After a very unusual cold and damp spring for Italy that saw even the Villa d’Este soaked in rain, it was high time for the summer to finally make its glorious appearance. And it did just that, as we were travelling from Stuttgart to Milan on the 1st of June, responding to the Registro Italiano Alfa Romeo’s invitation to attend the inaugural edition of their concours of restoration and conservation in Arese. No, it wasn’t us who were bringing the summer to Italy as one of the RIAR’s witty members had us believe upon arrival. It was rather this special occasion: for the first time ever, one of the oldest and most prestigious Alfa Romeo owners associations in the world was showcasing in a concours d’elegance some of its members’ treasured cars. A concours d’elegance with a twist, a new type of event, reserved exclusively for the best preserved or most properly restored Alfa Romeos, true to the spirit and according to the guidelines that the late Maurizio Tabucchi has established and promoted during his life as an alfista and throughout his career as a technician, historian and journalist, and last but not least presiding over the Registro Italiano Alfa Romeo.
Come Sunday morning, 57 selected Alfas were entering the track around Museo Storico. Various cars, spanning over 90 years of Italian creativity , but in no way claiming to cover the entire production range in this period. Alfa’s history is so vast that not even a specific event with 10 different classes would manage to do that. The cars present were divided into 10 classes, starting with the pre-war veterans and up to the future classics like the 4C or the current Quadrifoglios. All special cars, each and every single one of them representative in a way of its era. Not necessarily restored to perfection, nor the usual garage queens we see lined up at the well known concourses of elegance around the world… but these were cars loved and cared for by their owners in a way only alfisti can.
This being the spirit of the event, it was perhaps no surprise to see elected as the best car in show a veritable time capsule: the 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Super Sport bodied by Zagato. An all original work of automotive art, bearing proudly the signs of its storied life. The vintage dark Rosso Alfa may have looked discolored to an ingenuous eye, and the body displayed one too many hammered scars, but this is a car to take Mille Miglia by storm and come out of it smiling, even 90 years after it first did it.
But the Alfa lover in me could take no sides as I circled the track overlooking the Museo Storico. So we’ll go together through all the classes of the event in the next lines, just as I discovered them on that glorious Italian morning…
Classe A – 6C 1500/1750/1900
The oldest cars in show, the legendary 6C engineered by Vittorio Jano and bodied in elegant coachwork by the likes of Zagato and Castagna or in the British style of Carlon Carriage.
Classe B – 6C 2300/2500
The evolution of the same chassis, this time with exampples of beautiful bodywork signed by Touring Superleggera or Alfa Romeo itself after the war, plus a dark red 2300B Gran Turismo built at the end of the ’30s.
Classe C – 1900C Sprint/Super Sprint
Alfa’s first new chassis after the war unwillingly marked also the era of the last hurray of the historic coachbuilders and their traditional way of hand building beautiful and often unique dresses: Pininfarina, Touring, Vignale.
Classe D – Giulietta Spider/Spider Veloce
The quintessential Dolce Vita car, the car that made Italy dream once more, the Alfa that made the entire world fall in love with Italy again.
Classe E – Giulia
Can a boxy sedan be sexy? Only if it’s shaped by the wind like Giulia is!
Classe F – Duetto Spider “Osso di Seppia”
Giulietta Spider as “Italy’s Darling” was a tough act to follow, but Alfa did it brilliantly with the new design by Pininfarina. Only cars from the first generation were included in this class, perhaps the purest of all Spiders.
Classe G – Alfetta GT/GTV
Three entries in this class, but each one special in its own way: an immaculate white Alfetta GT, a US-spec champagne GTV6 and the competitional Alfetta GTV 2000 by Autodelta. One of 10 fabricated, this hardcore Alfetta was owned by Maurizio Tabucchi, who’s memory was honoured by this very event.
Classe H – Alfa 75
The last real Alfa as the “taliban” alfisti like to call it. Kindly reminding them that the last “real” Afla was built before a certain Nicola Romeo took over. Standing out in this class was the monster 1.8 Turbo Evoluzione IMSA, capable of reaching speeds of up to 300 km/h on track. Yes, Alfa Romeo needs to go racing again in the touring competitions!
Classe I – 916 GTV/Spider
As a 916 Spider owner myself I was pleasantly surprised to discover this category included in the “Real Alfa” competition. Yes, the front wheel driven Fiat platform derived Alfa sports car of the ‘90s. And yes, being embraced by this very select company makes for an unbeatable argument in those friendly disputes with the aforementioned taliban alfisti. The last of the cuneo shaped Alfas is entering the youngtimer age still incredibly good looking and maybe more importantly… still financially accessible for any alfista!
Classe J – Future Classics
This category was open for all the “specials” built after the year 2000 like the 8C, 4C or the Quadrifoglios. Powerful, lightweight, beautiful… Real Alfa. Grazie Marchionne!
Photo gallery by Dani.