Mille Miglia (or Thousand Miles) was an open-road endurance race, which took place in Italy between 1927 and 1957. During this period, a total of 56 people were killed, and after two fatal crashes that took place in 1957, the race was banned. Now, Mille Miglia is a road rally that takes play each May in Italy on the historic roads from Brescia to Rome and back to Brescia.
Each year, only 375 vehicles are allowed to enter the race and they usually come from Italian makers, like Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. This year however, Mercedes is also planning to enter the race with quite an impressive lineup: a 1928 SSK, a pair of 300 SLs, the 1955 300 SLR and a 1954 220. Behind the wheel will be former F1 driver and brand ambassador, David Coulthard, F1 safety car driver, Bernd Maylander, and old-time racers, Jochen Mass and Karl Wendlinger.
Mercedes made its first appearance in the Mille Miglia in 1931, when it won the race with an SSK, and then obtained another victory in 1955 with a 300 SLR driven by Stirling Moss.
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The ultimate Porsche-designed Mercedes-Benz, the ’S’ or ’W-06’ class cars were powered by a supercharged, in-line six cylinder engine with overhead camshaft, two updraft carburetors, and dual ignition. Approximately 372 of these Sport models were produced between 1927 and 1934. Forty-two of them were SSKs (for Super Sport Kurz or Short), short chassis two-seaters which could reach 115 MPH with the Sindelfingen factory body. The first vehicle specifically created to be driven on the road and on the racetrack, it proved to be remarkably successful at such venues as LeMans, Monaco, and the Mille Miglia.