Starting November 17th, San Francisco will be home to a series of events about Italian music, food, cinema, and opera. There will be an opportunity...
For the past few years, San Francisco has without a doubt been the West Coast city where one is most likely to spot a new Fiat 500. Between the City’s narrow streets and challenging parking situation, the Fiat 500 seems the ideal vehicle, especially for those with a passion for Italian design.
Thanks to the partnership between two historic Italian-American Fiat Clubs, soon it will be possible to admire even more rare models in the U.S. market, such as the historic "Cinquecento" original.
Represented by its Vice President Lorenzo Lauria, Fiat 500 Club Roma recently visited San Francisco to honor "the car that made the history of the world," meeting with local members of the Fiat America Club, which was founded in the Bay Area in 1969.
The Club from the Italian capital, posseses an historical archive of Fiat 500 and Giannini from their first production in the nineteen-fifties to the nineteen-seventies.
Given the shared passion for the automobile that represents the most authentic Made in Italy, this one-of-a-kind meeting drew the attention of local representatives of world-class excellence, Ferrari and Maserati.
The two special guests from Italy Lorenzo and Fina Lauria participated in the special event Automobili e Vino organized last June by the Ferrari and Maserati showrooms in Mill Valley, one of the most important dealerships in the United States, where they met President of Fiat America Ken Haven, and Edgar de Leon, club member for the special occasion.
"Fiat America has its headquarters in Redwood City and has been one of the most active car clubs in California for over thirty years," said President Ken Haven. "In addition to the monthly meeting we have twenty events a year and we participate in many types of motorsport sessions, tour guide, races, rallies, and social events. We are glad to become friends of the Fiat 500 Club Rome, and we will open a 500 Abarth Club in San Francisco."
The Italian evening in full Californian style saw the participation of a diverse audience in the beautiful location of the villa-showroom by the Richardson Bay, to admire the latest models on display and taste local and imported fine wine from Italy.
Fiat America and Fiat 500 Club Roma not only were both founded by friends passionate of vintage and classy cars, but they also have in common the passion for racing.
Great was the excitement for Lorenzo and Fina Lauria, who jointly operate a showroom at the gates of Rome dedicated to the Fiat 500 Abarth and Giannini, when they were brought by Edgar de Leon to visit the super modern circuit Sonoma Raceway, home of the most important national races, including the annual Ferrari Challenge.
"The first time I came here was in 1995," revealed Lorenzo Lauria, Italian Championships racing legend since the nineteen-seventies. "I closed my car workshop and I wanted to open something new. Seeing how in this country car races were popular, I looked for a company that could reproduce racing tires with new technologies for the Italian market."
After three years, Lorenzo succeeded in his mission to produce racing tires, manufactured specifically for his company by "Hoosier," which subsequently appointed "AutoMotoSport" in Rome as the official distributor for Italy of its products.
Italian champion in CSAI Cup with a 700 Giannini in 1979, in later years Lorenzo became a master in other categories, Renault 5 Alpine, Fiat 130 Abarth, Peugeot 205 Rally, competing in the various Italian championships in racetracks and uphill both as a driver and as a trainer with a well-matched team, reporting excellent results, with their cars always at the top of the charts.
In 1984-85 he classified 1st Class participating for the first and only time in the Rally of Rome with a Renault 5 and 1st Absolute up to the 3000 cc class at the Italian Championship of the Mountain ^ 2 area, with a Fiat 126 cl. 700. In 1989 he was 1st Absolute at Saico Italian Challenge participating simultaneously with a Peugeot 205 Rally Group N and an Abarth 695 SS.
Since the early nineteen-nineties, he has continued to compete with his Lancia Delta Integrale Evolution 2 Group N, but in particular in the Mini Car Championship with his Fiat 500 cl. 700.
As evidence of the successful racing career, in his vintage car garage and office in Rome there is a considerable number of trophies in display. For his great passion for the "Cinquecento" cars, Lauria is essentially one of the few existing legends in the world. In fact, it wouldn't be so rare if you were in San Francisco, Sydney or London and you saw a Fiat 500 marked "AutoMotoSport" crossing the street just in front of you.