Reflecting the weather that we have all experienced during 2012, the regular monthly Italian Night at Ace Cafe in 2012 had to date been something of a disappointment, with a mixture of cold, dreary, damp and in the cases of May and July absolutely atrocious weather, limiting attendance to only the dedicated and hardened supporters, so it was a real joy to see a forecast that the second Thursday in August promised to be not only dry but at least partially sunny and warm. Accordingly, there was a far larger turnout than in previous months, with the result that for the first time at the 2012 events I have attended, the forecourt area was pretty much full by mid evening. As ever, the joy of this event is that you never know quite what will turn up, and people arrive and depart during the evening. Here are my highlights from the August meeting:
As ever, Abarth was the dominant marque with a dozen cars, including several newcomers making their first appearance at the venue, and what would turn out to be the final appearance of one of the Abarth Grande Puntos, as Ashley reported the following day that he has found a buyer for his car. Noting that I had come in the Audi and that Lloyd had come down on the train, we actually had even more Abarthisti present than the number of cars would suggest.
This Giulietta Spider was absolutely gorgeous. I was surprised to read in a recent magazine just how pricey these cars are, with good ones going for £50 – 60,000. There were a couple of the long running 105 Series Spider which replaced this car, as well.
Other Alfas included a trio of 155s, including the limited edition Silverstone model produced to homologate the rear spoiler (it was supplied in the boot so the owner could choose whether to fit it or not!), a couple of 147 GTAs and a very nice Alfetta GTV. This 8C Competizione was a huge crowd puller, but the star of the evening was the small pedal car that the owner brought along to go with the full-sized car. What a delightful pairing!FERRARI
Eventually, there were 2 Ferraris present, a 430 Spider and the one-off 308 Dino GT4 Spider which looks less contrived with the roof down than it does with its odd shaped top erect. Both arrived late in the proceedings which is why they are undepicted.
A question I heard repeatedly being asked after the 430 Spider arrived was whether people would prefer this or the Alfa 8C, and the answer always seemed to be the same: the 8C. For sure both are desirable cars, and if the press are to be believed, the Ferrari is probably the “better” car, but everyone agreed that the Alfa looks better and it also sounds utterly wonderful.
Oldest car of the evening was this 1952 500C Belvedere.
There were a couple of the Nuova 500, the model which replaced the 500C, back in 1957. Both were in stunning condition.There are not many Punto Cabrios left on the roads of the UK, so it was quite a surprise to get 2 of them attending. The first one, a blue car, arrived mid evening and for some reason parked across the road from the Cafe. The second arrival was a yellow model which came after dark, by which time there was too little light to get a photo of it.The Fiat Coupe was well represented, as ever.This late model 124 Spider was another nice car, in excellent condition.LANCIA
Whilst the 8C was the car everyone would have loved to drive home, this Series 2 Beta Berlina was also a car which generated lots of comments. It is the same car as was presented in June, and the owner did tell me that it whilst he has not taken it out much this summer, it will make an appearance at the forthcoming Chelsea Autolegends and also it will be on the BetaBoyz stand at the NEC in November.
Relatively affordable “dream” car for many was this lovely Delta Integrale.This Series 1 MonteCarlo was also attracting a lot of interest.MASERATI
Sole Maserati was this Quattroporte. Still a stunning looking design, it was left largely ignored as all attention focused on the 8C that was parked up behind it!
There were a good number of bikes as well, with a row of Ducatis parked away from the Cafe end of the forecourt
I did not post a report immediately after this event, as thanks to an afternoon of rain and evening of torrential rain there were very few cars in attendance, and those who did brave the elements did not linger outside. Nevertheless, I did take a few photos of what was present.
Rarest car of that evening was not Italian at all, but a Romanian plated Dacia modified to look like a Renault 12 Gordini.Of the others cars there, an Alfa 75 was a late arrival, there was a Fiat Coupe and a Grande Punto and the rest were the Abarths.Here’s hoping that the weather stays fine for the September meeting, as after that time the evening daylight gets in short supply.