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21 Ultimate Gifts: Ticket to Ride

Marco R. della Cava

THE GIFT

Prequalification for you and a guest to be one of the 375 official
teams in the Mille Miglia Storica 2009, which takes place
in Italy from May 13 to 17.

The opportunity to drive or navigate a historic racecar
from Brescia (home of the museo Mille Miglia and the traditional
start and FINISH of the race) to Rome and back.

Four mechanics, two assistance vehicles, and one "white-glove"
problem-solver at your disposal 24 hours a day.

Transportation, admission fees, meals, and seven nights
of five-star accommodations.

$1 million

There are historic rallies, and then there is the Mille Miglia Storica. This three-day, thousand-mile dash around Italy in vintage vehicles surpasses even the most vaunted of other driving experiences, and tops the Bucket List of any driver with a true passion for automobiles. Those who have been fortunate enough to participate in past races rhapsodize about it like triumphant Everest summiteers. They recount for all who will listen a host of indelible memories, including the ardent adulation of citizens who line ancient streets to greet the motorists; the carabinieri escorts; and the camaraderie of fellow enthusiasts whose backgrounds extend from prince to pop star.

Unfortunately, a mere passion for four-wheeled artworks does not qualify one to take part in this high-octane event: The rigorous screening process excludes all but the most exquisite privately owned racecars dating from the years of the original race—1927 to 1957. However, the organizers of the Mille Miglia are breaking with tradition by reserving one of their prized 375 slots for a Robb Report reader and a guest. This gift includes the use of a Mille Miglia–worthy car, full mechanical support throughout the race, and five-star lodging and dining experiences in many of Italy’s most picturesque regions.

"This has never been done in the more than 80 years of Mille Miglia history," says Alessandro Casali, who oversees both the current incarnation of the race and the growing Mille Miglia global brand. "The loaned car will be in the realm of a Ferrari or Bugatti of the period. But the true value of this package is both in its exclusivity and in the ability to access a very sophisticated circle of individuals."

When it comes to networking among the automotive cognoscenti, the Mille Miglia Storica is certainly a gathering without peer. But there are better reasons to make the trip to Brescia—reasons that have less to do with high-powered hobnobbing and more with unleashing your inner Stirling Moss. Back in 1955, the stocky Brit and his wily navigator, Denis Jenkinson (who devised a scroll-like contraption for managing route instructions), barreled down the Italian peninsula and back up at an average speed of almost 100 mph—an astonishing feat when you consider the sheep- and chicken-filled country lanes and narrow medieval streets that constitute the race’s "track." Of course, if you have difficulty visualizing yourself as Moss, just look around: There is a good chance the British legend will be back at the scene of his historic run, firing up the engine of his Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR.

Mille Miglia, Daniela Puglielli, 908.212.7846, www.1000miglia.eu

The gift is limited to one buyer and a guest • The gift must be purchased no later than January 30, 2009 • The buyer should have adequate insurance in the event of a mishap.

Photo by Jim Fets
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