Concours and Car Shows

Seven Molto Bene Finds at the 2017 Concourso Italiano

Picks from Monterey’s Italian car celebration

This year, close to 1,000 cars of Italian origin converged on the greens and fairways of the Black Horse Golf Club in Seaside, California. A must-see event of Monterey Car Week, the Concourso Italiano brings out the best of the best from the land of the quattro fromaggi.

From Fiats to Lamborghinis to Ferraris to Cadillacs—uh, wait, Cadillacs? That’s right.

Some of the best examples of Italian metal made an appearance. Here are seven of our favorites.

Out of the Shadows

The Lamborghini Silhouette was only produced by the Italian automobile maker between 1976 and 1979. Hence, not many of them were made. This two-door, two-seat, mid-engine, rear-wheel drive car was the first Lambo to employ a Targa-styled top. With only 54 produced this Lamborghini was initially meant as a styling exercise based on the Urraco and was ultimately the precursor to the Jalpa. We are sure glad this one made an appearance, as it’s the first time we’ve ever seen on in person.

Oh, Canada?

Alfa Romeo’s Montreal just made a cameo at the end of the Charlize Theron movie Atomic Blonde. We took notice of it then just like we did at the Concourso. Originally a concept car, this 1972 example has a 197 hp V8 engine that was derived from the Tipo 33 Stradale. There are only about 4,000 of these Bertone designed beauties that were never sold officially in the United States. This one makes us green with envy.

The Other DeTomaso

The first reason love the DeTomaso Mangusta is because we think it looks so much like an American muscle car. AMC Javelin, anyone? Not surprising considering DeTomaso had several conversations with Carroll Shelby about possibly replacing the Cobra with something built in Italy. The Mangusta is easily recognized by its gullwing doors over the engine. Only 401 of these rarities were built between 1967 and 1971 in contrast to the 7,260 Panteras made, which is the second reason we dig it. So, as much as we amore its more popular cousin, you can see why we think the “other one” is so special.

Sir Lancia A Little

Introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1958, the Lancia Appia GTE marked the first Zagato car sold as a finished-bodied car by Lancia dealers. This adorable little 60hp four-cylinder example is a later open headlight version of the Gran Tourismo Esportazione. All told there were four Zagato coupe versions based on the Berlina built between 1957 and 1962 totaling 721 cars. Of that number it’s estimated that only 321 of the Appia GTE were made.

An American in Italy

We know Cadillac is not an Italian car, and yet there was a small collection of them at the Concourso Italiano this year. That’s because the two-door Allanté luxury roadster, made from 1987 to 1993 to compete with Mercedes and Jaguar, was both designed and produced in Italy by Pininfarina. The finished bodies were shipped over to the United States 56 at a time in specially equipped Boeing 747s then put on the Detroit manufactured chassis. A total of 21,430 Allantés were produced with different variations of Cadillac’s V8 engine. That all sounds pretty Italian to us.

A Work in Progress

Most of the time at these car shows we’re spoiled by completed restorations and finely restored classics. We loved seeing this 1970 Iso Fidia looking less than perfect. In the fishing stages of a factory correct restoration, this one of only 192 mostly hand-made cars is still looking good despite the fact that its unmentionables are showing. The Fidia is a four-door sedan that was originally outfitted with a Chevy V8 and was pretty quick in its day with a 0-60 time of around seven seconds. When this one gets the rest of its makeup on, we have no doubt it’s going to be a stunner.

All the Ferraris

We were eager to find the 250 GT Lusso that was supposed to be at the show, but we couldn’t find it. So instead of picking just one Ferrari to focus on, we thought, considering it’s the Italian automakers 70th year anniversary, we’d tip our gondolier’s hat to them all. From the 1947 125S to the Dino to the Testerossa to the La Ferrari it’s hard to pick a favorite. For a company that started producing cars because its owner Enzo was trying to fund a racing habit, we think they’ve done pretty well for themselves. Buon compleanno, Ferrari. And many, many more.

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