A few weeks ago I headed down to Canberra for Auto Italia 2107. This was my fourth visit over the years having been down for 2013, 2015 and 2016. Each year there are two interesting points about the day. The first is that there is usually a “headline” marque – this year it was Ferrari for their 70th anniversary. The second point is that it brings out some of the rarer machines that we don’t normally see on the roads.
An example of this is the Ducati Desmosedici RR which arrived in Australia in a very limited volume – not surprising seeing that only 1,500 were built for global consumption. This bike was built around 2006 was in essence a road version of the 2004 MotoGP racer. It also showed where Ducati was heading in their styling for the later superbikes.
A four wheeled example of the rarities on show was this Alfa Romeo RZ (Roadster Zagato) that has a mere 284 units built in the early 1990s. This was a collaborative effort between Alfa Romeo, Zagato and FIAT with production by Zagato. This one has “historic” registration plates – allowed for limited use cars over 30 years old.
Auto Italia has grown over the years however this year the organisers were hampered by the antics of the local Government. Despite having well over 250 registered entrants to the event which brings in plenty of revenue to local businesses such as cafes, restaurants, hotels etc the grey men controlling the public space refused to allow any more cars to come in and only released 250 parking permits (paid for by the entrants) and subsequently wandered around booking cars with no permit!
This attitude wasn’t helpful and it was almost like they were jealous of people having classic cars or turning up in Lamborghini’s or the featured marque, Ferrari, of which there were many arriving. Everyone who attended spent money at one of the vendors on-site or paid for fuel, food or other items in the city.
This year saw what I considered to be one of the largest collections of De Tomaso vehicles ever seen in Australia. This was excellent as they are super-rare. What was obvious was that every one was different in some form – a classic example of low volume manufacturing where the original buyer specified certain features.
There were several Longchamps on display however no sister Maserati Kyalami’s to match them against.
This pack of Panteras was quite a sight, every one different and if you view the video below you will see the Ford motors fitted in a very central position in the car.
The central area of the grounds in front of the Old Parliament House in Canberra was reserved for the Ferraris and there were many different models including several 246 Dino’s and even a 365 Daytona. On one side was also the motorcycle display with Ducati, Laverda and Moto Guzzi having a strong presence and the classic FIAT 500 with Abarth derivatives also holding a central position.
The outer edges contained Alfa Romeo on one side and FIAT / Lancia on the other. Alfa Romeo certainly outranked every other marque simply by having a longer continuous volume sales history here. It was great to see all the different ages of cars though.
There are more images in my Instagram Gallery and the video below is a collection of footage taken on an iPhone 7 with a self levelling gimbal – the first time I had used it while walking.
It was a sensational day, the weather was great and the crowds just kept coming – it was a great family event. I would recommend anyone who has an interest in Italian machinery to attend next year especially as I hear that it will be included in a Maserati tour starting in Melbourne and finishing in Sydney with many overseas cars planned to be shipped in.