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Four-wheelers - by Paul Hanmore

As the small but enthusiastic band of marshals gathered for the 8th Bristol Italian Auto Moto Festival, glorious spring sunshine blessed Bristol’s Old City quarter as if it had become a jewel on the Amalfi Coast. Organised as always by enthusiasts from the Italian AutoMoto Club and Ducati Owners Club, this has surely become one of the greatest celebrations of Italian vehicles on two and four wheels the United Kingdom has seen. On cue, the heart of the Old City began to rumble to a symphony of thoroughbred exhaust notes as the 500 cars and two wheelers streamed into the historic centre of Bristol. The entrants came from the four corners of our nation, including ex-pats. who had made the journey from abroad. Italian music sang out over the public address system, endowing the metropolis with cosmopolitan and Neapolitan overtones as the streets thronged with classic Italian machinery. Bristolians and visitors from far and wide turned out in their hoards to mix with the enthusiastic vehicle owners and share this celebration of superb style and engineering.

This year the Featured car Marque was Alfa Romeo, in celebration of the centenary of one of the world’s most heralded marques. We were enthusiastically supported by hundreds of Alfa Romeo enthusiasts who celebrated ‘Il Centenario’ with many superb examples of the marque on display. The members of AlfaOwner.com swelled the ranks with their cherished cars and presented a beautiful crystal trophy to their favourite choice – the wonderful 1929 6c 1750 SS Zagato of festival regular Mike Hirst. Other notables were Robbie Webb’s fabulous 1954 1900c SS by Touring, the Junior Zagatos of Franco Macri and Ian Bateman, Ryan Higgins’ Giulietta 116 2.0 RS, Pat Butt with his Sud, Mark Siney’s 164 Cloverleaf from 1992, numerous immaculate examples of the SZ ES30, Giulias, Giuliettas, GTVs and Spiders of all ages and various Montreals, including those of the Cornish contingent of David and Wendy Newby, Chris and Demi Nelson and Guy Monty.

Enthusiasts of the other Italian marques also continued their support for this unique event, in particular:

Tony Ranson, forsaking his customary Giulietta Sprint Coupe, gave us a very special treat by entering his stunningly immaculate 1960 Triumph Italia 2000 Coupe, one of only two imported into the UK of the 329 built by Vignale between 1959 and 1962 and 40 of which are understood to still exist.

Fiat - Steve Denning's enchanting 1938 Topolino Smith Special, Carl Allen’s striking red 500 with matching trailer, numerous Coupes from members of the Fiat Coupe Club UK, Dinos, Richard Haskins intriguing 500 Giardiniera of 1972, Barchettas, Paul Tortolani’s superb 1975 130 saloon and the Spiders of Mike Rysiecki and Derek Gale. The fascinating 900E Panaramica Ferrari crew bus of Mike Kason provided additional delight by serving as post-Festival transport for a newly married couple to their wedding reception, escorted by Carlo Caccaviello in his delightfully outrageous-looking 500 with its Alfa Romeo boxer engine rasping it’s own version of ‘The Wedding March.’

Ferrari – The line-up ranged from a brace of 246GT Dinos plus various 308, 328, 348, 355, 360 and 575 Maranello models.

Maserati – Were mainly represented by various recent Coupes, Spiders and Quattroportes. Reg Palmer’s 420i Biturbo in sparkling white livery caught the eye in particular.

Lamborghini - The display was remarkable for it's content, ranging from Jan Pettifor's distinctive glowing Diablo to the choice of film stars - two Isleros. Iain McFarlain's had at one time been loaned to Brigit Bardot and Ed Stratton's had been driven by Roger Moore in the thriller 'The Man Who Haunted Himself' and there was also Phil Jones’ superb Espada.

De Tomaso – Johnny Woods’ mouth watering 1974 Pantera GTS must surely have been the most immaculate car of the Festival. It was perfect both inside and outside and even the engine bay would have passed a ‘white gloves test’ during the CO’s inspection!

Lancia – Deltas of various guises were resplendent in the dappled sunshine of St Nicholas Street, notable but not exclusively were Simon Davis’ HPE HF, Stephen Pilgrim’s Integrale Evo 2, Marcus Robinson’s 1.6 HF turbo and Richard Liechenheimer’s beautiful Evo 1 Martini 6, its owner having returned only just in time from his duties at the F1 Grand Prix in China. Other notable models were the Stratos’, Montecarlos, Betas, Fulvias, Harvey Maycock’s 1978 Gamma Berlina, Marcus Harrison’s Gamma Gran Tourismo and David and Eileen Tipper with their delightful 1936 Augusta Berliner.

All in all it was another great event thanks to the participation of so many enthusiastic owners.

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If anyone wishes to promote a product or a company through the Festival, please contact us via the email below. Sponsors will receive a full 12 months of publicity on our websites.

We also welcome feedback and suggestions regarding the event. These and any other enquiries should be addressed to: biamf@italianautomotoclub.co.uk.

BIAMF is organised by the Italian AutoMoto Club with the assistance of the Bristol branch of the Ducati Owners Club. Click on the logos below for details of these clubs.

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