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Next section meeting - Thursday 29 June at The Three Horseshoes, Knockholt

The Broker's Club Pininfarina Tribute - Saturday 1st June 2013

What do the following manufacturers all have in common: Volvo, Austin-Morris, Ford, Mitsubishi, Cadillac, Rolls-Royce, Peugeot, Fiat, Lancia, Ferrari and of course Alfa Romeo? I’ll give you a clue; Grugliasco. No....well they have all had cars designed (and some built) by the legendary Carrozzeria Pininfarina of Turin.

And so to mark the passing of the great Sergio Pininfarina, (8th February 1926 – 3rd July 1012), the Broker’s Club decided to organise a tribute to the maestro at the Hurtwood Park Polo Club in the Surrey Hills. The idea was to set a new Guinness world record for the most Pininfarina designed cars at a single gathering. The event was going to be attended by Sergio’s son Paolo and he was going to unveil a new concept Ferrari to the world, the fittingly named “Sergio”, (a Spider based on the Ferrari 458 Italia). And as if this wasn’t enough, the Broker’s Club Tribute Cup was going to be played against this backdrop, followed in the evening by legendry drummer Kenney Jones, (the Small Faces, Rod Stewart and The Faces and the Who), and his all star band to rock us out. Does it get any better than this?

How could it possibly go wrong? I met Doug and Jack at the Pratt’s Bottom services. It was all going so well until Doug decided to start his Duetto Spider! Oh dear. Back to his house in my S2 Kamm tail, for a new distributor cap. Jack was left to tidy up the tools strewn all over the forecourt directly outside the entrance to the shop! The back-up plan was to fetch the 155. Doug’s garage is an Aladdin’s cave of paraphernalia and it wasn’t long before three different caps were found. Jump in the Spider and back to Pratt’s Bottom. All fixed and on the road. A delay of a mere 30 minutes! How appropriate on a day celebrating all that is good in Italian car design, an electrical failure should happen: “What are the chances of that happening..hey?”

A hasty call to Jeff who was on his way to the rendezvous at Pease Pottage Services. A healthy gathering of cars had made it there. They set off with Jeff at the front of an impressive convoy. I should point out that Keith (Brera), Jeremy (156) and Gordon (2600) got in cheekily without Security realising that they represented the competition: Giugiaro, Centro Stile and Touring of Milan!

I made the journey on 3 cylinders, (another tribute to the efficiency of the car: most modern cars require 4 at least I am told). En route we almost T-boned Dave Norman in his 916 Spider in the official convoy. And so we fell in with the others on a wonderful mystery tour. The Surrey Hills really are quite beautiful. How hard could it be to find a b...y great field full of horses? More difficult than you’d think. However, it was well worth it.

Doug as ever, headed straight to the front and we all followed suit. Consequently, we ended up flush against the railings along the edge of the polo field. Once ensconced with club banners flying and lesser Ferraris occupying the available spaces behind, it occurred to us to find out how vulnerable our cars were to flying polo balls. The answer was, very. Too late. Some formed a human shield, (big John Third); others preferred to take a laissez faire attitude to the risk. No chance to check the Schedule of Chris Knott’s comprehensive cover!

The day was superb. It was wall to wall Ferrari, Lancia and Alfa Romeo. For Ferrari, inevitably, lots of 360s, 430s. 348s, 355s, 550 Maranello, and 575. A couple of Testa Rossas, (one a modern V12 and the other a very special ’59 V12). A couple of 458s. Several GTB/4 Daytonas, a 250 GT Lusso and a pair of Dinos. In the VIP area were a number of 250/275 derivate cars and a number of 330GT and Spider cars as well as Eric Clapton’s one of a kind SP12EC, (styled around a 458).

Also in the VIP area was a beautiful Lancia B24 Spider, designed by Pininfarina in the early 1950s and much admired with its radiator badge: Vatican Motor Club!

The stand-out cars for me in the Ferrari enclosure, (full of lots of middle-aged men and their wives dressed in matching Ferrari liveried clothing), were the Morris Oxfords. Guys who don’t care what they look like but know they share the same Farina DNA as all of us. Men who drink pints not prosecco! I dare say we shall meet them at the Bromley Pageant next Sunday. Lancia put on a good show with Flaminia, Flavia and Gamma, (all the way from Holland: Nothing to Declare but the tin worm”). Rolls Royce was represented by a solitary Carmargue.

A lone Peugeot 306 Cabriolet attended. Also holding a unique position on the day was the Volvo C70. So not all Italian exotica by any means. The moment arrived for the unveiling of the concept car and Paolo Pininfarina, (at times choked by emotion), unveiled the beauty that is the “Sergio” prototipo. What beautiful lines cladding a 458 Italia. The photos below speak for themselves. A beautiful tribute to his late father. My favourite design feature was the headrests. Apparently suspended in mid-air (linked seamlessly to the roll-bar), quite independent of the seat. The sweep up the bonnet to the central dash-mounted rear view mirror unencumbered by any front windscreen was breathtaking. Am I the only one who was thinking Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/TT/3?

Lunch was by way of civilised picnic for most of us and the afternoon was spent watching the Polo. After alcoholic refreshment, (several hours before the need to drive on a pubic road once again arose), a band of brothers formed under the bonnet of my little Spider. There was a good deal of rummaging in Doug’s tool kit and from the boot of Roger’s spider a fresh plug was produced. Cylinder 2 was diagnosed as being the culprit and with a substitution being made the Spider sparked into life with a beautiful purr. (Suffice to say that the drive home was heavenly on 4 cylinders - even though 3 would have sufficed. Many thanks guys.)

Then Mr Pininfarina visited us at AROCKES and looked at our cars. There was time for a chat and a photograph with those lucky enough to be there when he visited. (Gary from the organisers emailed today to say that Paolo showed great pleasure in seeing the Alfa Romeos). We were joined by Mick Walsh of Classic and Sports Car Magazine in his 1750 Duetto. A lovely car with a beautifully patinated Nardi wheel picked up in Rome recently. Mick was very complimentary of our cars and was amused to learn that his was the only car to feature in the AROCKES photo with Paolo Pininfarina!

The evening was rounded off by Kenney and the boys playing his back catalogue and we rocked to ‘Lazy Sunday’, ‘Hot Legs’ and ‘All the Day and all of the Night’, which turned out to be quite fitting.

And for those of us who are lucky enough to own Pininfarina cars, (sharp intake of breath from the Touring, Bertone and Giugiaro boys), we set a new world record.

The journey back was like being on a reverse treasure hunt through the myriad lanes surrounding the club but all in all...not a bad day out I’d say!

David Smith

Photos

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