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Brooklands, 02 May, 2015

The annual Auto Italia Magazine Italian Car Day, this year in association with Hoyle Fox Classics, was held on Saturday 02 May at its regular venue at the Brooklands Museum Complex, in Weybridge, Surrey. The day dawned decidedly chilly with leaden skies, but that didn’t deter people from bringing out a wide variety of cars to display and run, together with the largest crowd that I have ever seen at the event. I seem to say this every year, but the event really has grown in stature and popularity over the years. Fortunately, the day both warmed and brightened up by lunchtime, to make everything much more pleasant for everybody.

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The gathering followed its tried and tested popular format of displays around the museum buildings and aircraft, with an expansion into an adjacent parking area to accommodate a dedicated Alfa Romeo and a modern Abarth display area. There was the regular opportunity to drive on the adjacent Mercedes-Benz World test track in groups before the lunch break, together with the always popular “Silver Arrows” display team slipping and sliding in harmony on the skid pan. The afternoon activity centres on the old Brooklands test hill adjacent to the main paddock area, and this is always lined from top to bottom with spectators enjoying the spectacle of the wide variety of cars that their owners take the opportunity to pit against the steep incline.

Upon entering through the main pedestrian entrance one was greeted by the dedicated Ferrari parking areas, which stretched towards the clubhouse, with a broad selection of predominantly modern examples on display. That is, if one considers 308s and 328s modern, when some of them are approaching their 40th birthday, and even a 328 is at least 25 years old, whilst an early 348 is of the same age. At the entrance end of this area was the expansive DK Engineering display, which ran from the unique 330 GT 2+2 Vignale Shooting Break, through a Dino 246 GTS, an eye catching Rosso Dino 365 GTB4, an F40, to a 430 Scuderia and an example of the limited edition 430 16M Spider.

The main paddock area displays in front of the clubhouse, included a very nice pale metallic blue Ferrari 276 GTB4, a Dino 246 GTS “Chairs & Flares”, a spectacular Alitalia liveried Lancia Stratos, De Tomaso Mangusta and Pantera, Iso Rivolta Lele and Fidia, Alfa Romeo 4C and 8C, another eye catcher in the form of a metallic green Lamborghini Huracan by Oakley Design, to name but a few. Adjacent to this was the Hoyle Fox display around the old petrol staion, and this included another Dino 246 GTS “Chairs & Flares”, so two of the seven RHD examples imported into the UK were in the same place at the same time, a recently restored by them 330 GTC, together with a 250 Testa Rossa replica, and a recently imported from the USA early 250 GT PF Coupe.

It wasn’t all about Ferraris, as there was a strong turnout of Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Abarths both old and new, including a rare Abarth-Simca Coupe, a massive array of Fiats spanning the years, some standard and others highly modified. There were Alfa Romeo variants aplenty, as were Lancia Delta Integrales, and there was even a quartet of Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato Coupes, together with examples of the very pretty standard coupe. Thus visitors had a wide spectrum of Italian automobiles to enjoy, both in static pose and in action, together with all the other attractions of the Brooklands Museum complex, including the London Bus Museum, aircraft hangars and the Concorde Experience.

Keith Bluemel