Words and photography: Mike Humble
Nothing ever happens here in leafy Horsham, it’s a mixed bag of mature residents and commuter folk who march to the train like worker ants and stumble home again in the dark late in the evening. We have lived here almost five years now and live in a deathly quiet cul de sac that only comes alive to the sound of my hammer or cursory language if I strike my hand with said hand tool. Take a drive around the town and often as not your progress is hampered by a badly driven Honda Jazz or a waywardly piloted BMW X5 driven by a wag wannabe dressing her son as she talks on the phone while applying mascara – I kid you not!
By rights, it’s not a petrolhead town but once a year at Easter the expansive market square (known locally as the Carfax) comes alive with the sound of boxer-fours, vee-eights and other exotic metal both old and new. Easter Friday celebrates Ferraris where Saturday pays homage to the mini, but Bank Holiday Monday is the time to wander into town and swoon over some of the finest Italian cars your hopes and dreams are made of – Horsham Piazza Italia. This event is the seventh one to be held in the town and admission is free to all, it seems to get bigger every year.
You name the exotic car and its there from Alfa through to Zonda – Lamborghinis to Lancias and even the cutest selection of Fiat 500s this side of the South Amalfi coast. Got a palate for more than just cars? then stroll around the Italian market stalls, it really is a superb event in the most unlikeliest of places. The Monday theme is supercars but even the odd Bentley and Aston Martin arrived to keep the British end up. Sussex Police even featured a Fiat 500 striped up in Italian police livery as part of their accident reduction campaign with representation from their impressive traffic division.
But for me, one the most impressive exhibits was the replica Back to the Future DeLorean which was pretty much authentic in every way. Bought for a small sum locally in Brighton, slightly eccentric Brian O’Neill looking resplendent as the Doc Brown character did most of the work himself purely for fun. It drew the biggest crowds by far and the vehicle even sports an imitation Marty McFly driving licence tucked neatly into the centre console along with the famous brass alarm clock sitting on top of the dashboard – quite amazing indeed.
Hope you enjoy the small gallery of this years automotive highlights from leafy Sussex!