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Maremma 6th - 11th 2009

After the International Bugatti Meeting in May we headed once more for the Maremma area following the invitation of the organisation crew of 2fast4you (www.2fast4you.it). The classic car dealers Klaus Werner and Jack Braam Ruben used their numerous contacts to initiate the second 8C meeting in Europe after its debut in 2006.

No less than 12 8Cs followed their invitation to Castiglione della Pescaia, among them two of the even rarer 8C2900 models including the 1936 Mille Miglia winner. This car was born in 1936 as a so called Boticella and won the legendary 1000 Miles in the hands of Brivio in just over 13 hours. Later that year the car was rebodied as a spider and restamped to the number it still has today (412006). After a restoration in the 1980s the car today has again a body similar to the original one and proudly wears its 1936 MM race number “75”. The second 2.9 was a later 8C 2900 B that was shortened to A specification and also has a Boticella- style body today.

All the entered cars where open cars and it was no surprise that this event attracted the more sportive types with spider bodies by Touring, Zagato or Brianza. But there was also a very beautiful DHC by Carlton Carriage Co. in elegant grey two-tone livery.
The field was rounded off by 3 six-cylinder cars and two 8C owners from overseas joined in a borrowed Lancia Aurelia and a Porsche 356.

This small but hand-picked group found their base at the elegant Hotel L´Andana, one of “The Leading Small Hotels of the World” for the following 4 daily trips into the region.

After a welcome dinner on Tuesday the first leg on Wednesday led to the Ombrone Valley.
The first visit in the morning was the winery of Rocca di Frassinello. The modern architecture of the winery was the ideal place to display the cars during the guided tour through the wine cellar and the following tasting. The cars then set off in perfect sunshine for the Castiglion del Bosco. This private membership estate is one of Tuscany´s largest contiguous estates and with its raised location one can oversee the whole area. So the participants had a glorious sight during the buffet lunch on the terrace of the guest house. The Castiglion was already part of the Bugatti Meeting in May but it is still worth a visit. As it is just reachable through a steep unpaved road the cars were covered with a thick layer of fine dust, a patina they should not loose during the following days.
After the return to the hotel the day was finished with a typical dinner in a restaurant where one can watch the cooks preparing the handmade pasta in the open kitchen.

The Thursday tour was along the Etruscan Coast and with 260 km the longest trip of the meeting. The first stop was at the Pieve di Caminino where the participants visited the old farm house. While they could taste the typical local products we had the unique possibility to take some pictures of the cars parked in a loose order between the farm house and an outbuilding and on the small parking place in front of the house. Of particular interest was the 8C 2300 Le Mans brought by the Alfa Museo Storico just for that day. This is the oldest long chassis car with a Le Mans body by Zagato and was first owned by Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, becoming famous for being one of the Bentley Boys. Birkin won Le Mans in a sister model in 1931.
The convoy then headed north to Tenuta di Biserno in the hills of Bibbona. To contrast the loose order in the morning the cars were parked face-to-face in front of the main building.
Before coming back to the hotel there was a further stop at the Castle of Castiglione della Pescaia. Two cars took the challenge to go up the steep narrow roads through the castle gate to be parked directly in front of the castle were one could oversee the town and the coast of the sea while drinking a cocktail.
In the evening there was the Chopard dinner in the hotels own restaurant where between the courses watches and jewellery could be tried out so for some the journey became even more expensive than expected. A watch as a special gift by Chopard was awarded to the only lady team by Klaus Werner.
As there was a birthday that day this was a good reason for a closing firework ending a long but pleasurable day.

Friday saw a tour to the isle of Elba. After an early start in the morning at 7.30am the ferry arrived at Portoferraio at about 10am. With heavy clouds most of the cars had their hood up (if there was one) and the drivers prepared themselves with water-resistant clothes but fortunately just a few drops fell during the morning. So the small road of the isle could be enjoyed mostly in the dry and the hoods where soon down again. As with the Bugatti Meeting the first stop was in Marciana Marina where the cars were parked seaside. Lunch was taken later in Portoferraio on top at the Fortezza overseeing the harbour where the cars were parked. After a visit to the house of Napoleon during his exile the cars boarded again to leave the island and a long day was finished.

After the long day yesterday the participants asked the organizers to start 30 minutes later and so the morning leg was shortened by a few miles. But even shortened it was once more a memorable drive though one of the most beautiful country sides with many tree-lined roads and mountain villages to pass. After another wine tasting in a small winery overseeing the whole area the next stop was once more the Col d´Orcia by invitation of the Count Camano. This great location was also already part of the Bugatti Meeting so the organizers were asked to come back with these beautiful cars. Whereas the lunch was served in May under the trees on a long table this group was small enough to be served in the main building. With the 120 Bugatti in mind the 12 Alfa were almost lost in the large garden so they were parked directly in front of the building. So the first stop in May was the last in October and the cars headed back to the L´Andana where the crews had their farewell dinner.

So what is the conclusion of the meeting? Although the region was chosen a second time by the organisation crew it would be unfair to name it a “recycled event”. Although some spots and roads where already known by those who were there in May the organizers found many new places, especially as some of them would not be possible to visit with more than 20 cars. The organisation was as perfect as one could expect, the food and the wine was superb and the beauty of the countryside is without doubt. The climate in October is milder than the hot days in May and with some exceptions we had sun. When asked what was his best event ever, one of the participants answered “this is it, the cars, the landscape, just perfect”. If you keep in mind that all of them have already visited “a few” events in their life there is no better praise than this for all involved in the organisation.

The next 8C Meeting is planned for 2012 and 2fast4you will rejoin the Bugattis for a week in the Dolomites in June 2010.

Text and images Peter Singhof >>>

8C´s in Europe - Tuscany
01 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza sn.2211077
02 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 sn.0312905
03 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans by Touring sn.2211067
04 Porsche 356 Super 90
05 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 DHC by Carlton Carriage Co. sn.2311240
06 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza sn.2211135
07 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Touring Spider
08 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Touring Spider sn.2111036
09 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 A Boticella sn.412006
13 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans sn.2211064
14 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza by Brianza sn.2211120/SF28
15 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Boticella-Style sn.412042
16 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider sn.2111027
17 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans sn.2111002
18 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Touring Spider
19 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider
20 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Touring sn.10814326