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MG Mille Miglia 1934
Now and again the world of motor racing produces a car destined to unusual adventure. It was for such a machine that, at two o’clock in the morning, thousands of enthusiastic Italians waited in an avenue, gazing down a smooth, black road which shone glassily under the stark light of brilliant arc lamps. The spectators were held back by ropes and planking stretched between flag-poles set at the edge of the highway, and the ceaseless, high-pitched drone of their voices maintained all atmosphere of tension and expectation.

Officials hovered beneath a banner strung high above the road, its chequered edging silhouetted against the shadowy trees. Ever and again they looked to where a slender arch straddled the avenue, so placed that it formed an entrance from the deep darkness of the countryside beyond the town.

Without warning a brilliant glare burst from the black distance, rushing towards the arch. The grouped officials broke up. The standing crowds swayed, and above the noise of their stirring came the blare of a trumpet sounding a long-drawn call, while the blaze of white light rushed nearer. As the trumpet-note died it was echoed by the grow\ving roar of a racing car traveling under full throttle.

Its head lamps caught the arch, silvering the structure's sides. They revealed the animated crowd, lit the scattering officials, and caught the stretched banner as the dark shape of the machine dived through the opening and pi tched down the centre of the road. A flag fell in tIll' moment that the car roared beneath the banner, then brakes went on, and men ran from all directions towards the slowing machine.

Proud Bearer of the Union Jack

Beneath its dusty flanks showed the green of England's racing colour. The Union Jack was painted on the bonnet, and on the curve of the scuttle was the Italian flag. Behind the wheel sat Captain G. E. T Eyston, with Count Lurani huddled at his side, both cramped and stiff. In eighteen hours they had covered one thousand and twenty-four miles, and were the first to finish the course for the 1933 Mille Miglia. They had broken all records for 1,100 c.c. machines, and the car they drove was the first of all racing Magnettes.

Such was the debut of a machine which had been,built in record time, and had then journeyed to Italy during twelve stormy days, surrounded by boxes in a vessel laden with china clay. By all precedent a car erected so rapidly, and of new design, should have been subjected to the trials and errors of a dozen events before it ran first past the checkered flag. Yet in its first race it achieved victory in its class, which is unusual.

The crowds swarmed close while Eyston and Lurani were lifted out, and the Italians remained staring at the vetture Inglese while other cars came in. They left it only when Tazio Nuvolari raced across the finishing line, but they might have remained could they have known that the future was to link Nuvolari with this dusty green machine

When the crowd had gone the M.G. was rolled away.

Author: ArchitectPage