Tag Archives: Bologna Motor Show

Bolognese Sauce

Disco Volante?

Earlier this month I paid a visit to the Bologna Motor Show. While not on the scale of Paris or Frankfurt, nor with the slew of product launches that Geneva gives us each year, Bologna’s automotive display is well worth the time and attention of the average petrol head…….like me for instance. OK not all the exhibits work, a Disco Ball Smart? Nightmare Fever indeed.


Of course Northern Italy is FIAT/Ferrari/Alfa Romeo/Maserati/Lancia territory, so a whole hall was reserved for the fine automobiles from this venerable collection of Old Masters. As might be expected it was about the busiest hall of them all.


Proudly displayed was God’s answer to those with too much money…….a $2 million car that you pay for but can only drive on special days that are approved by Ferrari, with others who have have passed the filthy lucre test. Oh, and not on public roads……wear the myth, live the dream indeed.


Another piece of  glorious excess from Ferrari was unveiled at Bologna in the shape of the 599XX EVO, lighter, more powerful and faster than the 599XX, a rocket that managed to beat the seven minute mark round the Nordschleife……………so plenty of oomph. This Ferrari has go as well as show.

For those with 6.58 to spare you can see the lap on board HERE

458 Mate

More conventional was this brace of 458 Italias celebrating GTE success in 2011.


Understatement and elegance were the qualities found at Maserati’s stand. Modena’s finest now producing some of most desirable cars available. Two or Four doors they are the automotive equivalent to the cut and style of Italian Tailoring. We could all look like George Clooney in one of these……errr maybe not.


The FIAT 500 has been a great success, even if it is more than a tad cutsie for my taste. Fortunately help is on hand with Abarth’s take on the supermini. I could be seen in one of these.

4Ceable Future?

Alfa Romeo’s stand was something of a disappointment, there being no sign of the gorgeous new 4C, so I had to make do with this instead. As can be seen the cars on display in the hall all had a “niece” as an optional extra, nice of the Italian car companies to help with the youth unemployment figures and the fostering of closer relations between the generations.

Dindo’s Delight

Perhaps the next biggest presence at Bologna came from the VW Group, reinforcing their aim of being the Numero Uno in the motoring universe and soon. Like FIAT they too had a full complement of nieces to stop the enthusiastic public getting too close to the cars.

Hall of Fame

The VW exhibition also had a hall to itself.


And more nieces…….

Up Swing

A new VW, well new to me at least, the up!, was in yet another location…………more budget….and more nieces………..nice car, terrible branding………….lower case and an exclamation mark……………gosh, the marketeers’ equivalent of photographers tilting the bloody camera and wearing silly hats. How cutting edge and kool!

‘Allo, ‘Allo

One member of the VW extended family that was not much in evidence on the stands was Lamborghini; however being Italy of course the cops brought along a Gallardo…………

Show Me The way To Go Home

One of the oddest stands was one promoting the Autostrada network……………why?

Outside of the Box

More innovation at the Show from BlowCar……………..as the blurb went:

BlowCar, which appears to be a direct competitor (to electric cars) chose the Bologna Motor Show to reveal the prototype of their vehicle announced with a concept car by Dario Di Camillo (former designer at Fiat and President of BlowCar) several years ago.
The BlowCar will be available in light quadricycle (leggero) limited to 45kph or heavy quadricycle (pesante) speed up to 100kph, and with three engines, diesel (Lombardini 442cc), hybrid or electric.
Four trim levels will be available in December 2012: BlowEva, BlowSugar, BlowEco, BlowJeans and finally BlowRoad a convertible version to be revealed later.
The body of the BlowCar is made of inflated rubber panels, this technique provides a very light material, inexpensive, rigid with higher shock absorbing qualities than those we knew until then!
With a weight of only 350kg Leggero, fuel economy is  announced from 2l/100km for the hybrid and 3l for the classic version…

Shakes Head

Obviously the commercial vehicle should be known as the Job, might be very popular. Well they laughed at Frankie Howerd…………

Sweets For My Sweet

More oddities, this time from Isuzu, a Haribo themed pick up………..a hit with the under-five segment…or something more sinister?

Purple Rain

And getting in touch with your inner FunkFather…………..dig the rims………..Man.


And just in case you did not get down that day, we’ll play it again, this time with sign language…….as you will be deaf after this lot.

Door Stop

There was a concept car from Ford, someone got into the medicine chest methinks.

Follow My Leader

And a Mercedes Benz pace car leads Michael, how very 2011.

Yellow Peril

There was a hall for Luxury Cars. Not sure about this lapse in taste from Bentley, normally a safe pair of hands.

The End Of The Road

The Maybach may have looked imposing but was a commercial failure and will be quietly dropped in 2013. More motoring vanity from the Top.

What’ll She Do, Mister?

As old as motoring, kids posing with sportscars; two lucky lads grip and grin with a Pagani………….dreams are made of such days.

il Tricolore

Something that says more about me than the Bologna Show was that the cars I most wanted to see were virtually all in the Icon Hall. That is not to say that there was much wrong with the new stuff, but much of it is blandtastic…………..or maybe I am just old.


Just to prove that the cars do not have to be Concepts or Supercars, one of my all time favourites, a Guilia GTA Junior, what ever was in the water in Arese (probably wine) made the whole operation really special duing the 60’s.

Lounge Lizard

Blandtastic is not an expression that could ever be associated with the finest from Alfa Romeo T33 concept cars  such as the Iguana…find out more about this concept car HERE

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Or the Carabo concept………….more about this concept HERE


Then there is the Pininfarina Coupes HERE, although I have not done justice to the impact of the car in the awful lighting.

Freccia Rosso

More Magic from Alfa’s Museo Historico, a 158 Alfetta dating back to 1940….Wouter once again………HERE


OK I have left my favourite till last, this Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Pininfarina Coupe is almost beyond words,  elegance and style do not come close to giving the full description of this automotive art.

Twin Light

Once again the young Dutch Master is on the pace HERE . I featured a sister car dating from 1942 and from Bertone on DDC a bit earlier during the year HERE .
So a successful show and to complete my look at Bologna 2011 I post a gallery of the official images below, plenty of action and plenty of nieces.
John Brooks, December 2011








Rally To The Cause

A visit to the Bologna Motor Show last week was full of the usual motoring delights but for me one aspect stood out from the rest. There was a very strong rally presence, hardly surprising given the heritage of Lancia and FIAT over the years.

Of course being easily distracted by a shiny bauble I was fascinated by the Lancia ECV, a prototype developed for the Group S rules, that were supposed to replace the madness of Group B.

After the deaths of Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresta in the 1986 Corsican Rally both Group B and Group S regulations were abandoned, so this spectacular machine never saw competition.

Other Lancia favourites were also on hand, I mean who can resist the Stratos, painted up in Alitalia livery?

And it would be rude not to have another Martini………….

Actually let’s turn it into a three Martini lunch, proper Mad Men style

Later in the week the Rally cars would have their time out on the tracks but I had to make do with the static display………….worth the journey to Italy by itself. I’ll have a look round the rest of the Show in the next day or so. Avanti!

John Brooks, December 2011

At The Foot Of The Alps


Allan’s strict new training regime seemed to be paying dividends

It has been a bit quiet at DDC HQ of late. I have been on manoeuvres with The Special Correspondent and the shadowy figure just known as “The Captain”. We have been exploring Italy, from Torino to Bologna, much more on that later.

In the meantime here are some snapshots from the Grand Tour.

The Bologna Motor Show is on this week, so we popped by to discover much to interest. Audi had one of their Le Mans-winning R18 on display, one of many race cars to admire.

I said “Blow the bloody doors off”…………

What do you with a redundant car factory……….bulldoze it and build something glass and chrome? Or preserve the famous structure and recycle the whole sheebang? The latter would seem to be the best answer, at least from the evidence of the project to rescue the Lingotto factory.  The former home of FIAT, is now a shopping centre, with hotels, art galleries etc. The famous rooftop test track is still there and we were lucky enough to be allowed a visit.

First Time For Everything

As if that was not enough automotive goodness, just down the strada was the freshly opened Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile, celebrating the fantastic contribution of Italy to motoring. A must visit place.


John Brooks, December 2011