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A Celebration Tour for Touring Bodied Ferraris 2019


 

Milano/Torino, 10th - 15th of September, 2019 

When people think of Ferrari today they immediately think of Pinin Farina as well as for decades now the design studio in Torino is responsible for most of the creations leaving the factory in Maranello. But going back into the early years of Ferrari another famous Carrozzeria becomes to mind as one of the starting points of the myth of the Prancing Horse, both in the design of exciting sports car as well as the successful race car manufacturer under the banner of the Scuderia Ferrari: Touring of Milano.


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Well before Enzo Ferrari decided to build his own cars his first contact with Touring came in the time the Scuderia was entering the pre-war Alfa Romeo on the international race circuits. Well into the 1930s many bodies were built with the relative heavy principle of a wooden subframe supporting the steel or alloy body. When Carrozzeria Touring was founded in 1926 by Felice Bianchi Anderloni the impact from the aero industry in the car world was clearly visible as some manufacturing methods made it into production from the air to the street. Touring set the standard with the new Superleggera (“Super light”) principle of building a light alloy body over a light supporting structure of a thin tube frame saving much weight compared to the heavy wooden counterpart. But not only did Anderloni pay attention to the weight but also had an eye on the aerodynamic of his designs and so the mainly Italian cars carrying his coachwork before the war were also extremely beautiful with dynamic shapes. Some of the race cars entered by the Scuderia were Touring bodied like the Alfa Romeo 8C models and so it was not a surprise that Enzo came back to Touring when it was on him to build the cars to dominate the 1950s on the international circuits.

Now under the leadership of Anderloni’s son Carlo Felice the first real small production model of Ferrari debuted in 1948 at the Torino Motor Show with the 166 Sport Touring Coupe alongside the racing versions of the 2-litre 166, the 166 MM Touring Barchetta. The 166 MM brought Ferrari to the worldwide attention after not only winning the most popular race of the days, the MM that should give the car its name, but also the Le Mans 24h that year. The Le Mans race in particular was important to Ferrari as the race winning driver Luigi Chinetti should become the general importer for the cars from Maranello into the most important market of the US.

Unfortunately the name Touring disappeared soon from the Ferrari as Vignale, Scaglietti and Pinin Farina were more favored but not few think that these early examples are among the best looking Ferrari ever built. Certainly Gianni Agnelli was one of the early admires of this design as he ordered himself a two-tone Barchetta in 1950, the first of several Ferrari he owned in his life. Despite the fact that he only kept the car for two years he will ever be linked to that car just as Jacques Swaters whose Garage Francochamps played a major role in the life of this car.

 

Step forward 70 years and we see a lot of international events in the classic car calendar ranging from the major concourse d’Elegance or the driving events like the Mille Miglia and the 166 MM certainly is a welcome guest on all of them but one does rarely see one of them, not to mention a dozen. So after doing a few Mille Miglia Storico in this car the current caretaker of the Agnelli car, Clive Beecham, thought about a more appropriate use for the Barchettas and Berlinettas rather than risking them in the hectic and crowded MM torturing the tiny race engine through the traffic of Brescia or Roma and so the idea of a solo Touring Ferrari event grew over the years. With the first major race victories now 70 years ago this anniversary seemed to be a great occasion to bring together the most likely biggest gathering of these cars. For the planning of this event Beecham entrusted the Italian event organizer 2fast4you with the details for an event rich in variety in northern Italy as the starting point should be the home town of Touring in Milano and the destination the place where the cars were introduced, Torino. 

But before the cars arrived in Italy a small group took the opportunity to visit the Brooklands track to have the cars on the banking before 5 of them were displayed at the Hampton Court Concours of Elegance the weekend before the tour.


So when the owners of no less than 13 early Touring Bodied Ferrari arrived in Milano the car were already waiting for them in the factory of the modern Carrozzeria Touring were the Tour started after a short introduction into the word of modern coach-building.

While the drivers looked at modern cars we had a first look at the different body styles when the cars came out into the warm sunlight of a beautiful early September week as the sun was very enjoyable over the entire week rewarding the organizers for all their work in advance.

Unfortunately two important cars were missing coming from the same American stable as both the Turin Motor show 166 MM as well as the LeMans/MM winner did not make it to Italy although the race winner was at least seen in Hampton Court.

 

The first small run of the cars did not consist of more than a few miles as apart from enjoying the driving in these cars the further cornerstones of the tour were good food, well-chosen hotels and culture and so the first stop was a nearby Michelin Star restaurant. The cars were parked on a small yard in front of the restaurant were the locals came out to see those cars live and enjoy the curves of “la Bella Macchina”. Certainly the bridal couple having their big day in the nearby church will not forget a wedding picture next to more than a dozen Ferrari.

After the lunch the cars were taken back to the center of Milano were they were displayed at a small private yard near the hotel to be ready for the next days driving tour. The theme of the evening for the entrants were a private backstage tour in the Scala Opera house with Verdi´s Rigoletto.

 

After the Italian opera the evening before on Thursday it was finally time to listen to the screaming engines of the 2 and 2.5 Litre Colombo-V12 as well as the more sonorous sound of the bigger 4 Litre Lampredi. The first part lead north-west towards the Lago Maggiore guided by the police escort that should clear the way on the days to come giving the drivers less traffic into and out of Milano and Torino as well as some blast in the mountain passes giving the feeling of the Mille Miglia.

After the coffee stop at the Rocca of Angera the street went alongside the eastern side of the lake towards the ferry connecting the both sides of the lake. After the last of the cars arrived at the harbor thanks to the help of Copani Motori, who provided the service along the road as well as the check in the evening, the precious cargo took the boat to the other side of the lake. Not few were joking about the Bugatti in the Lago Maggiore sitting in the Mullin Museum but fortunately the ferry took the 13 Touring Ferraris safely to the other side.

After another lunch at a Michelin starred restaurant overlooking the lake the cars arrived in the afternoon at the Hotel Des Iles Borromees and despite being late due to the ferry not few of the more adventurous drivers took the chance for a few extra miles down the lake before heading to the Isola Bella for a cocktail reception. In the meantime the gardens and fountains of the hotel set a perfect background for the cars and one could almost feel set back in time when the Ferrari and Alfa Romeo of the early post-war came for a weekend up from the busy cities.

 

Friday saw the cars going back south again towards Torino passing the Casa Zegna region that included some wonderful mountain roads as made for these small and agile cars. With the police escort up front and the superb engines pulling the lightweight cars up the hill one could almost forget that the chassis and brakes are early post-war design and when arriving at Casa Zegna one could see the enjoyment in the face of the drivers. Fortunately most of the cars are in long term ownership so they all knew very well how to handle the cars.

In the afternoon the journey led to the city center of Torino where the cars were on public display. As this was one of the officially known places not few enthusiasts were waiting for the cars to arrive, exactly 71 years after their debut at the same place. The cars were admired by locals and tourists before the night crawlers passed them later in the evening on their way into Friday night.

 

Unfortunately Saturday already was the last day of the tour but as they say “safe the best for last” the final day again had some highlights on offer. First in the morning another blast through the mountains to the Col Del Lys before the cars had the privilege to drive up to the rooftop test track at Lingotto, the former production plant of Fiat. The famous architecture with the test track on top is today a shopping center, offices and restaurants but the Agnelli family kept the roof for private events and family meetings. Lunch at La Bolla (“the bubble”) overlooking the city of Torino as well as the cars parked on the track were certainly a highlight giving the owners some lasting memories.

And there the tour also went full circle as just a week after starting at the bankings in Brooklands the cars were set up again on the bankings of Lingotto for some final pictures.

Unfortunately the track is under reconstruction and one banking is closed for renovation works but at least on side was taken under the wheels before driving down the spiral towards another institution of Torino, the Italian National Motor Museum (MAUTO) were the cars reached their final destination.

The cars were on display while the owners had their farewell dinner in the spectacular setting in between the race cars and despite being Ferrari fans those Alfa Romeo Alfetta, Disco Volante or the most original Mercedes-Benz W196 in existence were a great backdrop for the dinner.

 

So what is the conclusion of the week in Northern Italy? Normally the international press is reporting on the major events all over the world but it seems that the smaller tailor-made events are the future of the classic car hobby. Many of the drivers have a few Mille Miglia under their wheels but those events with the changing entrants away from real enthusiasts more towards “event hoppers” do not seem to be that attractive any more. Furthermore those huge driving events are normally not really known for good food and hotels when hundreds of people have to be fed and accommodated so apart from the enthusiasm along the road they seem to offer less and less value for money. So more and more events like this will be held in future and premium agencies like 2fast4you specialize to give the owners the best possible experience. Some of this small group know each other from various occasions in the past but some never had the chance to know each other more than just from a small talk while passing by so a lot of new friendships come out of this week. The fact that the very early Ferrari are more enthusiast cars than typical shopping list collector cars like the later 250 Series certainly helped as the owners had something in common and a very similar interest. We certainly enjoyed to be welcome this week and follow some of the most beautiful cars through Italy and we can only hope that this will not be a one-off but more the inaugural edition. As it proofed to be a great event both for the initiator and the organizers one can only hope that they team up again, there are certainly more places to visit linked to the 166, be it the Dolomites where it won the Coppa d'Oro in period or in Sicily at the famous Targa Florio roads...

For more informations visit www.2fast4you.it

Report & images … Peter Singhof
www.classiccarphotoraphy.de