The world’s most famous heritage race, the Mille Miglia Storica, begins soon and among the more than 450 entrants from all over the world are two Australians.
The May 19 race from Brescia to Rome and back again will also mark the end of an incredible journey for Aussies Paul Lawson and Graeme Sedgwick, who will race a restored 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C SS that was found covered in rubble in the back of an Italian barn.
It will be a particularly special moment for Lawson, whose father discovered the 6C SS in a Calabrian barn in 1972.
The original chassis and engine were found buried under 10 tonnes of rusted farm equipment, where they had sat undiscovered for more than 40 years.
The vehicle was then shipped back to Australia, where Lawson’s father spent 10 years restoring the car back to its original condition.
Although severely damaged, the original supercharged engine showed 8342km on the odometer, while the vehicle still displayed the original number plate, which still proudly sits on the car today.
With the car now headed on its way back to Italy, a motoring story that has crossed decades and generations will reach its conclusion.
“This feels like we’re about to take the final step on a journey that my father began years ago, and I am honoured to be able to finish it for him,” said Lawson.
“Graeme and I met by chance as we are both keen [Alfa Romeo enthusiasts], and really bonded over our shared dream of competing in this incredible race. And so to finally be achieving that dream is just unbelievable.
“The car might be worth a couple of million dollars, but to us it’s priceless.”
The Alfa Romeo 6C SS — the same model that claimed victory in the 1929 Mille Miglia — will be one of hundreds of stunning heritage models that line-up for a race once described by Enzo Ferrari as “the most beautiful race in the world”.
Created as a way to honour the proud racing heritage of the Italian town of Brescia, the Mille Miglia was run 24 times between 1927 and 1957.
Reborn in 1977 as a tribute event, the Mille Miglia Storica is now restricted to vehicles produced before 1957.
The 1000-mile loop takes in some of the most picturesque locations Italy has to offer, cutting across stunning countryside on the way to the historic city of Rome and back again to Brescia.
The modern event incorporates a similar route to the one raced by icons such as Enzo Ferrari, and which helped shape Alfa Romeo’s proud racing history.