32 The ALLURE of Rallies & Tours T he California Mille got its start when John Lamm of Road & Track and Martin Swig went to the 1982 Mille Miglia in Brescia, Italy with Martin’s 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900 Zagato. They were the only Americans there. John did an article about the event in Road & Track and Americans discovered the Mille Miglia. Martin proceeded to return each year in vari- ous Alfas. Then in 1990, the late Bob Sutherland started the Colorado Grand. Ivan Zaremba and Martin took a 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce. One night during that event, a group including Ivan, the late Gil Nickel, Lou Sellyei and Martin had dinner. Gil suggested that they start a California event, warning that if they didn’t, someone else might, and they might not like their style. On returning to San Francisco, Martin’s first call was to long-time friend and fellow Alfa Romeo collector, the late Ken Shaff. Ken’s concepts concerning size and structure of the event have been a key element of our success. Ken always insisted on keeping it small. In the early days, he did a lot of route se- lection, exploring endless backroads. Unfortunately, Ken passed away a few years ago and his shoes have never been filled. The first California Mille was run in October 1991. About 50 cars participated. During the 1980s, as Martin ran in the Italian Mille, he couldn’t help but compare it with an imaginary California event. At first he didn’t know exactly where to start his event. But after a few years, he discovered that the Fairmont Hotel, on prime Nob Hill in San Francisco, would like to host the event. They were willing to close the block in front of the hotel (and gener- N a t i o n a l T o u r s California Holds a Mille of its own, The California Mille by Jeff Broadus - Photos by Zach Hammer California_Mille_Intro.indd 32 12/21/17 11:33 PM