Automobilio Italia Tralee a massive boost for the town

A 1924 Fiat 501C was the star attraction at the two-day Automobilio Italia Tralee showcase last weekend.

The inaugural celebration of car Italian culture took place in the county town on Friday and participants enjoyed a drive over famous rally roads in West Kerry on Saturday.

Close to 50 Italian cars were on show in car parks of the Dan Spring Road on Friday evening.

This number nearly doubled by Saturday morning as more drivers signed on ahead of a lap of Tralee town centre before the road run back west.  

The Oldest car on the run was a 98-year-old Fiat driven by the O’Callaghan-Bohan family from Mallow.

The car was acquired 25 years ago by the late Jimmy Bohan and after an extensive restoration, it finally made its public debut in Tralee on Saturday. Unfortunately, Jimmy was unable to see the fruits of his labour as he passed away two weeks ago.

However, it was a special occasion for his 12-year-old grandson Eric who inherited the car. His father Noel O’Callaghan drove the special car from Tralee to Dingle on Saturday.

“We were able to chase the history of the car to Melbourne, Australia, the car was first registered in December 1924. All the paperwork has been verified by Fiat in Italy and today is the first day that the car has been on a proper road run since the paperwork was completed,” explained Sandra Bohan who is Jimmy’s daughter and Eric’s mother.

Another rare car to make an appearance in Tralee was the Alfa Romeo ES-30 SZ (Sprint Zagato or ES (Experimental Sportscar).

This high-performance limited-production sports car was built between 1989 and 1991 by a partnership between design houses at Zagato, Alfa Romeo and Fiat.

Dermot Hicks’ example on show in Tralee is one of three in the country.

It was not all about exotic motors, Daniel O’Connor from Abbeyfeale displayed his left-hand-drive Fiat Panda that he bought in Italy in July. Daniel is the car’s second owner since it was bought new in 1998. The event raised money for the Irish Wheelchair Association.

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