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It was a race within the United States, but the finish line was on Italian soil as the inaugural 1000 Miglia Warm Up USA rally concluded recently on the grounds of the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
“For the first time ever, the famous 1000 Miglia brought its legendary open-road motorsports endurance race outside the Italian borders,” according to a news release from 1000 Miglia and the Historic Vehicle Association.
The event covered more than 150 miles of scenic if rain-soaked roads through Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia before concluding at Villa Firenze, official residence of the Italian Ambassador to the U.S. Armando Varricchio.
Eighteen cars participated in the inaugural event, including a 1928 Bugatti Type 40, a 1927 Cadillac La Salle roadster, a 1928 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500SS, a 1951 Cistialia 202 SC cabriolet, a 1954 Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday coope, a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano, a 1957 Porsche Speedster and several Jaguar XK120s.
Winning the speed-distance-time rally was a 1952 Jaguar XK120 M driven by John Houghtaling with Franco Valobra as navigator.
“It is our great honor to be celebrating this momentous occasion together with the Italian Ambassador,” said Franco Gussalli Beretta, president of 1000 Miglia srl, which is owned by the Automobile Club of Brescia. “The 1000 Miglia represents all things iconic of Italy, its history, traditions, elegance and automotive passion. With programs like the 1000 Miglia Warm Up USA, we intend to share our spectacular event with enthusiasts and fans around the world.”
“The inaugural event launches the beginning of future USA activities and comes exactly 90-years since the first American cars, a Chrysler Model 72 and a Cadillac LaSalle, participated in the 1000 Miglia in 1928,” the organizers’ news release noted.
“Founded in Brescia, Italy in 1927, the 1000 Miglia’s DNA has consisted of history, beauty, precision, and community. The 1000 Miglia Warm Up USA mirrored the nearly century-old race by bringing the unique time and speed rally to a new audience and country for the very first time.
“The 1000 Miglia is about classic cars, it’s about history and beauty, and most importantly, it’s about people,” added HVA president Mark Gessler. “It is our great privilege to share the automotive heritage of the 1000 Miglia, along with its great passion and spirit with the people of the United States.”