Motoring tradition in St. MoritzUnforgettable
In 1925, following a positive outcome of the 10th referendum, Grisons was the last Swiss canton to allow the use of cars. Just four years later, St. Moritz hosted the 1st International Automobile Week.
At the initiative of a group of local tourism pioneers, the first «International Automobile Week St. Moritz» took place in 1929. The centrepiece of the event is the 16.5 kilometres long «Bernina Mountain Race». Winners of this race are the legendary racing drivers Hans Stuck in an Austro-Daimler ADR 3.0 (in 1929) and Louis Chiron in a Bugatti T47 (in 1930). Famous names such as Rudolf Caracciola, Ernst-Günther Burggaller, the Prince of Leiningen, and Count Arco-Zinnberg feature on the roster of drivers.
Another crowd puller is the «kilomètre lancé», a race over a distance of 1 kilometre requiring a precise dead stop at the one-kilometre mark. To stage the event, Shell commissions to asphalt the road between Punt Muragl and Samedan, giving it a new name, Shell Road, still in use today. The Bernina Race, held on a conspicuously gravelled road, couldn't cut it on the international scene and was cancelled after the second event in 1930.
Today, the Alpine city's automotive tradition lives on in the form of high-profile annual meets like the British Classic Car Meeting St. Moritz, Passione Engadina, and the WinterRaid. The Bernina Gran Turismo get-together, with a race over the Bernina Pass on a closed-off mountain road, is most reminiscent of the original car racing weeks of 1929 and 1930. Aside from that, renowned automotive manufacturers, such as BMW and Maserati, regularly give winter driving training in the Engadin. The St. Moritz Automobile Club organises guided excursions; all those who want to have their classic car serviced in the Engadin will see their automobile in good hands at Volante Classic Car.