Snapshot, 1957: Peter Collins 'in the zone'

What a picture! As navigator to Peter Collins during the 1957 Mille Miglia, photographer Louis Klemantaski had the ideal position from which to capture a whole series of extraordinary snapshots. The duo were denied victory, however…

Klemantaski grew up in Manchuria in the 1930s and, after the Second World War, accompanied the European racing circus as a photographer. In 1957, he was invited by Peter Collins to be his navigator on the Mille Miglia in his Ferrari 335 Sport. And of course, Klemantaski brought his camera. It created unique images that today send a shiver up one’s spine; especially when considering the speed drivers achieved as they threaded their cars through rural Italy.

The photo here shows Collins in the hills outside Rome and gives an idea of what a spectacle the 1000-mile race was, not only for the competitors, but also for the Italian population. The duo actually led the Mille Miglia for a considerable distance, but victory wasn’t to be theirs. Just a few miles from the finish, at Brescia, Klemantaski and Collins retired with a broken differential. Probably little consolation, but on the negatives in Klemantaski's camera was one of the best images ever shot during the ‘Mille’ in May 1957.

Photo by Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images