Racing icons line up for Mille Miglia

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IOL mot pic may 11 Alfa 6C

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This Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 Super Sport is a sister car to the one in which Guilio Ramponi and Guiseppe Campari won the 1929 Mille Miglia.

The Alfa Romeo Historic Motoring team will be lining up four official entries for the 2012 Mille Miglia, two pre-war - the 1500 SS and the 1750 GS - and two models from the 1950s - the 1900 SS and the 2000 Sportiva.

All these models took part in the Mille Miglia races between 1927 and 1957, which resulted in 11 victories for Alfa Romeo - a record which remains unbeaten.

This year's Mille Miglia will be run from 16-20 May, and it's the 80th anniversary of the first time an Alfa Romeo 8C won this race. In 1932 Baconin Borzacchini and Amedeo Bignami crossed the finish line at Brescia in an 8C 2300, followed by a sister car - and another five Alfas filling the top order down to seventh!

The 6C 1500 Super Sport of 1928, with body by Stabilimenti Farina (predecessor to today's Pininfarina) was Vittorio Jano's first street-legal car for Alfa Romeo. It made its début in 1927, winning first time out at Modena under the banner of Scuderia Ferrari, with Giulio Ramponi - who later settled in South Africa - at the wheel.

Ramponi and Guiseppe Campari took the first of 11 Alfa wins at the Mille Miglia the following year, in a sister car to the one you see here.

EPIC BATTLE

IOL mot pic may 11 Porsche 356

A 1954 Porsche Type 356 Coupe.

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Tazio Nuvolari and Giovanni Battista Guidotti won in 1930 in a Zagato-bodied A6C 1750 Gran Sport, making history by becoming the first to average more than 100km/h - after an epic, race-long dice with Achille Varzi that climaxed in a legendary overtaking manoeuvre at night, with the headlights off, so that Varzi wouldn't know he was there until it was too late to block him.

The 1956 1900 Super Sprint was the top of the Alfa Romeo range at the time, and a favourite of Mille Miglia privateers because it was fast and reliable, while the glamorous 2000 Sportiva, esigned by Franco Scaglione, was a derivative of the 1900, notable for its sophisticated De Dion rear axle, which was adopted on the Alfetta sedan 20 years later.

PORSCHE MUSEUM ENTRIES

Zuffenhausen will be sending six cars to this year's Mille Miglia - two of the legendary 550 Spyders (think James Dean) a 365 Speedster 1500, a 356 Speedster 1600, a 356 Speedster 1600 S and a 356 Coupé with V-shaped front windscreen, the so-called “Knickscheibe” (bent windscreen).

This year's Mille Miglia will follow the original route over some of Italy's most spectacular roads from Brescia to Rome and back - and even as a regularity trial rather than an outright race it's still a challenge for cars and crews because the 1600km course is completed in only three days and usually goes through several different weather systems.

The first Porsche win in the Mille Miglia came in 1952 when Prince von Metternich and Count von Einsiedel took the 1.1-litre class in a 356 1100, at the head of a Porsche 1-2-3.

IOL mot pic may 11 Porsche 550

A Porsche 550 Spyder in action at the 1955 Mille Miglia.

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No less than 18 356's of various capacities were entered the next yeat, 1953, with Hans Herrmann and Erwin Bauer winning the two-litre displacement, class and Hans Leo von Hoesch and Werner Engel winning the 1300cc class.

SHOOTING THE BOOM

In 1954 works driver Hans Hermann, with Herbert Linge in the hot seat, drove his low-slung 550 Spyder under a lowered railway barrier just in front of a passing train, to avoid being held up, on his way to a class win and an impressive sixth overall.

In 1955 Wolfgang Seidel and Helmut Glöckler took the 1.5-litre sports-car class in a 550 Spyder, Rainer Günzler won the 1300 GT class, Richard von Frankenberg and Peter Oberndorf clinched the 1300-1600cc GT class, each in a 356.

Heavy rain in 1956 robbed Hans Hermann and his 550 A of the overall win but Porsche claimed two class wins, as Olof Perssson and Gunnar Blomquist took the 1.5-litre GT class in a 356 1500 Carrera, and Harald von Saucken and Georg Bialas won the 1.5-litre sports-car class in a 356 1500 Speedster.

At the last classic Mille Miglia in 1957, Italian Umberto Maglioli won the sports-car class up to 1500cc in a 550 A Spyder, while Paul-Ernst Strähle and Herbert Linge took the hotly-contested GT 1300-1600cc GT Class, in a field dominated by 356s.

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