I am a fan of cars and have always enjoyed photographing them anytime I came across a particularly interesting car in the streets. Although I am generally a good driver, I don’t drive as much as I would like to because I spend most of my time in urban spaces where public transport is highly encouraged and I usually have to cover long distances when I am traveling so I rely on trains and planes.
My father is a car lover and has often changed cars over the years; my favorite one remains his old Jeep Grand Cherokee, which he drove from 2000 to 2009, and it was a very comfortable car for long trips. I think I love cars mostly for the aesthetic side, so I try not to miss the chance to photograph the ones I like when I see them parked on the street.
I have a particular fondness for vintage cars, and this is one of the reasons why I would like to visit Cuba in the future; Havana is full of vintage cars, and about 50 percent of the cars there were manufactured in the United States, mainly Fords, Chevrolets, and Cadillacs. (I have often imagined myself driving a pink Cadillac Eldorado from the 1950s).
As some of you may know, photography is one of my biggest passions in life and I really like to do post-production work on car photos. I am particularly fond of the selective color technique (that is, rendering the photo in black and white and leaving the color only on one of the subjects in the photo, in this case the car). I have rounded up five of my favorite car pictures among the ones I have taken over the years, along with some interesting facts about the cars mentioned, and I hope you will enjoy my selection.
1) Fiat 500 “Topolino” (Mickey Mouse): I took this photo several years ago on a trip to Rome and I consider this car one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It was parked in the neighborhood of Trastevere, an iconic area in Rome where there is still an atmosphere of bygone eras. This model of Fiat 500 was mainly known as the Topolino (Mickey Mouse) and was in production from 1936 to 1955. When the Topolino rolled out of the Fiat factory in June 1936, the car was an immediate success: its modern lines, compactness, and low price conquered Italy and Europe.
The new 500B and 500C versions accompanied Italians through the post-war and reconstruction period, becoming the symbol and myth of a nation launched toward economic development. The different models produced tell the story of Italy through the evolution of a true myth; in fact, each one of the models carries a small piece of history within itself.
The Topolino possesses a rounded and jaunty aerodynamic line that generates liking in those who look at it, and from the very beginning it was associated with Walt Disney’s famous cartoon character, Mickey Mouse (known as “Topolino” in Italy). The model in the photo in particular was built between 1949 and 1954 and was called 500C; its lines are reminiscent of American taste. It is definitely a car that recalls the years of the Roman Dolce Vita and it is nice to see that this model is still around.
2) Ferrari F8 Tributo: I recently wrote an article about my time in Bergamo, a city located in Northern Italy. At the time I was there, the rally and parade of Ferrari cars belonging to Scuderia Ferrari Club Caprino Bergamasco was held. The event took place on a beautiful sunny Sunday and many people gathered to watch the Ferraris go by. Although most of the cars were red, the car in the photo is the most beautiful I have seen during the event (a choice probably influenced by the fact that blue is my favorite color). This Ferrari F8 Tributo model, more bold than the similar earlier 488 GTB model, was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in spring 2019; the name celebrates the world’s best eight-cylinder engine. Following the parade, it was possible to see the cars up close and I had the opportunity to photograph the car’s engine as well, which you can see on my Flickr profile, where you will also find other pictures I took at the Ferrari parade in Bergamo. Many members of my family are big fans of the F1 World Championship and I grew up with the myth of Ferrari, one of the best known symbols of Made In Italy excellence internationally. It’s always exciting to spot a Ferrari car in the streets and it’s even better to witness a parade of the many Ferrari clubs in Italy!
3) Bugatti Veyron: I took this picture almost ten years ago outside Harrods in the Knightsbridge district, one of the most elegant places in Central London. From what I can remember, it was the first time I saw a Bugatti in person and I rendered it as a monochrome version because it added a nice touch to the whole image. Bugatti is a French luxury car manufacturer founded in Alsace by Italian-born industrial designer Ettore Bugatti, to whom numerous streets have been named (my grandparents lived for years on a street in Milan named after him). Bugatti Veyron was introduced by the company in 2000; the car reached a top speed of 407 km/h and was at the time the fastest supercar ever built. Introduced to the sales market a few years later due to some overheating problems to be solved during the development process, it was called Bugatti Veyron 16.4, which stood for 16 cylinders and four turbo-chargers.
This luxury car was produced from 2005 to 2015 by the Volkswagen company, owner of the Bugatti brand, and it is known for being one of the most expensive cars in the world during its production period; it was heralded as the most expensive car in history, with a price tag of exactly €1 million. It was named after the driver Pierre Veyron, who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1939 by racing a Bugatti.
4) Fiat 500: I was visiting part of the family in the town of Lignano Sabbiadoro, which is located in Northeast Italy, when I came across this very nice yellow Fiat 500 right in front of the local newsstand. I am always happy to see a Fiat 500 on the streets, whether modern or vintage (including the hybrid version), because it has always been my all-time favorite car model and also my favorite one to drive. It is also a popular car model abroad; in fact, two of my dear British friends both own a Fiat 500 because it provides an excellent driving experience and is suitable for all kinds of customers, having a huge combination of equipment and accessories available in the latest versions of the model (i.e. from 2007 onwards). Numerous awards have been received by the 500 model; it was also exhibited by Chrysler Group at the NYC Auto Show and received the 2009 World Design Car of the Year award as well. In 2015 the Fiat 500 underwent restyling, and various special versions have been introduced to the market over the years, often in limited editions. It was also the show car for the Barbie doll on the occasion of its 50th birthday. In addition, in 2011 the new Fiat 500 by Gucci was sold exclusively in Italy, a special edition customized by former creative director of Gucci Frida Giannini in collaboration with Fiat. This collaboration between two prestigious Made in Italy brands represented an excellent fusion of style and craftsmanship. In the same year, the classic Fiat 500 was launched on the American market, with brand ambassador Jennifer Lopez driving the car in a music video. My favorite limited edition was the Fiat 500 made in collaboration with Riva, a historic Italian nautical brand, which also designed the interior. I was going through a tough time when I took the picture, so seeing this bright yellow-colored Fiat 500 helped put a smile on my face that day.
5) Lamborghini Huracán EVO Spyder: I came across this Lamborghini car in Milan on a summer day, when the city was deserted and there were not many cars around. When I took the photo of this convertible car parked in front of the historic Tintoria Comolli (a dry-cleaning business) in the historic center of Milan, I immediately thought of rendering it with the selective color technique, as I was inspired by the car’s bright green color. The Huracán EVO Spyder represents one of the updates of the Huracán model originally unveiled at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show (the spider version of which debuted two years later) and is a car that combines high-level performance with ease of driving along with truly innovative technology. The updated version called Huracán EVO features a more aggressive design that introduces new aerodynamic solutions. It is a car model in which craftsmanship, luxury and high technology are combined together, with a design characterized by angular surfaces and sharp edges. Its innovative design element is the LED lighting system which, for the first time in the luxury sports car industry, includes this technology in all the car’s lights. The name Huracán was inspired by the world of bullfighting, as is often the case with Lamborghini car model names; the fighting bull Huracán became famous for its courage and a strong inclination to attack, as it went undefeated during a bullfight in Alicante in 1879. Huracán also recalls the deity of wind, fire and storm belonging to Mayan mythology. Two Lamborghini Huracán were donated to the Rome State Police in 2015 and 2017 to carry out special medical emergency tasks and perform patrol duties. A unique version of the Huracán in the color white was also donated to Pope Francis in 2017; the car was auctioned by Sotheby’s and the proceeds were donated to charity by the Holy See.
Some of the information included in this article is from official Internet sources, mainly Fiat Club Topolino Torino’s official website and the Lamborghini official website.
All pictures are my own.
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