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Next section meeting - Thursday 31 August at The Bull Hotel, Bull Lane, Wrotham, Kent, TN15 7RF.

Bromley Pageant of Motoring - Sunday 9th June 2013

The Bromley Pageant of Motoring, held this year on Sunday, 9 affair involving car enthusiasts of all shapes, sizes, coiffure and persuasions. The Kentish Alfisti, the Alfisti of Kent and our adopted Alfisti comrades from neighbouring counties brought out their Italian beauties and we huddled together in Block S35 with cars pointing defiantly East and West and ready to repel the men of Essex, Greater London and wherever. Banners were unfurled and, while the 105 Spider chaps discussed amongst themselves their usual early morning minor mechanical aches and pains, fond greetings and felicitations were exchanged between our knights of the road.

The cars looked superb but the weather was Siberian. In fact, confused insects, puzzled by the late, perhaps even the non, arrival of spring were clustering on our gleaming zoe yellow spider as if it was the only thing in bloom in the entire field. But if we had thought zoe yellow was bright, it was nothing in comparison to the chrome painted Bentley Turbo R which had been parked just far enough away not to cause serious offence. The owner of this rolling blingfest was most discrete and we wondered whether he had once owned an ultimately unsuccessful jewellery chain in the ‘80’s and was now specialising in providing wedding cars for big fat gypsies.

Our Alfas brightened the day and roofs were opened and carefully stowed. On occasions it has been noted that, on the whole, the 105 Alfisti are more likely to “get their kit off” before the 916 Alfisti. Perhaps this is where the spirit of adventure overcomes the confidence in Milan electrics or maybe it is the inspirational lead by “il capo” Doug clad in shorts that galvanises the 105 men. I don’t know but there it is. This time, however, almost everyone “got their kit off” in the true spirit of the Spider.

On a day such as this, it is always necessary to trundle over to the Jensen Owners display to admire the fortitude, spirit and enthusiasm of the few who keep that breed alive. With the price of 95 RON as it is these days, it requires financial discipline that has not been seen in the city for centuries, indeed since the days of William Pitt. To tell the wife and kids they can either have an ice cream each and help daddy push the car the 10 miles back home or go without requires some nerve!

Our ranks bulged with the tethered horses of the “magnifico” 156 GTA, “il mostro” SZ, the “bunga, bunga” GTV6, “il bruto” Clover Leaf 3.0 164 , “il elegante” Touring 2600, the “il gorgeous” Guila, “il brioso” Bertone coupe and, to ensure the lines were up to date, “il modern” Guilietta.. Our “dinastia” of Spidermen displayed their iconic cars, each with the body of Ruby “il ladro di cuore”. Maybe that last one might be pushing the envelope slightly, particularly with Doug in shorts, but you get the picture.

Our knights visited the tented village where merchants had relieved the suspension of their transit vans by piling buckets and bins of gifts from the demi-god Draper. In neighbouring encampments, there were examples of threaded screws, brass bushes, lantern assemblies, handles and knobs, all from British chariots of bygone years, namely Rileys, Wolseleys, Morrises and others. Stout men and some Gandalf look-alikes were huddled in small groups engaged in trade exchanging their groats for items of thinly plated motoring treasure. Someone discovered a stall selling vintage driving gloves! It transpired these had been worn previously but none had provenance of the original wearer. Now had these been the gloves of Count Aymo Maggi or Achille Varzi we would all have been lining up. As it was the tented village held few delights to satisfy our love of things Italian.

It has to be reported, however, that someone bought something that looked suspiciously like a polo pony tickling stick which, it is believed, masquerades under the title “electrostatic microfiber wax drag dust duster”. “la giuria di Milano” has yet to decide if this is the sort of device a man should be seen in public with.

A tour by an Alfisti patrol came upon some very obscure vehicles, the most interesting of which was perhaps a Datsun Fairlady SP311, which is just about as rare as a cup of cappuccino on Rockall. It is so rare that it completely fails to register on the “How many left” website.

Actually, although our Italian machinery brought some “stile e grazia” to proceedings, a verdict was passed that the cappuccino being sold by a nearby hot drinks vendor was a disaster worthy of reporting to the EU under Regulation 5129/2013/EC. No! That is not the one about Commissioners must not park their Mercedes on the yellow lines in the blue car park in Strasbourg, it’s the one about counterfeit goods! Summing up, it was a very enjoyable day out. We had a display of Alfas which spanned the past fifty years and this, in club terms, marks a true celebration of everything Alfa. A certain nearby encampment may have boasted three tents and more cars but each of their machines had only got two seats … although … by and large they had awfully nice hair do’s! I trust we will not have to get nice hair do’s when the next stage of the grand Fiat master plan to rule the world comes along!

“il giornalista per il giorno”

John Third

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