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BBC Top Gear Appearance

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Our Strada Abarth On BBC Top Gear

(Series 12 Episode 2)

Firstly our cars all have names (how sad) and our Strada Abarth 130TC is called Giina.

Owning a classic Fiat car is always full of surprises.  None more so than arriving home to a Tuesday evening 5pm phone call and Email from Peter (Fiat Motor Club GB chairman) saying that Gavin, a BBC Top Gear researcher, was looking for a Strada Abarth 130TC for a Top Gear shoot this coming Friday, 17 October 2008.

Not deterred by the short notice, by 6pm we had made contact with Gavin who was impressed by such a rapid response but we were sadly too late as fellow researcher had already found another Strada Abarth for the shoot.    We however exchanged contact details “just in case”.

On Friday morning at around 10:00 am the phone rings.  It was Gavin.  The other Strada had pulled out this morning and Gavin was asking if there was any possibility that we could get to the studio at Dunsfold Airfield as soon as possible?

Oh bum!  It was now two/three days since the original request contact and by now we had stood ourselves down.  Our Strada Abarth was in the garage, covered in light dust and dirt from her lasting outing and not looking her best.

Panic mode!

We said yes, and then set about extricating the car from the garage, giving her a very quick wash off and proceeded to Dunsfold from Southampton in convoy.  Yes, our Barchetta called Mirella was not going to leave her sister unaccompanied on this little bit of history.

We arrived at Dunsfold Aerodrome at around midday.  The “Stig” had just finished his track testing of an Italian registered new Fiat 500 Abarth.  In all there were four Abarths present and a standard new Fiat 500. 

So the line-up was

Despite the short notice one has to say that the hospitality and friendliness of all the Top Gear crew was excellent.  The pictures you see here on this page, taken by Krys, were gracefully allowed to be taken with the only restriction being that they were not published prior to the Top Gear show and magazine being aired/published and the final nod of approval from the BBC if anything was to be published soon after the BBC show and magazine.  One can’t really ask fairer than that.  So here we are tastefully 5 years late!   

After a bite to eat (we ate before the crew leaving plenty for them, but you should have seen the bare table after they had caught up with us) it was off onto the test track/runway for the shoot.  By now you will have hopefully seen the final production (Series 12 Episode 2) and figured out that there was a theme to the Abarth heritage filming of our cars.

In good old Jeremy style “seats that won’t tilt to allow rear passenger access” and “engine boot lids that don’t close” was all part of the Abarth approach to performance over practicality and styling.

Watching at close hand the various “takes” was interesting to say the least.  Giina’s door must have been open and closed some 10+ times, each time the closure being that little bit more forcefully for effect.   We were surprised that Jeremy did comment that being Italian I’m surprised the door hasn’t fallen off yet!

There were at least three ground video camera crews, a vehicle mounted with video and still cameras, and a still photographer.  Besides the filming of Jeremy and the cars many separate shots were taken of the cars from every angle, inside and out.  There was even somebody hand scanning car details such as light clusters and badges. 

So the day went well and we leave you with these "tongue in cheek" captioned pictures that even Top Gear would be proud of.

picture 1


picture 2


picture 3


picture 4

and last but not least, Mirella

picture

the best "Little Boat" in the world!

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Nick Bailey 2013