For lovers of everything Italian, the circuit of Zandvoort is the place to be during Italia a Zandvoort. Although Italian cars form the main course, there is so much more to enjoy. Something you can take literally in this particular case, since the entire paddock area is scattered with food and drink stalls. There are clothes, watches and glasses for sale as well, but our attention of course is fixated on ‘le automobili’.
There are plenty cars to admire. Members of about thirty clubs park their cars in the paddock, thus creating a beautiful showpiece for the attending public. Ferrari’s being top of the bill, the Lamborghini Club Holland makes a very good impression too. They show the elegant 350GT, the first ever production Lamborghini sports car. Celebrating its 50th birthday, the Miura gets some well deserved attention next to the more modern supercars or even the LM 002 off-roader. Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni is there, sharing autographs and driving laps on the circuit.
It is particularly enjoyable to see the enormous variety in the offering of Italian cars. Next to the aforementioned supercars we notice Fiats 850, Alfa Romeo GTV’s, a giant array of models brought by the Lancia Club, up to modern Fiats 500 and 600, mostly Abarth versions. The latter often very heavily tuned, money nor effort spared for a bit of extra velocity. Most of the owners take up on the opportunity to enjoy half an hour on the track during the free driving sessions.
During on of these sessions we can’t help noticing the distinct sound of a little black and yellow Fiat 600. That is not the sound we remember from our youth. After the session we look up the car in the paddock and get acquainted with its owner, Mr. Albers. A little glance under the bonnet, slightly opened for air flow like on all these little racing Fiats, ensures us this isn’t factory spec. ‘No’, Albers tells us, ‘I replaced the original engine with a 1000cc Yamaha motorcycle unit.’ That this is a nippy little runner, revving up to 14.000 rpm, is something we noticed before. ‘The Yamaha of course didn’t have a differential nor a reverse, things I had to make from scratch. The water-cooled Yamaha engine gets his cooling from a radiator on the front of the car.’
‘Not long ago I took this Fiat to Italy for the Mille Miglia’, he goes on. ‘Things that would get you a fine here, are being stimulated by the police over there!’ His eyes still glimmering with joy when he recalls. This man definitely bursts with enthusiasm for his little car. Something you can easily spot when you look a little closer at the Fiat itself. There really is no detail untouched. That level of enthusiasm for the automobile is what we see all around us. Every participant of Italia a Zandvoor shares that same passion. A passion shared by the audience, all there to see a glimpse of their favorite motor, as well. That’s why we are pretty confident to wish you: Fino al prossimo anno!!!
text en pictures: Martin Philippo
translation: Marc GF Zaan