Formula 1 Gran Premio d’Italia 2013 Monza

F1_Monza_2013 (43)With the famous Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix taking place at Monza this weekend, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look back at the 2013 race, which Any Given Reason attended. If you can’t be there in person you might as well be there in spirit, right?

F1_Monza_2013 (38)This post won’t attempt a blow-by-blow account of the race because you can find that elsewhere, written by far more knowledgeable and experienced scribes than myself. This post aims to give a glimpse of what it’s actually like to attend the Italian GP; information that doesn’t make the international broadcast.

F1_Monza_2013 (67)The Monza circuit is situated near the city of Monza, around 50km north of Milan in northern Italy. Below it sits Italy’s motor valley and the homes of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Pagani are all less than a couple of hours drive away. Around 30km north of Monza sits Lake Como, the gateway to the Alps and the rest of Europe. Monza is the spiritual home of modern Formula 1, and is the only circuit to have held a round of the World Championship every year since its inception.  Continue reading

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Welcome to Sant’agata Bolognese. Home of Lamborghini.

SantAgata 771It’s quite common to be disappointed in a product or angered by the service received from a company. ‘It’s my money’, you cry, ‘and I could do a better job than these monkeys’. Most of the time these resolutions remain mere dreams, however in the early 60’s an unknown Italian industrialist named Ferruccio Lamborghini somehow turned his dream into reality. So angered was Lamborghini at the poor quality of his Ferrari’s and the shocking treatment he received from Maranello, that he set up shop just an hour down the road with the specific goal of beating Enzo at his own game.

SantAgata 876Situated in the heart of Italy’s ‘Terra dei Motori’ (motor valley) between the cities of Bologna and Modena, Lamborghini is within an hour’s drive of Ferrari, Maserati and Pagani. Don’t let the building’s fresh facade fool you, because behind it lies essentially the same factory that has produced every Lamborghini model since 1963. It sits in the tiny village of Sant’agata Bolognese, a village surrounded by agricultural farming land and one that takes no more than a couple of minutes to drive through. It’s all refreshingly humble – you can be lost on a back road in sun drenched wheat fields and an Aventador on Italian ‘Prova’ (testing/proving) plates will blast past you, just as the Muira and Countach and Diablo would have done in decades past. It helps that speed limits are negotiable in these parts, too.

SantAgata 773The museum sits opposite the main administration building and design centre within the factory, and begins on the ground floor by chronicling each Lamborghini model produced. The gleaming yellow Muira SV steals the show on entrance, but the story begins with Lamborghini’s first car – the 3.5 litre V12 350GT of 1964. Continue reading

Exploring Lingotto – the most famous car factory in the world

DSC_0844Start talking about an abandoned car factory and most people will glaze over pretty quickly. However, when talking about Fiat’s Lingotto plant in Turin, all you need to do is mention that ‘it’s the one with the test track on the roof’ and you’ll pretty quickly have almost anyone’s attention. Test track or not the Lingotto plant was a truly revolutionary piece of architecture, so much that Le Corbusier labeled it “one of the most impressive sights in industry” and “a guideline for town planning”. Oh, and the fact that it was used in the original Italian Job movie (along with most of Turin, mind you), means it was a must see attraction on a recent visit to Italy’s motor city.

800px-Fiat_Lingotto_veduta-1928Lingotto still dominates the skyline of Turin – 5 levels high and half a kilometer long (a full kilometer if you count additional buildings either side), the plant was constructed over five years beginning in 1916 as somewhat of a response by Fiat tsar Giovanni Agnelli to Henry Ford’s revolutionary production line in Michigan. This photograph was taken at some point in 1928.

DSC_0726The design was by the young and unknown architect Matte Trucco around a rather ingenious solution to a lack of space – raw materials entered from the foundries and press shops at the bottom, and the production line wound its way up the five floors using clever ramps at each end. The finished product was test driven on the roof, before being brought back down via another ramp and loaded onto waiting trucks to be whisked away to the lucky new owner. Continue reading

Milan – A street parked F40

DSC_0095If you’re half smart about it, seeing an F40 in the flesh isn’t really that difficult. By visiting the right museums and attending the right events, there’s a pretty good chance of spotting one of these gloriously wedgy supercars and you can admire it for as long as you like, usually behind a rope.

DSC_0124But seeing an F40 in a museum is a bit like seeing a Bengal Tiger in a Zoo. It’s still a pretty cool experience but there is no effort, chance or adventure involved so it’s a little bit hollow. Spot that tiger in the wild on safari in the Indian jungle, and it’s a completely more exciting moment.

DSC_0104When I started posting car sightings on Any Given Reason, a friend asked what would be the ultimate car to chance upon, the goal, the prize of this little sport. The response was instantly the Ferrari F40 – in my opinion the rawest, wildest, most earth shattering supercar to ever have been made. Spotting one of these in the wild is an extremely rare occurrence, and I never truly expected I would find one.

DSC_0116That is, until one day when I was randomly exploring the backstreets close to Milan’s fashion district. It was a sea of drab grey Peugeot’s and Volkswagens until I rounded a corner and there it was, in all its glory. A British registered, Rosso Corsa F40 just sitting there, parked like any other car.

DSC_0120What a machine! F40’s are something else when you see them at an event, but the impact is magnified tenfold when you see one parked in the street. It was quite literally stopping traffic, causing camera phones to be whipped out in a frenzy like I’ve never seen before.

DSC_0109It just sat there as scooters and Fiat Panda’s whizzed by just inches away, somewhat of a perverse joy to witness.

DSC_0111So now that the F40 box has been ticked, it raises the question of what the next halo sighting should be. Do you have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments section!

I’m thinking Porsche 959…

DSC_0126Words and photos by Andrew Coles

Auto Italia Adelaide 2013

DSC_0096Italian cars, like their French counterparts, are possibly the most divisive vehicles in all autodom. You either love them or you hate them, and in this argument there are very few fence sitters.

DSC_0107Almost everyone appreciates the svelte lines of a 246 Dino or the downright cuteness of a 500 Bambino but when it comes to actual ownership, it’s only the brave who put their money where their mouth is. Those that are willing to endure dodgy electrics, crummy interiors and rusty metal are treated to superior dynamics, glorious noises and wonderfully tactile controls. Not to mention the fact that every journey in an Italian vehicle (with the possible exception of the new ones) is tinged with just a tiny bit of doubt. How boring would life be if you were always completely certain of reaching your destination?

DSC_0196You either ‘get’ Italian cars or you don’t, and the annual Auto Italia Adelaide show exists to bring as many of these like minded enthusiasts and their vehicles together in once place. In only its second year, the show once again assembled a vast range of Italian marques to the Campbelltown Soccer Club for a sunny Sunday of Italian cars, food and music. Continue reading