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.

DISCUSS (14 Comments)

  1. Pete R. Hernandez

    Pete R. Hernandez liked this on Facebook.

  2. EJ Fournier

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  3. Nick Collins

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  4. Tom Moran

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  5. milo temesvar

    Really interesting these photos, also because they do not portray the typical landscape of the Apennines of the classic 1000 miles. I learn from wikipedia that year the course took place mainly in the Alps, but I can not identify the location. Could you ask Gary where exactly the photos were taken?

  6. Harlo

    You’re right Milo… very atypical scenery for the Mille. Here’s a map of the ’58 route: http://www.gdecarli.it/Circuiti/ITA/ITA%20Mille%20Miglia%201958.gif

  7. Philip Leemans

    Philip Leemans liked this on Facebook.

  8. Gary Mason

    Thanks Harlo! I am just glad that others can share in what were several wonderful years of my life. They look better than I might have expected. 🙂 I lived in Vicenza, but to be honest, don’t remember where we went. I would think the Trento vicinity, but …

  9. milo temesvar

    Thanks Gary and Harlo and sorry for the pedantry. In some pictures it appears what looks like a military fort of the First World War. I’ll try to find out which one it is, (though in Trentino there are dozens of forts) and so determining the place…

  10. Gary Mason

    Not an issue for me Milo. Except perhaps that you reminded me of how much my memory has eroded in the last 55 years. 😉

  11. Hendrik Haan

    @milo temesvar:
    This should be the location: http://goo.gl/maps/ADfdN

    http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forte_Tagliata_della_Scala

  12. Harlo

    Excellent investigative work, Hendrik. Thanks for this.

  13. milo temesvar

    Yes, thank you Hendrik; so it is in province of Vicenza…ok, we have also the relief to see that almost nothing is changed in that place

  14. Gary Mason

    Just a beautiful area. Bassano, Marostica, etc. Many fond memories.

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