Million-dollar vintage Mercedes shredded in Mille Miglia crash

Alex Lloyd
Editor at Large

It's hard to look at this picture of a destroyed Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, worth north of a million dollars, and not cringe. Driven by Konstantin Sixt, namesake of Europe's Sixt rental-car company, the Benz was competing in the annual Mille Miglia vintage car rally through Italy, before it was headbutted by a BMW 1-Series.

The original Mille Miglia (or Thousand Miles) was an all-out race that occurred between 1927 and 1957, with a seven-year break in the middle for that pesky World War II. It attracted the world's best cars and their drivers, like Tazio Nuvolari in his Alfa Romeo, Stirling Moss in his Mercedes and Alberto Ascari in a Lancia D24 Spider.

Today, the event continues as a rally/parade, and to take part in one of the most illustrious collections of automobiles anywhere in the world, you must participate in a machine produced in 1957 or earlier – a car that attended, or was registered in, one of those original 27 races. (While the original was a full-out endurance race on public roads, the modern-day version is a timed rally that supposed to improve the safety of drivers and bystanders alike.)

It's reported that the BMW was being driven by a French volleyball coach, and that all involved in the wreck are recovering with no serious injuries. A video has surfaced of the aftermath, but as of now, we don't know what happened.

What we do know is that a truly stunning 300SL Gullwing was badly injured, and that in itself is a tragedy. But by the looks of the mangled sheet metal, that tragedy could have been a whole lot worse.