Past Tours & Galleries

For ten days in March, 38 Americans, including yours truly, navigated the streets of Milan, Torino, and Modena as part of the Second Annual Italian Car Guy Tour -- hosted by our own Maserati Club International and the Concorso Italiano. The tour visited several design centers, manufacturers, collections and museums, as well as restaurants. We even drove the 3200 GT on the Imola Race Track. Be sure to get your name on the list for next year's tour scheduled for March 2000.
Monday, March 22
Alfa Romeo Centro Stile

The tour kicked off on Monday, March 22, at 8:57 a.m. when the group boarded the bus for a visit to Alfa Romeo Centro Stile. There we were given a grand tour of the styling center, including the actual drafting areas where designers were at work in front of their computer terminals and drawing boards creating future Alfa Romeos. A round of applause went out from the group when one of the designers expressed his resounding preference for rear-wheel drive cars.
Alfa Romeo Museum

From the styling center, we were escorted back to the Alfa Romeo Museum where we were given a terrific tour, which included an incredible array of significant Alfa Romeos.

From there it was off to lunch in the country at a wonderful restaurant. Afterwards we were welcomed at Zagato by Andrea Zagato himself, who gave us a personalized tour of the design and modeling area and the newly-added restoration facility, where complete and impressive restorations were underway. Zagato is now partly owned by Rivolta, and Pierro Rivolta was on hand to introduce himself. From Zagato, we picked up our rental cars and headed off to Torino.
Tuesday, March 23
Lancia Museum

The next morning, Tuesday, a special bus was arranged by Michael Robinson, director of Lancia Centro Stile. Some of you Biturbo owners may recognize Michael's name, as he was the man who, in 1983, designed the Biturbo MIE body kit which was successfully marketed by us here in the U.S. Michael, a friend of mine for over twenty years, and a super "Car Guy," gave us a personalized tour of the Lancia Museum, along with Dott. Enrico Masala, Lancia's caretaker of the brand, or "Brand Manager." Upon leaving we were all presented with 1/43 scale model Lancia.
Pininfarina Collection

From Centro Torino, the Lancia-supplied bus delivered us out to Cambiano for a visit to the Pininfarina Collection. The Collection is not open to the public and tour groups are let in on very rare occasions. We were enthusiastically met by the PR staff led by Silvana Appendino, who escorted us around the Collection. We were allowed to take photographs as we wanted. After approximately 40 minutes we were totally blown away when they allowed us to go into the special presentation room where several prototype cars were in position, including the one-to-one wood model of the new 360 Modena Ferrari. In addition, Pininfarina surprised us with an incredible buffet luncheon, which included Spumanti champagne and wine. And if that wasn't enough, as we were leaving they so kindly gave each person a copy of a new book of Pininfarina and a lapel pin, and if that wasn't enough, several designers came out and signed autographs and introduced themselves. It was a very special experience that will long be remembered.

The bus returned us to our hotel, where we had a short rest, and then we departed for the I.DE.A. design studios. The tour of I.DE.A. began at the beautiful villa sitting on top of a hill of what I call the Beverly Hills of Torino. The panoramic views and beauty of the villa creates a very conducive environment for the type of creativity that is needed in the design business. While at I.DE.A we had a tour of the milling machines and the drafting rooms. We were surprised when CEO Mr. Matagazza uncovered their beautiful Geneva show car and allowed people to sit in it and try it out.
Wednesday, March 24

The next morning, Wednesday, March 24, we convoyed in our fourteen cars out to Italdesign for a tour of the Italdesign Museum, and a visit with Fabrizio Giugiaro and Giorgetto Giugiaro, who was kind enough to speak to the group and take some questions. When asked about the recent merger of Chrysler and Mercedes and the trend toward merging into two or three global car companies, Mr. Giugiaro expressed concern by stating that fewer car companies will ultimately create a more homogenized design atmosphere. As usual, he and Fabrizio were upbeat, witty and very charismatic. Berthard Ollmann's Maserati Boomerang (yes, the one and only Boomerang) was on loan to the Italdesign Museum and there for everyone to see. Fabrizio asked if we would like to see the one-to-one wood model of their latest Bugatti four-door they had shown recently in Geneva, and instantaneously the car was brought out for all of us to see. Special thanks must be given to Luca Balbo, assistant to Mr. Giugiaro, and to Lorenza Cappello for organizing such a wonderful morning.
Bertone Design Center

And then it was off to Capria and the Bertone Design Center. Mr. Gian Beppe Panicco and Marie Jeanne Bertone, daughter of Nuccio Bertone, greeted us as we entered the grounds of the styling center, which is located at the foot of the mountains about thirty miles outside of Torino, in a very lovely setting. Several cars were displayed outside for our viewing, including the rare Ferrari prototype called the Rainbow, and last year's Geneva Auto Show prototype, the Pixster. Photographs were allowed, it was a sunny afternoon, and we were allowed to wander around the styling center and see perhaps eight to ten beautiful prototype cars which have only been seen in magazines.
S.A.L.T. & Turninmodel S.r.l

From there, we drove to S.A.L.T. & Turninmodel S.r.l., where we were greeted by the CEO, Francesco Gavina, and his son, Franco. Not many people know of Sig. Gavina, but he is considered Italy's Michael Jordan of interiors. When it comes to leather interiors, Sig. Gavina has done them all. He has created the prototypes for just about everything unusual, including the recent Mercedes-Benz gullwing SL shown at the Detroit Auto Show, as well as our own Maserati Quattroporte III -- and the list goes on and on and on. The group was totally blown away when Sig. Gavina opened up his shop door to reveal a four-door 456 Ferrari being finished for the Sultan of Brunei. I'm here to tell you, it looked good, in my opinion, even better than the two-door. Standing next to it was a four-door station wagon on the 456 Ferrari chassis. No photographs were allowed, but these were great cars. Sig. Gavina is to be congratulated on his contribution to the Italian automotive passion. In addition to the two Ferraris, there was a Bugatti EB110 having a complete prototype interior fitted, as well as a new Bentley, 1 of 10. The blow-away factor was a ten, on a scale of ten. From there it was back to central Torino.
Tom Tjaarda's

Tom gave us an excellent tour of his small but efficient studio located in central Torino, and afterwards invited us to join him at his local bar for Campari and finger snacks. Man, we were happening now. Just look at us -- there we were in a bar in Torino having drinks with a famous car designer, talking about Italian cars. Earlier that day we met Giorgetto Giugiaro, Marijan Bertone, and saw the ultra-rare 4-door Ferrari at S.A.L.T. -- what a day!
Thursday, March 25

Thursday morning it was up early and off to Modena, check into the hotel, and then meet the group for lunch at the Cavalino restaurant in Maranello.

After lunch the group walked over to Ferrari where we were all welcomed and escorted on an excellent tour, including production of the 360 Modena. After the tour it was shopping at the Formula I and warm-up boutiques for model cars, art, and so forth, and then a visit to the Ferrari Museum and Galleria. That night I, and a couple of folks from the tour, had dinner at Montana's in Maranlello and were fortunate enough to have dinner with Michael Schumacher. Yes, the one and only Michael Schumacher. Well, actually, he was having dinner at another table, but he was kind enough to say hello to us on his way out. Earlier in the afternoon we were all thrilled by his driving at the Fiorano race track. Of course, the traffic was stopped on the bridge while everyone was standing in the road watching, only in Italy.
Friday, March 26
Automobili Lamborghini

Friday, March 26, we queued up in the Piazza Roma and drove out to Automobili Lamborghini. Arriving at Lamborghini we quickly spotted approximately ten Audis parked in the executive parking area. Hmm..... We were told that we were very lucky, in that our tour would be the last for approximately one year as the transition of ownership to Audi was made. As we were getting ready to leave, a phone call came from the CEO's office. It was Mr. Di Capua inviting the whole group up to his office for a private visit with him -- in his office. You should have seen it, thirty-eight Americans strolling single file into the CEO's office. Mr. Di Capua was, as usual, very gracious, shaking all the gentlemen's hands and kissing the ladies as they entered. He was very excited about a recent CD that he had put together mixing classical music with the sounds of Lamborghini engines. He was inducted into the Car Guy Tour and given a complimentary Car Guy Tour hat to the resounding applause of everyone.

Valentino Balboni volunteered to lead us to a very special ristorante in the country not far from Lamborghini. You should have seen it -- 15 rental cars following this new Lamborghini Diablo being driven by the maestro himself, but limited to 40 or 50 MPH. You know it must have just killed him to go that slow and with all those Americans watching.

After lunch (which included a flaming baked Alaska) we drove back to Modena for our visit to the Maserati Factory. We were welcomed in the courtyard by Sig. Manicardi and Sig. Cozza. We were given a short introduction and taken to the assembly lines, the engine assembly area and dyno rooms where engines were being run in. Then it was back to the main office for a video in the conference room. Of special interest were the first right-hand drive 3200GT's coming off the assembly line.
Stangiulini Museum

After Maserati it was over to the Stangiulini Museum, personally escorted by Mr. Francesco Stangiulini. Of all the museums this is one of my favorites. The presentation is flawless, and done with a sense of timing and preservation from one period to the next. Mr. Stangiulini is very proud when he points out the first license plate issued in Modena -- MO 001 as fitted to one of his cars in the collection. Machine tools, hand tools, posters, records, photographs, awards and trophy's are all carefully laid out under glass and hung on the walls. The cars, approximately 30 in total, are all in beautiful original condition, not over restored, complimente Sig. Stangiulini.

After the Stangiulini visit it was back to Piazza Roma and the hunt for a Central Modena parking spot, then meet at the bar, and out for dinner.
Saturday, March 27

Saturday was our day of free time, we were off to do and see as we wished.
Sunday, March 28

The Maserati Registro (Italy's Priemier Maserati Club) had graciously invited our group to join them at the Imola Race Track, where the Registro was having their first outing of the year. So about fourteen of us headed off down the Autostrada and arrived at Imola at about 10:30 a.m. The Registro had assembled about fifty classic and modern Biturbo cars, including five or six racing cars. They were all taking turns going around the race track. The Factory brought down two or three 3200GT's. They were letting the club members drive them on the track . I took my turn at the wheel while Parker Hall held on, and then I rode around with Parker Hall. What an incredible car to drive. Those of us who had the opportunity to drive it on the track were very impressed with the way it handled and the way it performed. I personally have a problem with the way turbo-charged cars sound (or the lack there of), but the 3200 created an unusual growl up around 5,500 rpm. It was very interesting. The pressure that you felt in your back as you sunk into the seat upon takeoff was impressive. Claudio Mosconi from Switzerland with his Maserati Indy was kind enough to take me around the track as a passenger. I must say, the Indy does handle very flat in the curves and Claudio did a marvelous job of piloting his car. All the usual suspects were there with their cars, including Alberto Grabber with his highly modified Ghibli II and Franco Tralli with his lovely green Mistral Spyder. Marcello and Giuseppe Candini had a great time with their silver Mistral Coupe and Igor Zanisi was having a grand time in his Coupe Maserati. Matteo and Umberto Panini had a couple cars there. The Pininfarina A6GCS Coupe and the 1967 factory Ghibli ( the chicken) as well as their Barchetta race car Stadale. Soon it was time for lunch and lunch it was. The Italians have so much class and style. They laid out a lunch that totally blew us Americans away. Trophies were presented and a good time was had by all. One of the special guests and a delight to meet and speak with was the son of Ettore Maserati, Carlo Maserati. Other special guests included Adolfo Orsi, Maria Teresa DiFillipis, who has not lost her touch; you should have seen her drive that Barchetta around the track. On the way back to Modena we stopped at the Autogrill for coffee and reminisced about the fact that we had just come from the famous Imola Formula I Race Track where we had driven the new Maserati. How many people will be able to say they have done that? Many thanks to the Maserati Registro and the organizers, including Nicola Sculco and Theo Husak.
Monday, March 29
The Maserati Collection

On Monday, March 29, we queued up in the Piazza and headed out to the Maserati Collection of Umberto Panini. We were met there by 40-year Maserati Veteran Ing. Ermano Corrigi, Chief Technical Advisor, and our special guest, Ing. Eugeno Alzati.

Matteo Panini took us through the Collection and showed us all the latest editions, as well as a first-class tour of their farm, including the Parmesano cheese production. From the Maserati collection, we departed to the DeTomaso factory, now run by Mr. Bruce Qvale, who was kind enough to allow everyone to tour the facility, which included the new Garrara production, and Mangusta production, as well as a small, but very interesting, museum of DeTomaso artifacts and prototype cars. From there we went to a small private airport for a terrific lunch with our guest of honor, Ing. Alzati, Matteo Panini and Ermano Corrigi, the former technical supervisor of Maserati.
Mario Raghini Collection

After lunch it was out to south of Modena for a visit to the Mario Raghini Collection. This is an absolute superb Collection, possibly one of the top two or three in Italy. The centerpiece of the collection -- for Ferrari owners, anyway -- is the very first Ferrari, number 815, the first Ferrari built by Enzo after he left Alfa, where he was not allowed to use his Ferrari name, so he called it Auto Avio Costruzioni. Mr. Raghini was very kind to set up some refreshments for us and give us a beautiful tour of his Collection, which sits in a five-hundred year old castle.
Tuesday, March 30
Modena Motori

Tuesday morning, it was off to Modena Motori, an incredible machine shop in central Modena that reproduces transmissions, engines, blocks and all kinds of things, beginning with castings. On display were several Maserati 450S engines and a birdcage engine that were being rebuilt and re-manufactured according to Factory specifications.

From there we went to Autosport, which is outside of Modena. Autosport is a body shop where restorations were taking place on a world-class level, including the very first Lamborghini Countach #001. Other cars in the restoration process included a Maserati Vignale Spyder, and a Ferrari California Spyder. There must have been twenty cars undergoing some type of work -- from sheet metal all the way through to painting. These guys do first-class work. They also do subcontract work for Ferrari and Maserati, painting intake manifolds and this type of thing.
Modena Sports Car

The last stop was at Modena Sport Car the new Maserati mega-dealer in Modena out on the Via Emilia. Mr. Renzo Panzacchi was kind enough to escort the group around including the service department where we were shown the latest 3200GT diagnostic equipment which could be easily plugged into any PC where problems can be easily sorted out or diagnosed. Next to the Maserati dealer was the Ferrari concessionaire, who had an impressive collection of vintage Ferraris down in the basement. And that, my friends, was it. The Second Annual Car Guy Tour, fast paced, lots of cars, lots of restaurants, lots of fun. I hope that you will be able to join us next year for the Third Annual.


Eddy Yates
Abingdon, VA

Luis Ashelford
Lawndale, CA 90260

Paul Vasuez
Arcadia, CA

Gerald Ponder
Salisbury, MD

Gene Ponder
Mashall, TX

Harry Brownlee
Dallas, TX 75235

Ron and Nancy Caviglia
Santa Rosa, CA

Don and Betty Fugate
Novato, CA

Michael Clark
Eugene, OR

Patrick and Brenda Moran
Palo Alto, CA

Frank and Nina Pohl
San Francisco, CA

Tom and Susa Watkins
Salt Lake City, UT

Ronald and Tina Catalano
Shandon, CA

David Smith
Medina WA.

Conrad Walters
Redmond WA.

Ralph Day
Moraga, CA

Myron Ashkenas
Phoenix, AZ

Tom Blackwell
Fort Bragg, CA

Luigi Genicolo
Concord, CA

Stanley Lane
Hallandale, FL

Parker Hall
Vicksburg, MS

Mark Seifert
Santa Cruz, CA

Tom and Suzanne Lewis
Paradise Valley, AZ

Craig Thier
Miami, FL

Robert Burkett & Nga Nguyen
La Jolla, CA

33 + FGM =34