Reader Photos: Gary Mason’s 1958 Mille Miglia

Fiat at the Mille Miglia, 1958

A few weeks ago I received my favorite kind of email. Gary wrote in saying these simply beautiful words: “I have found many photos I took from 1957 to around 1962. I am thinking about sending them to you.”

Gary, this is exactly the kind of thing that keeps me inspired to keep this site going. I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when a box of slides and photo prints arrived with races ranging from The Race of Two Worlds to the Mille Miglia to Stateside SCCA races. I had planned to wait until everything was scanned and catalogued to start posting them but I’m sure you’ll understand why I can’t wait for all that. This is just the first of many series of Gary’s photos. I can’t wait for you to see them.

I’m sure there are a few of you that are already puzzled by the title of this post—’58 Mille Miglia? What ’58 Mille Miglia? Sure, the dangers associated with high speed racing up and down the boot were already showing signs of disaster before Alfonso de Portago’s dramatic careening off a stretch of road between Cerlongo and Guidizzolo that killed him and his co-driver Edmund Nelson along with nine spectators. As a result, there would be no proper Mille after 1957. But race organizers (and Brescian businessmen, no doubt) cherished the event and the crowds it drew so as soon as 1958 the Mille was re-imagined as a regularity rally with occasional hillclimbs and speed events along the way. A then-teenaged Gary Mason was perched alongside the route, 35mm Kodak Retina in hand.

Thanks again, Gary. These are fantastic! As always, if this is reminding any of you of a box of forgotten photos in the closet, drop me a line.

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