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Brooklands, 30 April 2011

A beautiful sunny day, with high ambient temperatures, drew a great selection of Italian cars and motorcycles, along with thousands of visitors, to the annual Auto Italia magazine Italian Car Day, in the grounds of the Brooklands Museum near Weybridge in Surrey. Apart from the spectacular and diverse array of Italian machinery, ranging from scooters to supercars, there were track display runs on the adjacent Mercedes-Benz World test track during the morning, plus the always popular feature of the runs up the steep test hill during the afternoon. Apart from the attraction of literally hundreds of Italian cars, ranging from the humblest Fiat 500 to a Ferrari Enzo, there are also the car and aircraft exhibits in and around the historic museum buildings, which make it a full and interesting day out for the whole family within the general admission fee. For a small additional fee it is also possible to go on board the Concorde, which is one of the star attractions, along with the Wellington bomber that was rescued from the depths of Loch Lomond.

Virtually every mainstream Italian marquee was represented, with a large display of Ferraris covering most of the models from the early eighties to date, along with a few older examples, like the ex-Stirling Moss 250GT SWB berlinetta, chassis # 2735 GT, a pair of 275 GTB/4s,and a pair of “Plexi” 365 GTB/4 “Daytonas”. The earliest model present was a 166MM/53, chassis # 0314M, in DK Engineering’s display, which had been rebuilt by them after having been stolen after the Mille Miglia in 2000, with the chassis and various parts being discovered in Italy in 2008, after which they carefully collected parts to enable its full rebuild, ready to appear in the 2010 running of the event. Others at the exotic end of the spectrum were rebuild ready to appear in the 2010 running of the event.a number of Lamborghinis, including a metallic red Countach with a pure white interior. Add in an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, a pair of Alfa Romeo Montreals, a Bizzarrini, an Iso Grifo, a Maserati Indy and a Kamsin, plus rare four door models in the form of a De Tomaso Deauville and an Iso Fidia.

There was also plenty of variety amongst the more everyday Italian marques, with both well preserved classic models, and wildly modified examples, like a Fiat 600 with a twin cam Lotus Cortina engine, another example with a chopped roof and one with VW power. There was a vast variety of Fiats, from the classic 500 Topolino, through Pandas, Puntos, 131 Abarths, to a Dino Spider, whilst the Lancia and Alfa Romeo displays were almost as equally expansive, including a very rare Lancia Appia Furgoncino (van), B20s, numerous Delta Integrales in a variety of liveries, whilst the Alfa Romeo contingent ranged from Alfasuds, through Giulias, Giuliettas, a SZ, to the previously mentioned Montreals and 8C Competizione. Add in rarities like Autobianchi and Innocenti, plus an Osella Abarth sports racing car, and the Italian- French Abarth-Simca, and it is clear that there was a very wide spectrum of Italian motoring heritage to be enjoyed by all present.

Keith Bluemel