No rest for the wicked. 11:00am the following day, we were back at the hotel to meet up with a few of the entrants, and get their stories, then it was into the car to head North at a furious pace. Once on the autostrada, we settled down to a healthy pace and watched the miles roll by. One of the most amusing episodes of this trip occurred a couple of hours in when we caught an unmarked police car (which was still displaying its removable flashing light on the roof). Following at a discreet distance, we maintained an identical pace to him (about 95mph).
However, the Italians around us seemed to think that this was too slow. A BMW 5-Series caught him, tailgated him, and pushed him into moving over. You can imagine our reaction to this… Next along came an Audi RS6. He came up fast behind us, we darted to one side, and caught the police car. We watched as he pushed and pushed behind the Police car, before deciding he would undertake this semi-marked Fiat Stilo. And off he went – down the right and away.
As we felt we wanted to go a little quicker, we came closer to the police car – he pulled aside for us – and we slowly came to overtake him. However, he caught up to a truck and began to indicate to pull out again… and I flashed him to let him out. However, in Italy a headlamp flash does not mean “after you, Claude”, it means, “get out of my way, chum”… and this is what he did. Braked hard, and let me past. Only in Italy, I suspect.
The rest of the miles rolled by: 90-110mph in Italy, 70-80mph in Switzerland, and 100-120mph in Germany (limits permitting). Sixteen hours after setting off and 1050 miles later, we arrived at Alexander’s place for a good night’s sleep… And the car had not missed a beat. In fact, this 216GTi had made the event so easy, we may as well have gone in a Y-registered Mondeo. Still, we’re not complaining… Other peoples’ stories more than make up for our uneventful trip.
One interesting thing though. When we checked the oil at a re-fuelling stop in Germany, I noticed something I have never seen on any of my cars before in the past: the exhaust manifold was glowing. Apparently, it’s normal, but… it did take me by surprise!
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.