By Janelle A. Weber
A little rain couldn’t dampen the spirit of the Tifosi who descended on the Music City for the 2016 Belle Macchina Italiane weekend.
The event was organized by Chapter President Mike Gillespie and his wife, Valerie. More than 60 attended, including 42 members of the local chapter. Thirty-five cars, including dozens of Ferraris, participated. For many, the highlight of the weekend was the open-road driving.
“Albeit partly in the rain, it was very beautiful and was quite a change from Florida with the hills, overpasses, and the views from the parkways,” said Ferrari of Tampa Bay General Manager Marlow Miller, who trailered up two Ferrari California T’s.
Tennessee Chapter member Douglas B. Janney III, a Nashville employment attorney, agreed. “You get 15 minutes of Nashville and there are just miles and miles of great driving roads. That’s always the highlight for me is getting out there with those guys and enjoying the scenery and enjoying the camaraderie.”
First off was a caravan drive to a reception at the 50,000 square-foot collector’s garage of Barry Alexander of Alexander Automotive. Guests wandered through row after row of American muscle cars and unique European imports. The reception was sponsored by Track One, a Nashville-area aftermarket performance garage, and Alexander Automotive.
The next day, the enthusiasts got an early start with a drive to Southern Trace Farms in Franklin. Courtesy of Nashville’s Velocity Motorcars, guests enjoyed breakfast in a picturesque barn that serves as a wedding and photoshoot venue. Then right on schedule, drivers filed into a 35-car caravan for a more than two-hour road trip through a wet central Tennessee ending at Lane Motor Museum in Nashville.
“Looking back in your rearview mirror and as far as your eyes can see, seeing the Ferraris behind you is pretty cool,” Gillespie said.
The imperfect weather didn’t ruin the fun for Janney, who drove his Ferrari F12, and was delighted to see how it handled in the rain.
At the Lane Motor Museum, the group enjoyed lunch sponsored by Velocity Motorcars and toured the exhibit, Macchine Italiane: A Tour of Italy’s Motoring Spirit. The show featured ten select vehicles demonstrating the evolution of the Fiat 500, including specials derived from its flexible platform, such as the 1974 Ferarri Lucertola 500.
The participants went their separate ways for the afternoon, with the Ferrari of Tampa Bay contingency visiting some downtown Nashville honky-tonks and the Johnny Cash Museum. Later, everyone met up at Nashville restaurant The Standard at the Smith House for a private dinner, sponsored by Music City Dream Cars, which offers exotic car rentals. The night concluded with socializing in the members-only private club.
On Sunday, the group gathered at Vintage Classic Garage in Franklin, for breakfast sponsored by Ferrari of Tampa Bay. Marlow Miller gave a tour of the dealership race trailer. The group then drove to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts for lunch sponsored by Biscan Construction and a guided tour of the exhibit, Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945-1975, featuring Italian coachbuilt cars, concept cars, and motorcycles produced during the post-World War II economic revival.