Great Western Italian Day – September 2013

Yet another Italian event? Well, yes, such is the enthusiasm for the cars of Italy that there are plenty of occasions when the proud owners want to show them off. This one is organised by Paul Hanmore, who is also the driving force behind the Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival. That one takes place in April, more or less at the start of the events season, whereas the Great Western Italian Day comes in September, more or less at the end of the season. Smaller in scale, it also moves location, having been in Swindon in 2012 and Gloucester in 2011. That meant that it was Bristol’s turn for 2013, with a display space right outside the M-Shed in the heart of the old docks. Sadly, the weather was rather grey, with a significant enough downpour in the early afternoon, so some of the photographic potential of this interesting setting was reduced, but even so, with The Matthew right alongside the gathering, there was plenty of opportunity for the creative snapper. Most of the cars arrived mid morning, many having come from the nearby Queens Square Breakfast Club gathering, but every time I walked away from the display and then came back, I found some new arrivals. The old Docks area is a popular area these days, so it was no surprise that there were lots of passers-by who stopped to admire the diverse collection of cars assembled, much to the delight of quite a few who had no idea that the event was taking place. Here is what they could see:


As well as my car, there was another locally owned Abarth 500, the owner of which expounded at great length on just how he keeps it looking immaculate. As well as making me feel guilty, I also realised yet again how red is a better colour to hide the lack of detailing effort!

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Oldest Alfa on show was a lovely Giulietta Spider, which was joined by a number of other open topped Alfas from the past 40 years. Jeremy Dutton’s early 105 series car is also a particularly nice car, and the recent Brera-based model will surely also be seen as a classic in years to come.

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Classic status has not yet affected the prices of the 916 series GTV cars, which remain available at bargain basement prices. There were a couple of these on display, one of them a limited edition Cup car.

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Also really rather nice was this 2000 GTV

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The 145 is now quite a rare car, so it was good to see one of these distinctively styled hatchbacks. There was also a 156, in the relatively rare colour of white.

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David Roots brought his Alfa Special over and was delighted to be awarded one of the prizes of the day.

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As is so often the case, none of the Ferraris stayed for very long. Fortunately, a couple arrived late to fill the gaps created by those who took the proverbial early bath. There was plenty of variety with a 308 GT4 Dino and a 400i as well as the more recent 348 tb,  360  Modena and 430 Spider.

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The trio of Nuova 500 models attracted lots of attention, and it’s not hard to see why. Looking very small compared to everything else parked up, these cars still have huge appeal to almost everyone.

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The Seicento was a late 1990s version of the same concept, but it has never really gained the same level of affection.

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A regular at Italian events in the area was this Uno Selecta.

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Other Fiats included a pair of X1/9s, both of them from late in the model’s production life, with a VS and a Gran Finale.

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To me, and indeed to many others, this Aurelia Cabrio was the highlight of the day. There was one of these at last year’s event, too, but it was dark blue, so it is nice to know that there are at least 2 of these rare cars in the area.

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The Thema Turbo and the Delta 1300LX that I had seen in Queens Square earlier in the day had made the short journey over to the docks.

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As well as organiser Paul Hanmore’s 4200GT, there was an example of the earlier 3200GT model.

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This was an fun event, with lots of friendly conversation between owners and visitors, a nice setting and easy access to the attractions of the docks (the M-Shed museum is very good and it is free to attend).

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