FreakOut In The Rearview

Benvenuti amici!

Anyone following the CC5C Facebook page and this blog is aware I've been working with a team of local club members, a "planning committee", to organize a national FIAT aficionado convention. This blog entry captures some of the automobiles trailered and/or driven to Milwaukee and the activities attendees took part in. Consider this your reward for putting up with all the "hype" entries published since August 2016. Also, this is a THANK YOU to the local committee, the Board of Directors, FCA North America and our long list of sponsors.

Now, one of my favorite things to do at any car event... small or large... is to hang around waiting to see what will show up. The hanging out happens in the parking during an FIAT FreakOut (FFO). Wednesday & early Thursday I took advantage of less crowding around the arrivals in order to get the cleanest shots possible. This helped build up my excitement for the of activities.

Quiet time with Nonna.

Eurocompulsion Represent!

Pep : Adding Global Depth

From Yugoslavia with Love!

Activities. Yes, let's spend some time covering FFO activities. We staged the inaugural FIAT GeoDash Thursday. (It played the "Normale" alternative to the backroads trip to the ultra-popular "Sportivo" Holy Hill & the WI Auto Museum run.) Think "The Amazing Race" in FIATs and ABARTHs. It seemed Duane Hand, the activity point person, had just as much or more fun than the participants. We thought this was a deeper way of getting to know our city. Why bother hosting an event in a particular place if no one gets to experience said place on their own terms? Am I right?

I'll remind you we divided the entire week of events into "Normale", low-key and family-oriented, and "Sportivo", high-speed and gearhead-oriented, activities. I always thought all FeakOuts should be organized in this way. Thanks to Duane Hand, Joe Noto, the Reiners family and Willie Carter (the unsung heroes of FFO2017) for adding their ideas and/or hard work to the mix.

An Industrial Tribute : Allen Bradley

Victorian Gothic : Cream City

Style : Milwaukee Art Museum

We also managed to secure track time on the legendary Road America race track - "Sportivo" alternative to the "Normale" Pizza Bus Tour. Both happened Friday. It began to rain lightly as we exited the Milwaukee Metro Area, but that did not stop the group of over 70 cars from making the trek to Elkhart Lake, enjoying the final [vintage car race] practice sessions and purchasing mementos from the paddock shops & kiosks. 'Not many images to share for this activity... we were too busy having fun. But I'm sure there will be many images & video clips posted online in the coming weeks. Thanks to Tyler Whitty and Mark Beckmann for their help making this "anchor event" a roaring success.

500 Topolino Leads FIAT Future!

The week of fun was punctuated with the most richly diverse show field in FFO history staged [Saturday] at a the Mitchell Park "Domes". The overcast skies helped keep most of the day very comfortable. 'No rain for the first time in 3-4 years. The sun burned through said cloudy skies during the final hour or so of the event. I consider it a sign we did good.

Spectators came in from outside the national club and they were certainly welcomed to do so. What use is a Concorso if only the owners/drivers get to enjoy? Most FFO activities are strictly members-only. This is the one portion the general public can enjoy. That general public represents future FIATisti and ABARTHisti. That general public is whom we & FCA-North America need to win via the ultra coolness of our cars. It should be our expressed mission to include and court our non-FIAT driving neighbors. And, so, we did.

Sombrita at The Domes

Dolce : Grant's 500 Lounge




Beautiful Back Row!

Coupes + Spiders

500s, 124s + X1/9s


Born In Different Countries...

... All Bound with the Same Soul

500X, 500L and Alfa Romeo

Coach Building Relatives

Local Eastern Block represent!

Grilles for Days...

Return of the Spiders!

3/4 Generations of 500 attended!

Local FIAT racing heritage!

ABARTH 750 Zagato!

Local Delta Love!

The perennial Awards Banquet happened later Saturday night and a Sunday Brunch and raffle followed (not pictured). Well, the convention, called FIAT FreakOut, is in the history books and attendees are on the road or already home. Submitting an itinerary proposal, enlisting a willing planning committee, reworking and refining the plan over the course of nearly two years, gaining the confidence/support of the Board of Directors and running around throughout the week was quite the adventure. On behalf of my team, thanks to all the sponsors as well as the event volunteers for partnering with us and the national club to put on the best FreakOut in recent memory. This leaves us with one more, and quite possibly the most, important activity of all.

Think about what you can... or are willing... to do in your area to support our greater FIAT community. Maybe your area doesn't have the numbers to sustain a chapter of one of the two larger clubs, but you consistently roll with a smaller number of passionate owners/drivers. Consider pooling your collective talents and sharing your adventures online. FIAT wants & needs to hear/read about the new breed of enthusiasts and that our numbers are growing. This creates a more [fiscally] relevant balance to the equally [to us] relevant old breed.

Finally, CC5C and Mighty Mouse Militia (M3), phonetically stylized MYT MAUS Militia, are entering a new era. You read about the early beginnings of CC5C on this very blog. You also read about the expanded MYT MAUS MILITIA (M3) idea. I modified the CC5C and M3 logos in order to mark the new era and recognize the global mission of FIAT as well as the multinational (Austria, Italy, Slovenia) roots of ABARTH. The Italian tricolor is, now, replaced with a racing-inspired checkered pattern to match the stylized racing wreath. You many have taken note of the change months ago - the CC5C blog icon/avatar. The ABARTH & GIANNINI versions of the M3 logo may continue to bear the Italian colors, but the RECORD version, along with the CC5C logo, will no longer bear them.

Individuals who purchased the first (and extremely limited) MYT MAUS MILITIA BE ABOUT THE LEGEND t-shirt are already sporting the new look. The idea came to me after our November 2016 event with "Pep Zastava". The missus has asked me to design a more global logo for some time. Modifying the existing logos made more sense. You will find, in addition to these aesthetic changes, I will continue to write stories about non-Italian FIATs as M3 mayhem continues to claim more parking space in the local and national scene/s.





Meet CC5C: Grant Stanfield

Benvenuti amici!

We're back with a new introduction to a CC5C member, Grant Stanfield. Grant is what I'd characterize as a dyed in the wool FIAT guy... and Italian car aficionado in the truest sense. This introduction will be a little different. Your introduction to this passionate CC5C fixture comes in the form of a mini-review of the Cinquecento family. But, first, a little more on the pilot of "Bambino Rosso".

You'll likely smile when first meeting Grant & his 500 Lounge. Grant is a warm and lively person and his ride reflects that aspect of his state of being. A bonnet spear, luggage rack and just the right amount of stickers & badges adorn his road buddy. It's impossible to imagine being anything but happy when in the company of the pair. You can look forward to meeting them on the road later. Let's move on to his mini-review (for now).

I had the privilege of driving two more members of "Famiglia Cinquecento" in recent weeks; the 500X and the 500L. The silver 500X Pop AWD was a rental car I drove for 10 days - from Buffalo NY, through the Berkshires, to Newport RI, Cape Cod MA and back.

'Great little SUV; 'very responsive and secure handling in any weather at all speeds. But it lacked navigation, leather and the panoramic glass roof. 'Guess I'd spec mine out as a Lounge. That stated, I really loved spending a long vacation with the 500X.

I got a red & white 500L Lounge loaner, today, while my 500C was serviced (manual clutch recall - all better!).

'Also a pleasant vehicle... very spacious and comfortable. It lacked a Sport Mode (I looked everywhere for the button) and felt gutless... even with a turbo charger. 'Still no AWD option... so, my personal choice would be for the Italian-built 500X as the practical, fun all-weather daily driver.

'No dig on the Elle for being Serbian-built, by the way. I kept saying "Kragujevac!" to myself in the 500L... all the way from Kaukauna to Green Lake and back. It certainly is an interesting and solidly-built vehicle. But I was pleased to be in actual Italian SUV, the 500X, I can't afford the Alfa Romeo Stelvio or the Maserati Levante.

My next trip, in August, is a 10-day Grand Tour through Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. Our focus will be on good food, wine and auto museums (maybe some factory tours).

Did I mention the rental car for that trip? A new Ferrari 488 Spider!

"Bambino Ross" and I will see you at FIAT FreakOut 2017!!





Meet CC5Club

Benvenuti amici!

FIAT FreakOut 2017 is just around the corner. Over a year of preparation was poured into what the national club Vice President dubbed a "Once in a FreakOut" event. We thought now would be a good time for a brief introduction to some of the folks you'll meet when you arrive in Cream City.

Duane Hand: CC5Cruise Coordinator, 2017 FFO Planning Committee

Originally from upstate New York, Duane moved to Wisconsin in order to attend Beloit College. He married there and ended up staying in Wisconsin.Duane is a retired Army/Army Reserve veteran and is currently an X-ray Technologist. He bought his first FIAT 500, a giallo 2012 Sport, looking for something economical but fun... Something happened (he's not sure what is was) but now he's hopelessly hooked on FIATs! Duane traded that giallo 500S for a grigio 500 GQ.

Willie Carter: CC5C member, 2017 FFO Planning Committee

Willie bought his 1974 X1/9 eight years ago (sight unseen) for a whopping $800USD. 'Took a 1998 FIAT Punto block and had that built for the X motor. 'Modifications to have a complete unique car that fits his personality. 'Still a project with lots of work still going on. Before he got his X, he had a 1974 124 Spider that was a project... just to give him something to do in his spare time. That's what got him hooked on vintage Fiats. Now, besides his X, he has an '81 Spider 2000 project and a 2014 Fiat 500 Pop pulls duty as his daily driver.

Sean Kane: CC5Cruise Coordinator, 2017 FFO Planning Committee

I received my 1982 FIAT X1/9 from my late uncle, Damon Kane who passed away from ALS in August 2013. I took possession of my car back in September 2012 and have absolutely loved it ever since! I am a member of the FIAT Club of America Board of directors, Secretary of my daughters Parent Teacher Organization, co-own Commonwealth Mortgage Group, work in IT for my "regular job", blissfully married and the father of two beautiful little girls.

Owning my FIAT has introduced me to so many great people. I absolutely love the fact that the car provides you with a way to meet new people and explore new roads. I coordinate two drives each year.

Do you have a story to tell? Do you want to show off your FIAT? Send in your photo/s and your tale. We're happy to share them here.

See you sooner than later.





Get Centered: West to the East

Benvenuti amici!

I published a modestly popular entry that "chronicled" our 2015 holidays to Slovenia, Italy and Austria. I sit down to write this entry in much of the same spirit. This time we visited Japan and Australia. We decided to tether them based on good old fashioned geography. The continents of Asia and Oceania readily checked off our collective bucket list in one tidy trip. This is a blog created by and written for FIAT aficionados. So, I seasoned both courses of my travel images with a couple dashes of 'Cento.

Asia holds a very special place in my heart as well as the heart of the missus (when the subject is Japan). So, Japan we chose to receive the lion's share of our time abroad. Arguably the best time to visit the island(s) nation is during the Sakura a/k/a Cherry Blossom season. It's a perfect time of year to reflect and get re-focused and/or centered. Thus, the title of this entry.

See the sights via foot, bicycle, taxi, bus and train if you ever choose to see Japan. Every method of transport offers a different perspective of this simple yet complex place. This trip marks my second time to this wonderful country. I also enjoy the benefit of having friends to visit there.

 Animation, Collectibles and Comics...

... Pop Culture is near sport in Japan

Sunshine, overcast skies or rain...

 ... Prepare to experience all in Japan

There is no shortage of places to blow your mind. Japan is a country that steps boldly into the future with one foot firmly planted in history. This theme has been chronicled in past blog entries about what helps make FIAT S.p.A. so special to me. A visit to the magical place cannot be reduced to the feeling of driving a FIAT for the first time, but the following summarization of what I believe to be true about the Japan Experience could also be used to describe my first drive in a small, economical Italian runabout  "There are two ways to come away from a visit to Japan; 1) you check it off your bucket list, or, 2) a piece of your heart forever remains in the Land of the Rising Sun."

A discovery during a trip to the countryside...

... Feeding massive Koi at a meditation pond...

... Hidden delights for the wandering eye...

... Not to be forgotten historic treasures...

 ... Famous cross-sections: Organized chaos...

... Find one's true place in the masses...

... Marvel at what man has wrought for fun...

... Set aside time for the so-called mundane...

 ... Urban carwash? Nothing is "just" in Nippon

 Check the plate on this Tokyo runabout

Next stop... the Land Down Under. I'm not sure any two countries can be as different as Australia is to Japan. The largest island nation in the world is very modern despite efforts to hold to their traditions and create an architectural historic register. That, in itself, is a stark difference to the effortlessness Japanese ability to marry their past with their present and future. Australians, in spite of their recent "service industry boom", are still in process of learning to be hosts to the world. The Japanese put blood, sweat and tears into the "art of servitude" on every level and the difference could not be bolder.

Aussies may not agree or appreciate me claiming as much, but I liken their landscapes, cityscapes and people to the country and people with whom I coexist in the USA. They're "cowpokes"... just as we are. Their history is stained with activities born of early British exploration. They struggle with grasping theirs is a nation of "immigrants" and what the fact means in the present day. Their cities and outback resemble our cities and deserts.

But they also have some of the coolest native creatures this side of Dr. Seuss. That is something 100% Aussie. Seeing and "interacting" with 'roos, koalas and wallabies... as well as breaking away from the city... is not to be missed. This was true for us and, I imagine, it is true for the majority of visitors to the largest land mass of Oceania.

Fast food is sweeping over every society on the planet. This frustrating, for some, reality has given rise to "fast food alternatives" like Grill'd. This local chain decorates their space with impressive wallpaper of brilliant black & white illustrations and messages like the one below.

Australia, by virtue of how it was settled, offers accessible beaches to a great deal of her inhabitants. We chose to visit two of said beaches. They're clean and beautiful. Sunbathers, swimmers, surfers, and skaters share these spaces in what feels like perfect harmony. Relaxation is something Aussies do quite well... 'good news for weary and overworked visitors. Don't care much for playing and/or resting at the beach? No problem. Go for a hike at Blue Mountains. Just do some research prior to heading out and you'll find what it is you seek in this Western society that resides in the East.

Back to the city and more pedestrian exploration. Many of the travel photos I take I'm sure have been taken by many... MANY... people before. So, I always try to snap a few of things that may only bear some significance to me. Full disclosure: I don't typically share those images. I keep them as a private time capsule of my experience of the world around us. That stated... I did take a few I knew I'd share here. I leave you with these images and the wish for you to travel and enjoy the world as well as her inhabitants.

See you sooner than later...

An artwork that conjured thoughts of diesel gate

The UK chose the A595 Competizione. Australia?

Another cool license plate on another sweet 500