Italian Meeting is probably the best excuse to get out your car and eat pizzas
The Italian Meeting is not a political meeting but an automobile celebration. Obviously, when we are talking about Italian cars, I’m always on tiptoe, seeing and hearing what you have to say about them. I have always loved these cars, since my earliest childhood as great-grandson of an Italian immigrant. For us, Italian cars were on both side. Everyone’s car, this that provide a childhood memory because a granny or a distant uncle had one. They have also always made us dream, listening with pleasure to the slightest sound of Gt and supercars that were driving on the French Riviera.
Today, we are talking about old Italian cars, and it’s often very close to the lexical field of corrosion and rust… God knows why.
The Italian Meeting, in Montlhery, where else?
For this special day, I came with a very nice Abarth 124 GT Abarth kindly lent by Abarth France. Well, after a few kilometers in the rain I realized that the car and I would spend more time in crab-steering mode than the four wheels in the same direction. It’s amazingly funny, but this is another subject.
Today, I’m heading towards the Montlhery motorway, a famous playground for all pre-war car enthusiasts. Naturally, between races, Grand Prix and record, the Italian cars have left their mark on the speed ring. On May 7, 1939, for example, Raymond Sommer set what still seems to be the absolute speed record on the track, at 238,897 km/h!! He was on board an amazing Alfa Romeo 308C.
About Alfa Romeo, it’s under a heavy rain, a few kilometers from circuit, that I notice something I know in my rearview mirror: a splendid Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT 1.8L. Light grey, with yellow headlights, it’s the twin sister, or almost, of my brother Franck’s Alfetta (with whom I covered the Rallye des Princesses this year). What a surprise!! The car looks like new and doesn’t really seem to be concerned about the weather. I can see it waddling from the back on the tarmac. That’s fantastic!!!
Rust stops at the Italian Meeting
While parking the Abarth 124 GT next to the Alfetta, a completely natural conversation takes place with its owner. This man is definitely in love with his car. And he´s right. After a few minutes of passionate talk, everything ends with an exchange of contacts, we’ll probably see each other again. At the Italian Meeting, I already feel the incredible connection that binds all those who drive an Italian car every day (maybe I’m overdoing it a little).
When I finally look up I notice a parking lot with hundreds and hundreds of cars. Despite the bad weather, the owners didn’t hesitate a second to bring out their most beautiful Italian cars.
Here, the term “rust” is unknown to anyone, it’s as if the corrosion had stopped today.
Italian Meeting : everyone is welcome, even Multipla
As I walked through the alleys of the Italian Meeting, something immediately struck me. In the middle of this meteorological chaos, Eros Ramazzotti’s voice resonates and radiates a Mediterranean atmosphere all around the speed ring.
The first cars enter the track and the guitars are replaced by the sound of the vintage 4 cylinders. Lancia Fulvia Coupe, Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT or Alfa Romeo Spider (and yes, fear of nothing), do the show. Meanwhile, a crowd of enthusiasts gives it back to them. Wrapped up in their coats, under their umbrellas, they vibrate with each turn and jump at each tailhead. Today, gourmet delicacies are paid for… Thanks God, without gravity, just the pleasure of reconnecting with a time when cars feel alive and help you to apprehend your own limits. They were simple, sporty and popular.
Much more sophisticated, the Ferraris are eagerly awaiting their turn on the mythical Montlhery Autodrome. An Italian day without Ferrari is like a Pizza without cheese, terribly bland. Fortunately, the horses then enter the track : a Ferrari Dino 308
GT4, a 308 GTB, a 328 GTS, a 400i, several 360 Modena, some F430, a number of 458, as many as 488 and only one 599 GTB HGTE. Anyway, I think we can say without taking too much risk that there was a Ferrari for all of us.
Only one 599, you’ll be thrilled!! Yes but what a car! Underneath its wise and elegant lines, it hides a V12 6L engine! Who can resist such a machine? Not me, especially when it’s grey with beige leather. So obviously, the 599 is not really a track car, but today it’s all about fun and not performance.
Indeed, very close to the speed ring there are also cars that aren’t running today. A very lovely Maserati 3200 GT dark green (already seen at Automedon), a Fiat Dino 2400 GT with an electric blue dress and a Lamborghini Countach LP 5000 QV attract just as many people. The ultimate crush of the day, I came face to face with a Ferrari 250 GT Lusso. 351 cars were produced and one of them was at the Italian Meeting. Wouldn’t that be a great reason to come to the next edition?
Isn’t that enough for you? Alfa Romeo 4C (dozens, I’ve never seen so many in my life, it’s probably all or almost all the French production that was gathered), Ferrari F430 Scuderia, Lancia Delta Integrale, Ferrari Enzo, Maserati GranTurismo, Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, Fiat Abarth 595 (old and new), Ferrari 550 Maranello, Lamborghini Diablo, Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 (which came by the road, I have seen it with my own eyes), Ferrari 575M with manual gearbox (you know) or Fiat Multipla AMG are equally worth the trip. Well, I still suspect that the Multipla AMG from Vilebrequin friends is not totally original… ah ah.
Short story long, see you next year at the wheel of a sulphurous Italian car. No oil leaks and no rust, I promise, and I’ll buy you a slice of pizza guys.