Date sent: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 11:20:39 -0800
RE: Italian parliament introducing legislation banning older cars from everyday roads.
Yours is a well written open letter to the Italian people and their government.
When my wife and I were based in Italy 1978-1985, we too greatly enjoyed the company, geneality and warmth of the Italian people, their food and the excellent driving conditions and sign posting of the Italian roads and autostradas. We used to go for long drives every week-end in our white 1978 Lancia Beta Coupe. The regions we explored most were the hills around Rome, the Gargano, the Puglia, the lakes Garda and Como, and even a trip to Sardania.
Classic cars are part of a nations' history. The Lancia, one most not forget, was at one time the car every yuppy in the world wanted to be seen in (much like the BMWs of today). The Lancia tour de force started with the Lambda Torpedo and ended with the Stratos. These cars and others of their ilk should be preserved and driven. Each passing day these old cars are seen less and less on everyday roads. When they come out young and old stare alike. The old reminisce about their younger days, the young wonder what it was like to drive or ride in them. It is part of the culture of Italy. It would be a great pity if such cars are banned from the roads of Italy. True, the pollution level from car exhausts in mega cities like Rome are at almost unbearable level (I know, I have lived in Rome for many years), but modern cars pollute less and a trend has already begun to manufacture hybrid cars with alternative fuels which do not pollute at all. Gradually these old car will be seen only in Museums and on special vintage and claasic car runs.
Here in the U.S. Lancias are seen less and less on the road (I, for one, have seen only one Lancia, a Beta Zagato Spyder, in the last 18 months on the roads of the central valley of California). The young mechanic at the garage where I get my Honda Prelude serviced has not even heard of a Lancia! As days go by, these cars will themselves fade away of their own accord, and with them a golden age of car manufacture. In the mean time it would not be right to deprive their current owners from enjoying them and deriving the same pleasure as did the drivers at the time the cars were first introduced.
Vincenzo Lancia was an Italian pioneer par excellence. His engineering genius was responsible for more significant motoring firsts, that have shaped the cars we drive today, than any other motor car company. The V6 engine and the transaxles are only but a few of Lancia's innovations.
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