Ever since 1991, Auto Moto Italia has been held in the Netherlands, probably one of the largest Dutch events dedicated to just about everything 'made in Italy', ranging from cars, bikes, art, food, wine to vintage parts, automobilia, workshop manuals and official factory brochures.
The 2006 edition was again a major success, over 10,000 people visited the Euretco exposition space this year, spread over several halls, the Auto Moto Italia event gathered just about everything an enthusiast loves, as long as it originated from Italy, I visited the event on Saturday to avoid the Sunday rush, and was welcomed by none other than Arjen de Vries from Martin de Vries Promotions, the people that organize Auto Moto Italia ... again many thanks to Arjen for another great day ...
If you are restoring your very own Italian made car of bike, this event is the place to be to find that missing part or a vintage workshop manual for your specific model, so you can rebuild it just like the factory built it when it left the doors years ago.
But you can also find that missing scale model for your collection, ranging from the smallest models right up to those large 1/12th or 1/10th scale models, it's all a matter of what you want to pay for them, but there were models for everybody, from very reasonably priced, right up to those extremely expensive but equally rare collector's items.
Want an official factory brochure or expand your book collection ? Again Houten would cater your needs, do note however that those rare factory folders demand a very high price these days, there are still bargains to be found, but they are getting scarce today.
But let's take a look at the cars during this 2006 edition, you would find just about all the models made by the more wide spread makes like Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia but also those exotics like Maserati, Ferrari and naturally Lamborghini ... and Auto Moto Italia gathered a very impressive collection of Raging Bulls this time.
The Lamborghini Club Nederland stand held three recent models, the V12 flagship Murciélago, the stunning V10 Gallardo Spyder and on of those rare Gallardo SE units, and what was best ... they were all finished in bright pearl metallic orange paint, really nice.
This amazing collection was enough to persuade the judges at the Auto Moto Italia event to select the Lamborghini Club Nederland stand as one of the nicest of the show, and it must be said that at times you would have a hard time to catch a glimpse of these cars because so many people were surrounding the stand to admire these exotics.
Next to this stand you would find a quartet of Italian super cars, the 'arena' was filled with a stunning white Lamborghini Countach LP500S, a nice blue metallic Diablo, a rare Ferrari F40 finished in the classic 'Rosso' and a very exotic Bugatti EB110 SuperSport, one of only two in the Netherlands, this one was finished in a bright silver metallic shade.
Naturally some classic Bulls were also shown at Houten, a nearly flawless black Urraco P250 was parked next to a great looking silver metallic Lamborghini Espada Series II featuring a black leather interior ... both these cars were for sale actually. Another hall would show a stunning looking silver metallic Jarama GT, these rather unknown Lamborghini are real GT, the legendary V12 4-Liter engine mounted at the front, wide and low, but not as extreme as a Miura, these Jarama are really worth a second look. A light blue metallic Jarama with US side lights was offered for sale in another aisle while the classic 400 GT 2+2 was also present, this red example was for sale too, and it looked like it just left the factory doors yesterday.
A company even offered the Lamborghini Gallardo for rent ... on the circuit. They allowed you to take the wheel of this V10 Bull on the enclosed circuit of Zandvoort for a few laps, a really nice experience, that must be approached with the necessary caution, this is still a Lamborghini with over 500 Bhp, not your average day to day car.
A bit further on I encountered a really nice Lancia Stratos, very rare and very impressive, it wasn't a factory specs car since it featured a deep front spoiler and very wide Gotti wheels, but it still was a Stratos and you don't see these every day anymore.
If you've missed this years event you've missed a great deal of Italian automotive art, and with a great atmosphere the surrounds these indoor events, it sure it worth a visit, I've been visiting it for years now, and I'm always impressed by those enthusiasts that have rebuilt these amazing cars from the ground up, sometimes these restoration projects take years to finish, one even took as long as 7 years to get his Italian proud and joy back on the road, but the result is a great looking car that is a joy to drive and is admired by many ...
That is what Auto Moto Italia is all about, meeting fellow enthusiasts and talking about how they solved any problems they encountered while rebuilding their own Italian vehicle, so I will see you next year at Houten for the 2007 edition of Auto Moto Italia.