Auto d’Epoca at Bagni di Lucca

For owners (and lovers) of older cars Bagni di Lucca is organising a new event this Sunday, 3rd July.


The meeting starts from 9 am. At 11 the cars will go on a panoramic tour with lunch on their return, (bookable on 338 581 6608 or 349 225 3769 – price euros 20).

As a matter of terminology it’s important to distinguish between veteran, vintage and classic cars.

Simply put, a veteran car is a vehicle manufactured before 1919. Incidentally, only veteran cars made before 1905 can take part in the famous annual London to Brighton run

A car is vintage if it has been made between 1919 and 1925 for the US, or between 1919 and 1930 in the UK.

Cars made between 1930 and 1945 are classed as post-vintage

Classic cars, instead, are all those cars that have been manufactured since 1945 are no longer being produced. Furthermore, they should have ‘class’. That’s a difficult term to define and different people have differing views on what constitutes a classic car.

Perhaps the Italians have come up with the best solution to the terminology for older cars. They call them ‘auto d’epoca’, which means ‘period cars.’ It’s the automotive equivalent of orchestras playing with catgut strings and no vibrato. These bands used to be called orchestras playing on ‘authentic’ instruments (conjuring images of plastic fiddles and cardboard clarinets in my mind). Now they are better described as orchestras playing on ‘period’ instruments

My English favourite classic cars are such items as the Standard Vanguard, once owned by Sandra’s dad:


The Austin Metropolitan

index3The Morris Minor Traveller. (We’ve had three of these. The latest just bought this year.)

Esterhazy 79

(Our second Moggy at the Gates of the Esterhazy Family Summer palace at Fertod, Hungary)

The E-type Jag. (My late brother’s funeral hearse consisted of this car which he loved so much).


The Jaguar MK2 (Sandra’s first car which she bought for her dad but which, regrettably was involved in a crash). Truly beautiful (both the car and Sandra)

Copy of new folder030

The Ford Cortina (my first car)


The Mini (our first car in married life)

1004However, I wouldn’t be seen dead in other classic cars. These include the Ford Anglia with the raked back roof


The baby Austin,


The Austin Allegro (uggh),

index8Any Ladas (except those models which have rear-heated windows so you can keep your hands warm while pushing them)

12265402614_6395caf0f7_band both the old and new Fiat Multipla (so disgustingly ugly in both versions).

Incidentally, and on the practical side, another definition of a classic car is one you don’t have to pay any road tax on in the UK. That means any car built before 1973. In Italy it’s any car over thirty years old.

Anyway, we have another classic car to use nel bel paese. What else could it be but that wonderful Cinquina which has travelled with us to Sardinia and Corsica and definitely reaches those places other cars can’t get to (or into).

I’ve left our own truly vintage car until last. Here’s Sandra with her Austin 7 at a rally at Beaulieu organized by Lord Montagu:

austin 7 78

See you this Sunday at Bagni di Lucca?


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