Winter is coming! Those may be among the most dreaded words for any classic car enthusiast anywhere in the world. In places such as central Europe, winter means having to put your collector cars away again for their annual period of hibernation.
But at least as our own cars are put to rest for a few months we still have a few classic car fairs and swap meets that are held primarily indoors. There, we can find spare parts to finally finish a restoration and start thinking about driving again when the weather warms.
Carrying us indoors and into the winter season is one of the most impressive and respected fairs on the continent — Auto e Moto D’Epoca located in Padova, Italy, just a half an hour from Venice.
Don’t think of this of just some small local Italian show. Even with all of the fair halls open, the show has outgrown its location. This year tents were erected to provide even more space for the growing number of vendors requesting space and private parities eager to display their cars, some of which were offered up for sale.
Now in its 34th year, the Fiera is bursting out of its seams looking every space possible to put on a big show.
With well over a 100.000 visitors and the growing popularity of the classic car scene, this event naturally attracts most of the major car manufacturers eagerly displaying some of their rich history to attract clientele for their heritage departments, and perhaps to generate some interest in their latest offerings as well.
But it’s usually with the club stands, dealers or even the private offerings where you will find the really rare gems that make the trip to Italy so worthwhile. Besides seeing the typical cars you might see in any country, at this fair you’ll also find rarities and oddities that you might have never heard of before, or perhaps only read about in an old magazine or book.
That’s what makes wandering around those halls and in the outside segments of the show so rewarding.
For example, when was the last time you saw a Renault 4 Frog, or a Borgward Isabella TS coupe. Have you ever heard of a Lancia B20 Conrero? Neither did I, until I came across the only one at a random booth in the corner of a show building.
In addition to several thousand cars on display, the show includes two major halls dedicated to spare parts and memorabilia. It is here that you could spend all four days of the show’s opening searching for that rare part or even that single magazine issue to complete your collection.
Whatever you seek, bring enough money and comfortable walking shoes. And if you don’t find what you are looking for, well… you are in Italy, after all, and there’s always next year.