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Modena, 26 – 27 September, 2015

The third edition of the Modena Motor Gallery Mostra/Mercato for classic cars and motorcycles was held over the weekend of 26 – 27 September at Modena’s Fiera exhibition centre, close to the Modena Nord autostrada exit. The show moved its date from May to September this year, and also expanded the theme to include non Italian vehicles, adding variety to the displays.

One of the main features of this year’s show was a tribute exhibition for the historic Autodromo di Modena, featuring cars and motorcycles that tested and raced there when it was active, including Cisitalia and Stanguellini monopostos, a Maserati 200S sports racing car and a MV Agusta motorcycle. Another was a tribute to the Pederzani brothers from Bologna, renowned in the sixties and seventies for their very successful Tecno monopostos, which achieved great race results in a number of categories, notably in F2 and F3. In 1970 Clay Regazzoni won the F2 Championship driving a Tecno. However, their short sojourn in F1 was less successful, garnering only one championship point in two seasons of spasmodic appearances, when Chris Amon finished 6th in the 1973 Belgian Grand Prix. The Tecno models on display ranged from karts, through their F2 and F3 models, to the pair of attractively Martini liveried F1 cars. There was also an expansive display of pedal cars in the gallery between halls A and B, where there were also motorcycles of the late Walter Vila and a broad selection of “Cafe Racers”.

The show also featured the presentation of the biography of Don Sergio Mantovani, also nicknamed “Don Ruspa”, which was the title of the book, the parish priest of Modena and chaplain to F1 drivers through the years. His nickname came from an incident earlier in his career as a priest, when he demolished a derelict church in Modena with a bulldozer, to make way for a charity home for the homeless to seek sanctuary. When asked if he was satisfied with his actions against a place of worship, his reply was no, as he hadn’t managed to demolish the tower! For this “terrible” act against a (ex) Christian place of worship, he was given a 10 month suspended jail sentence, but the home was built and continues to this day to provide a place of shelter for those in need. As an aside, it was here that Gigi Villoresi spent the last months of his life. He also famously offered himself in exchange for Giulio De Angelis, who was kidnapped and held hostage for 5 months in 1988. He was the father of Elio De Angelis, the F1 driver who died in a testing accident driving a Brabham at Paul Ricard in 1986.

There was a varied selection of vehicles on display, spanning a number of years, both in the displays and sales areas, whilst there was a strong presence of the artisan craft companies involved in all aspects of vehicle restoration, from metalwork, through paintwork and upholstery to electrical wiring. There was an interesting stand that bore no name, and featured what the “guardian” claimed to be a Ferrari 250 GT S1 Pinin Farina Spider, the chassis of which had been found in the USA, and was being rebuilt with a new body locally. He further volunteered that the similar car which used to be in the Collezione Maranello Rosso in San Marino, had been used as a model top replicate the body, hence the additional rear lights on the car on display, but wouldn’t be forthcoming on the chassis number. So the question remains, is it real or is it a replica? Close by was another Ferrari, or more accurately what was left of it, basically a bare 250 GTE body shell on a rolling jig, which from the numbers stamped on some of the panels was a mix of parts from different cars. There was also a hall dedicated to vendors of virtually everything associated with classic cars and motorcycles, from spare parts to literature and “road art”, with a further outside vendor area featuring mainly the “grubby bits” and restoration projects. It may not have the allure of the larger shows like Auto e Moto d’Epoca in Padova, or Retromobile in France, or Techno Classica in Essen in Germany, but it has its own charm and regional flair, making a visit worthwhile.

Keith Bluemel