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Brooklands, 04 May, 2019

The annual Auto Italia magazine Italian Car Day was held at its regular venue of the Brooklands Museum complex in Weybridge, Surrey, on Saturday 04 May. The gathering attracted a massive turnout of Italian machinery of both the two and four wheel variety, ranging from cute little Fiat 500s to a wide variety of supercars, with virtually something for everybody in between. The bright and sunny early start to the day, albeit with a chilly breeze, was no doubt a determining factor in the impressive array of vehicles on display, and also to the large number of visitors to the event, with all the car parks being full to capacity before lunch. Some squally showers swept through during the afternoon, but the museum buildings provided adequate shelter for attendees until they passed. The event followed its well established and popular format of runs on the adjacent Mercedes-Benz test track in the morning, followed by runs up the old test hill in the afternoon.

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As noted, the turnout was massive, and there was virtually no free space within the bounds of the museum complex, with the cars arranged predominantly by marque or model. One always comes across some interesting specimens, maybe sometimes not because they are particularly valuable or exotic, but because they were once common sights on the road, which are now rarities due to the ravages of time and rust. Examples of these in attendance were Fiat 128s, in coupé, saloon and station wagon variants, an immaculate orange 127 Sport and an Alfasud race car. Then there were the wild and wacky, like the Fiat 600 Dragster and the 500 on steroids, together with a pair of Dino 246 GT models that were not “as the maker intended”.

The first was a 206 S sports racing lookalike based on an original 246 GT, chassis # 01508, but fitted with a longitudinally mounted 2 litre V6 engine, whilst the other was a 246 GTS that sported numerous modifications. These were predominantly to the mechanical components, notably the fitment of a Ferrari V8 engine with fuel injection, together with upgraded suspension and brakes. This is registered as chassis # 07680, but also carries chassis # 06364 on the plaque on the steering column, so maybe an amalgam of two cars.

The cars that the majority of attendees go to see are the supercars, and they certainly weren’t in short supply. Lanchester of Colchester had a large contingent of client’s cars in attendance, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Maseratis, whilst the Lamborghini Club UK had an expansive display of predominantly modern examples, although there was also a Countach, Diablos in the form of a VT Roadster and a rare GT example of which only 80 examples were produced, plus a Jarama S, a Silhouette and a pair of Espadas. Ferrari were not to be outdone by their rivals from Sant’ Agata, and there was on paddock full of, again like Lamborghini, predominantly modern examples, with another grassed area between the museum buildings also featuring further examples and the delta wings of Concord provided shelter to even more of them. Other Italian rarities included De Tomasos in the form of a Mangusta, Pantera and a Deauville, together with an Iso Rivolta and Lele, whilst among “the minnows” were a pair of Abarth Grand Prix models together with a number of Fiat based examples, and if you wanted cute, how about a salmon pink Fiat 500 Vignale “Noddy car”. Variety was certainly the spice of life at the Italian Car Day!

Keith Bluemel