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22.10.2009, 20:07:55 cet

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Bassano del Grappa, October 3-5, 2003

Since 2001, the Ferrari Club Deutschland (FCD) has been organising an annual meeting dedicated to classic examples of the marque only. In 2003, organiser Matthias Ficht (the club’s vice-president and official for the classic car section) moved this event outside Germany for the first time: Bassano del Grappe in the Dolomites in Northern Italy had been chosen as the site of the reunion. Furthermore, for the 2003 classic car reunion the FCD joined forces with the Deutscher Maserati Club (DMC)! The date of the meeting was October 3 (a holiday in Germany) to October 5, and it was named ”1st Incontro Ferrari- Maserati”.

The number of participants had been limited to 20 cars per club; both clubs made use of almost the entire contingent as 19 cars from each club signed in for the event. As far as Ferrari was concerned, the participation was restricted to models designed not later than 1974, meaning that the 512 BBi was the youngest type allowed to take part in the event since its original version, the 365 GT4 BB, had been launched in 1974.

Looking at Maserati, the limitation was set to the model year 1980, thus allowing basically all ”pre-Biturbo” cars to participate. The restriction to classic cars was strictly upheld during the meeting, the only exceptions were made for members who had already enrolled their historic Ferrari or Maserati for the event, but suffered a mechanical breakdown shortly before the meeting. So, in the end a Mondial t, a Mondial t Cabriolet, a 348 tb and a modern Jaguar substituted one or the other classic Ferrari or Maserati.

The Hotel ”Belvedere” was chosen as the ”base” in Bassano del Grappa, especially thanks to its secured underground carpark that is even suitable for sportscars. The majority of the participants arrived already on Thursday, October 2. Many did travel rather long distances in their classic cars, but some had packed their car on a train from Germany to Verona and were thus much more relaxed than others after their arrival. Friday was officially the first day of the three- day event that was started off at the ”Luigi Bonfanti” motor museum in Ermanno di Ezzelino near Bassano. There, the participants could admire an impressive exposition dedicated to Tazio Nuvolari and could also indulge in a buffet served in the museum. In the evening, all participants had arrived and one moved back to the hotel where dinner was served.

After the official welcome speech by Matthias Ficht and DMC co-organiser Walter Bäumer, two guests of honor joined the event: Paul Frère and Countess Maria Teresa di Filippis. Belgian Paul Frère, aged 86 and a well-known motoring journalist and racer, had won the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans together with Olivier Gendebien in a Ferrari 250 TR60 Spider Fantuzzi. Earlier in 2003, he had been offered to test the Audi R8 Le Mans car on the famous Sarthe racetrack — and would have qualified for the actual race! Maria Teresa di Filippis was the only woman ever to pilot a Maserati 250F in Formula 1 back in 1958, and she did also take part in various sportscar races at the wheel of several Maserati.

After the weather had been dull but at least dry on Friday, the Italian sky did greet the participants on Saturday in its deepest blue and completely unclouded. On the mark at 8.00 AM, the first cars started for a rallye into the sunny morning, facing a more than 300 kilometres long route across the Dolomites’ beautiful mountain scenery, guided by a roadbook. Among the highlights of the Ferrari cars were Karl-Gustav Diederich’s 250 GT SWB Berlinetta (s/n 3639GT) and the rare 250 GT Coupé Boano (s/n 0591GT) of Dr. Hermann Diehl. The latter had also loaned his 330 America (s/n 5023GT) to a friend for the event. This was particularly remarkable since Wolfang Techel did take part in another example of this rare Ferrari model that had been produced in 49 units only in 1963. Wolfgang Techel’s perfectly restored, dark blue 330 America is s/n 5103GT. Event organiser Matthias Ficht drove his marvellous dark blue 250 GT Lusso (s/n 5147GT), and the Dinos were out in force as well, lead by Matthias Bartz, the FCD’s Dino expert. The Maserati highlights were a very original 3500 GT Vignale Spyder and a genuine Ghibli SS Spyder, plus various Ghibli, Sebring and Kyalami.

The picturesque and demanding route lead the enthusiasts from Bassano to the Monte Grappa (1.775 m), known for an extremely bloody battle in WW1. Via curvy mountain roads and through rough gorges, the Ferraristi and Maseratisti eventually reached the famous ski resort Moena, where lunch was served in the Hotel Foresta. Later the journey continued via the Passo San Pellegrino, the Passo Valles and the Passo Rolle back to Bassano. After some hours of relaxing, one met for dinner in the excellent Ristorante Trevisiani that is virtually ”contained” in the medieval town wall of Bassano.

Sunday’s weather could be described by one word: wet! In pooring rain, the participants left Bassano at 9.00 AM for a small rallye across the Brenta valley and up the mountains to Asiago. Paul Frère was ehind the wheel of Matthias Ficht’s 250 GT Lusso and steered the 40 years old Ferrari through the rain with the greatest of ease. Having reached Asiago, rain stopped and so the enthusiasts could easily descend via even more curvy roads to Maróstica, a medieval neighboring town of Bassano. There, one finally reached the Castello Superiore, an ancient fortress that oversees Maróstica and the surrounding Brenta plain. A superb farewell lunch was served in the Castello’s restaurant. DMC president Rolf Deichmann encouraged Matthias Ficht and Walter Bäumer to organise a joined event for both clubs again in 2004 — one may look forward to it!

Andreas Birner

Bassano del Grappa
Hotel Belvedere
Paul Frère and Maria Teresa di Filippis
Passo Cereda ( 4 )
Passo Rolle
Ferrari 250 GT Boano Coupe s/n 0591GT
Ferrari 250 GT SWB s/n 3639GT
Ferrari 365 GTS 4 s/n 16689
Maserati 3500 GT Touring Coupe (Chiminelli)
Maserati Mistral Coupe s/n AM.109A1.910
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