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Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance celebrates Italian motoring - Autoweek

Thu, 02 Jun 2011

The concours on Rodeo started in 1993 with a three-block-long celebration of beautiful cars highlighted by the world debut of the Ferrari 348 Spyder. Piero Ferrari was there, along with Luca di Montezemolo and Sergio Pininfarina.

Since then, the annual Father's Day event has featured some of the world's most beautiful cars on the world's most famous shopping street. Considering that organizers had everything from Abarth to Zagato to choose from, you'd expect Ferrari, Lamborghini or Alfa Romeo to be featured. So it is something of a surprise that the honored marque this year is . . . Fiat.

But what the heck, who among us hasn't loved (and occasionally cursed) a Fiat at sometime or other? They are loveable cars and exhibit a character lacking in so many makes nowadays. Besides, the deal to feature Fiat was “more reasonable than you think,” according to a Fiat source. We always love the etceterini at Concorso Italiano as much as, if not more than, any other Italian builder.

Along with a vintage Cinquicento or two, the company plans to roll out 14 versions of the new 2012 Fiat 500 on Rodeo, one of each color in which the little city car is available. Test drives will be available, too. No word on free balloons and elephant rides for the kids, but it should be fun.

Along with the Fiat 500 lineup will be a broad swath of automobiles and motorcycles representing the best and brightest Italy has to offer.

“The annual Father's Day event will highlight a world-class combination of automobiles, motorcycles and designers featuring Italian makes and models,” promised event chairman Bruce Meyer, who has not disappointed over the years. “We hope to curate the best selection of Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Lamborghini, Lancia and Maserati from Southern California and the western United States for this year's tribute to Italy.”

That will include motorcycles from Ducati, Lambretta, Moto Guzzi and Vespa. Molto bene designs by Italian styling houses Bertone, Frua, Ghia, Michelotti, Pininfarina, Touring and Zagato also will be featured.

The best thing about the Rodeo Drive concours is that it's free. Dads always love to hear that. So bring Dad down to Rodeo on Sunday, June 19--and buy him an Armani suit while you're there. It's Rodeo Drive, after all.

By Mark Vaughn