Chopard Presents 19th Annual California Mille

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 CEO of Chopard USA Marc Hruschka was happy to get behind the wheel of a 1925 Lancia during the 2009 tour.

The annual event is a tribute to Italy’s Mille Miglia, which ran from the Brescia to Rome and back from 1927 to 1957. Only fine autos that would have qualified for the Mille Miglia-with a few notable exceptions-are invited to participate in the annual California event.

As such, California Mille attracts some of the most intriguing cars still on the road for a four-day tour, and the sponsors of the event are as top-notch as the participants. Chopard Watches of Switzerland was the presenting sponsor (CEO of Chopard USA Marc Hruschka was happy to get behind the wheel of a 1925 Lancia during the 2009 tour), and they were joined by the Fairmont Hotel; the Lodi Wine Growers; British Motors Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Lotus; and others. Throughout the region, excitement was palpable as the cars roared through; when the convoy got to Mill Valley on day four, the town aptly renamed itself Mille Valley, just for the remainder of the event.

When the first Mille Miglia revival was held in 1982, the cars participating were only 25 years old (still quite the feat!). Now, those same autos are taking the 1,000-mile trek with a minimum of 51 years on them. As such, a few exceptions have been made to allow cars created after 1957 to participate, as long as they have the same design as the ’57 or an earlier predecessor. Take, for example, 356s and Alfa Guilias, which are eligible for participation. The next generation Jaguar XK-E, however, is out of luck.

The event kicked off with a full-day, free car show on Mason Street in San Francisco on April 26, where the public was able to take in the wonders of these pristine autos, which included a 1948 Nardi-Danese Corsa Spyder, a 1955 Porsche Speedster, and a 1939 Jaguar SS10. Drivers then departed at 8:30 a.m. on April 27 for the adventure, which took them on a scenic tour of northern California. From the summit of Mt. Hamilton to the banks of the Sacramento River, these auto enthusiasts were treated to some of the most picturesque vistas and, of course, the finest dining, wines, and lodging.

Next year’s event will not only mark the 20th anniversary of the California Mille, but also the 100th anniversary of Alfa Romeo, and enthusiasts are expected to come out in droves to celebrate these two special occasions.

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