California Mille 2010Enlarge Photo
Last weekend marked the beginning of the 20th anniversary of the California Mille, a 1,000 mile driving and social event for pre-1958 cars throughout Northern California. In the tradition of the Mille Miglia in Italy, it is more than just classics being driven around--did I mention there was a $5,800 entry fee? For the public, it’s essentially a free Concours D'elegance located conveniently at the Fairmont Hotel at Nob Hill in San Francisco.
Participant cars are parked in front of the hotel and other gorgeous classics on the street. The variety and caliber of the cars is extraordinary. As a matter of fact, cars from the Palo Alto Concours D'Elegance were present as well.
The beauty of the event is that these cars are not sitting in a garage never being driven and appreciated only by a few. They are gorgeous, mostly in excellent condition despite being driven hundreds of miles a day. Many of them do not have air conditioning, radios or other modern comforts--something akin to the benefits and detriments of motorcycling come to think of it, and in some cases requiring about the same amount of storage space too.
The event is primarily for the owners to enjoy their cars, venues and driving experience. And for the public, who would normally pay $25 to $150 to see such classics gathered in one place without the trailer queens and storage princesses, it is a special treat.