Italy has a long and proud motoring heritage. It seems like every Italian man has a passion for driving fast and beautiful cars. While Italian vehicles may not have the best reputation for reliability they certainly make up for this by producing high performance vehicles that are a pleasure to drive and look at. Here are some of our favourites.
If you think about cars and Italy then you probably first think of Ferrari. The prancing horse has been up on almost every young man’s bedroom wall in some or other poster. From the beautiful, sleek lines to the sound of a vicious V12, it’s easy to see why these vehicles capture the attention that they do. If you’re a fan of classic sports cars then you’ve probably dreamt about owning something like the 1967 Ferrari 365 GTB. Many people consider this car to be the world’s first supercar. On the other end of the spectrum is the Ferrari F60 Enzo which made its appearance in 2002. With its more angular lines and gullwing doors this Ferrari certainly broke the mould from its predecessors. The carbon fibre body, F1 type paddle gear shifters and 6 litre V12 made this car very exciting to drive.
Starting as a humble manufacturer of tractors, when these guys got into making supercars they really went all the way. There’s nothing conservative about the designs or the engines that Lamborghini put together. On the classic end of their offering you’ll see the Lamborghini Jota. This started off more as a private project by one of their engineers. It used special bodywork with Aerotech design features and alloys and combined this with a V12 that put out around 440BHP. It was a beast and very impressive for its time. If you’re more a fan of the typical Lambo angles then you might like the Veneno. Underneath it’s essentially an Aventador but they’ve upped the power output to 740BHP and have added some really nice features to the body.
There’s a good reason why Alfa Romeo have been so successful. They realised early on that people want the beautiful lines that Italian cars are known for but want these cars to be affordable too. That’s not to say that they don’t have any top end expensive cars. They do. One of our favourites comes from way back in 1963. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Super TI is such a cool car. In its day it had a well-earned reputation for speed and sportiness. Of course, the Alfa Romeo Spiders (choose any year) are always a crowd pleaser. There’s nothing quite like a road trip around some mountains in one of these classics with the roof down. While Alfa have made many cars aimed at mid-income groups they also have some great top-end offerings. The Alfa Romeo 8C Spider is one of those. While it doesn’t have the supercar look at all, it is pretty quick. What really makes it great is the sound that the 444BHP engine makes. You’d have to have a quarter million dollars lying around if you wanted to get one though.
While Fiat may not be as exciting a brand as the other 3 we mentioned above, they’ve had some great cars in the past. The Fiat 500 has become very popular again with the redesigned model giving a nod to the original 500. You’ll see these just about everywhere these days. A Fiat that you’ve probably never seen is the 1969 Fiat Abarth 2000 Pinanfirina Coupe. This gorgeous sports car had some serious power and speed for its time. A top speed of 275km/h and a 0-100km/h time of 4.2 seconds is pretty good even by today’s standards. At $3m you’ll probably have to visit the collector to see one as they’re hardly ever seen on the roads.
There’s something special about Italian cars. Yes, they do tend to break down a lot and they aren’t the cheapest to maintain. Ok, so buying vehicle spares for these brands can also be tricky. The thing is, there’s a passion behind each of these vehicles that you just don’t get in a German saloon or a Japanese brand. It’s that passion and excitement that keeps us coming back for more.