Auto Italia at Brooklands – May 2009

What could be better than a gloriously sunny day, the historic setting of Brooklands, an enormous range of Italian machinery and the pleasure of the company of several Forummers? …….. That’s what I thought, too!.I was eagerly looking forward to this annual event, organised by the AutoItalia magazine, as I knew from the experience of last year’s trip that this was going to be an excellent day out. And I was not disappointed.

Several of the very latest Punto and 500 Abarths were at the event, along with a few of the wilder Abarth creations from the 1960s.

Numerically, I would guess there were more Alfas at the event than any other car, and by some margin, testament to the enthusiasm for this much-loved marquee. Most of the cars were recent, but some were older than that.

The oldest Alfa was the historic P3 racer, from 1934. Sadly, although I was privileged to hear it started up as it headed for a run up the historic test hill, I never managed to point the camera at it.
From the 1960s, there was this 2600 Spider.

And a Giulia Berlina
This 2000 Berlina is a regular at events like this, and I always enjoy seeing it.
The long lived Spider was in evidence, though not in he numbers that you might expect. This is a 1970s car, with the long tail, before the plastic add-ons were inflicted on this clean design.
There were several examples of the much loved Alfasud, all of them from the pre-series 3 cars which gained plastic bumpers and the hatchback..
There were a couple of the Sprint models, too, including one of the very last cars produced.
The 33 never quite captured the public’s imagination in the same way as the ‘Sud, but the remaining cars now are highly prized by their owners, as examples of the traditional Alfa, with its distinctive flat four engine.
The 145 and 146 cars are now all more than 10 years old, and are quite a rare sight on our roads.
Most of the 155s at the show had been modified to make them more suitable for tracj action, but there were a few more original cars, too.
There were a couple of the Zagato cars based on the 155, the SZ and RZ.
A personal favourite of mine remains the 164, and it was always disappointing that so few of them ever attend events like this. There was a very tatty Super car, and this rather more cared for Green Cloverleaf.

The GTV and Spider cars are definitely headed for classic status, if they have not got there already. When I caught a glimpse of a GTV in Tropical Green with a “P” plate on it, I started to wonder if my old car was at the show, It was not, but the car was all but identical, and brought back many memories. A good number of these cars were at the event, including a few of the very last cars with the different nose treatment.
It was the 156 that provided the real renaissance for Alfa, and the car sold in (relatively) huge numbers for several years, so it is no surprise that numerically there were more of these cars on show than any other Alfa.
The 166 never achieved the same success, and there was excellent evidence of the perils of mixing red paint and sunshine with a couple of these cars showing the consequences all too clearly.
The 147 is still a current model, but that was no deterrent to proud owners who brought their cars along. Several of the GTA cars were included, and this car still looks fantastic.
The GT is still in the range, too, and although the press are somewhat luke-warm about this car, I still think it looks fantastic, and enjoyed driving the test car I had a couple of years ago.
Alfa’s latest offering, the MiTo was also in evidence.  .
These are rare cars indeed.

Represented solely by a couple of Pantera cars, and a late model Longchamps.

A huge showing of Ferrari cars. Just as we arrived at the venue, we intercepted (literally) a convoy of cars that was assembling down the road. Having parked up, we were treated to a private showing of probably 40 cars filing past us – most of whom decided to treat our ears as well as the eyes. Wonderful!!

This event marked the first UK appearance of the new California, and there were in fact three of these cars at the event, one from Maranello Concessionnaires and a couple from the dealers in attendance. .
One of the more famous cars was the 250 California that Chris Evans bought last year. The man himself, trying to keep a low profile, was also in attendance, and after taking the car up the test hill was letting small children have a sit in his car.
This 250 GT is from a similar era.
This is an original 250 Testa Rossa from 1957.
There were not many 1960s Ferraris, but this 275 GTS was rather nice.
The Dino 246 GTB and GTS remain among the prettiest cars ever made, and the prices of these reflect the huge desirability of the car.
Lots of the 308/328 cars, as you would expect.
Also plenty of 355s.
Although the Testarossa is still a wide car when viewed from the back, it looks surprisingly small when seen in the company of more modern cars.
The 550/575 remains a desirable car. There was a Barchetta included in the display. Luckily for the owner, the sun shone all day, so he would not have to suffer the embarrassment of letting anyone see the Heath Robinson style thing which passes for a roof!
There were plenty of more recent Ferraris, too.
Just one Daytona, which was tucked away around the back of the venue, to bask in the sunshine.  
There were a good number of F40s at the event, and this car still stuns and draws the crowds.
There was just one F50, and not, for once, in red or yellow.
Also in a rarely seen colour was this 288 GTO, in white.
A small showing of the original 500, Topolino, models. The cabriolet is a very rare car, and has just emerged from a 13 year restoration.

Lots and lots of the Nuova 500, as you would expect, with the display carefully set up to alternate these cars with the modern car of the same name, which shows just how much larger in every dimension the car has become.
One very rare car was a SEAT version of the 500. I’ve never seen one before, even in Spain.
There was just one example of the 600 to see.  
There was also one example of the original Multipla, a car you could call the original People carrier.
The 850 was a popular small car throughout the 1960s and there was a Spider and a Coupe of this range to see.
There was a late example of the 124 Sport Coupe, complete with the very 70s period feature of a vinyl roof.
This is an original 125 Berlina. Rarely spotted these days, and easily confused with the Polski Fiat/FSO offering which lived on long after Fiat had replaced their upper medium sports saloon with the 132, this was a rare car indeed.  
No sign of the 130 Berlina this year, but there was a Coupe model. These cars sold in small numbers when new, and are still not that highly prized even now, which seems somewhat unfair.
The 128 3P was a very pretty and affordable hatch that appealed especially to women in the mid 70s. It is believed that fewer than 10 of these cars remain in the UK now.
Just a couple of X1/9s were at the event.
A good showing of Strada cars, all of which I recall seeing at previous events.
The Tipo was the successor to this car, and these are also now a rare sighting. This Sedicivalvole model is a regular at Italian car events.
Not a big seller even when new, the original Croma is a rare spot now.
The Punto was well represented. Many of the earlier cars were not exactly in the state in which they left the factory. The “improvements” were definitely of questionable taste and value. There was a lone example of the Cabriolet at the event.
There were a lot of the popular Fiat Coupes at the event. It is quite usual to encounter these cars have been “victim” of modifications, but most of the cars at this event were pleasingly original. There was one with gullwing doors, but I have not recorded that for posterity!
A good showing of the Bravo/Brava and Marea cars.
This Stilo was one of the limited edition Schumacher cars.
Among the new 500s on show, this one is one of the limited edition cars made available to Ferrari dealers to offer as courtesy cars.
One of the rarest cars at the show, without  question. This 1961 car was based on the Austin-Healey Sprite, but fitted with an Italian styled body. Apparently there are a few more of these cars in the UK.

This Grifo model had been manoeuvered onto the banking and was held in place by a very large rock in front of the rear wheels.


Not a huge number of these cars, mostly modern Gallardo and Murcielagos and Diablos, as you would expect.
There was a Uracco, the entry-level car from the 1970s.
A few Countaches, as well, of course. Still a very dramatic sight, nearly 40 years on.
Two Muira cars arrived later in the morning, and the crowds thronged around them. Still a head turner after more than 40 years.
The earliest Lancias at the show were a couple of the Aurelia GTs – famous for being the first car to adopt the “GT” name.

Two of the Appia Berlinas that I had seen at Bristol last weekend were here. Great to see them again. There was also a yellow  coupe model, but it seems to have eluded the camera.
A Zagato bodied Flavia. Chatting to the owner, he said it was a 1956 car, it was imported into the UK in 1967. He said that very few were originally made in right hand drive, but there are at least a dozen of these cars in the UK now.
The Fulvia Coupe was a particularly attractive small car from the 1960s and early 1970s, and still not that expensive to buy. There were also a few of the now rarer Berlina models on show, as well.
Just one Beta Berlina, a Series 2 car, and it was not in a very good condition. On sale for £600, it would probably need 10 times this amount to restore it. I hope someone decides to embark on this labour of love.
There were a few Montecarlos at the show.
This late model Gamma Coupe was also at Bristol last weekend. It was in a far better position here to be able to get a good look at it, and some better photos. The limitations of this car are well document, but even so, I retain the soft spot for these cars that I had right from when they were new.
Strong showing of Delta models, as you expect. As well as examples of all the evolutions of the Integrale, there was also an “ordinary” LX model, too.
The Thema 8.32 is a well-regarded “Q” car from the 1980s and this was a different specimen from the ones I have seen at UK events in the past.
Lancia’s continued existence is largely down to the volume of sales achieved by their small cars, and there was a Y10 and a Y in the show
One of the nicest cars at the show was this Sebring, dating from the early 1960s.
Slightly earlier than that car was this 3500 GT Coupe, which was the first road going grand tourer from this marquee, launched in 1959.
A first generation Quattroporte was a rare spot, indeed.
This Khamsin was one of the few cars from the 1970s.
There were a few of the BiTurbo range of cars, several of which were for sale at temptingly low prices. Not for the faint hearted, though, for sure.
A comprehensive range of 3200/4200 cars, as you would expect, as these were big sellers in the UK in the 10 years during which they were on sale.
Not quite a full Maserati
Not strictly speaking an Italian car, of course, as these luxury grand tourers were made in Binningen, just outside Basel, Switzerland. Nonetheless, who could argue with the attendance at the event this year, as last year, with this 375L.

2009-11-21 18:09:19

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