D he Mille Miglia is considered the most renowned classic car race in the world . With their sinfully expensive gems, almost 400 vehicles thunder across Italy every spring - 1,600 kilometers of pure enthusiasm, unique landscapes and impressive cities. However, only those who have not yet experienced the 'Colorado Grand' can dream.
Over 1,000 miles of mountain slopes
More than a thousand miles across the grandiose Rocky Mountains with landscapes that only bring a compassionate smile when commemorating northern and central Italy. Spectacular old-timers, the never-ending mountain ranges of the Rockys with their spectacularly rugged valleys and glowing red gorges as well as regulatory authorities who like to turn a blind eye in view of generous donations: something like this is only available worldwide at the Colorado Grand.
Mercedes 300 SL Roadster, gleaming Gullwing, '62 Ferrari 400 Panamerica, Jaguar D-Type, Bugatti T-51 or Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Monza from 1934 - the starting field of the Colorado Grand reads like a 'who-is.' -Who 'international automotive history. Those who ride here love vintage cars, the Rocky Mountains and speeds over the permitted 75 miles per hour. In the field of almost 100 vehicles there are eight Colorado Troopers on motorcycles, who ensure law and order, but also like to let loose the reins themselves. 'The whole thing here is not a race, but a classic car ride. Our job is to make all participants have a good time and not to get someone out of jail,' warns trooper Paul Kramer clearly.
The US state of Colorado usually makes short work of razors. 'If you're 25 miles too fast, you go to jail,' adds Kramer, getting on his brand new Kawasaki. Anyone caught must pay a fine. But the attraction of taking part in the Colorado Grand is enormous. The waiting lists for one of the almost 100 starting places are long and at least the drivers of the ten replacement cars hope that one of the participants will be canceled shortly before the start. Many have their classic cars flown in from other states or even abroad and brought to the start and destination in Vail.
Classic car races for a good cause
Unlike other classic car races in the world, donate The organizers for years have given respectable sums to bereaved families of the State Patrol, hospitals, and kindergartensAid organizations. Since the first Colorado Grand 21 years ago, it has raised almost three million dollars. That is also unique in the world. Nobody wants to make a profit with the event. Only part of the impressive participation fee of 6,700 dollars is spent on organization and implementation.
The route of the Colorado Grand could hardly be more spectacular. Start and finish is in the well-known winter sports resort of Vail, around two hours west of Denver at an altitude of almost 3,000 meters. In four day stages it goes over the sleepy Hotchkiss to Grand Junction, on to Ridgway on the high plateau of Crested Butte and to Aspen, before the entourage of vintage cars after more than 1,600 kilometers via Steamboat Springs finally rolls back into the ski paradise Vail. A tough test for drivers and oldies.
Cars worth millions
The Colorado Grand is one of the most spectacular classic car events in the world. One reason is the sensational classic cars, which rarely have a value of less than $ 400,000 per vehicle. Most Mercedes, Ferrari, Maserati or Alfa Romeo are far more expensive and are worth millions. The mood among the participants is friendly, the meals and get-togethers are unusually unpretentious and not very spectacular. This is precisely what makes the 'Grand' so charming. 'We can't give anyone a free pass here not to pay attention to the speed limits,' warns Trooper Piney Haris, who has been coming to the Colorado Grand for years, 'but there will be enough opportunities that we can let our hair fly a little in the wind . ' The participants are beaming. That's why they're here. It goes through the spectacular red gorges of Montrose, Delta or Ouray at more than 120 miles an hour. There is hardly a car on the road apart from the couple of shiny Mercedes 300 SL, Porsche 356 or Ferrari 250 Testarossa, which incite each other.
Technicians who have traveled along solve technical problems
Chris Marsico hopes that his black Mercedes 300 SL Roadster gets back on its wheels straight away: 'I have problems with the right front brake. Otherwise my new Roadster will run great.' Mechanic Nate Lander from the Classic Center in Irvine has already worked half a night shift on the Benz and some another bolide inserted. 'The SL Roadster comes from 1962 and has only run 12,000 miles. The brake can get stuck there. But it should work again immediately, 'adds Michael Kunz, Head of the Classic Center with satisfaction. The next morning, the Marsisco couple are beaming with the sun of Colorado. The dark bolide runs and brakes as on the first day. The open 300 SL is in place in new condition - and should cost almost a million dollars.
The ice cream in the 'Aspen Trails Ice Cream Shoppe' just behind Cedaredge is cheaper. Normally the mega-ball costs two dollars, but the granders get itfree today. Anyone who compares the taste with the ice cream scoops at the edge of the Mille Miglia knows why.
At 220 km /h on the highway
It is particularly hot on the third day. On the federal highway Colorado 114 between Gunnison and Saguache, a horde of vintage cars is thundering past. In front a brown Mercedes 300 SL Roadster, followed by a silver gullwing, a green Costin Jaguar and a Ferrari 250 Europa GT. The speedometer shows 220 km /h - with a trooper on a 1400 Kawasaki in tow. At the next gas station in Vila Grove, trooper Paul Kramer raises his thumb in appreciation. 'Was fun, wasn't it?' But there is no free ticket for the 1,600 kilometers through the Rockys. The driver combination Steven Adler and Jacob Greisen knows a thing or two about that. 'A cop caught us on 114 - with almost 85 miles', the Dane Jacob Greisen grieves, 'but it only cost us $ 200.' What is that compared to the value of the black Ferrari 250 GT Series I Cabriolet? Most of them will be back next year and the waiting list is already open.