I had no idea...
10:32 AM I arrive at the park. The one thing I hadn't counted on: Legions of soccer moms, thousands of Range Rovers and Minivans blocking the 3 spaces I needed for our big Fiat meeting. I had to act fast. I parked, and started lugging equipment, and pounding signs into the ground. Just before Tom and Ray had finished the puzzler answer, I looked around and caught a glimpse of some silver Italian bodywork, that stood out against all the Land Cruisers. Wandering over, I met with Roger Pachera, who with his wife and dog, had travelled over 700 miles in his Spider to come to our little event. They had been waiting for hours for someone to show up. This was a sign of things to come...
Within half an hour, we had 3 or 4 spiders and an X1/9 crowding in the illegal parking spaces around the dumpster. Cars started arriving on trailers, some crept into the lot on their last legs, others fresh from the showroom. By noon, there were 30 Fiats or Lancias in attendance. By the end of the day, we collected data on almost 40 cars, and from other owners who just saw the concentration of Italian and stopped by. I realized that I had set off fireworks in avalanche season. By 6:00 PM, there were still folks milling about trading stories and parts.
There were three main events of the day. First was the Auto-Biography. Owners were encouraged to tell stories, show high-points, or ask questions about their cars. Common threads to the stories were the incredible endurance of Fiats, (with normal maintenance), and a real love of them by their owners. John Hurlock brought his beautiful '79 X 1/9 from Monroe WA with 280K miles. Mike Richmond brought the car he and his wife had shared, sold, and bought back after several years, having lovingly restored it recently Steve Soar, Mike Mittelstead, and John Banton each brought race modified X1/9's Classics were there as well. Gene Roberti brought his '70 Abarth 1600, in impeccable condition, and Ed Godshalk managed to get his '60 600 to make the trip from Newberg, OR. The Ashcrafts made the trip from Medford with a Yugo, and matching trailer. John Milletich brought his family in a choice 81 Zagato Dan and Sue Rian made the trip from Seattle, representing the Fiat Enthusiasts Northwest. There were lots of spiders in various conditions, and 124 Sedans, 128's Coupes, and Bravas.
The second event was the judging and awards ceremony. A distinguished panel of judges (Eli, Courtney, and myself) put each car through a grueling 100 point inspection, searching for the slightest imperfecion, fingerprint on a valve cover, french fry trapped under a seat... After what seemed like minutes of reflection, the awards were given for the following:
Rohnert Park, CA - '79 Spider
Beaverton, OR - '78 Spider
Damascus, OR - Powdercoated Aluminum skinned racing X 1/9
Newburg, OR - '60 600
Medford, OR, Modified Yugo with Trailer
I ended the day with a sunburn, and a new enthusiasm for the dedication of the Italian car enthusiast of the Northwest. Our turnout for a non-club event was so large that Fiat-Lancia Unlimited has asked us to join them as a new western chapter! Discussions of an organization will happen soon.
Thomas and Sasha Bennett
There has been a lot of post-event excitement, including an Announcement
that Mike Mittlestead placed in the September '97 "Alfa-Bits" Newsletter
(Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon)!
In any case, stay tuned to this Page, and also the Oregon97 Mailing list so you can keep abreast of what should be an awesome upcoming event Schedule!
In the words of Tom Bennett, Semper Fiatus!
-- Eli Caul
Page last Updated: Sat Sep 27 09:36:53 PDT 1997