Ace Cafe Italian Night – June 2013

During most of 2012 and stretching into 2013, the weather has not been kind to Ace Cafe’s usually popular monthly Italian night, and so attendance overall has diminished somewhat, reaching a low point, so I gather, in May 2013 when only 4 Abarths and a couple of Maserati braved some particularly unrelenting torrential rain. My excuse that month was that I had afternoon meetings in Cardiff, so it does feel like I have missed out on catching up with the “regulars”, which is why I was particularly looking forward to what turned out to be my third Ace Cafe meeting within a week. Sadly, the rain fell during the morning, and although the forecasters promised a sunny end to the evening, and this appeared to put off many people, and by 7pm, there were still only a few cars present. By 8pm the car park had filled up somewhat, though the event lacked anything really unusual, and then with the arrival of one special car, it all changed, as you will see…………


Not quite the dominant marque at this event that Abarth has often been, there were still a good number of 500 based models, and Kai Kan’s Punto Evo, as well as an earlier Grande Punto model that slipped into the side of the car park during the mid evening.

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Some variety was provided when one of the now rare 695 Tributo Ferrari models arrived. Nice though this car is (despite the lofty price tag that it carried when new), it was what the driver’s husband brought, arriving immediately behind that really livened the evening up.

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This 1000OT model was from the earlier Abarth era and was attracting a lot of attention.

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Most numerous Alfa of the evening, and not for the first time, was the 155, with 4 of them present.

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The 155’s predecessor was also present, a beautifully present 75. This was a special car, as evidenced by the discrete Turbo badge on the boot, one of 500 Turbo Evoluzione models built in 1987 to homologate the car for Group a racing.

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Predecessor to that car was also on site, the 116 series Giulietta. This stubby tailed saloon was on sale from 1978 until 1986, but survivors are rare. I don’t recall having seen this particular car, a 2 litre version, before.

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There were plenty of more familiar and more recent Alfa present, as well.

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Without doubt, this car was the highlight of the evening. Although I have seen the F12 Berlinetta model at a couple of shows since its launch last year, I’ve never been able to get this close to one before. It turned out that person who brought it has it on loan from Ferrari, as they had delayed the order for his own car, hence the left hand drive and Italian plates. When it pulled into the parking area, it was as if the cars had all but disappeared as just about everyone’s attention shifted to this very elegant machine.

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As a lover of the glorious Dinos from the 1960s, I tend to remember the ones I have seen, and am pretty sure that this car, on F plates suggesting it was an early model is that I had not come across before. The paintwork clearly still needs some attention, but the interior looked good, and it sounded just phenomenal when the owner fired it up to pull away.

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The Dino was by some measure the oldest Fiat present, with the handful of other models all dating from more recent times. Next most venerable was this Uno SX, whose red paintwork had done what red paint often does.

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Among the other Fiat were a trio of the stylish Coupe model.

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Just two Lancia models, and both of them were Beta Spiders.

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Not perhaps an epic showing, but still a very agreeable (if rather nippy, especially for mid June!) evening.

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