This was my second visit to Ace Cafe in three days. Having sampled and enjoyed the Classics night, on the second Tuesday of the month, a couple of days later it was time for Italian night, which has now become a regular fixture in my diary. With a warm evening and a forecast for no significant precipitation, it promised much, though as is always the case with these events, the only way you find out what will show up is by arriving early and staying all evening. This is what I did, and here are some of the highlights.
Yet again, Abarthisti dominated the event. With 18 cars signed up on the forum, we were expecting a good turn out. What we were not expecting was a 695 Tributo model, but one arrived whilst we were partaking of the ever tasty burgers and fries. The two young girls who had brought it were unaware of the Abarth forum, and I would guess that during the course of the evening, they were encouraged by just about everyone to join up!
Among the regulars, there was a good mix of 500s, Grande Punto and Punto Evo cars. Early efforts to try to arrange the cars in alternating red and white failed when grey and black cars arrived. With Abarthisti from Doncaster, South Wales, Stafford, Nuneaton and all sides of London this meet has become a real favourite on our calendar of events. Just one “classic” Abarth arrived, and this was the absolutely mental machine that turns up quite frequently. A 1974 car with an Alfa 1700cc engine, this car attracts a huge amount of attention wherever it appears.ALFA-ROMEO
Not so many Alfas this month. Highlight for me was the same 8C Competizione that had delighted everyone the previous month. The wife of the owner asked me if I knew if anyone posts photos from the event on the web, so I was only too delighted to give her the url for TheMotor.net and don’t doubt from what she said that she will already have been browsing the site. Stupidly, I did not take any fresh picture of this lovely car this month.
I did photograph some other regulars, though, including a 75, a 166, a GTV, a Brera and a Spider. There was also a lovely 164 Green Cloverleaf, though it only appears in the background of another shot.
Another special car was this 512 TR Testarossa. We’d been promised this one for a while. Belonging to the father of Dan Deyong, one of the Abarthisti regulars, it turned out that he has owned this car for 6 for 7 years and that it is the latest of a series of Ferraris that he has owned , starting with a spectacularly unreliable 400i around 25 years ago. With not much steering lock and no power steering, manoeuvering it out of the car park required a certain amount of hard work, but as he left, everyone encouraged Mr Deyong senior to come again.
Most unusual Fiat was this 124 Sport Coupe, an example of the sort of pretty coupe that was so popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This is the second generation car, offered between 1970 and 1973.
The tuned Grande Punto that I had seen in previous months was there, too.LAMBORGHINI
This Silhouette made quite a spectacular entrance when it arrived mid evening. It was quite amusing to listen to Lloyd and one of the other attendees playing a game of “spot the X1/9 parts”.
Another rarity was this, a Trevi 2000. Making it even more unusual, it sported the 4 speed automatic gearbox that Lancia sourced from the British Automotive Products company.
Continuing the theme of three-box Lancias was this, a Prisma.MASERATI
Just one Maserati this month, a current model GranTurismo.
As ever, a fun evening, and a great chance to catch up with a growing number of Abarthisti. We are working on plans to get even more attendees in the next couple of months whilst the long daylight evenings remain. Of course, all are welcome, and even if you don’t have an Italian car, there is no reason not to come, you just had to park on the street outside.