The Italian Junkyard

Thoughts, ideas, criticism about cars. Interesting news and facts from the world of the automobile. Events in Italy and Modena. What you can find elsewhere, filtered through the eyes of a discerning enthusiast. Design, style, everything on the chopping block. Nobody is safe anymore.

Monday, May 18, 2009

3.4 Save the motorland

Let's finish what has been started.

After visiting this year's edition of the Modena Terra di Motori event, I thought something wasn't working, and I had a similar feeling last year, despite it was just the second time I was there. Obviously, even the first time there was something disappointing me.

Now, I surely am a nitpicking person, and I'm never satisfied with the average offer, but I perceived an attitude that I recognize as non-suitable for such an event.

Two things mainly ruin the atmosphere: snobbery and self criticism.
Two contradictory behaviors it seems.

The first is mainly related to Ferrari absence from the show.
Considering it's the largest brand of those featured, considering how much they say they care about their image, and considering how well it's usually regarded, you would expect something official, at least one car from the factory, even just a pre-production F430.
Not only Ferrari's presence is up to the local fan club, but it's also badly managed.
While you can find the square full of red cars on certain moments, just one hour later there could be none of them left, because the owners headed for a restaurant, because their were tired or whatever. So the only thing left to be seen could be the very old camper of the fan club, decorated with some red flags, as if it was the bandwagon of some fans, resting out of a track after the grand prix.

That's weird when 500 meters away from there you can find the official Maserati stand, with at least three cars, hostesses and gadgets to be purchased (like an MC12 die cast 1:43 model...).
Maserati surely needs to re-establish its image in Modena after so many year during which De Tomaso's management and unions were fighting to save jobs or the company itself. While workers and citizens were grown knowing Maserati as one of the best brands in the sport and luxury segments, they saw it going down to something merely resembling its own former shadow.
I like the fourth gen Quattroporte and the last Ghibli, but their building quality and reliability can't be ignored. So basically Modena started to hate Maserati. Now motorsports sucesses, Ferrari's management, and awesome cars, are managing to recover this situation, but it's still a long way. That could explain their efforts in what is a smallish event.

Regardless of this, the size of the Maserati stand had been slowly reduced. If in 2007 it covered the whole square in front of Palazzo dei Musei, a year later it was about half that size, and this year it has been reduced to a third, with three clustered cars, one of them being actually a moke up.

On the other hand the other local clubs, despite struggling to find different cars to expose every year, are present with interesting and rare vehicles and even in fairly large numbers.

The second issue is the general attitude of the audience, if not of the brands too.
While strongly believing there is nothing comparable to Ferrari, or even to a Ferrari, in the whole world, I found people complaining about the lack of something good when about 40 Ferraris were parked, among which a brand new 599 GTB, an F40, F355 Challenge, 550 Barchetta and so many others.
I'm aware I'm basically complaining too, but I think with a different and mroe constructive approach.

Even among the workers of those company, and again epsecially Ferrari, a lot of people think everything isn't working correctly, that the car are badly done and that the company is badly managed. Still, if you ask them, there is nothing better than that.
I'm pretty sure there is a lot of room for further improvements in every company, but I fail to understand why neighbor's grass is always greener, even when you are payed and no one is forcing you to stay.

This general attitude of complaining about what you have while still thinking no one can match it it's simply pointless. I'm not a Tifoso, I don't participate to the city's invasion when F1 titles are won, and I don't own a single Ferrari memorabilia apart from the die cast models, part of my larger collection (about 135 cars up to now).
That doesn't allow me to cast sentences upon Ferrari and some of its workers or to its large group of fans, still I would like to say they could do something more with their own town rather than just saying how much they care about the "made in Italy" thing.
You can perceive this even visiting the Galleria Ferrari, their official museum.
The cars are nice if not stunning in most of the cases, but there environment isn't finished, detailed, studied. It's just relying on the brand's heritage and that once you entered, you already payed.

On the other hand Lamborghini's own museum it's nicely finished with wood pavements, and window walls, the cars are well positioned and the lights are perfect. And it's even cheaper.

An event which is supposedly held to pass down the passion for engines, cars, speed and motorsports seems on the contrary made just to make a few enthusiasts happy.
While in the first years in the main square cars from the whole area and not only were featured, EB110s, Edonis, Zondas, Ferraris and Lamborghinis, appearing as an actual local party to celebrate the area's heritage, now it seems like another sort of those self proclaiming events.
I remember when in 2007 a man drove the same grey Diablo you can see in the 2009 pics to the square where a few Ferraris and Maseratis were exposed (mainly thanks to a couple of exotics dealers of Modena), but the men of the Ferrari club refused to let him enter the car and park it there.
So childish.

Only this year Lamborghini was feaured, but only thanks to some privateers' efforts.

Pagani is officially present only since last year, and despite being so small and even unknown in the area, it remarkable the effort and passion they put into the event, bringing the guys that usually work on the cars to answer questions and giving information.
Unfortunately, this year the event was held contemporary to Montecarlo's Top Marques and to Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este.
Pagani itself, which last year brought two cars in Modena, was present with only one car, a Zonda F Roadster, while presenting the Zonda R in Monaco. I don't know where the Cinque was at that time, probably somewhere in Singapore.

During the week dedicated to the event, there is also a series of short historic regularity races taking place on a close circuit. While it was previously held inside of one of the downtown park, this year they moved it to the commercial area, which happens to have much more space available both for racing and parking, but it's also 15 minutes away from the city.
I don't know if this allowed them to have a larger audience, but when it was held in the park it was also free, so I'm not sure if hiring the commercial area was cheaper.
The point is that before you could have enjoyed your Sunday afternoon walk among the historical streets of the city and at the same time watched one hour or two of races of all kind (even some old Formula 3 car), while now you have to move there just to see the races, since there isn't much more to do there.
If they could manage to enlarge enough the event, then it would gain its own dimensions to be worth the transfer, but at the moment it's just too little.
While being held here in downtown it had another feeling, like something really done by the people who created all of this, something really special and peculiar. A race in the park, it's something you don't see anywhere, while some cars doing a slaloms and other stuff in an industrial parking lot, despite being still interesting, it lost some of its heritage.

I guess I should be happy with what we got, but I also believe just a few adjustments could be done to deeply improve this peculiar event.

Post header source: Piazza Grande
Photos sources: Ferrari 750 Monza (thanks faksta), Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Le Mans and Tipo 33/2 Stradale, Bugatti EB110 GT, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

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