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Brooklands, 04 May 2013

An overcast chilly start, with blustery winds, didn’t deter a great selection of Italian cars and motorcycles, along with thousands of visitors, from attending the annual Auto Italia magazine Italian Car Day, in the grounds of the Brooklands Museum near Weybridge in Surrey. Maybe the lack of any real spring weather this year, gave people an attitude of let’s make the most of it come hell or high water! Certainly, in all the years that I have attended, I have never seen the public car parks so full. The event followed its regular format of providing track display runs on the adjacent Mercedes-Benz World test track during the morning, where Ferrari North Europe’s 458 Italia demonstrator and a Maserati GranTurismo were the course cars, and runs up the steep test hill in the afternoon, both of which attracted huge crowds of spectators. Even a brief hailstorm at lunchtime didn’t detract people, and when this had passed there was predominantly bright sunshine for the rest of the afternoon.

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Apart from the attraction of hundreds of Italian cars, ranging from a nice array of Fiat 500s, both ancient and modern, to a bright orange Lamborghini Aventador, there is also access to all the car and aircraft exhibits in and around the historic museum buildings, plus the London Bus Museum, making for a full and varied day out for the whole family. Virtually every mainstream Italian marque was represented, with a large display of Ferraris covering most of the models from the early eighties to date, including a 360 Spider “Polizia”, a pair of 599 GTOs, along with a few older examples, like a 275 GTB/4, a 330 GTC and a 330 GTS, another bare shell 330 GTC displayed by Barkaways, a 330 GT 2+2, a 365 GTC/4 and a Dino 246 GT. Others at the exotic end of the spectrum were a number of Lamborghinis, including an Espada, a Countach, Diablos, Gallardos and Murcielagos, plus an Aventador. Add in an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, an Alfa Romeo Montreal, a Bizzarrini, a Maserati 3500 GT, a Ghibli, a Merak and a Bora, plus numerous more modern variants, a pair of De Tomaso Panteras and a Mangusta, together with an Iso Rivolta Fidia, and it can be seen that there was a broad spectrum of rare and special cars on display.

There was also plenty of variety amongst the more everyday Italian marques, with both well preserved classic models, and wildly modified examples, like a “work in progress” Fiat 600 with a mid-mounted twin cam Abarth engine. There was a vast variety of Fiats, apart from the previously mentioned 500s, ranging from the classic 500 Topolino, through Pandas, Puntos, 131 Abarths, Coupes, and a very rare 125 Coupe by Vignale. The Lancia and Alfa Romeo displays were almost as equally expansive, including a pair of pre-war Lancias, a Lambda and a Augusta Sedan, a B20, numerous Delta Integrales in a variety of liveries, whilst the Alfa Romeo contingent ranged from a 1953 3000 “Disco Volante” and a beautiful 1954 1900C SS through Alfasuds, Giulias, Giuliettas, including a SS, to the previously mentioned Montreal and 8C Competizione. Add in rarities like Autobianchi and Innocenti, and there was truly an eclectic mix for everybody’s enjoyment and pleasure.

Keith Bluemel