Following the amazing turn out at Brooklands of Italian cars of every marque you have heard of, and a few you might not, with some cloudless skies, I was looking forward to a much smaller follow-up gathering at the monthly Ace Cafe Italian Cars evening scheduled for just a few days later. Indeed, I even decided to return from London on the Wednesday evening to swap from the Audi to the Abarth so I could join in with a display car. By the time I did so, though, the forecast was suggesting that those sunny skies of five days previously would be replaced with heavy rain. One by one, Abarthisti stalwarts of the event declared that they probably would not show up. As I had to return to meetings in the London area, I set off early on the Thursday, in the (unawashed, I will admit!) Abarth, which got a bath on the M4, which did a good job at getting rid of the insect debris. By late afternoon the incessant rain had more or less passed overhead, and I was driving along the A40, I even spotted the first hints of blue in the sky, so I was optimistic that people would make a last minute to attend after all. Sadly, it was not to be, and this was a thinly attended event, with nothing that was particularly unusual in attendance. Even so, I was able to catch up with a couple of friends and to dine on Ace Cafe’s’ tasty burger, washed down with a mug of coffee before heading to my hotel for the night.
When I arrived, there was just one Abarth present – Will Webb’s recently acquired Punto SuperSport – but 2 owners, as I found Sandy Smith inside as well. Sandy’s car had an expensive trip to the Nurburgring recently (mechanically, he did not crash!), so he was in a Chevy Captiva! Later on a Grande Punto arrived, so it looked as if the 500 would be outnumbered by the Punto, as had happened at the (much better attended) April meeting. Just before I headed off, though, another 500 arrived, to make it a 2-2 draw.
A variety of different Alfa models turned up during the evening, ranging from a nicely presented 75 through to a 147, a GT, a couple of Brera, a white Spider and a current Giulietta.
Ferrari Owners tend not to bring their cars out in the wet, so it was quite a surprise to find a couple parked up when I arrived. No more arrived during my visit, though a black 599 GTB did pass by, and turn round at the mini roundabout, suggesting that the owner perhaps contemplated a visit.
Dominant Fiat model was the Coupe, with four of these in attendance.
This Grande Punto is one that has been seen at the event before. It sports a turbo to give it a lot more power than standard.
It was Maserati who dominated the evening, with more than a dozen cars present. They were all recent models, with a mix of 3200/4200, GranTurismo and Quattroporte cars. Proof positive that these cars, and their owners are a hardy bunch, undeterred by rather a lot of drops of rain.
Let’s hope that the weather is kinder in June and there is a bumper turn-out.