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The California Melee

The California Melee is a parody of other Mille races. Here, a vintage Maserati attends the Mille Miglia 2010, in Brescia, Italy.

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

The Mille Miglia was an Italian endurance race back in the days before and after World War II, where cars weren't expected to go fast so much as they were expected to be in it for the long haul, traveling for 16 hours or more over an open road track that was roughly 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) in length. That's not particularly unusual. More unusual is the California Mille. Taking the Mille Miglia as its inspiration, cars running the California Mille wind their way through California wine country, pausing for regulation stops at resort hotels and wineries. At the very least you have to wonder how the participants stay under the legal alcohol limit for the entire 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers).

But even more unusual still is the California Melee, an outright parody of the California Mille, where the cars are all pre-1975 sports and touring cars and the pit stops are at brewpubs and motels. Call it the Mille Miglia for the rest of us. The entrance fee is low and you've got three days to putter along 750 miles (1,207 kilometers). Race? Some people would call that a road trip.

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