Updated: Mar 9
This 1930 Alfa Romeo Mille Miglia poster celebrates the fourth year in which this magnificent endurance motor race was held.
I first stumbled upon a picture of this lovely Vittorio Jano designed Alfa Romeo 1750 some years ago in an Italian Alfa Romeo book, and wanted to use the image as reference for a new poster. But I needed some background information about the car’s achievements to feed me ideas how I might build the design, and not being an Italian speaker I looked to the internet.
And here I found a wonderful story about the 1930 Mille Miglia event in which the charismatic Italian driver Tazio Nuvolari (on the right) cheekily overtook his great rival Achille Varzi, also driving an Alfa, by sneaking up in the dark with his headlights turned off, only turning them back on after he had passed Varzi. Of course, I couldn’t resist using this excellent yarn as the basis for my design, despite the fact that eyebrows are raised among the cognoscenti as to the accuracy of this version of events. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story?
The Coppa delle Mille Miglia is run over a figure of eight course starting out from Brescia to Rome and back to Brescia; a distance, as the name suggests, of close to a thousand miles. After sixteen hours of racing Nuvolari beat Varzi by seven minutes to win the race, setting a new record average speed of 100 kph, and Alfa Romeos taking all of the first four places.
Later, Tazio Nuvolari was to say, rather boastfully, “It was a good race, and from Rome onwards I never had any doubt that I should win. The car was wonderful, and never gave a moment’s trouble. I could have driven much faster had I wished to do so. The hardest part of the race for me was when sig. Jano locked me up in a room at Bologna on the return journey and compelled me to rest for five minutes or more and had me washed and fed. I was in such a frenzy to get off that I almost fought with the pit attendants. I was much too excited to listen to arguments that I had the race in the hollow of my hand and could afford to take it easy.”
This particular poster has been my most popular design by a considerable distance and is still selling well.