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Bologna adds sauce to Auto e Moto d’Epoca’s 40th birthday

WORDS AND PHOTOS: NATHAN CHADWICK

Switching any show from one beloved location to another is a challenge, especially when that move coincides with a major anniversary – but the 40th running of the Auto e Moto d’Epoca in Bologna proved to be a big success. More than 130,000 people streamed through the Bologna Fiere between October 26-29, 2023, even if several showgoers were confused by the less-than-intuitive layout. Nevertheless, the new set-up was all the better for discovering something odd, fascinating and beguiling around every corner…

Leading dealers took advantage of the extra space to stretch out

Leading dealers took advantage of the extra space to stretch out

This was a much bigger event than before. Although we at Magneto love the city of Padova for its laid-back charm and 30-minute proximity to Venice by train, the truth is that the ever-expanding show had long outgrown that location. This year most dealers were located in proper halls; last year some smaller traders had to contend with tents and high winds. The quality of the cars on sale in 2023 was high, with leading dealers taking advantage of the extra space to stretch out.

Auto e Moto d’Epoca also saw public debuts for the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale plus the new, updated Touring Arese RH95, which you can read about exclusively in Magneto 20. However, there were also a couple of fascinating limited-run cars to check out: the Grassi 044S, a 650bhp homage to the Lancia Delta S4, and the ErreErre Fuoroserie pictured above. This uses the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio as its base, and is inspired by the Giulia Super. It packs a 570bhp punch and is believed to cost in the region of €400,000.

The show is about more than just dealer cars for sale, however. Manufacturers such as Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Maserati and more were keen to engage with the public, while FIVA and the ASI combined to provide a great range of talks. Giampaolo Dallara and Ercole Spada were honoured with becoming part of the FIVA Hall of Fame as well. Alongside the enthusiastic club scene, though, the highlight has to be the autojumble. Split over two halls this year, it was filled with everything you could possibly need for an Italian car project, plus a lot of things you probably didn’t (but proved hard to resist). The presence of a Lancia Delta S4 chassis at the end of one hall, and a made-to-order glassfibre shell at the other, certainly got the mind wandering.

All in all, the event was a great success. We’ve corralled ten of our favourite cars from four days in Motor Valley. Next year’s event takes place between October 24-27. More details are available here.

Lamborghini Miura P400

This unrestored Miura, chassis number 4073, was first owned by a member of the Invernizzi family, based in Milan, in 1969. At the time, the famous Galbani brand of cheese and cold cuts had been bought by the family, and the car would remain with the Invernizzis until 1977. The next owner kept the car for four decades before passing it on to the dealer earlier this year, and the car found a new home at the show.

Lancia Flavia Coupé Prototipo

This Flavia was built in 1964 for the HF rally team, and was pressed into service for future Fiat Group motor sport supremo Giorgio Pianta, and his co-driver René Trautman, for the 1964 Poland Rally Raid. The first of four prototypes, it was later sold to Trautman, who had the engine bored out to 1991cc for circuit racing in 1965. After the season, it was sold to a Belgian racing team for 1966. It is currently undergoing restoration, and wears the Belgian national colours.

SVS Codatronca TS

Designed by famous Zagato and BMW stylist Ercole Spada, the Codatronca first rumbled into life in 2007 with the aim of become a racing car for the FIA GT1 Championship. Underneath the bodywork lies a 630bhp Chevrolet Corvette C5 engine and chassis. Just one car was sold in coupé form, and this is it. However, it hasn’t just sat around in a collection – between its six owners it has covered 15,000km, and it most recently called Monaco home.

Fiat 508 CS Balilla Coppa d’Oro

Based on the 508 saloon, this little Fiat wore bodywork designed by Carrozzeria Ghia and used a 995cc four-cylinder sidevalve engine. Its first owner was the Modenese arm of the National Fascist Party for the use of Dr Augusto Zoboli. It took part in the 11th Coppa Acerbo, otherwise known as the Targa Abruzzo, with Zoboli driving and Scuderia Ferrari running the car. The car finished seventh overall and second in class. A year later it took part in the Mille Miglia, again run by Scuderia Ferrari, and was entered into the special-fuels class as it was running on methanol. It finished tenth in class and 27th overall.

Fiat 1500 Turolla

This one-off creation began life as a 1938 Fiat 6C 1500, before it was given a bespoke body by Carrozzeria Turolla just after World War Two. It ran in the Mille Miglia between 1947 and 1949, but was retired from racing because it was never quite as fast as it looked. It was eventually found in an abandoned state by the nephew of one of the drivers who competed in the Mille Miglia, who then embarked on a six-year restoration to get the car back up and running.

Maserati Ghibli Open Cup

The Maserati Ghibli Open Cup was designed to reignite some excitement into the brand following Fiat’s takeover of the company. The racing series was run by Adolfo Orsi junior, the great-grandson of the Adolfo Orsi who owned the company between 1937 and 1968. The series largely followed the DTM, with some additional races, and attracted guest drivers such as Tiff Needell, Paul Radisich, Miki Biasion and Markku Alén. Just 23 cars were built for the series, of which this is one – although it didn’t race.

The championship got as far as two races before it was cancelled in 1996 – officially because of budget problems, but rumours persist it was because Ferrari’s one-make-series cars were slower. This left owners with racing cars with no series; some machines remained as racing cars, others, such as this one, were turned into road models with whatever interiors could be found it the factory. While some had Shamal trim, this one has a standard Ghibli II interior with wooden panels. Coming from a Danish collection to Italy, it’s done just over 50,000km.

Porsche 964 Turbo S Leichtbau

Built to homologate a Le Mans racing car, the Porsche 964 Turbo S Leichtbau was built in a tiny number of just 86 – and chassis 80 is one of only two examples that saw race action. It was built to German specifications (C00) and was registered in that country, even though its first owner was Italian gentleman driver Renato Mastropietro. He competed in the Porsche Club Italia race series with the car, but he didn’t have much reliability of pace out of it. The car was sent back to Porsche for an upgrade to Cup suspension, a new limited-slip differential, fresh gears and synchros, plus a new turbocharger.

All this didn’t do much to help matters, however, so the 964 was further upgraded with a more reliable 500bhp 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged engine, plus a rear wing derived from the Carrera RS 3.8. It would go on to take part at the Rally di Monza, finishing in eighth place, before taking victories at Vallelunga and Mugello in the Targa Tricolore Porsche. It then saw success in the 1995 Italian GT Championship. That year also saw an outing in the Jarama round of the BPR Global GT Championship. In 1997, former Ferrari driver Luca Drudi took the Porsche to victory at the Vaano round of the Italian GT Championship. Stewardship passed to Massimo Pasini, who competed with the car until 2003; in that time it finished first in the Italian GT Championship. It’s fresh from a nut-and-bolt restoration, and has covered 90km since.

Mercedes-Benz 180 D

This 1954 Mercedes-Benz 180 was entered into the 1955 Mille Miglia in the Diesel Group, with an all-Italian team of Masera and Carinali behind the wheel. The pair finished 220nd overall and third in class; it’s believed to be the only surviving Diesel Class car; the category ran for just one year. In 1959 ownership passed to Eduardo Solimene, the owner of a Salerno-based estate. Between 1961 and 1966 it was owned by the founder of the Rome Ballet, Walter Zappolini.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale

This Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale was owned by Nicola Romeo Jr, the grandson of Nicola Romeo Sr, who bought a majority stake and then the entirety of Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili in 1915, forming Alfa Romeo in 1918. Nicola Romeo Sr would leave the firm ten years later following near liquidation and boardroom squabbles. Fast forward to the 1980s, and Nicola Romeo Jr was hunting for a suitable Alfa and found this Giulietta SS. Over the years he’s used it for driving tours, events and weekend runs, before deciding to move it on this year after 32 years of ownership. It was being offered in unrestored condition.

Fiat 1100E Coupé Vignale

First displayed at the 1953 Turin Auto Show, this one-of-two design was the creation of Giovanni Michelotti, then working for Vignale. The headlight-in-grille arrangement would go on to influence Vignale’s Ferrari 212 Inter design.