AUTOITALIA CANBERRA adventure
Story By Peter Kopanidis
This was going to be my first experience of Auto Italia, so I was pretty excited. This was also going to be the longest drive for my 1968 1.3 Fulvia Sport Zagato; I bought the car from well-known South African Lancia Mechanic and collector, Tony Seiler in late 2021. Tony restored the FSZ in 2000, I’ve since upgraded the interior to leather and new Campagnolo style 13×6 wheels with CN36 rubber, plus I was lucky enough to source Carello headlights to replace the series 2 Cibie headlights that were fitted in 2000.
Myself and other club members Tony Federico “AKA the Mechanic” (Beta), Tony Monteleone (Fuliva 1.3s Fanalone Tribute) and Carlo Cimino (Montecarlo) met at 10am on Friday 31 March at the ALR Presidents Lancia abode in Essendon.
Once we gave Tony’s Fulvia some ‘spark’ to boost his battery, we were off and running. The cars all looked great on the road and were getting lots of attention. After a few hours of driving and a quick toilet break, the Prez’s Fulvia Sport, came to an abrupt stop…”I’ve snapped my accelerator cable” was the distressed message on our Walkie Talkie from Angelo.
Tony the “Mechanic” quickly made the assessment that we needed to remove the Choke wire and feed it through the accelerator cable housing. The Team quickly swung into action, despite the unnecessary beeps and toots from cars and trucks speeding by at 110kms per hour, with the use of tools, WD40, some Italian chocolate liqueurs, we were back on the road again!
Saturday morning, we all washed our car’s to get them ready for the Show on Sunday, Angelo had this routine down pat, clearly not his first Rodeo. The Team spent Saturday doing some sightseeing, including the obligatory photos in front of Parliament House until the Federal Police quickly appeared out of nowhere to usher us on. Saturday night we attended the Auto Italia dinner at The National Museum of Australia; we heard some great stories from legendary Aussie Touring Car Driver Colin Bond, plus there were some select cars were on display, alas no Lancia’s to be seen…
Sunday morning arrived, showtime! We all headed off in a convoy to Queanbeyan, we were ushered to the Lancia section and proceeded to park our cars. We were greeted by the smiling and ever helpful Tony Kovacevic, who would also be judging the Lancia’s in attendance. I was lucky enough to be judged a finalist, with the other finalist and ultimate winner, another FSZ, a 1969 1.3S belonging to Richard woods, who has gone to much trouble and expense to restore his car to a showroom finish (although a number of keen Lancia observers did notice some non-factory finishes / items on his restoration….). Richard was runner up to Angelo’s Blue 1968 1.3 FSZ in 2022, so well done to Richard on his win in 2023.
It was a fabulous weekend, we had some laughs, all the cars drove beautifully (naturally) and I was lucky to end up with some silverware too….bring on 2024!!