Macchinissima Car Show Is a Celebration for Italian Classics

Jackson Wheeler
5 Min Read

The idea was simple: Luftgekuhlt for Italian cars. That’s the target at which Macchinissima was aimed.

“Bronson and I have been talking about this for at least two years,” said co-founder of Macchinissima Mike Baum, speaking of his fellow Italian car concours collaborator. “We were inspired by Luftgekuhlt—I think Jeff Zwart, Patrick Long, Howie Idelson, they’re doing a fantastic job with it. And we thought, ‘There’s such a vacuum for Italian cars, right?’”

a person driving a yellow michelotti fiat shelletteClick for gallery

The impossibly cute Michelotti (Fiat) Shellette was built around the Fiat 850 as a beach town/resort vehicle with wicker chairs and wicker dash. Initiated by yacht designer Schell and Giovanni Michelotti, who designed the car, 80 are supposed to have been built.

Mark Vaughn

Simple enough. But there’s an even larger idea behind Macchinissima, the Italian car show that debuted Dec. 16 in the Arts District just east of downtown Los Angeles.

“We wanted to bring the beauty of Italian cars and sophistication to a younger audience, because we get pretty bored by the Concours events. They’re a little stiff, right? If you think Pebble and you think all these events, that’s not where you get young enthusiasts. But on the other side you see a lot of young enthusiasts—when they think Italian car, the first car they buy could be a Lancia Fulvia Coupe or an Alfa Romeo GTV.”

And part of it is educational.

“They don’t fully know the whole arc of Italian cars, know the history of them. So we thought, ‘Can we do this in a fun, unpretentious and diverse environment that’s more a celebration of Italian motoring, and more of a party and not judged and not judgmental.”

So that’s what they did.

“It shows the whole breadth of Italian cars from gorgeous, wonderful one-offs to amazing cars that enthusiasts built themselves—that don’t have to be expensive. And then bring this whole breath to an audience so they fall in love with Italian cars, and keep the hobby going.”

And indeed, that is what happened. Something like 30 to 35 beautiful Italian cars lined up on Traction Ave. east of downtown, with more parked inside a building and a courtyard adjacent. There were Italian motorcycles and scooters, too.

There was a beautiful Alfa Romeo 6C, a chopped-top Lancia B20 Aurelia, Baum’s own copper-colored Ercole Spada-designed Lancia Flavia Sport Zagato, examples of which are more rare than twentysomethings at Pebble Beach. There was an Alfa TZ and a JZ and a Bizzarrini 3500GT. But there was also a Fiat Panda and a Lancia Appia. Both ends of the spectrum were covered and much of it in between.

It was enough to exhaust any tifosi. But Baum and friends want more. The next Macchinissima will take place June 1, also in the Arts District but at a new, larger location, with more cars and more gioia delle auto.

Watch to stay in the loop. And go buy a Fulvia. Or, if you’re strapped for cash, I know where you can get a perfectly preserved Appia for a reasonable price…

Do you have a favorite classic Italian car? Please comment below.

Headshot of Mark Vaughn

Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all its products and everyone who ever worked there. This was his introduction to objective automotive criticism. He started writing for City News Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Europe and became editor of a car magazine called, creatively, Auto. He decided Auto should cover Formula 1, sports prototypes and touring cars—no one stopped him! From there he interviewed with Autoweek at the 1989 Frankfurt motor show and has been with us ever since.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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