Only turbo sports cars were allowed on this Italian rally

Last weekend, the Fuori Concorso team made northern Italy come alive with a line-up of turbocharged super sports cars and collector's cars. Classic Driver joined the tour.

The second big Fuori Concorso should have taken place on Lake Como earlier this year. But the corona pandemic thwarted the organizers' plans. Still, Guglielmo Miani and his team made sure there was something to enjoy. At a private rally across northern Italy, the spirits of driving were once again conjured up and a teaser of the year 2021 was shared. In the coming year, the Fuori Concorso will be all about turbos. A technology that began its triumphant advance in the 1970s and 1980s and has changed automotive culture forever since then. Accordingly, no naturally aspirated sports cars were allowed at the preview rally – only cars with turbochargers under the hood.

The choice of cars was as bespoke and varied as we’re used to from previous Fuori Concorso events. In front of Milan’s Bulgari Hotel – the starting point of the rally – we were particularly stunned by a Bugatti EB110 GT and the four turbochargers below its glass engine cover. Parked right next to it was a Ferrari F40, a car that is still revered like a holy relic in Italy and which was to cause storms of enthusiasm again and again in the next few days. In view of these supercars, the dark green Porsche 996 Turbo, with which Christian Messina Hembry from Messina Classics came to Italy, looked downright understated yet classic. And of course, we can’t forget the famous Bentley Turbo RT Mulliner from Larusmiani CEO, Guglielmo Miani,  with its central speedometer and the fold-out whiskey bar – a bespoke masterpiece.

In autumnal weather we drove across from Milan to Turin, where a visit to the treasury of the FCA Heritage Hub was on the program. Designer and FCA Classic Director Roberto Giolito took us through the halls, where winning rally Lancias stand alongside top-secret Fiat classics and prototypes. We were particularly enthusiastic about the private Fiat Panda of the former company patriarch Gianni Agnelli. After an extensive lunch we went to the Piedmontese winery Colle Manora, which we still fondly remember from previous visits. The winemaker and former racing driver Giorigio Schön and his son Edo took us through their unique Lancia Martini collection – and only released us back onto the road after we had tasted their first-class Monferrato Rosso.

In the meantime, other turbo athletes had joined us: A Renault 5 Turbo 2 and a Lancia Delta Integrale Martini 5 reminded us broadly of the compact rally stars that the turbochargers made so competitive in the 1980s and 1990s. For our final excursion into the terrain, however, we left the cars standing. Disappearing off with Buk the truffle dog, we went on a hunt for the coveted tubers. And indeed, after a wild chase through the thicket, we actually held a black summer truffle and a white Alba truffle in our hands – the final ingredients for our truffle dinner in Castello Grinzane Cavour.

The next morning, the turbocharged troops set out towards Lake Como. On the property of Villa del Grumello - where the Bentleys of the 1990s were celebrated at the first Fuori Concorso in 2019 – we arranged the cars for a private photo shoot. In the meantime, even more collector cars had joined the group, notably a white and blue Ford GT and a Porsche 930 Turbo. The 930 painted in the Porsche 914 color "Tombac" by its Swiss first owner and equipped with an interior from a 2.7 Carrera.

After a lunch stop in the venerable Villa La Pliniana – at whose impressive pool table Naopleon is said to have played – a visit to the newly opened warehouse of the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese was on the program. We admired the racing cars, design studies and prototypes. It is always fascinating to experience what a great legacy Alfa Romeo can look back on after 110 years.

Finally, at a traditional dinner in the Al Salumaio restaurant in Milan, we toasted to the experiences of the past two days, the history of the turbocharger and the 2021 Fuori Concorso. May the world soon return to normal, so that our favourite celebrations of automotive culture can be enjoyed again, and made accessible to a larger audience.

Photos: Andrea Luzardi for Classic Driver © 2020