Keith’s Blog: La Dolce Vita in Modena

Today, I’d like to share this space with Mark Wigginton, a veteran SCM writer — I’m sure you’ve enjoyed his “Speaking Volumes” column. Wigginton recently traveled to Modena, Italy for a visit with Pierangelo Masselli of Modena Classic Works. Take it away, Mark…

So, when the boss says, “Can you go look at some vintage cars and a restoration shop for me?” the right answer is to suck it up, set aside a day to drive someplace down the valley — and hightail it back to the office before he comes up with another idea.

But I was in a completely different valley when I got off the last of a series of planes in Milan, Italy and headed for Modena. The region around Modena is the Motor Valley, the northern Italian home of Ferrari and Maserati, and it is ground zero for the passionate craftsmen who make Italian coachwork so special.

As the guest of Pierangelo Masselli of Modena Classic Works, I found myself bathed in the sensuous delights of the countryside and the food and the cars of Motor Valley — from the delightful little town of Correggio to the bustling city of Modena.

Masselli, an avid collector, greeted us at the door of his new headquarters, which is a refurbished textiles facility that now houses a wide array of cars — both his and his clients.’ He has turned his passion into a business, where he operates as a sort of dapper general contractor, doing restorations by tapping a large pool of panel beaters, engine experts and skilled leatherworkers that fill the small towns around the region.

I’ll tell you more about that in the next issue of Sports Car Market.

After carbo-loading on the wonderful local pasta and generous applications of Lambrusco, we toured the restoration shop. The tour ended just in time for another multi-course dinner from the kitchen of a Michelin-starred chef.

The next morning, under bright blue Italian skies, we drove a parade of classics from Masselli’s collection to the Autodromo di Modena. We did our best to go as fast as possible on the track while not breaking anything.

My principal ride was a burgundy 1973 BMW 2002 Touring, but I got my hands on a 1967 Cortina, a 1972 Porsche 914, a 1987 Porsche 944 and a 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SL. And to top off the day, there were a few eye-opening laps in a Ferrari 458 Italia — it was headier than the Lambrusco.

La Dolce Vita, indeed. Thanks boss.


Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market, now in its 33rd year. Keith has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and had his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity. He has received many honors, including the Lee Iacocca Award, the Edward Herrman Award, was inducted into the Concorso Italiano Hall of Fame and more. He is on the boards of directors of The LeMay Museum and Oregon Ballet Theater, and was formerly the chair of the board of the Meguiar's Award.

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