Silverstone Classic Media Preview Day

It was fabulous to hear that the 2017 Silverstone Classic was adopting the 60th Anniversary of the Fiat 500 as a headline feature. It was even better that we were invited to take our cars to the Media Preview Day at Silverstone on 23rd March.

I duly applied and was accepted and then realised that as we had to be in the International Paddock at The Wing Building soon after 8am, it required a morning call of an ungodly hour for my good lady. There was however a small bonus, it was a revelation to her to find out that there were in fact, two 6 o’clocks in each day!

We duly set off at the crack of sparrows and as my better half doesn’t tend to achieve the power of speech for an hour or so after such an early rise, her navigation instructions were limited to one grunt for right turn, two for left.

Nevertheless, we seamlessly rendezvoused with Chairman Rod, First Lady Sally and First Lieutenant Zoe in a small selection of the Scanes’ ever expanding fleet.

We made it to the display area in the International Paddock on time and over the next half an hour a colour-coded collection of 12 immaculate 500’s assembled, coming from far and wide. Race tracks generally, and Silverstone in particular, can be the coldest places on earth when the wind blows and the old wartime airfield lived up to its reputation with sunny but Arctic conditions throughout the day necessitating frequent visits to the media centre to defrost.

There was, as you would expect, a selection of automotive exotica on display but, as ever, it was our group of cars that attracted the most attention whether it was from the multitude of professional photographers, marshalls, or celebrities (only some of which were recognisable) – everyone seemed to gravitate in our direction and want a photo.

The Press Conference itself was full of razzamatazz trumpeting the event and highlighting our anniversary amongst others. A very acceptable lunch followed as compensation for our being there (as long as you didn’t mind sitting amongst the journos and photographers with all their expensive equipment).

Next up was what we had all been waiting for – the Track Photography Session dedicated to photographing the car clubs being celebrated this year going around the famous track. We started our engines as instructed and proceeded through the garages into the famous pit lane. The sight of a dozen 500’s lined up in this iconic setting was irresistible to the bevy of high-viz clad professional photographers who swarmed around one side of us. On the other side, the drivers who’d been driving exhibition laps came out of their pits to admire the convoy and to talk to some of us.

Soon the Camera Car arrived – in this case a BMW X5 with the tailgate flung open and a photographer hanging out the back. We set off in formation around the famous tarmac with the photographer waving frantically for us to get closer to the Camera Car. Regrettably, nobody seemed to have briefed the driver who didn’t drop below 50mph all the way round creating quite a challenge for us to keep up!

Our brief moment of glory over, we returned to the pits for goodbyes until the next time and the journey home.

If you have been to the Silverstone Classic before, you will know how much fun it is. If you haven’t, then do give it a try if you can and join the Club stand for Friday 28th – Sunday 30th July. It is one of the best classic events on the International calendar and a very appropriate way for our big anniversary to be celebrated.

Steve Edmonds

APRIL 2017 NEWSLETTER

The Fiat 500 Club UK magazine for April 2017 is now available to members.

Contents:

Silverstone Classic Media Preview Day; Automotoretro Show, Turin ; Olivia’s story  –  a business based around Fiat 500’s; Article from member, Roger Sunderland; 500D Restoration Part 3 by member Andrew Halley

Members can access this issue in the ‘members only’ Magazine section HERE but only if you are registered. If you are a member, but can’t get access you can register for your access code when you are asked for your username (at the bottom of the screen) – please have your valid Membership Number ready. Please note, we do check this before accepting registrations and it could take up to a week to get access approved.

Help a 500 (Members only)

We have created a list of some of other members who have offered to help. There are several categories, from being a mechanic, to somewhere to just stop and have a coffee!

Members can access this issue in the ‘members only’ section HERE but only if you are registered. If you are a member, but can’t get access you can register for your access code when you are asked for your username (at the bottom of the screen) – please have your valid Membership Number ready. Please note, we do check this before accepting registrations and it could take up to a week to get access approved.

Get ready for Goodwood!

As many of you know, the Fiat 500 Nuova was launched 60 years ago this year. To celebrate, the World famous Goodwood Revival weekend at the Goodwood race circuit will feature an Italian themed display from 8th-10th September inside the circuit, near the track. This is planned to include as many Fiat 500s of the period as possible.

To be considered for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, please contact Goodwood directly, as this is not being organised via the Club, though we are very pleased to be involved. If you can send details of your car (type i.e. 500N, D, F, L, Giardiniera, Van, Steyr Puch, Autobianchi, etc…), colour, registration number, year of registration, left or right hand drive), and most importantly a photograph by eMail to James Charman at competitors@goodwood.com. Please also include your preferred eMail address, full name and postal address. James will then be in touch shortly with you. Good luck! For more information about Goodwood and the Revival Weekend, please go to https://www.goodwood.com/flagship-events/goodwood-revival/

Meet our new president!

It is a privilege to be invited to take over as President of the Club, and I should take a moment or so to pretend that I’ve got some credentials to justify the appointment.

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I have a bit of a connection with motoring and motor sport, and the recent events, which I have been involved with, are the hosting of the FIA Awards in Vienna where the new Formula One Champion was crowned. Also I presided over the Historic Motoring Awards at the Guildhall and (for the 28th year) The Autosport Awards at The Grosvenor House. Amazingly, at all these functions, no one has ever spotted the fact that I know very little about cars.

Autosport Awards 2016 (73 minutes, but well worth it…)

But I know what I like, and the wonderful Fiat 500 has figured on my motoring landscape, many times over the last fifty years.

When I was growing up my family didn’t own a car and my elder brother, once he’d passed his test, was the first to get mobile. He bought a grey Fiat 500 for £110, which he was due to take delivery of in Sidcup at six o’clock on the evening of July 30 1966. Amid great excitement I would go with him, once we had finished watching a football match on television. Unfortunately when Weber equalised, the World Cup Final went to extra time and it was only when Kenneth Wolstenholme assured us that ‘it was all over…’ that we were able to rush out of the door and take possession of this life-changing vehicle.

The first impression was that it was a tin-box with two deck chairs inside, it was hot noisy and uncomfortable but it had oodles of character, and it meant a new freedom.

And as I learnt over the next few years, that character could change. When I was eighteen, I went to work for the local newspaper, and the chief photographer was the proud owner of a yellow 500 with a Hillman Imp engine, trick suspension and racing seats; tyres squealing, we were comfortably first at every story that broke in South East London.

Fast-forward thirty-five years, to when I had ingratiated myself into the motor-sport world and was invited by Ron Dennis to host the launch of the first McLaren F1 road car at the Sporting Club in Monaco. It was, and possibly, still is, the most glorious Supercar ever built and at the end of the launch in front of Prince Albert and all the A-list celebs, I was talking to the cars’ designer Gordon Murray. He told me he wouldn’t be driving back to the UK. He then took me around the back of the Sporting Club and showed me the pristine left hand drive Fiat 500 that was his chosen transport.

‘This,’ he said, ‘is the most perfect motor-car ever designed.

Further endorsements followed from many of those I visited while filming the F1 Legends series for SKY; Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Jo Ramirez the ex-McLaren F1 manager all have Fiat 500s in various guises in their private car collections.

So I had to have one and in 2001 in response to my wife’s’ request for any kind of open top Italian car for her birthday, I bought a Tuscan Orange 1971 500L from a colleague at the BBC.

We had a lot of fun with it, but then came the need to give it a bit of an overhaul. On the internet we tracked down a self-proclaimed ‘specialist’ who took delivery, and then became a nightmare to make contact with.

The car was passed through a number of hands until we lost track entirely. It was about five years later that we eventually followed the trail to the back of a garage in Peterborough.

The car was reclaimed and passed on to the far better qualified attentions of Amelia and Manj at Weenie Fiats in Swindon, The car came back to us a year ago in top-class condition and they also helped me make contact with the Club.

So, hopefully a few trips and adventures lie ahead with the Club and, at the very least

I am looking forward to meeting members at whatever gathering and functions are on the calendar in 2017.

Steve Rider

FEBRUARY 2017 NEWSLETTER

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The Fiat 500 Club UK magazine for December 2016 is now available to members.

Contents:

Minutes of the 24th AGM of the Fiat 500 Club; Article from the Club’s new President, Steve Rider; Our Fiat 500C and 595 Anniversario Abarths by Keith Sneddon; L’amore e Cieco (Love is blind) article by Steve Edmonds; Fiat & Abarth 500 600 Book review

Members can access this issue in the ‘members only’ Magazine section HERE but only if you are registered. If you are a member, but can’t get access you can register for your access code when you are asked for your username (at the bottom of the screen) – please have your valid Membership Number ready. Please note, we do check this before accepting registrations and it could take up to a week to get access approved.

Fiat 500 Club 25th Anniversary event

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It’s here! All the information you need in order to book your place at THE event of 2017 – the 25th Anniversary of the Fiat 500 Club (1992-2017).

The event takes place on 5th to 7th May 2017 at Wicksteed Park, Barton Road, Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN15 6NJ which is located here.

The Application form is available here:

A map of suggested accommodation and contact details are available here:

We look forward to seeing you there!

Please note: The event is for Fiat 500 Club UK members only. Non-Members can apply, we’d love to see you there, but you’ll need to become a member at the same time you apply for tickets.

DECEMBER 2016 MAGAZINE

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The Fiat 500 Club UK magazine for December 2016 is now available to members.

Contents:

25th Anniversary weekend advert & booking form (also available here); Surrey Hills Drive Out; The Isle of Wight Charity Classic Car Extravaganza; Gallery of Summer events; The Breakfast Club; 500D Restoration Part 2; Fiat 500 Gearbox oil and Spark plugs – Technical page; Fiat 500L – story from member Claire Boston

Members can access this issue in the ‘members only’ Magazine section HERE but only if you are registered. If you are a member, but can’t get access you can register for your access code when you are asked for your username (at the bottom of the screen) – please have your valid Membership Number ready. Please note, we do check this before accepting registrations and it could take up to a week to get access approved.

The Isle of Wight Charity Classic Car Extravaganza

The IOW convoy started on Friday 16th of September at 8.00am in Leicester by Felicity. She travelled down to us in Little Addington and then to Thame, then Marlow where we were joined by the others, making us a colourful line up of 10 cars.

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After lunch in Marlow, we travelled in convoy to Portsmouth for the ferry crossing.

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We stayed in Sandown a short drive from the ferry, where we met up with two more members. With all the cars safely parked in the hotel car park, we set off into town for a well-earned fish and chip supper and then an early night to be ready for the show the next day.
Saturday we drove through the lanes to Newport receiving waves from people along the way and parked by the Harbour. There was a huge array of cars all sizes and colours but none as pretty as ours which always fetch more than their fair share of attention. It was a cold day by the sea, but there were plenty of quaint shops and tea rooms to explore in Newport, so all in all it was a very good day.
Back in Sandown that evening saw us strolling into town looking for a restaurant big enough to accommodate us all. We found what used to be a bank, which had been converted, into a really lovely restaurant and we were made very welcome by the staff and locals.

iow-pic2The food was superb and the entertainment was exceptional, a very good-looking guy playing a guitar and singing. We ladies really enjoyed having a sing along even if he didn’t know any of the songs we requested! We also had our own little party with a couple of birthdays to celebrate.

Sunday was a much warmer day when we drove into Ryde. We parked along the sea front and were able to sit and enjoy the lovely sunshine after strolling along the promenade looking at all the cars. The event here was for charity and there was much to see and things to buy to help the local charities.
We were delighted when the Mayor of Ryde came along to us and announced the Fiat 500 Club cars were the winners of the best car group and presented the club with a plaque and some motor oil, which will be raffled at the AGM. We returned to Sandown that evening very proud of our little cars and had reason to go out again and celebrate.

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On Monday we said our goodbyes and thanks to the Hotel owners and left to explore a bit more of the island. We drove to Newchurch where we visited a garlic farm. We couldn’t believe how many types of garlic there were. We walked around the farm to see how they were all grown and harvested and then we had a tasting session. Some of us made purchases before leaving to go onto our next stop Nettestone. Here we parked by the sea and had a stroll around and found a nice deli where we bought fresh crab rolls for the journey home.
We returned to the ferry for our homeward journey. We said our goodbyes before we got off the ferry to head home. It had been a very happy and exciting weekend and we would like to thank Paul once again for organizing and booking ferries and hotels for us all.

Sally Scanes

Chairman’s Weekend – 13th & 14th August 2016

chairmans-weekend-pic4Those who now know me, know I am not yet feeling the love the 500’s, but if I did not embrace the events I would be home alone and have to hear about people I don’t know, so off to the Chairman’s Weekend we went. Yes, it was fun (not the 500 bit) and yes, I understand the owners’ passion and thrill when they see a hoard of the titchy, noisy, slippery seated vehicles all together.chairmans-weekend-pic1

Up early to drive to Rod’s, the Chairman’s house (which is lovely by the way), a good journey with Stephen Fry, gently giving directions, saw us to the door (Sat Nav not the Stephen!) As ever I was eager to get out to meet and greet, I believe we were last to arrive so lots of hellos were in order. The journey is soon put behind me as I just love the social side – I tried to have a sneaky look inside but only got as far as the hall and decided it was not a good idea on my own.

All too soon we were kitted out with Walkie-Talkies and the 8 of us were off to Rockingham Cars for a coffee, and those who wanted could ogle over the slightly larger, slightly more technical Fiats. Just enjoying the sun and chats when we were off again – at least we could have the roof down feeling the warm air through my hair. Arriving at Barnwell Park, via some delightful villages. We did have a little break on route due to a major breakdown, sorry for Tom but at least it meant an unplanned escape from the 500.

chairmans-weekend-pic3A fantastic afternoon – we joined Laura, Joy and Zeta on the Treasure Trail. That was fun, a lovely walk through Oundle, avoiding shoe and cook shops, then back to the park for a picnic lunch and more socialising.

chairmans-weekend-pic2Boo – back in the car, but not for long till we got to Olivers at Kimbolton for afternoon tea. The club was a bit late but they happily stayed open and directed us to a suitable group parking place. We joined other members outside and sadly I didn’t get to try any home-made cake but they all looked very tasty. We were then escorted by Rod to our hotel for a freshen-up before being collected for the pre-booked meal at The Woolpack. Judging by the chatter and joviality, this was enjoyed by all. The bad news being that we only came 2nd on the treasure trail, but no hard feelings and I wore my medal emblazoned around my neck the next day.

Rather a restless night’s sleep, the background talking and doors banging was just loud enough to keep me awake for a while and then again in the early morning, but never mind the stay over was more relaxing and prevented us from having a journey home and back again for tomorrow meet.

Breakfast was at Rod’s, more of my favourite socialising. Amazingly even more 500’s, 3 chaps I met at a Loughborough event joined in, so I was able to have a catch up with them. Walkie-Talkies at the ready and I was quite overcome by the sound of 11 500’s all starting up at the same time. Another hair-sweeping journey but only one today – to Stanwick Lakes. There was rather a lot of jostling of cars to get into the correct colour order, then we were all settled for the day. After a stroll around the lakes we just lounged around till late afternoon, very comfortable and chatty.

My mistress and I had a fantastic weekend. We came home via the Motorway for the first time but, because my mistress didn’t try to use my nose as a gear stick and I had spent most of the night guarding the bedroom, I knew nothing about it – I slept like a dog (sorry log) all the way home, dreaming of being the Club Mascot.

“Tinker”, belonging to Felicity