Unsurprisingly the weatherman was wrong. It was neither ‘dry’ nor ‘fine’, instead it was drizzling on and off, and the clouds looked angrier than a celibate feminist vegan with a sore thumb and a hangover – but thankfully the cars came. Okay, there were a few empty spaces on Small Street, but the venue was still rammed with people.
BIAMF is focused on, in and around Corn Street with models celebrating anniversaries taking pride of place.
In addition to the Festival celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Lancia Beta and Maserati Merak were marking their 40th birthdays, the Alfa Romeo 156 GTA marked 10 years in the UK, the Giulia hit the big five-oh and the fabled carozzeria, Bertone, has racked up a century.
Last year we missed BIAMF because work called us elsewhere – and that elsewhere just happened to be around the corner from Cofton Park during Pride of Longbridge. So it was good to be back.
A few cars were old familiars, but on the whole most were new to us plus there were quite a few real crackers. Ironically – given the wetness – BIAMF seemed to have a great display of talented rotters! There was an Alfasud, a Strada, a 131, Beta berlina, and a Volumex X1/9 (forgive the lack of details, but this beauty did have a ‘For Sale’ sign on it and I could have done something very stupid if I lingered). Plus what most be one the best remaining Panda 4x4s. So these committed owners deserve a special congratulations and a pat on the back.
Yes, the Tommy Try-Hards were there in their modern plastic supercars and there was a good spread of current and modern Alfas (hmmm, 156GTA Sportwagon) but the old tin was the star of the event.
So what left my dribble gland a bit knackered? A beautiful low-mileage ‘chairs and flares’ 1972 Dino 246GT. A current Maserati Quattroporte (my Lottery-win motor). A Pininfarina-bodied Ferrari 250GT that was originally sold by Tourist Trophy Garage which belonged to Britain’s first F1 champ, Mike Hawthorn. A pair of beautiful Pininfarina-bodied Lancia coupés – a 1959 Appia and a 1962 Flaminia.
Grab a quick breath and off we go again…
A couple of Zagato Alfas (an SZ) and a Typo-105 Junior Zagato which used to belong to chum of Dep-O, Franco Macri. A bella bella little 1937 FIAT 500A Topolino. A rally-prep’d 600D and then, what for me, was possibly the machina of the show…
A 1969 Series II FIAT 850 Sport Coupé, owned by Phil Jones. A rare original UK-market model, this vision in blue features OT1000 suspension – fitted by Abarth-specialists, Middle Barton Garage – and sits on a sassy set of Campagnolo alloys. Just check out the camber and toe-in on those rear wheels!
It was so spankingly marvellous, that it made me question my whole Alfa addiction and whether I should switch allegiance from Milan to Turin. So it was just as well that Gez – he of the bad rear-engined FIAT twitch – wasn’t around to see it.
Otherwise, who knows what might have happened.