For a week each year, some of the wealthiest car collectors in the world--love 'em or loathe 'em--get together in Italy for a total-immersion voyage through northern Italian culture, design and grub. Plus lots of driving over perfect two-lane roads in perfect cars.
It's the TAG Heuer Italia Classica and is sponsored by Fiat among others. Invitation only, sucka, and even then it costs $7,500 a head. This was its fifteenth year and the weather was ideal for traveling throughout northwest Italy. Ferrari gave me a new 612 Scaglietti to join the cruise for a couple of days, which traveled to one world-renowned destination after another.
Right away I just have to say how geeked I was to see not just one but two 1962 Ferrari 250 Series 1 GTOs--each in killer original condition and being driven like shifter karts by their owners. And each one worth at least $8,500,000. That's eight and a half million dollars. I had to say that twice. The States were represented by three trophy cars, the most important of these by far being the one-off 250 GT SWB Speciale from 1961, with racing V12 and aluminum sheet metal by Pininfarina.
Making everything even more surreal was that the Italian police-la polizia stradale--blocked traffic everywhere we went and let us drive as fast as we liked. Where else can this happen but in Italy?! So, having fun was actually encouraged.
On one of the first gala evening meals, I ate intestine--or glorified tripe, fresh out of the recently beheaded torso of some local farm animal. And liked it. See, when you're on these millionaire romps, the eccentric food eaten is just as important to live to tell about as the godlike sets of wheels. In this case, while all others backed away in horror, some royal German couple and I elbowed up for a steaming plate of the farmer's finest. All washed down with bottle after bottle of horrendously expensive (but free to me) and delicious local wine--Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and the occasional Sauvignon.
That savory yumminess happened in the 14th century castle at Monticello near the town of Bra. (The word for brassiere in Italian, by the way, is reggiseno, for you perverts.) This place is an imposing fortress with a fully functioning dungeon and outstanding 18th century gardens. It was just one of the many stops along my way in the 612 where I wondered if the cops were going to discover me posing as Richie Rich and cast me into the dungeon.
The next day was when I actually saw all 64 cars involved in the event. We had been carted over to the parking area at the Università del Gusto (i.e. "University of Taste") in nearby Pollenzo. Quite an array of orgasmic cars was on hand: a gorgeous and rare 1956 Ferrari 290MM, a couple of Bizzarrinis, Ferrari Spyder Californias, an Aston DB3S, Alfa Romeo Monza, plus a bevy of old Bentleys and Maseratis. Colors from a candy machine.
Each of the various auto museums and private collections visited during the week were simply breathtaking, including the Agnellimuseum, which features a transparent glass floor to let visitors ogle the collection of Martini racecars housed on the lower level.
Each of the various auto museums and private collections visited during the week were simp
The single-seater serving as wall art is indeed the shell of a 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza. Only 37 in total were built and today each isworth upwards of $1.3 million.
The single-seater serving as wall art is indeed the shell of a 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza. Onl