Virgins in Australia

IMG_4390After meeting Australian visitors to the West Coast of the USA over the past few years, our anticipation was high for our first ever trip to Australia.

 

Arriving in Brisbane we adjusted very nicely with Paul & Jo Doumany for a few days before flying down to Melbourne and Castlemaine.

 

The whole Castemaine Rally weekend was a whirlwind of smoothly organised fun; starting with the Friday lunch where we were introduced to dozens of new friendly Lancia cousins, thankfully the name tags helped remind us who we, and everyone else was!  The Saturday morning run and coffee stop was particularly memorable, following a great route, with some cryptic clues to keep the navigators awake. A remarkable attendance of Lancia’s of all ages was testament to the deep enduring roots our cars have in Australia. This weekend was the result of a huge amount of thought and planning, carried out by a very capable and enthusiastic team. We definitely appreciated this, as I am sure the members present did too.

 

The Tour was a less frantic time driving on our own program, often with a choice of routes, and still with a good sized group for a week long event.  As newcomers to the country we were captivated by the variety of countryside – and climate. Having lived in the UK and USA, we found the natives very friendly and refreshingly non-PC!  From sweltering heat at Castlemaine, we saw showers and some rain, and positive chill at viewpoints along the scenic Great Ocean Road. Highlights for us were kangaroos in our motel courtyard at Halls Gap – including a joey diving into mum with amazing speed and precision!

We were very grateful for Alan and Shellagh Hornsby for the loan of their lovely Fulvia Sport for the Rally and Tour. So it was all rather distressing to find myself at the roadside with no oil pressure and plenty of the latter outside the engine! My well used Book of Excuses was not needed in the end, as a fractured hose was found to be the culprit.

As a result of this I am happy to confirm that the stress test to Alan’s heart has been a total success and his blood pressure has now returned to normal. Which is 250psi.

 

The Tour allowed us to get to know many more of the group much better, which was very nice and less pressured than the Rally. We finished in fine style at Lorne with an excellent final dinner and speeches.

After returning Alan’s car to Ballarat, we enjoyed a few days with Chris and Anna Long in Melbourne seeing the orchestra and famous graffiti along with more conventional sights.

 

After nearly four weeks, we were ready to be traveling home, but full of unique memories of each different stage of our trip. None of this would have been possible without the enthusiasm of the all the Lancia Club members in Australia who organised and attended the events, and in particular our hosts (minders), Paul and Jo, Alan and Shellagh,and Chris and Anna.

 

We look forward to returning in the future,

 

Paul and Lily English

CASTLEMAINE: 1985 to 2015

Vicki and I have attended “Castlemaine” 5 times over the last 30 years.  I was somewhat shocked to realize that our first event was in 1985; mind you, I am not good at record keeping. We only know this because our program lists all the celebrity guests for each event; all 23 of them (the event is bi-annual, so say, 46 years).  The special guest in 1985 was Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni;  I remember riding in the back seat of a 1919 Kappa with Sig. Anderloni. In addition to having owned Carrozzeria Touring he was a fascinating and revered icon of the Italian automotive community.

 

Fast forward to 2013 where Michael Robinson was the featured guest speaker. Michael is a most unique individual. While in High School in Southern California he dreamed of designing automobiles inspired by Bertone’s  1970 concept car which led to the production of the Lancia Stratos. Michael followed his passion to become head of styling for Lancia and eventually the creative director at Bertone.  As you might imagine his life story makes for an incredible motivational speech.

 

So, finally for 2015 another American, and this time our own longtime friend Lancia collector and passionate enthusiast Geoffrey Goldberg.  But you see, I always thought Geoff was one of us and I was just slightly concerned that perhaps he was, you know, out of his league.  But no! Geoff more than deserves to be listed with the exalted company* who have been featured at Castlemaine before him.   His book Di Virgilio at the Center is a masterpiece.  Remarkably Geoff created an intimate friendship with Di Virgilio’s son Luigi, from whom he gained access to material directly from the hand of the father and also opened doors into the historical archives of Fiat and Lancia.  When Geoff spoke at Castlemaine he kept us entranced with the fascinating story of Lancia’s development of the V-6 engine as well as Di Virgilio’s personal history at the heart of the Lancia family. He also spoke of the intrigues: life at a factory that produced some of the most spectacular and innovative automobiles of the post war era.  Geoff left us with his personal theory as to why Gianni Lancia lost control of the company and a hint that this theory may lead to another book.  We all hope so.

 

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JANUARY

2014 East Coast Reunion

American Lancia Club Walt Spak Fall Reunion

 

Although the Fall Reunion is a traditional event of the East Coast Club, this year was of a very different format. We usually do an eat/drive/eat/sleep/drive but this year we dropped the drive components. We focused the event at the Simeone Foundation Museum near the Philadelphia Airport. Many members had never been to the museum is spite of its being honored by Motorsport Magazine as being the best motorsport museum in the world. Fred Simeone and his catering staff hosted us to a very luxurious Saturday evening, including tours of the incomparable car collection, wine and hor d’oeures and a very, very high quality dinner in front of the gorgeous Lancia Lambda Torpedo. During the salad course Fred spoke to us about the collection and his philosophy of correct stewardship of important vintage automobiles. His philosophy is comprehensively described in his new book: “The Stewardship of Historically Important Automobiles”.East Coast reunion 2014

During the desert course, Mike Tillson, Director of The Hundred Cars of Radnor, spoke of his adventure at Sebring driving a works Lancia Fulvia HF with Innes Ireland – a great Lancia story not known by many. DSC_4380

We had a wonderful group of about thirty-nine ALC members and several guests. The club awarded Michael Kristick a gift of appreciation for his constant support of the club and Lancia owners everywhere. Member Greg Moore (Flaminia) brought cases of a variety of nice red and white wines. We consider him to be a particularly fine gentleman member! The elaborate table centerpieces were conceived and fabricated by Garnet Hadley, each including many car maintenance goodies and were given at random to eight lucky attendees.

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What an interesting bunch – these attendees. All are certifiable boffins that really enjoy each other’s company and discourse.

Of particular interest at the event was the amazing new book “Lancia and DeVirgilio – at the Center” written by ALC member Geoffrey Goldburg. It was generally agreed that this book is as good as any other motorsport book out there. You need a copy!

The Reunion was as always, a lot of fun. Many thanks to Fred, Alan, Milanee Gary, Greg, Garnet and Mike!

 

Thanks also to all who attended!!

Harlan W Hadley

 

 

JULY

Mike Space

July 9, 1948 – Dec. 17, 2013

We mark the loss of our dear friend Mike Space, who passed away in his sleep on the island of Vieques, where he and his wife Judi had retired for the winter.

Mike realized he was Not Normal at an early age, and never tried to conform. His first car was decidedly not normal, an Austin A35. His second car was a primer red Aurelia B20 (ex-Olivetti family, it turned out), followed by a brand new Fulvia 1.3 HF in 1968 (which he successfully raced), still in High School.

An ardent and tireless advocate for our marque, he introduced countless people to Lancia over the years. Mike embodied, he was, HF, High Fidelity to Lancia, though in his own inimitable style. His pride and joy was an Aurelia Convertible, fit with a Flaminia motor, that he’d gently restored after I’d sold it to him twenty years ago, as well as his barn-find Appia Berlina. His vintage racer was an ex-Bob Dudley Fulvia 1.3 that he’d made into a Faux-HF.

That said, Mike was an automotive omnivore; he owned, drove, and worked on damn near everything, from construction equipment to Ferraris. An accomplished driver, as at home on the track as he was on the road, in Sept. he’d spent a day in his all-original 1275 Cooper S leading pace car laps of both Watkins Glen courses.

A near life-long member of the ALC and contributor to Lanciana, he also belonged to a number of other car clubs over the years, and in particular was an active member of FLU. He had organized and put on the Hellertown Italian Car Show for the last two years, all for the greater glory. It has been resolved that it will be continued, in his name.

Mike was a skilled and talented artist, musician, and craftsman, with eclectic interests and an unbounded curiosity, one of those people whose infectious joy of life left others smiling, and made him friends wherever he went. He had more energy than he knew what to do with, and was always ready to dive in and give a helping hand to friends and strangers alike. Over the years he had an auto parts store, worked as an automotive line and independent mechanic, and as well as having his pilots license was a certified aircraft and helicopter mechanic.

Although most people reading this know him through cars, music was another major part of Mikes’ life. His relationship with the Philly Folk Fest dates back to the 1970’s; among other positions they held there, he and Judi still belong to the Groundz Crew that sets up and breaks it down each year. For a dozen years Mike was musical director, a board member, and a soundman for Godfrey Daniels, one of the longest running (way more than) folk music clubs in the country, and had just stepped back. He had his own radio show, the Blend, on WDIY, Bethlehem Pa. public radio station. Mike and Judi also held house concerts for musical friends at Space Mountain, the home he had designed and built. The next one had been scheduled for April, right after their expected return in the spring.

But there were times when his life’s work seemed to be reanimating automotive orphans, and in fact it continued to the very end. In spite of promising Judi he wouldn’t be doing any automotive work on Vieques, he immediately made friends with someone whose car needed “a bit of help”.

I was 17, newly arrived at art school in Philadelphia, when I met Mike, and it was through him that I met Jeanne, his ex-girlfriend, who became my wife. We are grateful to have had Mike in our lives for so long, and are the poorer for his absence. My words do him little justice. We miss him greatly.

He leaves behind his beloved wife Judi, and many friends spread across the face of this Earth.

-Steve Katzman

SEPTEMBER

Lancia Club at Radnor

by Harlan Hadley

The 100 Cars of Radnor has for fifteen years been as good a concours as exists on the east coast. All marques are featured. This year there was one of the ‘drop of water” Talbot Lago and an Isotta Fraschini boattail coupe that would bring tears to your eyes. Lancias have always been a part of the show. This year the theme was Rally Cars; what brand has ever matched Lancia in the world of Rallying so it was appropriate that our favorite marque be specially featured.

Four wonderful Lancias were accepted to be on the lawn. A particular honor was the attendance of Ed Levin from Los Angeles who brought his gorgeous, just restored, brilliant red Fulvia HF coupe.   Michael Kiristick brought his factory-built Flavia racecar. It is a car that displays its competition pedigree in large type. Don Schwartzkopf brought a very, very nice Flaminia drophead and Walter Miller brought his Aurelia B-12 which has a long European and South African rally history. The club was honored with a Lancia “raduno” at the Friday night outdoor BBQ at the Thorncroft Equestrian Center. My Fulvia Sport and Ed’s Fulvia Coupe were parked nose to tail in the only two spaces visible from the area of congregation.   They had a small crowd around them all night!

Greg Moore competed in Saturday’s Road Rally in his Flaminia coupe and Ed Levin and his oldest friend competed in the Road Rally on Saturday. He received the award for “The Most Intriguing Rally Car”. Well deserved! Mr. Schwartzkopf and Michael Kristick were awarded “Spirit of Radnor” trophies.

Ed Levin is a very gregarious, knowledgeable maniac for detail and his delectable Fulvia HF shows it. The under hood is immaculate and sports a number of rather rare parts including a valve cover oil filler cap. Ed’s fuse box is worthy of special examination. This car attracted closet Lancia enthusiasts out of the crowd.

We can be very proud of the way our club and our favorite brand were represented at Radnor. Also remarkable was the way our western faction and our eastern factions were united at Radnor.

All up, Lancia and the American Lancia Club made a very significant impression at Radnor this year.