The Two Worlds Trophy they called it, and that - emphatically - is what it was. Run twice, in 1957 and '58, it was an attempt to stage a match race between Europe and the USA, and it must be said that the track, an oval taking in Monza's hallowed and long-defunct banking, was not exactly a layout calculated to favour the European contingent in its battle with the fabled Indy roadsters.
By any standards, the track was ferociously fast: at a time when pole for the Indianapolis 500 was in the vicinity of 140mph, in 1957 Tony Bettenhausen's Novi lapped the Monza bowl at over 177mph! With the exception of the Ecurie Ecosse D-type Jaguars - which, remarkably, came to Monza immediately after winning the Le Mans 24 Hours - the Europeans, citing safety concerns, withdrew from the event. It was not their shining hour.
In their absence, though, the roadster brigade put on an excellent show, and the following year the Two Worlds Trophy carried rather more weight, for now the Europeans had set aside their qualms about safety, and serious entries materialised from Ferrari and Maserati, featuring drivers such as Mike Hawthorn, Luigi Musso and Stirling Moss. Again it was an overwhelming triumph for the USA, but at least this time there was some worthwhile opposition, notably from the fearless Musso, who was to die the following weekend in the French Grand Prix at Reims.