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Brooklands, 03 May 2014

A bright but chilly morning, at the Brooklands Museum complex near Weybridge in Surrey, greeted participants and visitors for the always popular Italian Car Day run by Auto Italia magazine. The fine weather attracted massive crowds to the gathering, and they were rewarded not only with a splendid variety of Italian automobiles and motorcycles, but with weather that just became better as the day wore on, with a very agreeable ambient temperature by lunchtime. From the packed general parking areas it was probably a record turnout, and even late comers in Italian cars couldn’t find space in the dedicated display areas within the museum grounds, not even if you arrived in a bright yellow Dino 246 GT, as did one friend!

The event followed its regular well tried and tested format of exhibition runs on the adjacent Mercedes-Benz World test track in the morning, and attempts on the Test Hill during the afternoon. There were numerous one make and model car clubs in attendance, providing a wide variety of offerings for the visitors to enjoy, ranging from humble, but also very collectible Fiat 500s, through to a Ferrari Enzo and a pair of Pagani Zondas, one of which was a very rare spider variant on German garage plates. Being Maserati’s centenary year, there was a wide selection of predominantly modern variants, with a pair of Meraks representing the historical element, as I believe that there was a marque rally in another part of the country over the same weekend, which no doubt impacted on the classic attendance. One of the star attractions was an enormous black V12 Isotta Fraschini race car, with a deafening exhaust note and clouds of smoke every time it was started to run on the track or up the test hill.

Both Ferrari and Lamborghini had strong turnouts, the latter marque providing a number of now rarely seen Diablo variants, including a GT, a Spider and a 30th Anniversary edition Jota, along with a pair of Countachs, a Silhouette, an Islero and an Espada, together with a large selection of recent and current production models. In the Ferrari camp, it was the dealers that provided the rarities, with Barkaways displaying a trio of Dino 246 models, Hoyle-Fox a 250 GT Lusso, Spellbound a 330 GT 2+2, Rardley Motors had a 365 GT 2+2, and DK Engineering displayed a 275 GTB/C and an elegant pale gold 365 GTB4 “Daytona”. Add in an array of De Tomaso Panteras, plus a rare Deauville, an Iso Rivolta and Grifo, together with a pair of Ferrari F40s, and it can be seen that there were plenty of examples of cars in the “supercar” bracket.

Amongst the more “everyday” Italian cars there was a good array of Lancia Delta Integrales, some nicely presented examples of the elegant Fulvia model, a pre-war Lambda, and an Aurelia B20 GT to name but a few. There were also a large number of Fiat X1/9s, including a pair of wildly modified examples, together with a broad spectrum of other classic Fiats. Then there were Abarths in a variety of guises, plus a great variety of post war Alfa Romeos, including a Giulia SS, an 8C and an example of the latest 4C model on Italian registration plates, so there was quite literally something for every generation to enjoy.

Keith Bluemel