Coppa Mille Miglia 1931

MixedMedia / Acrylic on Canvas
on 1.8” / 45 mm Wooden Museum Frame
63” x 43” / 160 x 110 cm

To start the 1931 racing year, Rudolf Caracciola and his co-driver Wilhelm Sebastian triumph in the Mille Miglia in an SSKL (the L stands for light), a vehicle which is perforated with holes to reduce its weight. The 7.1 litre engine now produces 300 horsepower and achieves a top speed of 235 km/h.


The race is characterised by uncertainty. Communication with the drivers is practically impossible. On the last lap, Caracciola and Sebastian themselves are unaware that Tazio Nuvolari has already been eliminated and that Giuseppe Campari in the Alfa has overtaken the Scuderia Ferrari. And then the unbelievable happens: Caracciola crosses the finish line in the lead position on the 13 April 1931. The average speed of 101.1 km/h is a new track record.


The exuberant Mercedes-Benz race director, Alfred Neubauer, is there to jubilantly greet him at the finish. “Neubauer is totally carried away as he executes a completely crazy Indian dance. What the hell’s going on here …? I don’t get it … not yet anyway … then it dawns on me: I’ve won the Thousand Miles…” With that, overall victory at the prestigious Mille Miglia, which has been held since 1927, goes for the first time to a foreign driver.


In the same year, Caracciola and the SSKL also win the Eifelrennen motor race, the Großer Preis von Deutschland (German Grand Prix) and the AVUS race. In the 1932 season, the Stuttgart plant withdraws completely from motorsport due to continually increasing economic problems.