Gullwing Frolics Through Gorgeous Italian Countryside in Mille Miglia Race
Mercedes gives designer Magnus Walker a 1955 300SL from its ‘Classic Collection’ to conquer the famed 1,000-mile endurance.
Between 1927 and 1957, competitors from around the world placed themselves inside the finest high-performance machines known to humanity, and drove a single, 1,000-mile lap from Brescia to Rome, Italy and back. That affair would be known as the Mille Miglia, one twice conquered by Mercedes in 1931 and 1955.
Today, and since 1982, the Mille Miglia is a more sedate affair than the high-speed endurance race it was way back when. Nonetheless, it’s still an adventure, and Mercedes was only happy to provide famed designer and collector Magnus Walker with one of their own 300SL Gullwing units from their Classic Collection to take on the historic rally.
“This is a new challenge for me, a new adventure to be driving this car,” Walker said. “What better way to experience life by driving. The freedom behind the open road, on the open road. It covers all the senses. I’m super-excited to be teaming up with Mercedes-Benz to do the Mille Miglia in the 300SL.”
Upon receiving instruction on how to start the black 300SL, along with their number, Walker and his romantic partner, Bloomberg cars editor Hannah Elliott, set off from Viale Venezia in Brescia to begin their journey in the Mercedes on the Mille Miglia.
“That’s what’s great about classic cars: they have emotion,” Walker said. “They have soul, and they have character. It’s an experience; just getting in the car is adventure. It’s something you look forward to. Once you’re in it, the car sort of comes to you.”
“The torque of this car is pretty nice,” said fellow competitor and German race car driver Sophia Flörsch of her red 300SL Gullwing, also from Mercedes-Benz’s Classic Collection. “If you go up a little hill or mountain, exit off the corner, if you’re in the right gear, it actually kind of pushes. It’s super fun to drive. I really like it, and overtaking is also working. I’m happy.”
“True gearheads, true petrolheads, true car people just all speak the language of the car,” Walker said. “It’s just a matter of picking your poison, whether it’s the Mercedes-Benz or the Porsche or the Aston Martin or the Jaguar. The car is the vehicle that allows you to go on the journey. The people who drive the car create the memorable moments, create the history and the stories of the car. The greatest experience is being able to share the stories with other car people.”
It’s not Walker’s first time competing in a rally with a Mercedes, either; according to Robb Report, he also drove in the 2018 Silvretta Classic in Austria in the same black 1955 300SL Gullwing.