Story and photos by Jonathan Sharp
Judging by the three lines of cars, all of which were made in Italy, waiting to pass through the Campbell gate of the Brooklands Motor Circuit in Surrey, the Italian car community is alive and thriving.
This was the 21st Italian Car Day to be held at Brooklands. The lure of the Italian car extends to all budgets whether you can stretch to the Gold Daytona parked at one end of the site or whether you pour all of your hard earned pennies into keeping the Fiat 128 parked at the bottom of the banking at the far end in tip top condition. The hobby is open to all.
It is the diversity of cars on display that never cease to impress me. When was the last time you saw a four door Alfa Sud – but there below the members’ bridge, amongst its brethren, was a fine silver example.
Attendees could if they wished, during the lunch break, push their cars to the limit on the adjacent Mercedes-Benz World test track. The queue to enjoy this contained the full gambit of vehicles from Lamborghini’s to Fiat 500s. Highlights had to be the Ferrari 212 single-seater, brought along by DK Engineering, and all the way from Sweden, Glen Billqvist’s Il Drago Ruggente (the roaring Dragon), very much in the spirit of the early days of the circuit, when brave drivers would race Aero-Engined Specials; this special was based on the chassis of a 1924 Delage. The power plant is a 27 liter Isotta Fraschini V12 engine from a Caproni Bomber of WWII vintage.
If driving on the circuit was not sufficiently exciting for entrants, they could also attempt the original test hill, a climb of 352 feet in which the gradient increases from 1 in 8 to 1 in 4. The Roaring Dragon made light work of this, the Piaggio Ape Racing pick up (I kid you not) needed the assistance of four marshals to complete the last 30 feet.