Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival – April 2013

A quick look at the automotive events schedule in the UK evidences that the car enthusiast really is spoiled for choice. During the main season from April to October there is so much going on that it is impossible to attend everything that appeals, so some planning and prioritisation is called for. For me, some events will always get the highest priority, for a variety of different reasons, not all of which will be intuitively obvious to anyone except perhaps those who can interpret my motoring tastes. However, it should surprise no-one that an event taking place on my own doorstep, in the commercial heart of the city of Bristol, that focuses on Italian cars is right up there with some of the big national events. I’ve attended it every year since 2008, and when in 2011 after a gap of a few years, I had an Italian car of my own again, I was able to enter it and join in the event even more. In 2012 I decided to do some “give back” and responded to the appeal for event marshalls, and so enjoyed the experience, that I quickly signed up again for the 2013 event. In 2012, a combination of biting winds and intermittent drizzle seemed to be sufficient for quite a number of those who had booked a place to decide to stay away, but in 2013 the day dawned with clear skies, and we were blessed with spring sunshine all day. Accordingly, just about everyone who had signed up did turn up, and all the streets on which cars could be parked were full up by 10am. Having seen only those cars which had entered on the street where I was working, I could now go and see what else had turned up, and try to get some photographs before the crowds built up. And be in no doubt, the people did come, in huge numbers. For most of the day, Corn Street was absolutely packed, making it hard to get and up down the road, and all day I heard many people calling their friends telling them to get down to have a look. When you look at the cars in this report, you can perhaps see why. Truly this was a splendid display of all manner of lovely Italian machinery.


With a 2013 theme of “Scorpions and Spiders”, it was always likely that there would be plenty of Abarths on show, and so it proved, with an array of the modern 500 and Punto based models brought along by a number of my Abarthisti friends following only moderate encouragement for them to sign up and participate. No Punto Evos, but a couple of Grande Puntos (including Lloyd Hartley’s much travelled car, as he made the trek down from Doncaster), and an array of 500, 500C models, as well as an example of both the 595 Competizione and a 595 Turismo.

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Wessex Garages had brought along a series of new cars, including not just a 595 Turismo, but also the very lovely 695 Tributo Maserati. Chatting with Paul Morris, their Abarth Brand Manager, he said that this latter only arrived on site on Thursday,, just in time for us all to have a look. It is very nicely trimmed inside, and the rich burgundy paintwork looks stunning, but sadly, the price tag is near to that attached to the Tributo Ferrari models, so it is out of budget for me.

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There were three other Abarth badged cars, too: a Strada 130TC, an original 595 and my absolutely favourite of a lovely trio, the 850 Coupe-based 1000TC.

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No sign of Mike Hurst’s lovely 6C 1750 this year, but there were plenty of more recent Alfa instead. Oldest Alfa at the event was Robbie Savage’s 1900 SS, a car which I have seen many times and always admire.

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In keeping with the Spiders half of theme, there were lots of Alfa Spiders, ranging from the 750 Series Giulietta and later Giulia models, through the four generations of the long running 105 series Spider, to the more recent 916 series model and the Brera based car.

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There were few of the 105 series GT and GTV cars, but there was a lovely early “stepfront” model.

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Lovely as these all were, perhaps my favourite Alfa of the day was this, a 1983 Alfasud 1.3SC, a rare survivor of this fabulous small car. This one has been subject to a comprehensive restoration (like almost all survivors), and was up for sale at £4000. perhaps it was just as well that the colour was perhaps not its strongest suit, or I could have been tempted (though a Ti would be preferable, of course!).

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Far rarer when new was the 90, a heavily facelifted version of the Alfetta. Few of them were sold in the UK, so they have never been common.

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Sadly also rare now is the 164, a car about which I have enthused many times, so it was good to see one at this event.

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There were a couple of Alfetta GTV models, one of which was a rare example of the South African 3 litre AutoDelta cars.

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This time there was just one of the boldly styled SZ cars. Not particularly well regarded when new, these cars now attract plenty of interest.

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There were plenty of recent Alfa, too, ranging from a number of 145s, 156s and 147s, GTVs and GTs  to the latest MiTo and Giulietta.

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David Roots’ eye-catching Alfa Special was on show, and finally, I managed to spot it with David on board (the advantage of being a marshall controlling comings and goings!), so was able at long last to introduce myself to him.

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A varied collection of Ferraris models this year, of which my favourite was probably the oldest model on show, the lovely Daytona.

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Other V12 models included a Testarossa, the iconic BB512i and the now slightly less unloved 400i (I like it, but the market does not, really).

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V8 cars included examples of many of the different model types offered over the past 30 years, ranging from a 308 GTS and a Mondial, through an F355 to several 360s and 430s and a current 458 Italia.

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This 246GT Dino was also really rather lovely.

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Oldest car of the day was this, the majestic Fiat 520. It is believed that this is the only such example in the UK, and one just a few survivors globally.

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Smallest duo of the day would be these, a lovely 500c Topolino, brought down from Reading, and this fun Gamine model.

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There were five of the Nuova 500 on display, one of which seems to have eluded the camera.

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Fiats that qualified for a place on Corn Street in the Spiders display included a number of the pretty 124 based models and a trio of X1/9s.along with the more recent Barchetta

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The one that absolutely should have been there, but was a late arrival, by which time the space was full, was this Dino Spider. One of my favourite cars from a very long list of favourites.

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A couple of rare models from the 1980s were much admired: a Uno Selecta and a Strada 105TC and they were joined by this third series 131 Mirafiori which is starting to look like it really needs some TLC to preserve it.

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More recent Fiats included a number of the striking Coupe, a car which has definitely become a modern-day classic already.

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Other Fiat included a couple of the 1990s Cinquecento and a Seicento, as well as an example of the current 500 and a Stilo 3 door.

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Four Lamborghini in this, the marque’s 50th anniversary year, and following a nice progression from Countach through Diablo to the Murcielago and the latest Aventador.  These cars attracted huge crowds for most of the day, which is probably why there is no picture here of the black Diablo SV, but I did get the others in rare quiet moments.

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Oldest Lancia was this Augusta, dating from 1936.

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This duo of Appia were both splendid. The Coupe, believed to be one of only a couple such models in the UK actually started its time in South Africa, but is now a regular at events in the Bristol area. The Convertible is one I had not seen before, but it was splendid, and the judging committee must have agreed, as it was a prize winner.

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Just one example of the Flaminia, a lovely Coupe model.

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From the Fulvia range, there were a mix of the very pretty Coupe models and a number of the more extrovert Zagato models.

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Biggest surprised of the day for me was early on, when this fabulous Series 2 Beta Berlina turned up. I was sure I’d not seen this car before, and a chat with the owner confirmed that I had not. He has just put it back on the road, having bought it last year following a 20 year lay up. All he had had to do was clean it and put a new exhaust system on, and despite the 35,000 miles on the clock, the interior and boot look like no-one has ever used them. Truly incredible!

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There was a Series 3 Beta Berlina as well, believed to be the only one of these currently on the road, and one of just 50 that ever made it here in the first place.

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No Coupe or HPE models in the event this year, but there was a nice Beta Spider included in the “Spiders” display, and a couple of Montecarlos were in the main Lancia  line-up.

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Among the Delta models, it was good to see that as well as Integrales, there were some lesser models, too, with a 1300LX and a 1600GTie on show.

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There were a couple of the second generation Delta HPE cars, too.

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I liked both the Prisma and the Dedra 2000 Turbo.

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There were a couple of Thema cars on show, one of which was the Ferrari-engined 8.32, which I can tell you sounds particularly good when you are up close positioning a ramp under its rear wheels!

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There was a sole Stratos style car.

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All bar one of the Maserati were from the post Biturbo era, with 3200/4200GTs, GranTurismo and Quattroporte models all on show.

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There was a Biturbo Spider on Corn Street, but despite stopping and admiring it a couple of times, I don’t seem to have pressed the shutter on the camera. I did take a picture of the oldest Maserati at the event, though, a Merak.

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As ever, there were plenty of bikes on show, and an impressive collection of scooters, complete with their enthusiastic owners in period Mod garb.

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This really was an excellent day. I’ve been to the event every year since 2008, and always enjoyed it, but the sunny skies, and the cameraderie both of the Abarthisti and my fellow marshals made this one the best yet.

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Home Forums Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival – April 2013

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Dan 5 years, 10 months ago.

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    A quick look at the automotive events schedule in the UK evidences that the car enthusiast really is spoiled for choice. During the main season from A
    [See the full post at: Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival – April 2013]



    Another year missed :(  Looked great though.  I used to get taken to swimming in one of those Lancia Beta Berlinas.  It was beige.

    Great report, gutted I missed it, thanks for posting.

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