This is all that is right and good in the world…
Under normal circumstances, this is where I recap one of the Larz Anderson Lawn Events, reporting the winners of each category. That just would not do this past Sunday justice. This was one of those days that reminds us why the car is so important to us. Reminds us that, while many cars have turned into rolling appliances, and less and less people know how to drive a stick shift each year, those that still care have a place to go and revel in what they cherish most about automobiles.
The Tutto Italiano is the Museum’s most popular event of the summer, featuring Italian sports cars from every generation. The first cars onlookers were treated to was a swath of Alfa’s, with a Spyder from every generation. Seeing the gestation of the Spyder through the years unleashed the Frankenstein in my head, contemplating a late model Quattrofroligio with the classic-style long tail. But I digress. I was here to see the real hardware that lie ahead.
Its a good day when something catches your eye more than a Lamborghini Diablo, and such was the case arriving at a breathtaking Maserati racecar. The red-on-white paint scheme, the matching helmet, the delicate stainless steel shifter, all equally commanded my attention- I wish someone would have told me I was drooling on the paint.
Just as quickly my attention was again diverted to a Zagato-bodied Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2- winner of the Museum Choice Award. This car brought to mind the fact that, when Ralph Lauren speaks of his classic car collection, he is quick to point out that, beauty aside, all are designed out of the necessity of racing. A Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa was not penned to be a looker, it was created (with some divine intervention) to be a functional racecar. In a way, that makes these tools of a bygone era even more astonishing.
I had to press on, but not before reveling in the Alfa’s leather hood-straps. Why are these not on modern cars? (Forget airbags- leather straps or hood pins should be mandatory on all cars, or at least the legions of modern cars that claim the right to any classic heritage, such as the modern Challenger or Mustang. They both need hood pins and I’m willing to do the job myself.)
Walking up the Larz Anderson driveway to the upper terrace is like climbing to some automotive Shangri-La, passing Maserai BiTurbo’s and the brand new Grand Cabrio’s, in search of some sort of vehicular divinity.
This quest is rewarded with a full array of Ferrari’s old and new. Though the new California and 599 GTB supercar were present, the classics truly had my attention. The pair of 330 GTC’s set upon the rock terrace took my breath away.
The only thing that could have trumped these girls, did. A Lamborghini 350 GT was the only classic Lambo on hand, complete with Superleggera (Super Light) badging. It looked unbelievably out of place next to a modern bright yellow Gallardo. I imagine the 350 as an aging man in a tuxedo, shaking his head at the scantily clad models and techno music. Those cars did not deserve to be in the same universe as this classic GT.
You have to remind yourselves that these are just cars- just a mode of transportation. However that notion is instantly rendered obsolete by the fact that as a Ferrari or Lamborghini, they share nothing in common with your modern family sedan. Sure they have four wheels and a motor, but that’s where the similarities end. A Camry is meant to get a family where they are going in reliable form, while these cars are meant to evoke an emotion. They are meant to make the driver feel. The family sedan is devoid of any true feeling other than the relief you made it to soccer practice on time. These classic sportscars remind you why there is enough US interstate to span the globe, twice. That we love to drive. Its an emotional experience. The adrenaline that courses through us when we punch the throttle, even when we get cut off at an intersection, is a real feeling. We should demand that our cars be worthy of delivering that feeling to us even when were away from the car, just thinking about driving.
Alas, for most cars, this is not true. After this temporary gathering, these cars will go their separate ways. Back to being outliers in neighborhoods filled with anonymous family sedans. Even I will be going back to my beige form of transportation, the only difference is, the whole walk back, I’ll be thinking of the best way to install leather hood straps.