"Milano AutoClassica" is about to open. From November 24 to 26, the #event will bring together enthusiasts, experts and operators, all attracted by this continuously expanding sector which is gaining more and more interest among the general public.
Now in its seventh edition, the #event focuses on the fortunate blend of past and present that adds value to the #heritage of the brands and to the models of today and tomorrow presented by the car makers. #fcaheritage, the department of the Group dedicated to protecting and promoting the history of the Italian FCA brands, will be taking part to reassert the eternal link between the models of the past and those of the present.
The theme of stand is "Epic Journeys" to celebrate the feats that the cars on show completed worldwide by reaping successes in rallies and braving endurance races on the toughest terrain. The cars derived from standard models but are outfitted to overcome extreme conditions. More in detail, they are the Fiat Campagnola "Alger - Le Cap" (1951), the 131 Diesel Abarth "London - Sydney" (1977), the 500 "Overland" (2007), the Lancia Delta Integrale "Safari" (1988) and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta t.i. (1957), which took part in the Peking-to-Paris re-enactment in 2007.
By the side of the cars picked from the #heritage collection, the public will see a Fiat 500 special edition dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the iconic model, with its signature blend of vintage appeal and modern connectivity technology, and an Alfa Romeo Stelvio, the first SUV of the brand.
The www.fcaheritage.com website, dedicated to the history of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth, is the online showcase of the #fcaheritage department and aims at becoming the go-to place for everyone interested in the history, events and activities revolving around the classic cars of the Italian brands of the Group.
Fiat Campagnola "Alger - Le Cap" (1951)
In 1950, the Italian Army issued a call for tender for an MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle) similar to the Jeep Willys which had been used by the American troops in Europe during World War II.
Two prestigious #auto makers like Alfa Romeo and Fiat went to work on designing a car of the type that no-one had attempted in Italy before.
The project brought two models into fruition, both named "A.R. 51", standing for "Automezzo da Ricognizione" (reconnaissance vehicle in Italian), which were presented to the top military commanders.
The Fiat prototype, engineered by Dante Giacosa, was picked for its practicality and ease of running and servicing. The model entered mass production.
At the end of the autumn of 1951, Fiat decided to attempt to beat the trans-Africa speed record from Cape Town to Algiers in a Campagnola A.R. 51. The feat was completed in 11 days, 4 hours and 54 minutes: a record which remains unbeaten even with today's technical progress and technological devices.
Driver and organiser was Paolo Butti, strong of his experience gathered on the field of previous rallies in Africa. He was supported by Domenico Racca, a Fiat test driver who knew the Campagnola inside and out since he was the person in charge of tuning the military prototype.
The exploit was actually double because before travelling from Cape Town to Algiers they had to go the other way, from Algiers to Cape Town, to organise the stops and the refuelling points for the rally itself. For the crew, it was a two-way journey across the African continent from north to south and then back north again. Racca and Butti drove two identical Campagnola vehicles, one on the way down and one on the way back, keeping the "new" one shipped directly from Turin ready to beat the speed record, as it actually did.
Fiat 131 Diesel Abarth "London - Sydney" (1977)
Today we are accustomed to see diesel cars competing in endurance races and often winning them, but in 1977 no-one would have thought a diesel stood a chance, either in terms of durability or speed. This fuel was mainly used for commercial and farming vehicles which were not known for exciting performance.
Fiat engineers did not share this opinion when they decided to develop a diesel version of the very popular and highly appreciated 131 saloon, which had been in production since 1974, and to equip it with a straight-four SOFIM 2445 cm3 engine. The car was prepared to be presented in the Turin Motor Show in 1978.
But there was more: levering on the positive effects on reputation that would derive from a specifically sporty use of the model, Abarth was asked to prep four 131 Diesel engines (three, plus one for the test car) for the London-to-Sydney Marathon in the summer of 1977. For this type of race, being fast was not the answer. You had to be reliable and fuel-efficient.
Abarth technicians used standard production solutions for some components: the five-speed gearbox and the self-locking differential were both derived from the Fiat 131 Abarth, for instance.
The three cars - driven by Robert Neyret/Marianne Hoepfner, Giancarlo Baghetti/Tommaso Carletti and Christine Dacremont/Evelyne Vanoni - were on the starting line in London on August 14. After 45 gruelling days and over thirty thousand kilometres, two 131s cut the finish line in Sidney on September 27. The car driven by Neyret/Hoephner won in its category.
With this result, the 131 Diesel 2500, which had the same engine as the cars that competed in the race, received a great deal of media attention even before it actually debuted in the Turin Motor Show.
Fiat 500 "Overland" (2007)
In the summer of 2007, the Fiat 500 took part in the eleventh edition of "Overland" together with the famous orange Iveco lorries and the legendary 1907 Itala that triumphed in the Peking-to-Paris rally back in the day.
Also sporting a bright orange livery, the Fiat 500 Overland proved to be reliable and safe, covering 18,000 kilometres of the summer rally with ease and distinctive flair. The feat was even more extraordinary considering that the Fiat 500 Overland was a normal production car. It had the characteristically excellent mechanics, dynamic behaviour and performance for which the car was famed, propelled by a brilliant 1.3 Multijet 75 HP turbo diesel engine.
The Overland 11 convoy started off from Turin on July 11 for its voyage across Europe. It touched Paris, Liege, Brussels, Hanover, Berlin, Warsaw before reaching the Baltic States and Russia in August. After Saint Petersburg and Moscow, the convoy headed towards the Siberian steppe, stopping in the capital Novosibirsk, before reaching the border with Mongolia: the tough over 2500-kilometre-long journey was a sequence of challenges and spectacular landscapes that the Fiat 500 overcame brilliantly. On September 20, the Overland 11 convoy was in front of the Italian Embassy in Beijing.
After this extraordinary expedition, the Fiat 500 Overland was driven back to Italy, this time alone, by Rocco Errico and Beppe Tenti, who created the Overland project and who since 1995 has taken his convoy of special Iveco vehicles to the remotest corners of the world. Setting off from Nanjing on November 12, the two adventure veterans drove for just less than one month covering over 16,000 kilometres to the Bologna Motor Show. They crossed nine different countries: China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and finally Italy.
Lancia Delta Integrale "Safari" (1988)
Of the models made by Lancia in its 111-year-long history, the Delta needs no presentations. The car made from 1979 to 1993 was the authentic best-seller of the brand and wrote some of the most important and glorious pages of world rally racing.
The first four-wheel-drive version called the Delta HF 4WD was launched in May 1986. It was with this car and its four successive developments (named "Integrale", Italian for "all-wheel drive") that Lancia would seal its unequalled winning streak in rallies: after the five titles won with the Stratos and the Rally 037, Lancia won the Rally World Championship six times in a row (from 1987 to 1992) with the Delta, and its drivers won four titles, in total: two by Miki Biasion (in 1988 and in 1989) and two by Juha Kankkunen (in 1987 and in 1991).
The success of the Delta in the Safari Rally is particularly prized. This important competition, known as "The Safari" for short, was first organised in 1953 by the East African Coronation Safari to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and soon made a name for itself as one of the most gruelling races for vehicles and crews across the savannah with the need to deal with the contingencies that the conditions threw.
It took Lancia no fewer than ten failed attempts to win the arduous African race. Finally, in 1988, the car on show - driven by Miki Biasion - won, but not without issues, like a close encounter with a zebra which left a dent on its right side. The important result was repeated the following year and again in 1991.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta t.i. (1957)
In the mid-fifties, Alfa Romeo officially withdrew from races undefeated after the first two Formula 1 world championships to focus on the construction of high-performance, sporty mid-size cars. The #auto maker turned directly to the public ensuring higher-than-average quality.
The Giulietta, introduced in 1954, embodied this new direction of Alfa Romeo: it has a compact 1290 cm3 engine with alloy crankcase and various aluminium elements to improve the weight-to-power ratio.
The Giulietta t.i. (the letters stood for Turismo Internazionale, "international touring") was presented on the Monza Racing Track in 1957. Evolution of the saloon, the car has a higher compression ratio, a double-barrel carburettor and more sophisticated instruments. Power was upped from 53 to 65 HP and the top speed was 155 km/h.
With a 1957 t.i., the Scuderia del Portello racing team, in collaboration with Alfa Romeo, competed in the 2007 edition of the Peking-to-Paris rally completing it with honours.
The car on show covered all 16,000 kilometres across two continents without particular problems and proudly crossed the finish line in Place Vendôme, Paris, further confirming the robustness, reliability and speed of this model of timeless charm.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Another star of the stand is sure to be Alfa Romeo Stelvio, the first SUV ever built by the Italian Brand, which, for the first time in more than a century of history, now expresses the genuine "Alfa spirit" in a sport utility vehicle.Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a car that delights even the most demanding motorists with a thrilling driving experience while excelling in the comfort and versatility expected of this category. In a nutshell, Alfa Romeo Stelvio makes any journey unique, with its perfect mix of driving pleasure, Italian style and versatility. The public in Milan will see a Trofeo White car equipped with a 2.2 Diesel 210 HP engine, eight-speed automatic transmission and Q4 all-wheel drive.
Fiat 500 special series dedicated to the 60th anniversary
The iconic Fiat celebrated its sixtieth anniversary this year. One of the many activities organised to celebrate the #event is also the presence at "Milano AutoClassica" with a special edition model. It is the one dedicated to the 60th anniversary revealed during the past Geneva International Motor Show. This exclusive car pays tribute to the original 500 through a specific characterisation and the contemporary reinterpretation of some of the style details that made it famous, such as the vinyl dashboard, the vintage logo on the front, in the middle of the chrome spoiler and on the tailgate and steering wheel, as well as the chrome trim on the bonnet. Exclusively available as a convertible, the Fiat 500 special edition dedicated to the 60th anniversary has a brand-new dual-colour paintwork, evocatively named Dolcevita: three-layer White for the body and pastel Ivory for bonnet and pillars, crowned by a grey hood decorated with a three-colour - burgundy, white and grey - beauty line. But the tribute to the past is only skin deep: in terms of technology, the 60th anniversary special edition offers the very best of everything available today in terms of technology and on-board comfort.
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