The Brits have a serious love affair with Italy's finest.
Given it's a nation that's been producing cars almost uninterrupted since the 1890s, the UK is understandably the home of many world-renowned events that celebrate the automobile. The Festival of Speed and Revival meetings at Goodwood are perhaps the most obvious instances of this, and the CarFest gatherings run by Top Gear's Chris Evans get an honorable mention. One lesser known example that we reckon deserves way more attention and admiration, though, is the annual Ferrari rally through the southern town of Horsham.
The flagship part of the town's Piazza Italia celebrations (no, we don't know why a quintessentially British town in the middle of the English countryside has an Italian-themed festival either...), the gathering of Maranello's finest in such a specific spot is already an impressive achievement. However, what makes it even more amazing is that it's the largest Ferrari rally of its kind anywhere in Britain. Yes, there was that record-breaking Ferrari parade around Silverstone in 2012, but that was a one-off attempt. The Piazza Italia, on the other hand, is a yearly thing that regularly features 100 Ferrari models in its mighty rally through the town center. And all the proceeds generated by the rally goes to local charities, if it wasn't incredible enough.
Being a rally partly organized by the Ferrari Owners Club UK, you'd expect to see plenty of impressive cars on display - and you wouldn't be wrong with that presumption. By our count, we saw at least two 488 GTBs making their way through Horsham town center, as well as the same number of 512 BBs, 599 GTBs and 458 Speciales. But that is not all - along with the hordes of 430s, 360s and 355s on display, there were also some incredibly special Ferraris on the prowl, such as a trio of F40s, a 250 GT Lusso and a 250 GT SWB that had recently sold at auction for over $10million. Understandably, and presumably at the affluent owner's request, it was cordoned off from the rest of the Ferraris in its own special parking spot.
Perhaps the star of the show for us, though, was the crimson 166 Inter from 1949 that spent most of the day with its hood propped open whilst its iffy horn was being tinkered with (you know what they say about old Italian cars and electronics, eh?). Not only was it comfortably the oldest car on display (this particular Inter is, in fact, the oldest Ferrari anywhere in the UK), but it's also one of only five Touring-bodied 166 Inters and only the ninth ever road car ever built by Ferrari. Put simply, it's a very special Ferrari, and it means next year's Piazza Italia will need to feature something pretty incredible if it's to top the wow-factor of the 166 Inter.