A Blaze of Glory at Record Breaking Auto Italia

08 May 2015

Crowds descended on the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend for the 22nd Italian Car Day hosted by Brooklands Museum and organised in conjunction with Auto Italia magazine, an event that began 30 years ago.

The Paddock, Finishing Straight, Aircraft Park and Members’ Banking were packed with breathtaking displays of vehicles covering everything from 1960s Fiat 500s with their candy-striped seats to roaring Ferraris and gurgling Maseratis, and a particularly strong contingent of Lamborghinis. The Brooklands marshals were kept busy parking the record number of 1,373 Italian cars around the Museum and visitor numbers topped 5,700 for the first time.

The Paddock in front of the Clubhouse was reserved for especially rare and interesting cars and this year one of the highlights was once again ‘Il Drago Ruggente’. Built on a 1924 Delage chassis, this fire-breathing monster of a car is powered by a 27-litre Isotta Fraschini V12 engine from a World War 2 Caproni bomber. It is owned by Glenn Billqvist, who brought it over from Sweden and delighted the crowds. It took part in the midday parades on the Mercedes-Benz World circuit, together with another Isotta-Fraschini-engined monster, a Fiat owned by Michael Vardy. Max Wakefield’s rebuilt Lola T332 was also in action as a tribute to the former Italian female Lola and F1 racer driver Lella Lombardi, together with ‘selected Fiat 500s, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Lancias and Alfa Romeos, amongst others. Later in the afternoon, the action returned to Test Hill on the Museum site.

Supporting the event this year was prominent UK Ferrari specialists Hoyle-Fox, which displayed a “concours” Ferrari 330 GTC and a recently restored rare right-hand drive Dino 246 GTS in the desirable ‘Chairs and Flares’ option - so called because of its Ferrari Daytona seats, widened wings and Campagnolo wheels.

See Andy Lambert’s videos of the event here