The sun finally burned through the clouds that had been covering the West Country, just in time today. So by 2:45pm, a sunny spring afternoon provided the final ingredient for a perfect afternoon. It was at exactly this time that the drivers of 150 Italian cars and 100 Italian motorbikes were all asked to rev their engines. Hard. As this was in the narrow streets of the old commercial district in Bristol, the noise was absolutely incredible. Imagine a symphony of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Maseratis, Alfas, Fiats, Ducatis and Lambrettas……… that was what we all heard. Corn Street was absolutely packed for the occasion, and in fact the event was extremely well attended, with throngs of people around the cars all day long. The visual effects were pretty good, too, and here are some of the highlights
ALFA ROMEO Oldest car of the show was probably also the most valuable. This 6C 1750 dates from 1929. 1900 SS Touring:Giulietta Spirnt:This SZ version dates from 1960:Giulia – first launched in 1963, and notable for its impressively low drag co-efficient (0.34), as well as its lively engine and excellent handlingThis Nuova Giulia is one of the late models, and started its life in Europe, before being imported to the UK in the 1990s:Giulia Spider: Spider (Duetto) – this car was in production for well over 20 years, and went through a number of iterations, from a lovely boat-tailed first model through to the clumsy early 1980s plastic-bumpered cars, before the final smoothed off tail Series IV cars:2000 GTV: Alfetta GTV Alfasud – a late model Ti Cloverleaf: Montreal, with a GT Junior Zagato in the background of the first picture and a GTV in the second one SZ – two lovely examples of this cult car on show:Alfa 90. A reskinned and modernised Alfetta, this car was only sold for 2 years in the UK, and was not a success. It is thought that only 11 of these remain in the UKAlfa 75 Alfa 155Alfa 145: Alfa 156 GTAThe GTV and Spider range from the late 1990s were well represented. Even modern Alfas were on show – here’s the Brera and 159, not looking at all out of place:LANCIA Oldest Lancia on show was this Augusta:There was also an Aprilia, but for some reason, it seems to have eluded my camera.Fulvia Coupe – one of the loveliest coupes of the 1960s. Early models had a 1200cc engine, and even later ones only had 1300 or 1600cc, yet they went well, and were also very effective as rally cars:Stratos:Beta Coupe:Numerically, there were more Delta Integrales than any other Lancia.Second generation Delta. Never imported into the UK, this was the 3 door HPE model:Thema 2.0ie Turbo FIAT I have to start with my favourites – the Dinos. There were 5 of them there, 2 coupes and 3 spiders, and all of them just unutterably gorgeous. A special display of 500s combined the latest model with the “Nuova” 500 that ran from 1957 to 1975. This rare Giardiniera was one of the cars on show: There was also one older Fiat 500. This “C” model, dating from the early 1950s was found in very decrepit condition, and had been restored to a stunning standard. Just lovely! 124 Spider128 3P These cars were quite popular in the 1970s, but like most Fiats of the day, they vanished quickly, as rust took hold, so seeing 2 of them must count as a rare sighting indeed.Three Stradas were on display. The blue one is a 75 Automatic – believed to be the only such car left in the UK. It was acquired on eBay late last year, from an elderly couple who had just given up driving. Never restored, it was not perfect, but the owner is planning to get it to that state:This Strada 105TC has been in the same family since new, and was in superb condition: There were lots of Fiat Coupes. Most of them had been modified, at least a bit. Still a striking piece of design, for sure:Barchettas were also popular today, with a variety of these under-rated sports cars on show:Also under-rated was the Marea Weekend. I recall being very surprised at the performance of the 20v 2 litre car that I tested, and loving the engine note. The 5 cylinder diesels were, in their day, stonking engines, too.
Stilo 3 door – and the only diesel-engined car in the showMASERATI Sebring:
Merak: Biturbo – here was one of the rare 4 door models.Lots of examples of the 3200/4200 GT Quattroporte:FERRARI 365GTC, dating from 1969:Dino 246 GT512BB308 GTB:328 GTS:MondialTestarossa – when this one departed, I was struck by just how wide the car appears, especially from the rear:288 GTO:LAMBORGHINI
One of just 2 Countachs that were on show:
DE TOMASO Just three cars on show this year, all Panteras:
LAMBRETTA A special display from the Mods of Bristol, many of whom were dressed for the part!And finally…….. an interloper? Well, I thought so, too, when I spotted the badges on it read “Jowett Jupiter Javelin”. It turned out that although the Bradford company did indeed supply the chassis, this is a very rare car, of which only 4 were made, by an Italian coachbuilder, for show purposes in the early 1950s. I’ve never seen one of these before, not surprisingly.Organised by the Alfa Owners Club, the Ducati Owners Club, and the city of Bristol, this was an excellent event. That it was taking place in my home city was just a bonus! Bravo e Grazie!