To some, Concorso Italiano is a Monterey Car Week event for only the most obsessive Italian car nuts. While it’s true that each year you may see far too many “garden variety” Italian exotics—think rows and rows of Ferrari 308s and 458s, Alfa Spiders and Lamborghini Gallardos—if you look in the corners and along the edges of this show, you’re bound to find at least one car you’ve never seen in the sheetmetal before and probably at least one that you never even knew existed. This year was no exception and while some of the cars on our favorites list may not be rare in the strictest sense of the word, they’re cars that we just don’t see that often – either on the road or at car shows and concours events. Here then, are nine of our favorite cars at the 2019 Concorso Italiano at Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside, California.
1998 Lamborghini Diablo SV
Borrowing its ‘SV’ Super Veloce name from the Miura that came long before it, the Diablo SV is a rear-drive variant with more power (517 hp), brake ducts in the front air dam, a ducted Jota-style engine lid, larger front brakes and larger 18-inch wheels. Despite the performance gains, the SV was priced beneath the all-wheel-drive VT. Introduced in 1995 at the Geneva Motor Show for European consumption, Lamborghini made a more limited run of 20 U.S.-spec SVs in 1998, this, as the license plate implies, being the third one built. Diablos fell out of fashion for a time, but have rebounded somewhat as those who lusted after Diabos as teenagers in the ’90s come into higher earnings.
1971 Lancia Flavia 2000 coupe
The Lancia Flavia entered production in 1960 and was sold in three variants: coupe, convertible and sedan and bodies were built by a variety of coachbuilders including Pininfarina, Vignale and Zagato. This Flavia 2000 coupe is a later version using a 2.0-liter version of Lancia’s horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine and was essentially a sporty luxury coupe, in a similar vein to what a BMW 4 Series is today, but with front-wheel drive, a Lancia specialty. The styling of these coupes looks an awful lot like a period Ferrari 330 GT 2+2, but at a price that is multiples less than the Maranello-built car.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
There’s just something about a car with patina that makes it so much more interesting than one that’s been freshly restored. The current owner of this rare 275 GTB /4 bought it as a young man in the 1970s in non-running but wearing a fresh repaint. All these years later, the owner is still proud to call this Ferrari his own. Throughout the weekend we saw this car driving around the Monterey Peninsula and we think it looks and sounds great just as it is. This low-production four-cam version had, you guessed it, four camshafts for a true DOHC refresh of the venerable 3.3-liter Columbo V-12, good for around 300 hp.
1968 Ferrari Dino 206 GT
The Dino was originally marketed as a sub-brand to Ferrari, named after Enzo’s son “Dino” who is said to have assisted with the development of its V-6 engine. The car and engine were both built by Ferrari, with some castings made at Fiat, and coachwork built by Pininfarina who also styled the car. While some 3500-plus Dino 246 GT and GTS models were built, the earlier 206 GT seen here is far more rare with just over 100 made. The 206 GT had several differences from the later car, including an all-aluminum engine, all-aluminum bodywork, knock-off wheels, an exposed fuel filler cap, a wood-rimmed steering wheel and slightly shorter wheelbase than later versions.
1995 Fiat Barchetta
No doubt, Fiat’s decision to market the Barchetta, a small, two-door, two-seat convertible sports car, had something to do with the success of the Mazda Miata. Though front-wheel-drive, the Barchetta would enjoy a 10-year model run in Europe from 1995 and was based on the Punto chassis, with a front-mounted 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Styling was done in-house at Fiat and power was slightly more than a Miata, or about 130 hp. Nearly 58,000 were built, but the car was never sold in the U.S. when new, Fiat having departed that market in 1983. How this car is able to be driven legally in the U.S. is a mystery (especially in the strict smog state of CA), but the Barchetta will be legal for Federal importation starting next year. Expect to start seeing these at your local cars and coffee then.
1958 Fiat Multipla
If you’re unsure whether a Fiat Multipla is coming or going, we understand. The body is certainly a good example of form over function, being built simply to accommodate the task of carrying seven—yes, seven—people in a modicum of comfort. Based on a stretched Fiat 600 chassis, the Multipla could be considered an early “people mover” type vehicle (today, those we call those minivans). With a rear-mounted, 600cc four-cylinder engine making perhaps 35 horsepower, the Multipla wasn’t quick but my father has memory of his father piling his family of six into one and chugging along up Southern Calfornia’s hilly “Grapevine” section of I-5 one hot summer in the ’60s, while American cars were overheated by the roadside.
The Alfa Romeo Milano (sold as the 75 in the rest of the world) was the last rear-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo sedan to be built until the latest Guilia entered production and also the last to be designed without collaboration from Fiat. With a longitudinally-mounted “Busso” V-6 up front and a rear-mounted five-speed transaxle, the 75 has excellent weight distribution and rides on a shortened Alfa GTV6 coupe chassis. There were four trim levels available in the U.S., this one being the rare Quadrifoglio Verde example. Fewer than 900 Verde performance variants were built with a 3.0-liter version of the Busso engine (about 183 hp and 180 lb-ft), a limited-slip differential, taller final drive for relaxed freeway driving, Recaro seats and upholstery, 15-inch wheels, and a body kit that included side skirts and a rear spoiler.
1960 Abarth 850 Allemano Coupe
In the 1960s, not only was Abarth hotting-up Fiat econoboxes and building outright race cars, it was also producing pretty little Fiat-based GT coupes like this 850 Allemano. The name refers to the Italian coachbuilder Allemano, who designed and built the alloy bodies for these diminutive sports cars (Allemano also bodied a convertible variant of the Abarth 750 GT). Weighing well under 2,000 pounds and making maybe 50-some horsepower from a rear-mounted, 833cc four-cylinder engine, this Allemano coupe is one of fewer than 200 ever built, making it rare even for an Abarth.
After spending the early 1950s building race-winning competition cars and very small-volume road cars with custom coachwork for the very well heeled, Maserati turned its sights to producing a road car in greater numbers. In 1957, the 3500 GT was born, which could be considered the brand’s first serial-production car. Power came from an all-aluminum 3.5-liter straight-six engine with hemispherical combustion chambers while the chassis was a tube-frame affair in the Superleggera tradition. This was another car with fantastic patina, it has been lovingly used and driven by its owner in this very original state for over a decade.