Past events page

Horsham Piazza Italia Rally - Easter Monday 21st April 2014 - Clive Baker

Well, we arrived when we were asked to, so by 10.30am four cars from AROCKES were parked with others in the Park and Ride car park south of Horsham town centre. There was Steve Watts with his lovely Phase 1 916 Spider, Don Gilkes in a pretty Sud (yes, there are some left), Gordon Robinson in his exquisite 2600 Spider, and me in my trusty Giulia 1300ti. There were also some other fascinating Alfas, including an incredibly rare 1750 Berlina of about 1970 vintage.

As we congregated, the supercars began to arrive, parking exclusively in their own area, well away from the Hoi Poloi. Horsham Piazza Italia is a festival of all things Italian (the clue’s in the title) so it was exciting to see such automotive icons of Italy like Bentley, Aston Martin, Audi, Porsche, Noble, McLaren, and Shelby all turning out to celebrate.

And Doc Brown with his DeLorean who appears from the future every year.

HorshamTo be fair there were a lot of Ferraris, Lambos, a Pagani Zonda, and even an 8C as well, but they kept themselves to themselves throughout, including the 8C, sadly. I took some photos, but the camera was playing up so only the boring ones came out. I have a few that you can see attached.

And we waited and talked. And we talked and waited. And the tumbleweed tumbled…

Joyfully, the aristocracy in their supercars were eventually invited to line up for their police escort and travel into the central square to park in the places that had earlier been promised to the assembled Alfas, Lancias and Fiats. This took some time because they had difficulty traversing the speed bumps in the car park.

The Alfas were asked to assemble at about 12.30pm, and were given strict instructions to return to our cars by 3.00pm because that was the time that the convoy would be leaving the town to disperse. Two and a half hours of Italian beatitudine and we weren’t even parked up yet! Gordon was then entertained to find that the S4 Spider in front of him in the exit queue was rolling backwards towards his (incredibly) valuable and precious 2600 Spider because the driver had not noticed that his car had developed a mind of its own. All turned out for the best, though, after some shouting, shoving (of cars, not people) and much eye-rolling.


In past years, the police escort into town has been a bit of a buzz, with side roads and roundabouts closed off, and traffic cops waving us through red lights and over pedestrian crossings. This year the powers decided to make life much more exciting by policing some of the junctions and a few of the red lights. We all had to make judgements – to cross or not to cross, that was the question. Many of the pedestrians expressed their views through my open window when I drove over their toes. More Anglo Saxon than Italian, sadly.


We parked up in echelon in East Street about 1.00pm, so that was OK. Two hours to do whatever we wanted. That was nearly as long as we had loitered in the car park. I passed much of the time by allowing un-chocolated but uncontrollable children to sit in my car and have adoring parents take phone shots of them. Generally, I decided that this was a mistake.

The purchase of a bottle of olio extra vergine di oliva later, I grabbed a lunch in the bistro adjacent to my car, and then we headed out. Parting the adoring crowds like Charlton Heston’s division of the Red Sea, we headed home.

Over two hours in a Park and Ride car park, kids scuffing my paintwork, and Alfas playing second fiddle to Audis and Bentleys. Next year? Maybe, maybe not. That is the question…

Clive Baker (Grumpy Old Man).

Horsham Piazza Italia Rally - Easter Monday 21st April 2014 - Don Gilkes

The eighth Piazza Italia took place in Horsham on 21st April. According to Rob Lawler of Rusper Alfa who organised the car procession on the Monday it just gets bigger every year.


We assembled at a park and ride car park from 9.45. At first there were mainly Alfa's of all types arriving mainly of earlier models. Then a host or is at a gaggle of original Fiat 500's. Before we were due to set off for the town centre there was a rumble in the jungle as some 20 to 30 genuine supercars arrived in procession. Impossible to name them all but the Ferrari's looked just common all except for a delicious 246 Dino, there were Pagani, MacLaren, De Horsham Tomaso, numerous Lambo's, to fly the flag an 8c turned up, but the pick of the bunch was Shelby Cobra Daytona. A couple of Mustangs and a Rolls probably Wraith whose design is a matter of debate! The pick of the Ferraris was I believe an F12. The comment was made that not all the Supercars were Italian, but who cares with such a glorious collection. There was also a selection of Italian scooters, some English motor bikes, and a good gathering of Fiat Coupé’s.

When all the cars were assembled they were released into the tender care of police escort motor bikes into the town centre in batches. When it was our turn we were followed by a Bertone which was making some very strange noises, he would drop back from us then gun it before lifting off to the sound of a waste gate blowing. What sort of motor had he got in that? When we parked up next to him he revealed all by showing that it is possible to shoe horn a Nissan 200SX (I think) turbo motor into the 105. It looked a very thorough job, maybe 250bhp (not sure about transmission and diff?). We Alfa's were the last to leave, but we had a prime position in one of the main shopping and restaurant streets in the town.


In the town one of the most popular cars was a Delorean dressed up as the Back to the Future car The driver definitely entering into the spirit of the car.

One of our daughters lives in Horsham with her family, so for us it has become and annual family get together with the grandchildren from Horsham and Meopham being very proud of our family Alfa's but I have to say that they were blown away by the more expensive exhibits.


The Piazza is one of my favourite events, because you are showing off your car to people who have never seen them before or not since they had one, and you can choose where you get your coffee and cakes etc.

Come 3.00pm the streets were to be cleared and to hear a street full of V12, V8 straight sixes blasting through the town was thrilling, and as we left our parking area the crowds were lining the streets and cheering us on our way, Not quite the Targa Florio, but close.

Here's to number 9, as far as I was aware there were only a couple of us from our section there, but I cannot praise it high enough. I was stood by our Sud for only 5 minutes at the end of the day when three people came up to speak, one who had had a Gold Cloverleaf like ours, one who had shared the Centenary trip to Milan and recognised the car and the last was another Alfasudisti.

Don Gilkes


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