferrari 250GT Boano ally coupe, Illinois
  • 1956 Jaguar XK-140 fhc, Calif.
  • 1956 Lancia Aurelia B24S, Calif.
  • 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing, Calif.
  • 1956 Morgan +4 , Calif.
  • 1956 Porsche Carrera 4-cam, New York
  • 1957 AC Aceca, Calif.
  • 1957 AC ACECA 2.6 Zephyr, Oregon
  • 1957 Alfa Romeo 1900 CS, Calif.
  • 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce, England
  • 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce, Colombia
  • 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, Calif.
  • 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, Calif.
  • 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, Calif.
  • 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Alleggertia, Calif.
  • 1957 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, Calif.
  • 1957 Ferrari 250GT Tour de France, Connecticut
  • 1957 Lancia Aurelia B24, PA
  • 1957 Lotus Elite, Calif.
  • 1957 Maserati 200SL, Calif.
  • 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster, Calif.
  • 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster, Pennsylvania
  • 1957 Porsche 356 coupe, Calif.
  • 1957 Porsche 356 coupe, Calif.
  • 1957 Porsche 356 GT, Calif.
  • 1957 Porsche Speedster, Germany
  • 1958 Ferrari 250GT Tour de France, Calif.
  • 1958 Ferrari California Spider, New York
  • 1958 Lancia Aurelia B24S, Calif.
  • 1959 BMW 5078 roadster, Nebraska
  • 1959 Porsche 356B cabriolet, Calif.
  • 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce, Calif.
  • 1960 Porsche 356 Roadster, Colombia
  • 1962 Lancia Appia, Calif.
  • 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300SK roadster, Florida

 

Amici americani della Mille Miglia (American Friends of the Mille Miglia) presents the California Mille and the Anti-Football Tour. The nonprofit organization is head-quartered at 154 Mitchell Blvd, San Rafael, California. David and Howard Swig are co-directors with Dan Radowicz serving as organizer. Additional information is available at www.californiamille.com

****

FOR PRESS INFORMATION
Ron Wren, 415-706-8717, Ronwren@aol.com

****

Download PDF file of above press release

California Mille 2014

2014 Driver Comments

Media Coverage

Sports Car Digest: California Mille 2014, May 2, 2014 by Dennis Gray
The 2014 California Mille was staged April 27th to May 1st on the challenging back roads of Northern California. The four-day, 1,000-mile rally continued its long tradition of spirited driving in historic sports cars on the twisty and picturesque roads for which they were intended. The rally celebrates Italy’s Mille Miglia race that ran from Brescia to Rome to Brescia from 1927-1957. Cars that could have qualified for the original event are eligible for entry in the California Mille.
Read more…

SF Gate: The annual California Mille takes off — four days and 1,000 miles around Northern California, April 28, 2014 by Michael Taylor
It is one of 77 classic cars that are setting off today (April 28, 2014) on the 24th annual California Mille, a 1,000-mile journey through Northern California that replicates, albeit at a slower pace, the famed Italian road race, the Mille Miglia. The Sunday night dinner was held to welcome the 150 people who will be driving in the rally.
Read more…

Nevada City Chamber: CA Mille Stops by Nevada City April 29, April 25, 2014
The 24th running of the California Mille, a motoring tribute to Italy’s most-famous open road race, the Mille Miglia (thousand miles), will begin with a car show atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill on April 27 followed by a four-day, thousand-mile backroad adventure.
Read more…

All Car Central Magazine: California Mille 2014
The California Mille is conceptualized after the Italy’s famed Mille Miglia (thousand mile) high-speed open road race, which ran from 1927 to 1957. The original Mille Miglia was ended after a terrible accident that involved the driver and several roadside spectators in 1957.
Read more…

Houston Chronicle: Some of the cars entered in the 2014 California Mille, April 28, 2014
Read more…

DeGarmoltd Ltd.: 2014 California Mille, May 8, 2014
What better way could there possibly be to get intimately acquainted with our recently acquired 1958 Arnolt Bristol than to bring it on the 24th annual running of The California Mille. Wow… what a fantastic event. For fellow car freaks… the Cal Mille is a must do!
Read more…

KSFO 560: California Mille Preview
It’s the 24th annual salute to Italy’s most-famous open road race, the Mille Miglia (thousand mile) than ran from 1927-1957. Seventy-five historic cars that could have qualified for the Italian event will be displayed on Mason Street between Sacramento and California Streets. See the cars and meet the drivers.
Read more…

Sierra Culture: California Mille race to pass through Sierra foothills, Tahoe on April 27-May 4, April 23, 2014
The 24th running of the California Mille, a motoring tribute to Italy’s most-famous open road race, the Mille Miglia (thousand mile), will begin with a free car show atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill on April 27 followed by a four-day, thousand-mile back roads adventure.
Read more…

Classic Cars: California Mille gets set for thousand-mile tour, April 24, 2014
The 24th annual California Mille starts April 28 for a four-day, thousand-mile classic car tour of scenic countryside and challenging back roads across the middle of California.
“It’s kind of a cross-section of California landscapes, really a mix of the Coast, the Sierra Nevadas, Napa Valley wine country, Sacramento river delta and Central Valley,” co-director David Swig said of the drive route. “So it will be quite a diversity of roads and landscapes. We change the routes every year to give people something fresh and new roads to drive on.”
Read more…

The Sierra County Prospect: 24th Annual California Mille Celebrates
24 Years of Legendary Mille Miglia Race, April 29, 2014
The 24th running of the California Mille, a motoring tribute to Italy’s most-famousopen road race, the Mille Miglia (thousand mile), will begin with a free car show atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill on April 27 followed by a four-day, thousand-mile back roads adventure.
Read more…

RK Motors Charlotte Auto News: 24th Annual California Mille Kicks Off On April 28th, April 25, 2014
Monday April 28th marks the start of the 24th annual California Mille. If you’re not familiar with the four day, thousand mile car tour, you are missing out on one of the greatest chances of catching over 80 vintage sport, race, and touring cars actually seeing time on the open road.
“It’s kind of a cross-section of California landscapes, really a mix of the Coast, the Sierra Nevadas, Napa Valley wine country, Sacramento river delta and Central Valley,” co-director David Swig told ClassicCars.com. “So it will be quite a diversity of roads and landscapes. We change the routes every year to give people something fresh and new roads to drive on.”
Read more…

Sactown Magazine: Vintage car trek California Mille makes a pit stop in Sacramento, by Tori Masucci Cummins
The 24th California Mille vintage car tour, which kicked off Sunday in San Francisco, will spend Tuesday night in Sacramento. Sacramento, start your engine. You may catch a glimpse of Italian tradition this week when the 24th annual California Mille, a tribute to Italy’s famous open road race the Mille Miglia (or “thousand mile”), comes through the region.
Read more..

San Francisco FunCheap: Historic 1920s-1950s Italian Race Car Show “The California Mille”, Nob Hill
Over 70 historic racecars will be on display on Mason Street on Sunday, April 27, 2014 from noon to 6 pm for the 2014 California Mille – the largest free car show of its kind in America. Up to 10,000 fans are expected to come to Nob Hill to see Italian Consul General Mauro Battocchi arrive in a vintage Italian car, view the unique vintage car collection, meet the drivers, enjoy live Italian music by the Ron Borelli band and learn about the unique, unusual and significant autos in the show.
Read more..

Press Release: March 2014

24th Annual California Mille Celebrates
24 Years of Legendary Mille Miglia Race

March 2, 2014

The 24th running of the California Mille, a motoring tribute to Italy’s most-famousopen road race, the Mille Miglia (thousand mile), will begin with a free car show atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill on April 27 followed by a four-day, thousand-mile back roads adventure.

Some 77 entrants from four foreign countries and 14 U.S. states will assemble on Mason Street in front of the Fairmont Hotel where Italian Consul General Mauro Battocchi will arrive in a vintage Italian car, greet the crowd and invite any or all to join him in singing “Ill Canto degli Italiani”, the Italian National Anthem (At last year’s Mille Preview, Sig. Battocchi offered to buy anyone in the crowd a 1950s Alfa Romeo if they would join him in singing the anthem. There were no takers.)

“This year’s Mille may be the most significant compendium of classic cars we’ve ever had,” revealed co-director David Swig. “Along with some 13 Alfa Romeos, 11 Porsches, 6 Jaguars and half a dozen Ferraris — largely vintage ‘50s and ‘60s — we have a ’52 Tojeiro Roadster, a ’28 Bentley, ’57 Kurtis Kraft 500KK, and a ’38 Lancia Aprilia.”

“Perhaps the exceptional turn-out is the ‘double 24’ aspect of the two motoring milestones,” said co-director Howard Swig. “ The Italian race ran 24 times from 1927 to 1957, and this is the California Mille’s 24th running. Early registration suggests that this year may be our biggest and best drive ever.”

Up to 10,000 fans are expected to come to Nob Hill from noon to 6:00 PM on April 27to see the cars, meet the drivers, enjoy live Italian music by the Ron Borelli bandand participate in a presentation that will spotlight important cars, discuss their merits.

On Monday, April 28, the California Mille will depart at 8:30 AM, heading north to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, then motoring east to Lodi for lunch at the Wine and Roses Restaurant. That afternoon, the Mille will leave the Central Valley driving to the west shore of Lake Tahoe, with an overnight scheduled at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley.

Day 2, April 29, will see the California Mille motoring north into the picturesque and little-known Gold Lake region where drivers will avoid the temptation to fish, camp and hike (as normal tourists do), continuing instead to Nevada City for lunch at the historic Stonehouse Brewery. The afternoon drive will journey down the western slope of the Sierra with the Mille spending the night at the celebrated Citizen Hotel in Sacramento.

Day 3, April 30, the Mille classics will cruise along the banks of the Sacramento River, pass through the 19th century Chinese-designed town of Locke, then drive west to the Napa Valley wine country for lunch. Continuing westward, the Mille will amble through rarely-traveled back roads ending the day at Cavallo Point for the first of two nights at this breathtaking San Francisco Bay-front resort.

On May 1, the final day, the California Mille will climb 2500 feet to the near top of Mt. Tamalpais, the highest point in Marin County, smile for a commemorative group photo, then motor north for lunch in the village of Nicasio (population 600+/-; major attractions: Druid’s Hall, Volunteer Fire Department, Rancho Nicasio Restaurant), wander along the Pacific Coast to Occidental, then turn south for the run back to Sausalito and the final night’s awards banquet at Cavallo Point.

The California Mille was founded by Sausalito resident Martin Swig, who after driving the Mille Miglia from Brescia to Rome to Brescia, decided that northern California “Looked more like Italy than—Italy.” Thus was born, in 1990, The California Mille.

The Mille is produced by Amici americani della Mille Miglia (American Friends of the Mille Miglia), which also presents the annual New Year’s Day “Anti-Football Drive”, and will in 2015 re-stage La Carrera Nevada, its version of Mexico’s border-to-border La Carrera Panamericana.

David and Howard Swig are co-directors of these events and Dan Radowicz is the organizer.

California Mille 2013

Media Coverage

California Mille Chronicles: Keeping up with the SwigsBrothers take up the Mille’s mantle from Autoweek by Blake Z. Rong on 5/08/2013.
When David Swig was 16, he drove a Jaguar E-Type in Pale Primrose yellow down San Francisco’s famous Embarcadero. It was a real chick magnet, presumably, the sort of car a hopelessly romantic teenager would have killed to drive, if merely to wind up Abercrombie-clad jocks.
Read more…

California Mille 2013SportsCarDigest.com, Report by Dennis Gray | Photos by author and Bob Ross. 
The 2013 California Mille was held April 28th to May 2nd on the challenging back roads of Northern California. The four-day, 1,000-mile rally continued its long tradition of spirited driving in historic sports cars on the twisty and picturesque roads for which they were intended.
Read more…

California Mille celebrates 23 years of vintage automobile racingExaminer.com by Karla Erovick on May 7, 2013. 
The California Mille celebrated its’ 23rd anniversary this week in spectacular fashion. 70 vintage cars participated in the four-day, 1000 mile adventure through some of Northern California’s best driving roads.
Read more…

California Mille Chronicles: The little Lancias that could, Touring Northern California in Italian flivvers from Autoweek by Blake Z. Rong on 5/07/2013California Mille founder Martin Swig loved his modest Italian cars, and he loved driving them fast.
Read more…

California Mille Miglia rides again, Sons take over vintage car event after the passing of founder Martin Swig from Autoweek by Mark Vaughn on 4/24/2013.
“It was never a matter of saying, ‘Are we going to continue? Continuing was always the plan,” according to David Swig, the son of California Mille Miglia founder Martin Swig, who passed away last year after 22 years at the helm of the car rally. “My brother [Howard] and I grew up with the spirit of the Mille Miglia in our blood. It is and always will remain a family event.”
Read more….

Car lovers rev up for racer rally, Automobile from San Francisco Chronicle by Carolyn Joneson 4/29/201
Call it vroom with a view. That’s what drivers and spectatours experienced Sunday on Nob Hill, and what’s soon be revving across Northern California’s most pictouesque back roads.
Read more…

The California Mille – a Northern California rally based on Italy’s famed Mille MigliaHearst Newspapers National Cars Blog on SFGate by Michael Taylor 4/26/2013. 
The California Mille, a four-day, 1,000-mile homage to Italy’s historic Mille Miglia, will start off from the plaza in front of San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel Monday; and this year’s event is particularly bittersweet because for the first time in ages, its founder, Martin Swig, won’t be there. Mr. Swig died last July at his home in Sausalito, Calif., at the age of 78.
Read more…

California Mille 2012

Artwork & Photos

Vintage Iron Portraits: David Gentry is producing line art of the cars entered in the California Mille 2012.

Photos of the 2012 California Mille in Bodega Bay by Paige Gaines

Media Coverage

San Francisco Examiner
• May 2012: California Mille 2012: Vintage Cars, Scenic Roads and Adventure by Karla Erovick

jetset extra
• May 2012: Calistoga, CA, USA: A Passion for Vintage Cars in the California Mille by Karla Erovick

Octane
• March 2012: Gearbox by Martyn Goddard

California Mille 2011

Media Coverage

Autoweek
• August 2011: Do You Know the Way to Monterey? Martin Swig and friends know several ways, and made a rally out of them by Mark Vaughn

Press Release: March 2011

21st annual California Mille salutes Italy’s most-famous race with free Nob Hill car show and 1000-mile tour

70 Historic Race Cars on Display April 24 on Mason Street

The 21st annual running of the California Mille begins with a free preview atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill on Sunday, April 24, with some 70 historic race cars on display from 11 am to 6 pm. The following morning, the cars will depart at 8:30 AM for a four-day, 1000-mile back road adventure that will take them along little-known roads to time-capsule towns, challenging race tracks and a private auto collection.

The Mille (MILL-leh) honors Italy’s famed Mille Miglia (thousand mile) race that ran from Brescia to Rome to Brescia from 1927-1957. Only cars that could have qualified for the Italian event may participate in the California tour–not a race but a demanding drive.

The public is invited to see the cars and meet the drivers on April 24 when cars from Britain, Colombia, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and dozens of U.S. states will be displayed in front of the Fairmont Hotel on Mason Street between California and Sacramento Streets. At 2 PM, Mille organizer Martin Swig will greet auto fans with a presentation of dignitaries and a roving-microphone review of many of the cars being exhibited.

On Monday, April 25, the Mille will exit Mason Street through a special arch, turn right onto California Street and make its way to the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Tamalpais, Bolinas, Olema, Petaluma entering the Infineon Raceway off Highway 37 for touring laps. The morning drive will conclude with a visit and lunch at a private collection of Mercedes-Benz considered to rival the factory’s own collection in Stuttgart, Germany. That afternoon, the Mille will cover some 50 miles of Highways 116, 121 and 29, end the day at Solage Calistoga.

Tuesday, April 26, will see the Mille heading to Geyserville, Lake Sonoma, Skaggs Springs Road, and Highway 1 wth a lunch stop at Little River Inn, a drive of just over 124 miles. The return trip to Solage Calistoga will take the Mille along Highway 128 toward Cloverdale, along Asti Road
and the Silverado Trail.

Day Three (April 27) will highlight a drive along the Silverado Trail to Winters, Esparto, Williams and Maxwell with a lunch stop and touring laps at Thunderill Race Track . Wednesday afternoon will see the California Mille driving Highway 162, 306, Danley Road, Freshwater, Highway 20 to Middledtown, and returning to Solage Calistoga for an overnight.

The final day of the thousand-mile drive will see the historic racers heading for Guerneville, Cazadero, Fort Ross Road, Meyer’s Grade Road, Highway 1, Bodega Bay, Chileno Valley Road to Wilson Hill Road, Hicks Valley Road, Nicasio Valleyl Road and a lunch stop at the colorful Rancho Nicasio. The Mille’s final 62 miles will take drive toward Fairfax, onto Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, to Bolinas Road to Ridgecrest Boulevard, and Mt. Tamalpais where a commemorative photo will be taken near Pantoll Road. The Mille will then continue down toward Mill Valley (renamed Mille Valley for the day), to Highway 1, l0l north and a final banquet and awards dinner at the Lodge at Sonoma.

The California Mille is presented by
Chopard Watches, Chubb Insurance, Bonhams auction house, The Fairmont Hotel, The Ironstone Foundation, British Motor Car Distributors, San Francisco Examiner, and KSFO-560.

Press Release: May 2011

The 2011 California Mille Goes the Extra Mile –
and Then Some – For an EntrantMatteiMilleTag

This year’s California Mille went north . But for Richard Mattei of Normandy Park, Washington, the big adventure was all to the south.

His drive started with a 1942 Alfa Romeo, then a 1957 Porsche 356, then a 1956 Austin-Healey – and ended with a ‘52 Jaguar XK120. In between it was semicontrolled chaos.

“I had a shop in Phoenix completely service my new Austin-Healey and deliver it to Burbank Airport, where I picked it up and headed north,” Richard says. “Almost immediately I noticed the clutch wasn’t right. I could barely get it in gear, and when I did, I couldn’t get it out. Eventually I limped the car to a hotel, and the following day headed north on 101, and then over to 280, to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic.

Highway 280 ends and becomes 19th Avenue in San Francisco just a few miles from the Fairmont Hotel. California Street was packed with traffic, and signals stopped commuters and expecially buses at every block. All stopped – except Richard who yelled to any who would listen: “GET OUT OF THE WAY. I CAN’T STOP!!!”

He made it to the Fairmont Hotel garage where the car quit completely. That night, Mark Ronfeldt worked on the clutch, and by the next morning everything was fixed. Everything – except for the clutch that failed again on a test drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. “Screw it,” said Richard who went to the North Beach Cafe for a dinner that night accepting the fact that the 2011 California Mille would leave without him.

But Plan B was forming. The Alfa wasn’t done in time. Neither was the ’57 Porsche, and now neither was the ‘56 Austin Healey. Maybe his ‘52 Jaguar could make the Mille.

“Who do you know who would go get my Jaguar in Phoenix?” asked Richard of Dan Radowicz, the organizer of the California Mille. “I’ll do it,” said Rick Hutchings, who contacted the Phoenix garage people, hopped in Richard’s truck, headed south, and met them outside of Bakersfield where Mattei’s Jaguar XK120 was waiting.

Then without missing a beat Rick turned around and sped north arriving back in San Francisco Sunday morning just before display time for the cars in front of the Fairmont.

Rick was none the worse for his all-night ordeal.. Richard was a nervous wreck, not knowing when or if he’d have a back up car. “The Jaguar performed beautifully. So did Rick Hutchings,” said Mattei. “The fun of the Mille is the unexpected. I didn’t expect a clutch problem – and I certainly didn’t expect the Mille crew to go the extra mile… or 700 miles – to get me a replacement car. That’s what I love about this event.”

What will Richard Mattei be driving for the 2012 Mille? I think I’ll drive my ‘45 Alfa 6C2500 SS – and make sure I have Rick Hutchings cell number handy just in case.”

Press Release: July 2011

A Clarification
The California Mille vs. The Mille Miglia Tribute

July 7, 2011
Many people have asked if there is a relationship between the California Mille and the Mille Miglia Tribute. There is no relationship.

In short:

  • The California Mille is a nonprofit event. The Mille Miglia Tribute is a commercial event.
  • For all its twenty-one years the California Mille has endeavored to preserve the spirit of the original Mille Miglia. The Mille Miglia Tribute has yet to demonstrate its understandingof the Mille Miglia.
  • The California Mille focuses on entries that could have qualifiedfor the Mille Miglia (l927-1957). The Mille Miglia Tribute has recently announced an “encore” classfor newer cars to bolster an apparent lack of interest by the historic motoring community.
  • The California Mille selects interesting back roads that recallthe Italian countryside. The Mille Miglia Tribute designers have apparently never driventhe Mille Miglia or similar events as their route includes traffic-congested highways that cross the San Francisco Peninsula — not once but twice.

How did this confusion between our two motoring events occur? In the past, the MilleMiglia re-creation and the California Mille embodied the same spirit as the original race. A few years ago, a Genoa lifestyle marketing group called MAC bid more than 1,000,000,000 Euros per year to run the Mille Miglia for five years, through 2012.

MAC licensed Stratus Group (a promotion organization) of Santa Barbara to stage the Mille Miglia Tribute in – of all states – California, where the California Mille is headquartered. An interesting co-incidence. When the Tribute was announced, Stratus anticipated 15,000 applicants from which the group would choose 300 to make the drive. Accepted entries would pay an $8,000 fee. That was the plan.

When too few entries came in, Stratus added a class of car called “Encore”. That meant cars built after the 1957 cutoff date became eligible. That also failed to produce entrants, so they added “value-pricing”. This involves soliciting clubs to enter from 1 to 25 cars at discounts ranging from 28% to 37%. Draw your own conclusions.

The California Mille does not wish the Tribute ill, but it is sad to see such a proud and historic motoring event corrupted in a quest for cash over values.

Martin Swig
Organizer, The California Mille

California Mille 2010

Promo Video

To order your 30 minute DVD with the highlights of the California Mille 2010,
simply mail a check in the amount of $49 (includes tax & shipping) to:
Amici americani della Mille Miglia, 154 Mitchell Boulevard, San Rafael, CA 94903.
(Be sure to inlcude your mailing address, on where to ship the DVD to)

Media Coverage

Haute Living
• March/April 2010: Spotlights California Mille

Media Coverage

International Watch
• April 2009: Chopard’s California Dreams

California Mille 2007

Winding Road

David E. Davis, Jr. reflects on the 2007 California Mille as he drives an electric blue 2008 Audi RS4 through the mountains of Northern California. Another video short from WINDING ROAD Magazine.