The Touring coupe managed the shortest overall time of 8 hours, 54 minutes, 46 seconds, and average a speed of 103.53 mph. This is Alfa’s first Mille loss in eight years.
Huschke von Hanstein had driven from the start, but when his BMW crossed the finish Walter Baumer was at the wheel. Huschke had stopped at Castiglione to let Baumer drive the last few kilometers. A full 15 minutes behind von Hanstein and Baumer came the Alfa 6C2500 SS of Nino Farina and Paride Mambelli. Third was the Brudes and Roese BMW ahead of another Alfa, then the fifth-place Briem and Richter 328, and in sixth the BMW of Wencher and Scholz.
The Kamm coupe had clocked 134 mph, but crosswinds hindered the tall-sided body in handling and near the end it had ignition and engine oil problems, causing Lurani and Cortese to slow in order to make it to the finish line in Brescia. When von Hanstein climbed from the winning Touring coupe, he kissed Lurani’s mother on her hand. Germany owned the victory and Italy had its Mille Miglia (actually 934 miles) once more.
Wednesday, May 1, 1940
Back in Munich today after the Mille’s BMWs were driven home by those who raced them. The cars have been displayed all day in the Odeonsplatz, and BMW’s managing director, Franz-Joseph Popp, has come to congratulate the teams. The celebration and interviews have been going on forever.
Friday, May 10, 1940
My BMW experience is over, and I’ll be going home to America as soon as arrangements can be made. Civilian travel has become very difficult, with the so-termed “Phoney War” creating new obstacles daily.
And now the war has turned real in every sense. This morning, the Nazis invaded France through the Low Countries, Neville Chamberlain has resigned and Winston Churchill has come in as Britain’s new Prime Minister. Speaking today in the House of Commons, Churchill offered words that will no doubt epitomize this social servant with trademark cigar and staunch determination: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
History lives and speaks for itself, no matter voice or manner. BMW shone brightly in those dark times before World War II, and this heritage helped build a new postwar future. Even so, it would take many years before the BMW automobile on road and track would pick up where it left off after that landmark victory at Brescia 70 years ago.—W.E.