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A huge market for vintage Italian cars

creato da Benedetto Lattanzi ultima modifica 20/06/2008 15:11

Italian used cars are avoiding the scrap heap and moving to Japan where the locals are queuing up to get behind the wheel.

Fiat BambinoThe Italian used-car industry is turning to Japan for a new injection of interest. Fiat 500s (AKA FIAT Bambinos), Alfa Romeo Gt Juniors and original flame red Ferraris are all avoiding scrappage in their homeland by finishing off their days in the Land of the Rising Sun. Italian goods have always been popular in Japan and the recent trend for vintage cars has been no exception. For the Japanese - Italians make it better.
Indeed you are almost as likely to spot mint-condition Bambinos and Ferraris lined up at traffic lights in Tokyo as you are in Milan.
Behind this latest venture is a young Italian businesswoman called Paola Bruno. 32-year-old Bruno, who hails from Salerno in Southern Italy, studied Oriental Languages at University and spent two years working in Tokyo before moving to Rome. "It was one of those chance things," says Bruno. "I was working as a tour guide four years ago when a Japanese tourist asked me to help him find some Fiat Bambinos. The rest, as they say, is history."

Paola Bruno soon realised that there was a huge market for vintage Italian cars in Japan and immediately went into business. She has already supplied a major Japanese dealer with more than 300 cars.
"Fiat Bambinos and FIAT 600 Multiplas sell like hot cakes - says Bruno - but models such as the Lancia Aurelia, old Alfa Romeo Giulias, classic 3-wheelers such as the Ape and original Vespa scooters are becoming just as popular. Then of course there's the a whole new business for spare parts. The Japanese are very meticulous and will only use original parts.".
The multi-talented Bruno doesn't stop here.
"I work with a Japanese travel agency, ‘Creative Tours’, planning customised Italian tours for their clients." For example, for opera aficionados Bruno will arrange front-row seats at Verona's famous Arena or at the legendary Scala Opera House in Milan; football enthusiasts will get kitted out in their favourite team's gear for one of the season's top matches.
The latest trend to hit Japan is Italian weddings. And guess who will arrange everything for the big day? Paola Bruno, of course! "I organise the church, hire cars, book the restaurant, plus look after all those little details that make it such a special day. Then there's the honeymoon. We like to think we spoil our clients." It's definitely a case of 'go east, young woman'

Fiat 500 Club - - Join the Fiat Bambino Fan Club.
Automotoclassiche.com - - News, pictures and lots more from the world of used and vintage cars.
Vespa.com - - The official Vespa site
Cinqs' Nest - - This Japanese fan has dedicated his site to the sublime Fiat Bambino
Cafe' de 500 - -A Japanese Fiat Bambino fan site (in Japanese)
Ferrari.com - - The official Ferrari website
Ferrari - Gadget shop with ItaliaPlease

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