Thursday, July 27, 2017

New Leadership!

The Fun Italian Automobiles of Tucson (F.I.A.T.) interest group proudly announces its new leader - Robert Bastian.

Robert is a car guy through and through.  Robert has sponsored "track day" at Arroyo Seco and included F.I.A.T. for several years running.  He proudly drives a Ferrari F355 and a Fiat 500 Abarth and is a F1 racing enthusiast.  Robert's experience with organizing drives and other events comes from years of organizing AZ Drives events around southern Arizona.  Some of you have met Robert at Tucson's Cars & Coffee events.  Even his employment is car-related as he fabricates custom and replacement parts at Crown Concepts in Tucson, Arizona.  His enthusiasm for Italian cars along with his passion for automotive culture makes him a great person to lead F.I.A.T. into the future.

Join me in welcoming Robert as the group's new leader!

Thanks for a great 4 years!
Dave Knawa

Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Ladies Night" at Tucson Speedway - 22 July 2017

The Fun Italian Automobiles of Tucson (F.I.A.T.) and Southern Arizona Pantera Club are came together for Ladies Night sponsored by Empire CAT at Tucson Speedway on Saturday 22 July 2017.

The weather was dramatic and only the Legend class were able to get in a race before a hard shower postponed the remainder of the race.  Race officials were hopeful that it would be "typical Arizona" short downpour but ended up calling the race when the hard shower turned to a drizzle and didn't let up by 9:00 PM.  Regardless, people were milling about supporting various vendors and seemed to be having a good time even as the crowds slowly dwindled down.

Special thanks go to Chuck for organizing the event and providing discount coupons!  Hopefully we will get a re-do in the near future when the track is dry.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cruise to Kartchner Caverns - 21 May 2017

Photo:  Arizona State Parks
The Fun Italian Automobiles of Tucson had a great day on Sunday 21 May 2017 taking a run to Kartchner Caverns in southern Arizona.  Chuck gave his Pantera a break by running his '72 Jensen Interceptor while Dave ran his '82 Fiat Spider.

We started off with a breakfast meet-up at Hacienda del Lago in Vail.  After breakfast overlooking the golf course we took the long way around to our destination via AZ83 south to Sonoita and then AZ82 east to Huachuca City ending with a jaunt north up AZ90 to Kartchner Caverns State Park.  The roads were wide open with only a moderate bunch-up on AZ83 near the overlook to the future Rosemont mine site.

"Boss Hogg" has been Intercepted!
At the caverns we found ample parking.  We took in some of the displays in the Discovery Center while we waited for the tour to begin.  The Discovery Center gives you a preview of what you will see underground.  We toured the Rotunda and Throne Room.  The Big Room tour is closed for the season as it is a nursery for bats - it reopens in October. The underground temperature was a steady 72 degrees Fahrenheit with 98% humidity. Outside it was reaching the upper 90s!

After the emerging from the tour and drying out we headed to Benson stopping at the Horseshoe Cafe for a bite of lunch.  After lunch we headed back to Tucson where we made it back to air conditioned homes by around 2:00PM.

For the rest of the F.I.A.T. photo album click >here.<

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Photo Shoot at Pima Air & Space Museum 15 April 2017

We had a great time at the Pima Air & Space Museum for a photo shoot.  PA&SM allowed us to enter before normal museum hours and take some fantastic shots of cars among historical aircraft.  Quite the unique opportunity!  We had participants from as far away as San Diego, CA and Scottsdale, AZ.  The field had 8 DeTomasos, 1 Alfa Romeo, 1 Fiat, 1 Ferrari, 1 Cobra, and 1 Cunningham for a total of 13 cars - a very nice and manageable turn-out.

After taking photos our host provided us with a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum's rehabilitation / fabrication department and then surprised us by extending our visit to include an open tour of the rest of the museum's public exhibits!

After we finished touring the museum we headed over to Brooklyn's Beer & Burger for lunch.  We had a great gathering with some really good food.   Our server mad sure the group was well taken care of with prompt service and a great can-do attitude.  The collection of Panteras caused a mini car show where people came by just to see the cars and some even stayed for lunch.

Special thanks go out to:
  • John Bezosky and the Pima Air & Space Museum for making this opportunity available to us.
  • Kylie at Brooklyn's Beer & Burger for prompt and courteous service for our group.

Photo albums: (check back once in a while as more will be added as they become available)
  • Marco Signorini Photography Album - click >here<
  • F.I.A.T. Album - select >here<
  • AZPOCA Album - click >here<

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Madera Canyon Run & Picnic PLUS Drive to San Xavier Mission - 18 March 2017

Cunningham C-4R
Our March event was a casual run up to Madera Canyon located east of Green Valley.  A few of the participants met up at the American Legion Hall (Post 109) in Corona de Tucson and then trekked to Green Valley where we met up with other participants and had a rest stop and beverage at Posada Java.

After our respite in Green Valley we headed up to Madera Canyon where the temps cooled to just about perfect.  We had a picnic lunch at the Mt. Wrightson picnic area at a nice shaded table. Parking there was at a premium but we managed to get just enough spaces for our group with a little bit of good timing and patience.

Picnic lunch in Madera Canyon
After lunch we went back down into the valley and then north among the man-made mesas west of Green Valley to San Xavier Mission.

Photo: National Park Service
Plaza on north side of San Xavier Mission
Check out the story on the Cunningham C-4R you see posted at the top of this article on the AZPOCA site (click > here <).  It is quite interesting and we are honored to have had such a rare and historical car join us!  We hope to see more of the car and its owners at our future events (even if it isn't Italian).

For a few more pictures of the event click >here.<

The pictures of the event from the AZ POCA members are available >here.<

Sunday, February 5, 2017

2017 Il Giro di Phoenix Write-Up & Photos

Photo:  S.Schaefer
Many thanks to S.Schaefer for the following write-up and photos of his participation in the 2017 Il Giro de Phoenix held on Saturday 28 January 2017.

The 2017 Il Giro di Phoenix scavenger hunt/car rally saw a great turnout with around two dozen participants in about half as many vehicles. The Giro was organized by the Phoenix Sister Cities, Catania Committee. For those unfamiliar with the organization, Phoenix Sister Cities is a non-profit cultural exchange program partnering with cities across the globe to organize unique cultural and artistic events. Special thanks go out to Wendy Rozov with Phoenix Sister Cities and Enrico Sini with the Catania, Italy committee for this event.

The rally was a points-based competition to complete 30 tasks. The rally began at 9:30 AM sharp with a clue sheet being distributed to participants. The tasks fell into one of three categories: simple question-and-answer; fetch item, wherein participants were required to bring an item to the finish; and snap photos, which required participants to seek out landmarks and take their photo with them. With a 12:30 PM finish time and 30 challenging clues to solve, the scavenger hunt required intimate knowledge of central Phoenix and military-precision planning abilities. A fully-charged smartphone and reliable cell reception were a must!
Photo:  S.Schaefer
As a Phoenix-area neophyte without a dedicated navigator by my side, I decided the best course of action was to team up with another driver. Russ and his black & blue ’80 Fiat Spider were veterans of earlier events, and such a distinctive car would be hard to lose in the Saturday morning traffic, so I hitched my hopes with him. The morning was chilly with temperatures in the high 30’s, but being the stalwarts we are, we opted to go top-down the entire way. With the sun shining on one of those crisp, high-resolution AZ winter days, we soon warmed to the task.

Photo:  S.Schaefer
Some drivers opted to immediately peel out of the parking lot at Park Central in pursuit of their first objective, while others (such as my team) opted to carefully study the clues before taking our first steps. Such an approach proved fruitful as we were able to knock two tasks off the list before departing the lot! A carefully-planned route saw us hit five of our objectives in quick succession after getting underway. The clues became more difficult to fulfill as time ticked on, however. From time to time, either Russ or myself would dive off the main roads in pursuit of targets of opportunity, requiring “creative” traffic maneuvers to regroup.
The final and most important clue required us to seek out a north-central Phoenix coffee shop to ask the barista for a clue to our final destination. Unfortunately, this 30th clue proved too tough for our team to crack, and we were unable to identify the coffee shop! This would have left us in the lurch were it not for the previous experience of Russ, who (correctly) wagered the rally would end at the Italian-American club of Phoenix.

Photo:  S.Schaefer
Upon arriving at the club around 12:40 PM we were relieved to see the other drivers gathering. We presented our clue sheets to tally the points, then headed inside for a meal of Italian salad, spaghetti, and meatballs (the best I’ve ever had, full stop!). Despite our best efforts, my team came up short in the final awards to two teams who succeeded in completing nearly all the tasks, a truly Herculean achievement. An extensive raffle drawing followed with a wide variety of prizes provided by local businesses on offer. As proof positive that buying more tickets increases your chances of winning, the majority of the prizes went to just three participants.

Photo:  S.Schaefer
The 2017 Il Giro di Phoenix lived up to the billing as a whirlwind tour through Phoenix with great company. This was a fantastic “driver’s event” that emphasized the scavenger hunt experience and a sense of community over the actual cars themselves. The Giro was a challenging exercise in problem-solving and navigation, but I highly recommend it to any interested drivers in the Phoenix area, or to anyone willing to make the trip up to Phoenix.

To view the rest of the photo album of the event, select > here.<