Nine Bellissimo Italian Automobiles at 2018 Concorso Italiano
If your automotive tastes align with such brands as Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Alfa Romeo, Concorso Italiano is one show you shouldn’t miss during Monterey Car Week. Like a maker of fine Italian Valpolicella wine, this show has had its high and low years throughout its decade-plus run as the week’s premiere all-Italian show. In the end, 2018 proved to be a “vintage” year, with a good selection of cars, great weather and attendance that didn’t overcrowd the event. Here are nine of our favorite Italians from the 2018 Concorso Italiano.
1977 Maserati Khamsin
The Khamsin’s dramatic wedge-like styling immediately gives it away as a product of the Bertone design house and in fact, this is the first production Maserati to be designed by the Italian firm. One of the most distinctive design features on the car is the rear vertical panel made of glass, on which the taillights seem to “float.” Powered by a 4.9-liter V-8, the Khamsin enjoyed a near eight-year production run, but just 435 examples were built in that time.
2018 Manifattura Automobili Torino New Stratos
This “New Stratos” is a modern take on the classic Lancia Stratos of the mid-1970s, which won plenty of WRC races in its day while utilizing a modified version of the 2.4-liter V-6 engine from the Ferrari Dino. Like the classic example, MAT’s New Stratos also borrows from Ferrari: it’s built on the 430 Scuderia platform. Just 25 examples will be built and we’re hoping to get a drive in one to tell you how it feels.
1964 Triumph Italia
What’s a British Triumph doing at an Italian car show? This is one of just 329 Triumph TR3s to be rebodied by Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti with elegant coupe coachwork. Each car was built at Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Vignale between 1959 and ’62. Triumph was impressed enough to commission Michelotti, already working on new Triumph models, to design the TR3’s successor, the TR4, among others.
ASA 1000 GT
ASA 1000 GTs were produced between 1962 and ’67 (no information plaque was found on this car to tell us the exact year) and were one of the more elegant small cars of the day, but they also had a Ferrari connection. This was an evolution of a small-car concept designed at Ferrari and the production version features a chassis designed by Giotto Bizzarini (of 250 GTO fame) and a four-cylinder, 95-hp, 1.0-liter engine that is said to essentially be one third of a Columbo V-12. Bodywork was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone and an open Spider version was also made in lesser quantity. Fewer than 100 Coupes and Spiders were built and values have risen dramatically over the past decade.
1993 Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione II
If you grew up an enthusiast in the 1980s and ‘90s, you know all about the Lancia Integrale. Based on the lowly Lancia Delta compact hatchback, the Integrale version was homologated for use in the World Rally Championship with performance-tuned all-wheel-drive and a fire-breathing, turbocharged version of Aurelio Lampredi’s classic Fiat twin-cam engine, as first used in the Fiat 124 Spider and Coupe. The roadgoing Evo II version had a 2.0-liter version of this engine producing a bit over 210 horsepower, while race versions made roughly double that. These cars are going nowhere but up in value, helped along by their ability to be legally imported into the U.S. at this point.
1973 Fiat 130 Coupe
An understated luxury coupe based on Fiat’s 130 sedan, these cars were styled by Pininfarina at a time when wealthy Italians were at risk of kidnappings and subsequent ransom demands. Its sheet metal echos the somewhat bland looking Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2, though it carries a 3.2-liter Fiat V-6 engine. Never sold in the U.S. and fairly underappreciated even in Europe, these cars are finally gaining in collectability.
1974 Fiat X1/9
It’s a Lancia Stratos! Wait, no… it’s a Fiat X1/9 with fender flares in the famous Stratos Alitalia airlines livery. Never mind, both were styled by Marcello Gandini while at Bertone and feature fantastic ‘70s wedge styling. While the Stratos carries a mid-mounted Ferrari V-6, the Fiat makes do with a mid-mounted 1.3-liter inline-four, good for around 70 hp. Extra power is easy to come by and when friends come over, you can tell them that your $ 5,000 Fiat has the same door handles as a $ 500,000 Lancia. The X1/9’s targa-style top latches even doubled as hood latches on the Stratos.
1977 Lancia Scorpion
Originally an Abarth project, then a Fiat, the Lancia Scorpion (Montecarlo in Europe) is essentially a larger Fiat X1/9, with a Lampredi twin-cam replacing the Fiat’s mid-mounted SOHC engine and new bodywork by Pininfarina. The styling is not dissimilar to a scaled-down Ferrari 365 Berlinetta Boxer (both cars were designed at PF around the same time) and the interior also has Ferrari-esque design elements. Just over 5,000 Montecarlos were sold in Europe, while only 1,801 Scorpions were sold in the U.S., making it a pretty rare thing to see.
1968 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti “Polizia”
Concorso Italiano’s featured category this year was Alfa Romeo sedans, and this Giulia Ti in “Polizia” livery was one of our favorites. Built to replicate a period Italian police car, this little rear-drive Gulia Ti looked like something straight out of the movie, “The Italian Job.” The Guilia was really one of the world’s first sports sedans and it’s tag line was “The family car that wins races,” due to its racing pedigree.