There’s a part of Turin will forever be the Col de Turini. Another part that’s undoubtedly, relentlessly Corsica. Then there’s Africa. Finland. Britain even. In November.
And when I say forever, I mean for the next six months.
Half a century ago, Gino Macaluso won the European Rally Championship alongside Rafaelle Pinto, aboard a Fiat 124 Spider. That achievement is worth celebrating and commemorating.
Macaluso was an entrepreneur, architect and a designer as well as a competitor. The Macaluso name is synonymous with everything that’s good and great about rallying in northern Italy. At the heart of the good and great of northern Italy is Torino. The home of Lancia. And the spiritual home of the sport in this part of the world.
It’s fitting then that Fondazione Gino Macaluso – established by the family in memory of the great man – chose MAUTO, Italy’s National Automobile Museum in Turin to host ‘The Golden Age of Rally’. The display opened on October 27 and runs right through until May 2, 2023.
But here’s the thing: this isn’t a display. This is World Rally Championship time travel. An odyssey. A pilgrimage.
For which reason, it’s no surprise to find Andrea Adamo lying on his back beneath something that was ruling our world in the mid-1980s.
The man responsible for Hyundai Motorsport’s only World Rally Championships lives just a couple of streets from here. For the next six months, temporary residency within the walls of MAUTO is a distinct possibility.
Emotion etched across his face, Adamo’s genuinely lost for words. Not with the cars. He knows the Stratos, loves the 037 and has worked on Deltas.
It’s the journey.
OK. It’s the cars as well.
I’m not with Adamo today, which is day one of The Golden Age, but it feels like I am.
“Mäkinen’s Mini is here,” he says from the exhibition, voice drifting away as he forgets the phone and takes in the car which made Timo and Ouninpohja famous.
“It’s that one,” he adds. “The one with the bonnet.”
How does he know it’s the exact same car?
“The bonnet strap,” he says, sensing my next question. “It’s broken.
“Amazing. My friend, this place is, for us, a dream. More than… you have to come.”
And I will. For sure.
But for those of you reading this around the world and fearing the trip to Turin is simply not possible, don’t worry. This generation-defining spectacle is coming your way. That’s right, the journey’s going on the road.
President of the foundation, Monica Mailander Macaluso, explains: “In Turin, the history of Italian motoring was made: it was therefore right to start from here with this exhibition, which we will then take to other museums around the world.
“The exhibition is not only intended to be an exhibition of prestigious cars, but aims to be an in-depth study of the humanistic culture linked to them. The models on display are a harmonious summary of technological innovation, craft tradition and the beauty of avant-garde design, which has been able to impassion and involve entire generations in the last century.”
Curated by Stefano Macaluso and Federica Ellena, here’s why it’s more than an exhibition.
“We aim to reconstruct the exciting atmosphere of the rallies,” says Macaluso.
“This is dedicated to the genius of those who designed, curated, and drove the cars that made the history of rallies, but above all to the enthusiasts who dreamt of them.”
That’s you, me and Adamo.
Stefano’s not done.
“Our greatest ambition, is to transmit this immense passion to the younger generations so that they can draw inspiration for their future achievements.”
This experiential journey means simulated road surfaces and a 180-degree projection of videos from the most iconic events.
Shut your eyes, charge your ears and let the supercharged fizz of the 037 transport you to a time when two-wheel drive would – for one more year – do.
Nineteen cars have made the journey from behind the locked gates of Fondazione Macaluso across Turin to one of the world’s most famous car museums.
Starting with Mäkinen’s Mini from the 1960s, the cars stretch across the decades through to the 1990s. And the 19 don’t disappoint. They’re all entirely in keeping with Macaluso’s consideration that cars offer: “The most intense expression of creativity of the 20th century.”
Like Macaluso, Adamo is a child of the Piedmont region. Since its inception in 2018, Andrea has been an evangelist of the Foundation.
The next six months will only make him even more of a missionary.
“You walk around another corner and you’re taken to another world,” he says. “It’s… beautiful. The way it’s been done, it’s fantastic.”
That’s enough for now. We’ll save the full 19 for when we can see them in all their glory.
If you’re ready to make the trip, ‘The Golden Age of Rally’ is on show every day at MAUTO from now until May 2. Entrance is €15 per adult, with concessions for groups. Fancy a guided tour? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.