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The Gentleman Driver's Diary: driving around Italian castles with two queens of British style

It's Saturday morning and the sun is shining. A completely blue sky is framing the beautiful hills of Novara, Piedmont, that spring has started to color since a few weeks. Everything is delicious and perfect for a day on the road with some friends, on board two cars that share an iconic style and British DNA: a Triumph TR6 and a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow I, both from 1969.

Upon arriving in Novara, we immediately meet with Giorgio Fiorenza – car restorer and founder of Officina delle Idee – and Marco Graziano, two friends and classic car enthusiasts who less than a year ago have together completed the conservative restoration of a magnificent TR6. Chassis number 25406 (VIN), it’s the 304th specimen coming out of Coventry, one of the very first registered in Italy. Just a couple of stories about the restoration of the Triumph and maintenance of the Silver Shadow and we are read to kick our day off toward the hills.

Lowered top, driving gloves with a crochet back, silk scarf... As usual, the Duffle Bag I've taken with me is full of accessories that match the inspiration of the day: in this case, an enjoyable drive on board the TR6, a classic beauty with the soul of a proper sports car.

With its 166hp 2.5 L engine it’s perfect for a getaway from the city and to rediscover that driving pleasure, that bond between a man and his car, something that true enthusiasts know very well.

“I Feel Fine” and then “Day Tripper” by The Beatles echoes the sound of the engine... It's perfect, I feel like I’m in the early 70s. The scenery is flowing alongside me like in a calm and peaceful movie, while our cars mirror in the water of the many rice paddies.

Marco is preceding me with Ellie (that’s how he named his Silver Shadow I), unique and elegant with that red color, a car that has won numerous awards. It's perfect for the picture of a “countryside Gentleman”: silent, well mannered and sophisticated.

The rare Webasto “California” long sunroof allows you to enjoy the fresh and scented spring air; therefore we are both able to speed on the long straights that cross the rice paddies enjoying a wonderful blue sky!

The peace that reigns around the villages of Romagnano Sesia, Ghemme and surroundings allows us to fully appreciate the qualities that distinguish this wonderful British duo.

Our tour features a first morning stop at Castello di Proh, which was erected mainly as a “place of delights” by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, around the half of the 15th century.

Then our tour takes us to a panoramic stop at Villa Caccia, which houses the Museo Storico Etnografico.

After visiting the museum, we decide to immortalize some remembrance of the day with these two beautiful cars, treating ourselves with an exclusive tea break thanks to the standard picnic set included in classic Rolls. A 5 o’clock tea in the garden of a 1842 mansion... very British!

Time runs fast with the carefree of those who are experiencing a special day of driving and memories: travel and motoring stories, stories of passion, Gentlemen Drivers as well as style and elegance.

When it’s time to leave, I get behind the steering wheel of the Rolls-Royce and I'm immediately captured by the attention to details and high quality of the interior, where the comfortable and luxurious Connolly leather seats really stand out.

My eyes linger on the Spirit of Ecstasy, the distinctive emblem on Rolls’ radiators, one of the few symbols that have survived in that nearly unchanged position for almost a century.

My driving mood changes completely, inspired by an extreme driving softness that absorbs every hit and every hole.

I follow the road enjoying the wind coming from the sunroof, the sun lowers giving us a gorgeous sunset as James Brown is singingIts a Mans, mans, mans world”. You can't argue with that. This is the world in which every Gentleman would like to live!

I enjoy the 40-minute drive that separates us from the end of this magnificent day, reflecting on the fact that the TR6 and the Silver Shadow could once belong to the same person: a man used to carefully pick and collect the emotions of his life. The same emotions experienced by Marco every day, like a true Gentleman with an inclination for elegance and driving pleasure.

Andrea Mazzuca, founder
Photo credits: Federico Bajetti for The Outlierman © 2017

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Un racconto dei più prestigiosi eventi motori.
Un viaggio nel cuore del made in Italy.
Un quaderno di stile.
Una grande avventura.

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