DETOURS June Update 2019:  

Is Italy's Dream Car British?

by Rob Alen

The 1960's Mercedes-Benz SL "Pagoda" has been on my wish list since watching Sophie Loren and Gregory Peck cavort around London in one in the 1966 movie "Arabesque." She was gorgeous and glamorous, he was suave and cool

Italians may feel the same about the Triumph TR3.

The tip-off was a visit to Italy and the Gran Premio Nuvolari rally tour. Consider it Mille Miglia Lite; an international group driving prized classics and more daily-type period cars.

The rally starts in Mantova, birthplace of Tazio Nuvolari. They travel south for two overnights in the seaside resort of Rimini, birthplace of Federico Fellini. Leafy parks are named after him, streets are named after his movies. Rimini is a place of escape; Fellini escaped at 19 for Rome and Rome escapes to Rimini in the summer.

Almost a third of the entered 1950s-60s cars were Triumph TRs, either TR2s or TR3s; which at first seemed unusual until you realize Marcello Mastroianni drove Anita Ekberg around Rome in a black TR3 in Federico Fellini's 1960 movie, "La Dolce Vita." Why a TR and not an Alfa Romeo Guilia Spider is a mystery.

The Standard-Triumph Motor Co. in Coventry, England made the TR2 from 1953 to 1955; the TR3 from 1955-1962; it was the sweet spot of the "la dolce vita" period in Italy's resurgence recovering from World War II.

Much like the story of the second "Bullitt" Mustang, the TR3 seen in "La Dolce Vita" has been recovered and restored. Records show it was built February 1958, originally white and shipped to Italy, when most of the TRs went to the States. If you want to channel your inner-Marcello Mastroianni good TR3s go for about $40,000.

For many enthusiasts their car romance and myth dates to this "la dolce vita" time of international jet-setters in Maseratis, Lancias, and open-top Pininfarina creations cruising Rome's Via Veneto or parked stylishly in the Piazza Popolo.

Story and photos: Rob Alen


September 19-22, 2019

Rimini is at the eastern end of Via Emilia, the road dates back to the Romans. There are a lot of hotels to consider, the Grand Hotel has classic charm and borders the Parco Federico Fellini (

Not far up the road is Imola and Faenza, home of Toro Rosso F1 team; of course Bologna and Modena.
The Republic of San Marino is a shuttle bus ride from Rimini train station.

  Detours ...March 2019...