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

OCTOBER 2016 MAGAZINE

october-2016-front-coverThe Fiat 500 Club UK magazine for October 2016 is now available to members.

Contents: Chairman’s Weekend, 13th & 14th August 2016; Garlenda & Le Mans trip 2016; 25th Anniversary Logo winner; Restoration story of Fiat 500L VOP329J; Rizzle’s adventures – search and purchase of a classic Fiat 500; Request for help in finding 500D parts.

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.

Club badges now back in stock!

Many of you have been asking if we stock grille badges. We used to in the past and they were very popular and sold out. The good news is that we have got them back! They are cast in brass and then chromed with a very solid look & feel. The dimensions are approximately 10cm tall by 8cm wide.

Car Badge_Fiat500

For those of you who have badge bars, you will also need a clamp. The come in two sizes: 19mm or 25mm. Each clamp comes complete with fixing bolts.

The badges cost £17.50, the clamps cost £4.20 and postage & packing for either a badge or a badge and clamp is £2.00. For more information please contact the Club Shop.

To Garlenda, Le Mans, and back

I do not know where or how to start to tell you about yet another amazing trip. By car, by boat, by train, we went.

I can only pick out a few highlights.

We travelled from home to Paris taking the overnight ferry to Le Havre. Trying to keep us all together going around the Boulevard Periferique of Paris took some doing, but hey, we did it.

It was with some trepidation that we later left our little cars at Paris to be loaded on the Autotrain. Believe me it was like leaving our children with people that did not know them. With instructions on how to start the engines, we said farewell and went to another station to get the T.G.V. for the six and a half hour ride to Nice Ville Gare.

We stayed the night in Nice and with a free morning, we walked along the famous promenade in the hot 32-degree sunshine. We were more than a little relieved when we picked the cars up later that day and found they were all safe and sound.

We then drove to what was to be our destination, Villanova, for the next seven nights. We drove part motorway and part coast road seeing some magnificent scenery en route and arriving in time for cocktails (very civilized) and an evening meal at the very pretty campsite (in our case more Glamping than Camping)…

We spent the next few days discovering some pretty villages in the mountains and on the coast. Also ancient towns with their narrow streets and fortresses. In Garlenda, the home of Dante Giacosa, the designer of the original Fiat 500, we took advantage of an early look around the museum before the crowds descended on the village and were made most welcome by the staff and the people that run the Fiat 500 Club Italia.

Around 600 Fiat 500’s were expected at the weekend for the 33rd International Meeting.

Sally pic1

Our second group joined us on the Friday and we registered the cars for the weekend events. In The Park Villafranca where the event was taking place it was an amazing sight, seeing so many cars in one place. Also, there were stalls full of memorabilia, anything from car parts to pens and badges, suitcases to keyrings. There was a stage for entertainment, food stalls galore and even a merry go round for any one that had the stomach for it. There was a Pop Art Park leading into the village with numerous structures all made out of Fiat 500 parts, very ingenious.

The ride out on the Saturday has to be the highlight of the weekend. Six hundred Fiat 500’s touring together through the villages. There was a stop on the way for lunch in a village called Caprauna, the whole village was full of cars parked bumper to bumper. There must have been over one thousand of us who had a delicious three-course meal, can you imagine that, they were so well organised, I had to wonder where they got all the chairs from!!.

After lunch we went on to Vessalico where they were holding the 257th Garlic Festival, again, we filled the village with cars but everyone seemed pleased to see us.

On the Sunday we all met at the local airport where a photo shoot took place, a small plane took to the sky to take a photo of the cars, which is to be used in next year’s publicity for the Italian Club.
We left Garlenda in the afternoon after a great weekend and I wonder will I ever see so many Fiat 500’s in one place again.

Sally pic2
We travelled on weary but excited for the next stage of our tour and stayed the night in Borgo San Dalmazzo. The next day we set off to drive through the Italian/French Alps and our destination for the night at Corps. Our hotel was high in the Alps and when we reached the village where we were to stay and looked up, our hotel was the only place high above us. We did wonder how we were to reach it. Craig did a recci as he had a car with a bigger engine and he telephoned down to say he didn’t think our little cars would make it up as it was so steep. A local garage in the village said they would store our cars for the night and the owners of the hotel said they would come down in their cars and collect us. One brave soul amongst us decided he would give it a go, his wife however decided to stay with us. He made it up alone and deserved a big pat on the back for his bravery. After a hair raising trip to the top for the rest of us the hotel was magnificent and the views were to die for. From a viewing point, you could take in the snow-covered mountains around, the lake and the village way below. Not even a photo could do it justice and I cannot put into words how to describe it, it is something you would have to see for yourself. The evening meal was superb and the attention from the staff was the best ever. We were all very sorry to leave this place and vowed we would go back one day and stay longer.

The next day we travelled more and more into the Alps and another highlight for me was as we played tail end Charlie seeing our little cars in convoy going round and round those hairpin bends getting higher and higher, it was the most spectacular sight. I expect many of you have done this sort of trip in your family cars but until you see these little Fiat 500 classics in front of you, it’s an amazing experience, even a Shepherd high in the mountain was waving us on.

Writing this and reliving these memories has brought it home to me just how lucky we are to be doing what we do. There is such a lot more I could write, like the visit to Le Mans Classic event, the ride we had on a seven seater bike, the villages and towns we visited, the people who waved and cheered us on. Also the hiccups the cars had, one even catching fire. So much more to tell but I will finish with the memories that will live with me forever, those are the ones I told you about up in the mountains.

Thank you Paul and Christine for yet another epic, unforgettable trip.

Sally Scanes

Hood Down!

On 24th June we set off on our annual 500 Club European Tour in our 500D (hood down) and joined up with club members and then onto Portsmouth to embark on the overnight crossing to Le Havre. Drove to Paris (hood down) and with cars safely on the auto train, we went on a separate train to Nice.

After a night in Nice, we collected the cars and drove (hood down) along the coast to Garlenda.

The time and event in Garlenda was excellent, the weather fantastic, and the food, food! The Italian 500 Club made us most welcome. (hood down every day)

After a mass assembly of the 500’s at Villanova D’Albenga airport, we all set off for our first stop in France (hood down) heading for Le Mans for 3 days to watch the Le Mans classic car racing.

After another day driving through France, (hood down) to the overnight stop at Corps.

The next day we set off and an incident occurred which proves the camaraderie of the Fiat 500 Club members, proving what a great group of people these members are.

We were driving down a country lane (hood down) smelt petrol, next smoke appeared from the engine bay, next Janet on the walkie-talkie “we are on fire”. We stopped and both got out with flames coming up through the louvre vents and on the road, next Rod discharged his fire extinguisher and I went to the front and pulled the petrol feed from the tank, the fire still going. Then Craig and Amy arrived with another fire extinguisher and the fire was out. By this time, we were causing a blockage on the road and a French lorry driver came with his extinguisher.

Hood down pic2

We waited till the car had cooled down and pushed it onto the grass verge and with the damaged engine lid all burnt, the picnic basket on the back burnt, paint on rear wing burnt (hood down NOT burnt).

Hood down pic1

The cause of the fire was a brass ferrule, which had come out of the inlet side of the fuel pump. Four hours later we were on our way, unbelievable!! (hood down) with dynamo, fan belt, wiring, control box, petrol pump and various plastic parts and the air filter replaced, all supplied from spares carried by club members.

After another stop we arrived in Le Mans, in France where we picked up some plastic parts and air filter which Laura had arranged via her Dad, Vince to be sent out with her contacts who were racing at Le Mans.

After three very hot days at Le Mans and the parts duly fitted, we set off home (hood down) via Caen to Portsmouth and home, with no further problems.

Once again, thanks to Paul and Christine for the work, effort and enthusiasm they put in, making this a great social event as well as the 500’s, and to everybody who was on this tour.

We are not deterred from these amazing little 500 cars (hood down) and cannot wait for the next trip and hopefully encourage other members to take part and enjoy these wonderful tours but (DO NOT CATCH FIRE).

Roger Westcott

AUGUST 2016 MAGAZINE

August2016_issue137cover

The Fiat 500 Club UK magazine for August 2016 has just been posted to members.

Contents: To Garlenda, Le Mans and back; Classic Le Mans; Hood down – 500 catches fire; London to Brighton in a Fiat 500; Love affair with the 500; Hello and Ciao Fiat 500 Club UK – from NZ

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.

Three in a Row!

I think this is the first time I can remember going to three events one after the other.

My first outing was to the Italian Auto Moto Festival situated in Bristol’s Old City Area.Bristol event 3 in a row

A Lancia Aurelia Coupe

A great event to go to if you like Italian vehicles of all shapes and sizes (and prices) everything from the Vespa and Fiat 500 up to high end priced stuff like Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini.

Another plus is you get to park in the centre of Bristol on the street for free (if you forget the entry fee that is) and it’s right by the historic St Nicholas market with all the interesting stalls that has to offer. I’d travelled down with Lis and she was quite happy with the arrangement of cars, some shops, cars, some shops etc. etc. the fact it was a lovely sunny day helped enormously as it can get a bit draughty in the narrow streets.

This nicely brings me onto my second event which was the Donnington Historic Festival, we had club parking on the infield and permission to put up our gazebo. We had what should have been a perfect spot right near the big grassy bank overlooking Craner Curves and within easy reach of some catering stalls. I had visions of lying on the grass with an ice cream watching the historic racers screeching past below me, perfect!

The weather had different ideas, it was horrible. Windy, drizzly and freezing. The first consensus was to leave the gazebo in the car as we had visions of it turning into the club kite. The second for the Westcotts and the Scanes was to treat themselves to warm hats and gloves which a canny stallholder was doing a good deal on, he’d obviously been to the Donnington event before and spotted a nice little business opportunity.

Donington event 3 in a rowDonnington Parking

The six cars all bailed out early afternoon to head off for our nice warm houses, I’d been stood for an hour in a holding car park so I could have a go in the club parade around the track and I was frozen to the marrow so the first thing I did on getting home was dive in a hot shower.

The subject of temperature brings me to my third event which was the Middle Barton Garage Visit.

I didn’t count but I estimate there was around twenty five visitors on the day. On arrival we were offered a drink and biscuits and given a while to browse round the premises on our own (in the heat and the sunshine) before Tony Castle-Miller, the boss of MBG gave us talk on the history of the business and a guided tour of the workshops, filling in the detail of the machines we’d all been drooling over and answering any questions asked while we were going round. A few spares were bought and the garage had an un-booked job come in, in the shape of Nick Richardson’s car that had developed a horrendous oil leak on the way down from Nottingham and he made the executive decision to leave it with the experts to sort out and blag a lift back with me as I only live twenty minutes down the A52 from him.

MBG event 3 in a rowMiddle Barton Garage

I’d like to thank Tony’s wife and team who while Tony was dispensing his knowledge they were dispensing burgers, bacon and sausages from the Barbie.

So, three events. Sun, Rain, Sun. I think I’ll be taking my brolly with me to Prescott Hill Climb just in case there’s a pattern emerging here.

Tom Hodgkin

 

JUNE 2016 MAGAZINE

June 2016 Issue 136The Fiat 500 Club UK magazine for June 2016 has just been posted!

Contents: Three in a row – Italia Auto Moto Festival in Bristol, Donington Historic Festival and Middle Barton Garage Visit; Leeds Castle ‘Motors by the Moat’ car show; New member, Felicity Greenfield’s first events with the Fiat 500 Club; Fitting the Autospark Electronic Ignition; Excerpts from the Press release for the new Abarth 595 (from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles UK Ltd.).

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.

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Andrew LeeThe Fuhrer would pull my head off if I did that 🙂

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Andy Brass'Flavia' also inside now with her big brother 'Giovanni' 😀

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Brian KentBrought the old one, you have to keep the old warm in winter😀

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Peter ThompsonBilliant....I take it that you are (now?) single?

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Barry HowellsHelen Howells

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Dave TassellThe garage was full so what choice did I have!!

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Corné SprenkelsHeu, just leave it outside! It doesn't melt youknow!

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Olivia DavisKim watts !!!

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Angelo CalabroHim? Isn't it a 'her'?

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John MooreSharon Arrand new extension!!!

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Cris MooreGary Moore- NO!

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Automotoretro TURIN February 2016

Turin pic1We visited this show for the first time last year in Turin and we enjoyed it so much that we decided to go back again this year. The show is held at the Lingotto Fiere in Turin, which is located next to the original Fiat factory. The show is host to various types of classic vehicles and motorbikes, including lots of Fiats!!!  The show is spread out over several large halls, some of which used to be the actual Fiat factory. There was also a large hall dedicated to auto jumble with lots of bargains on offer!

Turin pic5
There were several Fiat 500 clubs in attendance including the Turin and Italian Clubs, both of them were displaying some lovely Fiat 500’s. For all the 500’s on display (and there were quite a few!) not one was the same, each had something different from the colour, trim or modification in some way, which was good to see so many variations. Also on display were a few Giardiniera’s and Multipla’s, which are also models I really like.

Turin pic4As well as the classic car show, there was also the Automotoracing show, entry that was also included in your original show ticket. On display were rally cars, racing cars, custom bikes and modified vehicles. There were several new Abarth 500’s on display including racing and modified versions, which were very nice.  Outside of the building, they had made a track which was displaying drift cars and rally cars. I even spotted a classic Abarth 500 doing a few laps round the track.

Turin pic3All in all it was a great show with plenty vehicles on display. Well worth a visit.

Shona Campbell