Sunday, April 25, 2010

Italian Car Show

Bit of a gear head post today, as in motor powered gear, verses pedal powered gear. Years ago, I owned many cars in a short period of time. Motorcycles are tossed in there as well, but we'll save that for other blog fodder. On the car front, I really dug Fiats at the time. Yes, Fiat - the famous, or infamous, car manufacturer from Italy.

Back in the early '80s, you could pick up '70s model Fiats for little dough. They were small, handled well, and fun to drive. Cheap to fix also - and that aspect was used often. The joke was Fiat stood for Fix It Again Tony. For a 19 year old sports car nut, just what the doctor ordered. Cheap enough to own and easy to fix.

During my "Fiat Years" I owned a 128 Sedan, 128 Sport, X 1/9, 131 Sedan and a 124 Wagon - all various '70s vintage. My old pal Kevin also owned a 128 Sport, 124 Spider, 850 Spider and 124 Wagon (I bought the ratty wagon from him). My brother also owned a 128 Sport as well. An all around neighborhood Fiat Fest.

Along with Fiat, I've always been a fan of many Italian wheels. Italy has made some cool stuff over the years - Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Ducati, Abarth - and don't forget Bianchi and Campagnolo. The Italians know how to put out some soulful wheels - agree?

With all that, we noticed an Italian car show advertised for today, so we checked it out. Sunny spring day, something different for a family outing, not a bad day out.

A few pictures from the afternoon......

Local Fiat club hosted the show at the Triple XXX Drive In, located in nearby Issaquah. I've driven by this place many times, but today was our first visit ever. The Triple XXX hosts many car shows throughout the year. By the size of the crowd today - smart move.

Retro '50s look inside with tons of moto head memorabilia hanging everywhere. Giant mugs of root beer and usual hamburger type menu.

A 409 V8 greets you at the door.

Late '60s Fiat 500. Yeah, people think modern Mini-Coopers or even the Smart car is small? This makes those cars look huge.

Wouldn't take much pasta to make this interior a little tight.

I don't know what the displacement of this motor is, but it's pretty damn small. The race modified Abarth versions of this car are really cool. None to be found today.

Some modern Ferraris. I think these are 430 models. Don't quote me, I'm not up on the latest from Ferrari. And with the chances of me ever affording one, a moot point.

Momma mia - that is nice.

Fiat X 1/9 - mid-engined, fun car. I owned a '77 X 1/9 for a short time. Mine turned out to be a nightmare project car with various calamities, including a slipped cam belt and four bent exhaust valves. Getting at anything with the engine wedged behind the seats was tough. They should have used velcro engine mounts for easy removal - for things like slipping cam belts. Even so, I'd still like to have a clean X 1/9 even today. Please slap me whenever I mutter those words.

'70s era Ferrari 308. I've always liked these and now they've depreciated to almost affordable levels. Not exactly the daily driver though.

Late '60s Dino Ferrari. Awesome looking little car. I don't have my history down, but this car was supposed to badged as a Fiat - or it might have been at the time. Badged as a Fiat or Ferrari, I'll take it.

1986 Alfa Romeo Milano sedan - complete with Bianchi wedged in back seat. Actually ridden or just a prop? You be the judge. I really wanted one of these cars in '86 - expensive at the time.

Modern Alfa Romeo, not sold in the U.S., but somehow shows up here. I don't remember the model name, but have seen this model in car magazines. Helpful, ain't I?

My favorite car of the show and my favorite Alfa model - '70s era GTV - with Panasport wheels. Nice, nice, nice. I'd take one of these in a second. Please send money.

Fiat Brava sedan. I owned a similar '77 131 Sedan, before they used the Brava name. Really nice car for the era.

Super clean and very green Fiat 850 Spider. 850 stands for the displacement - as in 850cc of power. Later models were something like 908cc. My old pal Kevin owned one of these in the early '80s. I remember driving it a few times myself. Fun little car, emphasis on little.

'70s Fiat 124 Sport. Fiat sold tons of the 124 Spider convertibles, but not many hardtop Sport models. I'd take the Sport over the Spider model, but that's just me.

Another clean Fiat 850 at the show. I like this one even better.

Quite a few Fiat 124 Spiders on display. A lot of Spiders survive to this day and the most popular Fiat in the U.S. for sure.

Another super clean Alfa GTV.

I ran into my old Mackie pal, John, displaying his '74 Alfa Romeo Spider. Nice guy and nice car.

A few DeTomaso Panteras in attendance, including this clean yellow one with modern wheels.

How about a lime green Lamborghini Countach? A little over the top for me.

Orange Countach allegedly owned by Sir Mix-A-Lot, who lives outside of Seattle.

Not part of the show, but seen outside - pretty cool Bug. I dig the old VWs as well.

All in all, a fun afternoon out. Even though my gear head interest has plummeted over the years, still cool to look at these old cars. Gets you thinking about picking one up, but in reality, I have no interest or time to be wrenching on old cars - I'd rather ride my bike.

And I did just that later in the day. A quick solo singletrack cruise before dinner. No noise, no gas, no rust, no slipping cam belts. Much nicer.


  1. Hi Dan,

    that is a nice way to spend your time ;)
    My mother owned a Alfa Milano (was called an Alfa 75 overhere) it had the 3.0 6c engine,! what a blast that car was, untill i crashed it.
    I come form a family who is riding Alfa'a all the time, i have had 8 or so, the current one is a 159 ti, but that one isn't sold in the US.
    The modern one that you do not know the name of is the 8C, it had a ferrari engine and is to damn pretty,..have you seen the spider version ?



  2. Bas,

    That's cool you've experienced so many Alfas.

    Alfa and Fiat have been out of the U.S. for many years, though both are due to return soon. I've read tests on the new Fiat 500 Abarth sold in Europe. That would be a fun car to own. It may come to the U.S., but I'd bet in a watered down, more boring edition.

    I remember reading about the 8C, but was late last night when I posted - didn't take the time to Google it. Very nice car.

    I've been an Italian car fan for years, even though the ones I owned were '70s vintage iron - with all the related rust and other problems. I'd be really curious to drive a modern one.


  3. She's real fine my 409. Awesome cars.
    But the bicycles have my heart.

  4. wonderful pics and great blog. Just a quick aside the white ferrari close to the camera is a 360 modena challenge the one behind is is a 430. The lambos are both murcielagos not countachs.

  5. Thanks for pointing that out. As mentioned, I'm not fully up on the modern Italian iron. Most modern cars have become so crazy expensive, I stopped paying attention.

    I still dig the old stuff however - partly because it's a throwback to when I was super interested in cars, but also because cars from that era have a cool style to them - plus much lighter and more unique in individual design.

    Thanks for the positive comments concerning the blog. I get a kick out of doing it and the fact people actually read it.

  6. Great pics of northwest fiats (doesn't hurt that two are "in the family")!

  7. Thanks. I still wouldn't mind picking up another Fiat - new or vintage.

  8. Those cars totally rock, Dan. In my own opinion, the sexiest car makers in Italy since was Alfa Romeo. :) And among their cars, the Alfa Romeo Spider would be their most beautiful car yet.

  9. @Brittanie. Alfa Romeo made some interesting cars for sure - including the Spider. I really dig the older GTVs and other models as well...

  10. “Cheap enough to own and easy to fix.”---- Yeah, that was way, way back before. Haha! Now, when you try to purchase the same model, the price may be even higher than the latest models of Fiat cars that we have today. Plus, the maintenance in not yet included! Nevertheless, they are truly outstanding in both design and performance.

  11. Mama Mia, indeed! Would be hard not to choke around Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, and Lamborghinis! The ’70 Fiat 124 Sport doesn’t look bad either. A couple of customizations here and there can transform it into a super muscle car. =D Perhaps even add hydraulics to toughen it up a bit.

    Tyra Shortino