To the northeast of the city of Monterey is the Black Horse Golf Club. Here, on the Saturday before the uber-rare cars take to the 18th Hole of Pebble Beach, owners and fans gather in the presence of some of the most beautiful Italian-designed cars in the world.
Instead of the “usual” Ferrari and Lamborghini fare, we decided to focus on some of the more unique and perhaps less well-known entries that made their way onto the field today. Here’s a sampling.
1958 Fiat 600 Multipla
Based on the Fiat 600 as its name implies, this six passenger (grand)mother of the modern-day minivan was in production between 1956 and 1965. The driver sits out over the front axle, while passengers are crammed into the back. Often used as taxis in Italy, Multiplas could be configured with one or two bench seats or a flat floor, depending on buyers preference. The top speed is said to be right around 58 mph.
1969 De Tomaso Mangusta
Highlighted by gullwing doors and a mid-engine layout, the De Tomaso Mangusta was produced between 1967 and 1971 with a Ford 289 or 302 underhood. It was replaced by the Pantera, which became the one of the most popular models ever to feature an Italian body and an American engine.
1973 Iso Lele
Produced between 1969 and 1974, the Iso Lele was a coupe that had a 2+2 seating layout and Bertone coachwork. It was named after Lele Rivolta, the wife of Piero Rivolta, who inherited Iso from his father in 1966. Some of the early Leles were powered by Corvette engines, while the later versions (post-1974) were powered by Ford V-8s.
1952 OSCA MT4
O.S.C.A stands for Office Specialized in Construction of Automobiles in Italian, and the MT4s were the preferred racing vehicles of the Maserati brothers. They were incredibly small but incredibly fast in their day. Some sources say that only 72 were built.
Cadillac Allanté (Pictured at top)
Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Cadillac wanted to compete with the Mercedes and Jaguars of the world. To do so, GM created the Allanté, an Italian-built, Pininfarina-designed, American V-8-powered drop top. It was popular enough that it made its impact in Hollywood productions like Dallas, Tango and Cash, and Lethal Weapon. We found these nestled away in the back corner of the Concorso Italiano.
American LaFrance Car Hauler
When you’ve seen a million tiny Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Alfa Romeos, something this big and colorful stands out.This is an American LaFrance car hauler carrying a Ferrari, and we simply couldn’t help but include it.
1970 Fiat Shellette
Yes, that is in fact a wicker interior in this 1970 Fiat Shellette Michelotti. This car followed the Fiat Jolly and was built on the Fiat 850 chassis. It was popular as a beachside car for wealthy folks and marketed as the car you took as ground transportation when you were island hopping in the Mediterranean on your yacht. Supposedly the wicker seats were better than any alternative, as they didn’t get damaged by wet bathing suits. This one was brought to the Concorso Italiano by the Petersen Museum.