Over 200 classic cars celebrate Lancia at famous hill climb event in Italy

 The 19th Silver Flag hill climb, organised by the Club Piacentino Auto d’Epoca (C.P.A.E.), saw over 200 classic cars from around Europe take over the streets of Vernasca in Piacenza, Italy, for a weekend of classic motoring in celebration of Lancia.
For this year’s event, which took place on June 20th, 21st and 22nd, the organisers chose Lancia as the main theme, honouring one of the world’s most famous Italian brands.Organiser Claudio Casali said: “After extensively researching and looking for cars from across Europe, we were able to source sixty Lancias to be in the paddock of Castel’Arquato for the 19th running of Vernasca Silver Flag. Most of the racing models built by the Chivasso House were present, including the Lambda, Delta and Delta S4 Evolution, as well as some other very special cars such as the Flavia Zagato prototype, the Fulvia HF Barchetta F & M, the never used ECV and the rare Lancia 037 hybrid. It was a fantastic event!”The Official Lancia Collection brought four iconic cars, including the D50, D25, Stratos Alitalia and the former Montecarlo winner Fulvia HF. The Lancia D50 Formula One car was featured at the start of the morning on the Saturday, when the crowd of motoring enthusiasts were presented with the powerful and amazing roar of the engine designed by Vittorio Jano, which sounded exactly “as it did in the good old days”.

Some important figures in the history of Lancia were present to honour the Italian brand, including one of the greatest rally drivers in the marque’s history, Sandro Munari, the “Dragon”, who drove a Lancia Stratos GR 4.  Also present was engineer Tonti, who played a key role in the creation of the legendary “Reparto Corse”. He was accompanied by fellow engineer Limone, the designer and developer of the 037 which was the last ‘normal’ car to win a World Rally Championship.

The Lancias were placed in front of the paddock entrance, putting on an amazing display for the many fans that arrived at Castell’ Arquato. The cars were joined by many other marques, including Abarth with the Sport 2000 and 3000, Porsche, Lola, McLaren and Lotus. The Museo Storico Alfa Romeo brought a Giulietta SS, former Scuderia Centro Sud car, and the Berlinetta 2000 Sportiva.

For the first time, the Matra Museum took part in Silver Flag in its beautiful blue livery. The cars included were the former F3 Jean Pierre Jossaud car, the F1 MS11 V12 and the Jacky Ickx F2, which was the car he drove during the 1967 German F1 GP in Nurburgring. The cars were presented in front of the vintage lorry that was used to transport them around Europe in the late 60s.

Another source of pride for the organizers was the presence of Henri Pescarolo, the “Legend of Le Mans”. Henri was very kind and helpful to all those wanting an autograph or simply just a handshake.

The event ran smoothly and saw some iconic cars speed up the famous hill climb with intervals of 30 seconds between each vehicle. The Touring Cars started and were followed by the Gran Turismo, then 1950’s sports cars, 1960’s prototypes, formula cars and finally the pre-war cars.

Claudio Casali said: “The last car to leave was actually the first Lancia produced. Thanks to the famous Milanese collector Corrado Lo Presto.  Spectators were able to see the perfectly restored first Lancia ever built, which was named Alpha by Vincenzo Lancia”.

Two more climbs were scheduled for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Guests also enjoyed dinner on Friday at the archaeological Site of the Roman city of Velleia, before the famous and traditional gala dinner on Saturday at the square of Castell’Arquato, a true jewel of medieval architecture.

At the end of the last climb, participants and enthusiasts gathered in Vernasca for the prize giving ceremony, the awards for the winners of the “Concours of Restoration and Conservation” were given by the Organising Committee.

Three more prizes were given by the main sponsors. International auctioneers Coys awarded the “Spirit of Motoring” trophy to the Lancia Stratos Gr 4 of Alberto Pisciotta from Palermo. The prize was given in accordance with the public’s general consensus, who had to vote for the more ‘exciting’ car.  Federico Buratti’s Lancia F&M won the TAG Heuer “Best Car in History of Hill Climb Races” award. The Motul “Best in Show” for post war cars was awarded to the Matra MS 11 12 cylinder of Henri Pescarolo.