Auto Italia Adelaide

Given the number of classic cars in Adelaide and the popularity of other shows such as the All British Day, it’s a little surprising that Adelaide hasn’t had a country specific show for Italian car enthusiasts. A group of Adelaide Italian car nuts decided to do something about it, and organised the inaugural Auto Italia Adelaide show last weekend to great success.

And what a success it was – 184 Italian vehicles filled the Campbeltown City Soccer Club oval on a picture perfect late October day. With vehicles ranging from Vespa’s and the oldest Fiat’s through rally bred Lancia’s to Ferrari’s and Maserati’s, there was something on offer for everyone.

It’s unfortunately impossible to cover every car in attendance, so in this post I’ll take a quick look at some of my favourite cars and highlights of the day. And we might as well begin with Michael Katsikitis’ stunning 33 16V, easily the cleanest and best detailed car on the day.

Josh Woenig’s white 33 ran a close second to Michael’s 16V though. Both of these cars have been detailed to the highest possible standard, and yet both are still driven regularly on the street. Amazing.

The Savis’ continued the boxer love with both Josh and Adam bringing their 16V’s. Father Garry brought his 147 GTA along… not a boxer, but a 250hp 3.2 V6 shoehorned into a small car is definitely cool nonetheless.

James Wiltshire brought Peter Axford’s ultra rare Alfa Junior Zagato down for the day. It’s a handbuilt car and there’s only 4 of them in the country, so James was being super careful with it.

I don’t think he actually left the car all day, as he stayed around to brush away any bee that was unfortunate enough to land on the bright yellow paintwork.

It must be a yellow car thing, as the bees were attracted to Gordon Meek’s Fiat Coupe too.

The Chris Bangle designed coupe polarises opinion – you either love it or you hate it. And whilst I’ll concede that I don’t think it’s a classically beautiful car, it’s quirkiness is growing on me, and I think it’s uber European styling is definitely cool. It’s probably too much for most Australian tastes, though.

Busby Snr and Jnr were caught stealing mechanical ideas off anything they could find for their next project. Busted!

David Rudzitis came in his Delta Integrale 16V which was wearing its new OZ boots and a freshly applied Martini stripe. Look for a feature story on this car soon!

Jeremy Browne brought his ex-works Lancia Fulvia HF rally car, too.

This actual car finished second in the 1972 San Remo rally as a Lancia works car driven by Barbasio, and Jeremy has since taken it back to Europe and competed with it also. I’ll refrain from posting too many photos of it now, because this car will be the subject of a special Any Given Reason feature in the near future. Stay tuned!

Jeremy was a little disappointed that it was too warm to wear his Lancia jumper, though.

While on the topic of rally cars, Guy Standen showed his 124CC that we competed in Targa Adelaide in a few months ago. It was good to see the old girl in a more relaxed setting, still unfortunately with our Gorge Road dent in the rear quarter though!

This Nuova 500 is a barn find with a super rare suicide door. I don’t think I’ve actually seen one of these before in person.

I wasn’t quite down with the dodgy quarter repair, but I still probably prefer this to the over restored look some of them sport. Rat look is in, right?

As you would expect at a proper Italian car show, there was no dodgy fast food for sale – just a choice of home made pasta or pizza for lunch, and it was delicious!

Samuel was keen on getting involved in some pasta action!

I’m a little concerned that my interest in motorbikes seems to be growing (sorry Mum!), and this lineup of Italian exotica didn’t do anything to help. This classic Ducati race bike sounded unreal when it was fired up and given a fistful of revs.

And I don’t care what anybody says, Vespa’s are cool and that’s that.

My favourite was this blue Quadrophenia inspired example.

We are the mods! We are the mods! We are, we are, we are the mods! It’s probably a bit hard to understand unless you’ve seen The Who’s 1979 rock opera Quadrophenia, but I highly recommend watching it. Although it’s a bit like the Fiat Coupe – you’ll either become a huge fan or you’ll be painfully bored for an hour and a half.

These three almost had the Italian flag sussed, although it was probably closer to the Irish flag in honesty.

The real motorcycle highlight were these three orange Ducati Desmo’s, examples of the ultimate classic sports bike. These are quick even by todays standards, and brought almost unheard of levels of speed back in their day.

I was giddy with excitement when I saw them all arrive on the same trailer.

My Dad brought along his Fiat X1/9 and 850 Sport Coupe, the first time the two cars have been out at the same time.

It was pretty cool that Luke Jaksa’s shoes were the same colour as the X1/9.

The rear engined 850 is a great little car. With only 903cc it’s not very fast, but it revs like there’s no tomorrow and it’s great fun to chuck through the corners. It doesn’t like hills very much, though.

This Abarth inspired 1974 Fiat 124 Spider was hands down my favourite Spider of the day. Every detail, from the wheels, the Carello driving lights, the plates, the rally badge on the back and even the tires have been carefully chosen to fit in with the period competition theme of the car.

One of the rarest cars was this 1922 Isotta Fraschini Tourer, fitted with a straight 8 engine.

The craftsmanship was second to none – take a look at this exquisite speedboat inspired wood panelling, and consider the badging in the grille photo above. They didn’t have laser cutters back in 1922, so I’d say that badge is probably handmade. There would probably be more hours labour in that badge than in most modern cars.

Thanks and congratulations must go to the organising committee, which was made up of representatives from several Italian car clubs in Adelaide. It was a two year process to pull this show off, and the team put on an exceptional inaugural show. One can only wonder what will happen next year!

Everything on the day ran smoothly, with members of the team even putting themselves in the line of fire to protect the cars!

And thanks also to Luke for scaling the catch fence to take the opening shot. I’m not saying I was too scared to give it a crack, I just didn’t want to make a fool of myself by falling down on someone’s Vespa.

And thanks to Michael for, yea, well, just being retarded. It was good value.

Words and photos by Andrew Coles.

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  1. Viano Jaksa November 3, 2012 Reply

    The start of an Adelaide tradition! Many thanks for an excellent review of the day.

  2. Dean Jones November 4, 2012 Reply

    Great photo's and with an artistic bent which is appreciated. Great to see one making an effort to cover the event. Agree with Viano, hope this event can grow and the many cars hidden in this Mediterranean climate let out for all to see and appreciate.

  3. Vincenza November 6, 2013 Reply

    I was so sorry that I was not able to attend this inaugural event. I was delighted to see all the great photos, thank you..
    Please register me for next year. Vincenza x

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