Alfa’s Scuderia Del Portello Knows How To Celebrate In Style
Photography by Rosario Liberti
Alfa Romeo’s official historic club, Scuderia del Portello, has a tradition of rewarding its successful drivers and other celebrated members for their past season’s performances and contributions before the start of the coming year’s racing calendar, and as you might expect from one of Italy’s most renowned marques, the whole thing is closer to pageantry than plain presentation.
Held since 1994—barring some exceptions along the way like the Ninety Years of Alfa Romeo edition which took place among the infamous banked turns of Monza—this awards ceremony has brought together press, drivers, collectors, politicians, and other participants to share in the pleasures of vintage and modern Alfa Romeo racing on a small track just outside the carmaker’s recently renovated museum in Arese.
This year also marks the club’s 35th year of the awards presentation, and the attendees celebrated this milestone in addition to the past year’s notable performances such as those that took place during the grueling Peking to Paris Motor Challenge. Scuderia’s president, Marco Cajani, made sure to also touch upon the club’s off-track efforts like the push to save the historic elevated Monza circuit from being demolished. So maybe a bunch of Alfa nuts in Italy isn’t completely connected to the average car enthusiast, but any organization that plays a part in the preservation of significant racing history deserves recognition for their attempts to keep those memories echoing. Because it’s one thing to glorify the past, and another to give that opportunity to the future.
The celebrations on the 25th of February saw a mixed batch of cars on display during the day’s activities, with the factory’s wares being bolstered by additional cars from supporters belonging to one of the many other Alfa Romeo clubs that came out in support. From Montreals to Sprints to a bonafide Tipo 33 periscopica, and covering different decades, series, shapes, performance capabilities, and styles, it’s hard to imagine anyone with even a budding interest in Alfa would go home without at least one car to Google, edit photos of, or at least think back on during the drive home.
The way the Scuderia puts on an event like this brings up (I think) some pertinent questions in our time of ever-more-modern cars and views on what transportation should be. A lot of this is well-worn turf: fully electric traffic jams, the relegation to the track of cars that you can actually control, all those possibilities that populate the cloud of thoughts concerning the less-than-fun future of the automobile. What I will get into though, is how to coexist as vintage car enthusiasts alongside whatever paradigm we find ourselves in. And I think these people have the right idea. It’s about making a big deal out of using these cars, where and whenever they’re used. It’s about finding the people who stick by the cars that they love, and bringing them together to feel like they’re a part of the bigger movement, that they aren’t forgotten about the brand that long ago stopped producing the machines they still adore. What I’m trying to get at is that I think it can be pretty dismissive and easy to look at something like this and unfairly relegate it to something along the lines of an opulent patting-on-the-back party. It’s more than that, in fact, it’s just not that. What it is is the meeting point of genuine healthy enthusiasm from both sides of the factory door.
To see such a pedigreed company continue to operate in this manner—extolling their love for the cars, the people, and the participation of Alfa Romeo in motorsport—even after becoming a piece of the giant corporate umbrella, is a refreshing reminder that there are still people in suits who care about remembering the past’s legacy as they look to the future to create the next piece of it. So here’s to many more years of serpent-badged cars to be spotted around the globe.