Special but affordable cars are readily available at the Italian festival
Italy’s largest vintage car show and swap met was held October 26 -29 at the Padova Fair complex in Padova, Italy, (Padua in English) with a dizzying showcase of classic vehicles and parts for sale.
Now coupled with UK-based auction house Bonhams and featuring product displays from many of the OEM manufacturers, the event has taken on a higher profile from its humble origins. Yet the true collector-market conditions can best be judged from the private sales offerings – both asked and realized – in the myriad of interesting Italian classics for sale outside the main hall.
It is apparent that prices of the recognized classics have already taken flight, with continued high transaction rates. Notable was the abundance of Alfa Romeo Giulietta/Giulia Spiders in every condition, the majority of which seemed to have traded hands at the event. The real news is with some of the outlier cars that have appreciated with the rising tide.
As predicted in a ClassicCars.com Journal article published in January, Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT’s have seen nearly a 50 percent rise in values in the last 10 months, hot on the heels of auction successes at Barret-Jackson and Gooding. The rest of the world seems to agree that these are $20,000-plus cars, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a pristine example do $35k-$40k soon at the right venue.
At least two average examples were spotted at Padova with an asking price of €18,000 euro ($20,950) for a 1.6 variant, and €19,000 ($22,100) for a 1.8 model.
Identified in that same Journal article were Lancia Fulvia Coupes. The handsome and well-built cars are relatively common in Italy, which may explain the still-languishing prices. A very tidy Series 2 example in pewter color was marked sold at €12,000 ($13,900), with other examples a bit higher.
In this case, the Fulvia’s sturdy construction and fine engineering have ironically worked against its value, as it has not experienced the same attrition rates as other classics. The cars here represented a good deal and are ripe for export.
While Alfa Romeo Giulia TI/Super sedans have found an appreciative audience with prices now above $20k for a good car, their Berlina cousins remain relative bargains. An ideal-spec 1969 1750 Berlina seemed lost parked next to the flashier Alfetta GT, but true Alfisti know the 1750 is the sweetest of the Alfa inline-fours regardless of displacement.
The dual-pod dashboard, Weber carburetors, and low-back seats enhanced the deal for a reasonable €16,900 ($19,700) asking price for this true driver’s sedan.
Too rare to have a market price, a handsome 1968 Ford 20MTS OSI coupe seemed a relative bargain at €24,000 ($27,900). Claimed to be one of only 2,200 produced, the 2.3 liter six-cylinder coupe seems an ideal exotic; unique at both Italian and Ford-themed events.
Lancia’s flagship in the 1970s was the boxer-engine-powered Gamma Coupe. Featuring a dominant ridge line that would notably influence the later Alfa 164, the forward-thinking coupe may finally be coming of age. A very-clean chestnut-brown 1978 example was on offer from a local classics dealer for €9,900 (but listed at €7,500 or $8,700 on the dealer’s website) – a price which will seem impossibly cheap in a few years for these striking cars.
Cheaper still – and perhaps the best deal of the exhibition– was an ultra-rare 1983 Lancia Gamma Berlina. The fastback was marked at €4,500 ($5,200) on the dealer’s website, but marked up to €5,500 for the show. It featured a carbureted 2.0-liter boxer motor, alloy wheels and showed only 59,000 kilometers. Impeccably clean and unique with a Ermenegildo Zegna-designed interior, the car was an unrepeatable example from the original owner.
A charming 1952 Fiat 500 Giardinetta was a great value at €7,800 ($9,000), but is correctly priced here in its home market. The diminutive wagon would be a show stopper at a Fiat Club or microcar event in the U.S.
If your Fiat tastes run somewhat newer, a nicely finished Fiat 1200 Elaborata sedan by Viotti was available at €13,000 ($15,100) and would make a nice alternative to the increasingly popular 1200 Spiders.
If your heart is set on an Italian car –and your mind is open– you can still find good deals amongst the always-interesting fringe selection at Padova Auto e Moto d’Epoca.