What comes to mind when you hear the words "Italian motorcycle"? Ducati? Moto Guzzi? What about Gilera, Benelli, or Laverda? Italy has a rich motorcycle history and has been producing unique and beautiful bikes for years, but here in the United States many people aren't familiar with Italian brands outside of Ducati and Moto Guzzi—many are not even familiar with the smaller single-cylinder offerings of these two brands. Hugo Gallina, owner of Vintage Italian Restoration in Southern California, has been building and restoring Italian bikes out of his garage for years.
For many, the "golden age" of motoring began in the late '60s and concluded in the very early '70s. It is easy to get caught up in the cars of that time period and overlook significant cars that came both earlier and later than this sweet spot of time that produced cars we all love. From time to time, we step outside of this realm to the explore the cars which stretch into as far as the early '90s—cars that will be talked about for years to come, like the Nissan Skyline and the BMW E30 M3. The MR2 is one of these cars.Starting in 1984, Toyota, created a recipe for success by building a two-seater, mid-engine, rear-wheel drive car that offered performance well beyond its affordable price tag. With the first generation and its hard angular lines, Toyota continued the success into the second generation starting in 1989. The second-generation MR2 morphed into a more rounded and sculpted body and drew many comparisons in publications of the time as the "poor-man's Ferrari".Many MR2 owners have a strong connection to their cars; for them, the MR2 isn't just a car to enjoy, it is a way of life. For the Texas MR2 Owners Club and especially for club member Masruque Murtoza Ali these words ring true. In this very active car community devoted to the MR2, it isn't unusual to see owners go out of their way to help each other in the repair of their cars or to promote their love for the MR2.Drive Tastefully®
The Vintage Auto Racing Association (VARA), was founded in 1973 and has become the largest vintage racing organization on the West Coast. VARA is comprised of many different vintage cars, so come race weekend it isn't unusual to find various 2002s, 510s, 240Zs, Corvettes, GTVs, and many more cars. Racing hard and racing clean is what VARA members strive for, and it is easy to see the camaraderie during a race weekend as members share knowledge, parts, and an all around good time.
With its many curves, elevation changes, and natural beauty, the Italian countryside is a perfect place to own a vintage car. While many dream of the legendary cars to roam these roads, when Donatello Maniscalco was ten years old, his car of dreams was a Porsche 911. Years later that dream was realized when he purchased a 1968 Porsche 911t. Instead of keeping his collection of cars and his 911 in a garage, Donatello observes the rich history of Italian motoring and regularly participates in rallies and drives. Donatello can regularly be found whipping his car around the beautiful country hillsides of Italy.
Other drivers speed past this Czech oddity without a second glance, seemingly oblivious to the car’s dorsal fin and triple headlights. But as Paul swings the Tatra into a parking space in front of a favorite local bistro, it’s as if he has brought the black teardrop to a stop in the middle of a Hollywood spotlight. Here come the second glances, the puzzled questions. "What in the world is that?"