Tutto Lite

Long-time attendees of Tutto Italiano at the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation will recall that the Museum used to schedule the event in May. But that is always a tricky time to schedule an out-of-doors event in New England. After a three-day nor'easter in May of 2005, the Museum began to schedule Tutto Italiano in early August, a time when the weather gods are more likely to smile on a car show. However, as this is New England, nothing, weather-wise, is ever certain. The few AONE faithful who attended the 2011 Tutto Italiano will remember the small turnout of cars, the plastic sheets over the convertibles (even though tops were up), and huddling under the AONE canopy, not just to stay out of the pouring rain but to generate body warmth!

Because of the drenching rain and the small turnout, the museum that year scheduled a Tutto redux on a beautiful fall day in the middle of October. Because of the success of the October 2011 second Tutto, the museum held both a Tutto Italiano in August 2013 and what it called "Tutto Lite" in October. And for 2014, the museum did the same thing, holding its "Tutto Lite" on the last Saturday of September.

Fans of Budweiser and Miller will remember when those two powerhouse breweries introduced "lite" beer. The idea was that the lite beer would be less filling but still taste great. The same could be said for the 2014 Tutto Lite. The mid-summer Tutto Italiano features substantial displays from the Boston-area Maserati, Ferrari, and Lamborghini dealerships — so substantial that one finds oneself, walking around the grounds at Tutto Italiano, yawning "ho-hum" at yet another late-model Ferrari 458 or Maserati Quattroporte.

The dealerships skip Tutto Lite; only private owners, mostly in older cars, attend. So for those who enjoy seeing assembled in the same place numerous Italian cars, from late-1980s Testarossas to all kinds of Fiat 124s, Tutto Lite offers much of the "same great flavor" as the regular Tutto Italiano, but without the commercial displays. But Tutto Lite this year was also definitely "less filling": less filling in the sense that all the cars shown fit — and then some — on the lower lawn (the area during Tutto Italiano where the Fiats, Lancias, and Alfas are usually parked). And they were not parked by marque and model: Alfas, Ferraris, Fiats, a Lancia (Carl Helmetag's Beta Montecarlo — or Scorpion), a single Lamborghini, a couple of Panteras and three Maseratis were all mixed together.

Because the cars were privately owned, and because of the much lighter turnout, it was possible to walk around and talk to many if not all of the car owners. I had a pleasant chat with two gentlemen who had arrived from Maine, each in his 124 Spider at the museum at the same time I did. Another Fiat 124 Spider owner had converted his 1600-cc engine to a dual carburetor setup, and I was able to learn from him that this setup was standard on some European models.

As I was walking by a Ferrari 328 GTS four-valve, the owner happened to open his luggage compartment. So I asked him how long he had owned the car and got the full and interesting history in return: the owner had saved up for a long time to be able to own a Ferrari. He had bought this one the previous spring in Florida from the original owners, who had bought it when it was new from Gaston Andrey. He showed me the Gaston Andrey sticker on the back of the car and told how, when he took ownership of the car, he had wanted to remove the sticker. But when he found out who Gaston Andrey was, he realized that the sticker added to the car's cachet and wouldn't now remove it for anything.

Longtime AONE member Jim Sullivan had brought his Milano Verde, and we discussed the qualities and increasing rarity of this Alfa model, the car that for some Alfisti is the last "real" (i.e. not based on a Fiat platform) Alfa.

While Jim and I were admiring his car, a couple from Swampscott arrived in a late 1980s white Alfa Spider, a recent "barn find." The owners showed us that the car still had the original folder with its separate plastic pockets for the owner's manual, service booklet, and warranty information.

I got to sit and chat with Rod Burdick next to his Giulia Spider and listen to passers-by admire just how beautifully his car is turned out (the engine compartment is so pristine and original that one could be fooled into thinking the car had just come out of Portello). It was no surprise, therefore, that Rod's car won the day's award for the best Alfa at the event. (I wonder at what point Rod will have to add a few mantelpieces for all the awards his cars have won!)

If Tutto Lite was "less filling" than Tutto Italiano, and if its "taste" is just as "great," it is not, however, the "same great taste." Tutto Lite (shouldn't it be "Tutto Leggero"?) has a very different taste; it is more relaxed, friendlier, and more casual. It might even be preferable. Maybe the Museum will be tempted to complement it with a Tutto Superleggero!Tiny Quadrifoglio

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Tutto Lite