When it comes to Southeast Michigan — location of The Big 3, Woodward Dream Cruise, and scores classic American cars — hosting a successful Italian car meet seems like one of the more unlikely scenarios of the summer. After all, this is the home of Detroit Muscle. Not the hills of Maranello, or the shrunken roads of Turin. There’s virtually no business for an original Fiat 500 Abarth, Bertone-designed X 1/9, or a rally-ready Lancia Delta HF Integrale to be seen here. It’s just not right.
Times are changing, however. In this specific case, for the better.
Just last Friday, outside of the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, which is just a small part of FCA’s massive global headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, the Motor City got a proper taste of Italy in all shapes and sizes. There was even gelato, of course.
The 2016 Fiat FreakOut featured some of the best automotive examples to ever emerge from Italy that otherwise live beneath the shadows of exotic brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani. This gathering was all about beloved cars of the people; classic Fiat, Lancia and even Alfa Romeo models congregated outside the doors of the Chrysler Museum, each owner eager to see what the other person brought to the annual meet up. Organized by Fiat Club America (FCA – but not the FCA), the three-day event held during July 27-31 featured everything from a small road rally, to indoor karting, to autocross. And there was no shortage of far travelers that drove their classics from the reaches of northern Canada, Florida, the West Coast and everywhere in between.
We’ll let the gallery do the talking when it comes to what showed up. With that said, we can’t wait to see what Fiat FreakOut 2017 will be like, and we hope some of these Italian classics make their way back out in a few weeks for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.