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Tackling the 2015 Mille Miglia in a Jaguar C-Type

by Sam Jemielity

The Mille Miglia began in 1927 when the people of the Italian town of Brescia formed the challenge as a protest for the Italian Grand Prix being moved to Monza. The original race followed a route from Brescia to Rome and back. After several starts and stops over the decades, often involving fatal crashes that caused the race to be banned (per Wikipedia, the race took 56 lives between 1927 and 1957), the Mille Miglia was revived in 1977 as a road rally for pre-1957 cars.

In this video, Alex Goy of XCAR shares his experience driving in a 285-horsepower Jaguar C-type with a tricky gearbox in the 2015 Mille Miglia, what he calls possibly the “greatest moving motor show on the planet.”

Today, these exotic classics race through the Italian countryside over four days and roughly 1000 miles. Goy and his co-driver Ben Cusson’s Jaguar has only one door and no roof. As he gets ready to embark on his adventure, Goy muses: “How difficult can it be to drive 1000 miles in four days. Sounds easy… right?”

Not quite. As Goy quickly found out, his co-driving duties included functioning as the navigator when not driving, which was trickier than you might imagine, because at the wheel, Cusson (the owner of the Jaguar) has a fondness for risky passing and also what Goy calls “extreme lane-splitting,” driving down the center line to bypass traffic jams. These maneuvers take on a little more gravitas when you’re driving in a car worth millions of dollars.

Additionally, Goy discovers that the footwell of the Jaguar C-type gets a little toasty. By the evening of the first day, the sole of his shoe has begun to melt off, and by day two, he needs to use duct tape to address the issue. On day two, traffic strikes, and some commuters went out of their way to block Goy and Cusson.

The C-Type is definitely temperamental, but luckily Cusson shows patience with Goy as he learns the idiosyncrasies of the Jaguar. After some initial nerves getting used to the car, Goy gets the hang of it and starts his own passing and lane-splitting maneuvers. By the time Goy gets to the end of his adventure, he unsurprisingly feels “a twinge of sadness” knowing his adventure is coming to an end.

“I’ve just driven a thousand miles around Italy. It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done. It’s the greatest thing you could ever do.” But until you cajole your way into a million dollar classic car for a spin around Italy, this captivating video will have to do.

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