Stanford Hall, Near Lutterworth, Leicestershire - June 9, 2001
After quite a lengthy spell at the Brooklands Museum complex in Surrey, Auto Italia
moved north to the grounds of Stanford Hall in Leicestershire for their annual Italian
Car Festival on 9 June, held in conjunction with National Alfa Day on Sunday 10
Typical British summer weather was the order of the day, sunshine and showers!
Despite the frequently leaden skies, visible in some of the accompanying images,
which contrived to deluge the gathering occasionally, the venue attracted a large
band of Italian car enthusiasts, and a wide selection of Italian car production over the
years. They ranged from humble Fiat 500s, including one wildly modified example
that with its wide wheels and flared arches was almost as wide as it was long,
through to exotica like De Tomaso Panteras and Lamborghini Countach, with the
odd Ferrari thrown in along the way. Surprisingly there was only a relatively low key
Ferrari presence this year, although these included a rare in Britain GTS Turbo, and
the pristine ex-Brunei Royal Family 412, chassis # 74385, of Jonathan Flower on
registration V12 WOW.
Apart from the Auto Italia concours, the Maserati Owners’ Club used the event to hold
their annual concours event, and thus attracted a wide selection of models from the
sixties through to the current day, with a 3200 GT courtesy of Graypaul Motors.
Amongst the early cars were a 3500 GT Spider, a 3500 GTI Sebring, a Mistral Spider,
a Ghibli SS and Spider, moving through the mid-engined era with Meraks and a
Bora, to a wide variety of Biturbo derivatives, not forgetting the family member OSCA
MT4 of Alexander Fishe.
The Auto Italia concours was open to any Italian built car, or car with Italian built
coachwork, thus apart from some superbly presented Italian machinery, there was
also a Hillman Zimp, a Hillman Imp with Zagato coupe body, and a TVR Trident with
Fissore designed body, that went on to become the ill fated Trident Venturer.
Perhaps the nicest car in the concours both from an aesthetic viewpoint, plus
standard of preparation, maintenance and originality was an Alfa Romeo Duetto
Spider, evoking memories of Dustin Hoffman in ”The Graduate”. Fortunately the rain
held off during the concours judging period, and when it did fall, there was always
the tea room of Stanford Hall to offer shelter.
Despite the foreboding skies and intermittent rain, not always a good mix with
classic Italian sheet metal, the day proved very popular, with the Italian only sections
of the parking areas virtually full to capacity. The various trade stands appeared to be
doing a good trade, with people lingering long into the afternoon, the car parks only
emptying slowly, always a sign of satisfaction.