by Rose Atalante Veenenbos
First of all my apologies for my radio silence, September is a busy month… You will get the Prescott report and all the other reports soon, but let’s first start with the latest rally I did in Italy and Switzerland.
Last Thursday we trailered Amillion for some 1000 km to the start of the Escapade Cyclecars et Grand Sport – Le Tessin et ses Vallées in Brig in the Rhone valley in Switzerland. After a glimpse of Molsheim and the famous Bugatti heritage, the first serious mountain pass that Amillion faced was the Grimsel Pass (2,164 m – 7,100 ft) and my reliable German Black Beauty did a great job pulling the red dandy across the pass. Of course there are many ways to Rome and we choose the Grimsel Pass to say hello to my dad’s fave Swiss Alps hotel, the idyllic hotel Baeren in Guttannen.
After a 10 hour drive it was time to meet new friends… This rally had been organized by the Swiss representation of the Cercle Pegase, the French Amilcar Club. A nice turnout of all kinds of cyclecars and light sports cars with around 40 equipes were ready to climb and descend the mountains and hairpins of the Simplon Pass, the Centovalli area and the Lago Maggiore. It looked very promising with a C6 Amilcar and a Bugatti T37 and Brescia parked right in front of the hotel! At 9 AM the next morning we left Brig to drive via the beautiful Centovalli to the magnificent Park Hotel in Ascona. En route we had a splendid lunch at a very special place…
On the way to the lunch destination there was yet a big surprise! Let me say that Amillion was 100% fit before we took off for this rally. Magneto fixed (re-magnetized and completely re-wired), everything checked, etc., etc. After about 10 km up the Simplon Pass I wanted to overtake a slow truck and then all of a sudden… nothing anymore. The truck drove away and Amillion died… I put a block behind the wheel and had to wait for organizer Guy Chapel’s breakdown service, because you can already guess… Amillion went back on the trailer. Sadly no Simplon Pass this day for me. And we were not the only ones with issues, so the organizing crew was busy pulling trailers with trailer diva’s and dandies. My dad had decided to drive the Simplon with my Black Beauty, so luckily I was able to cruise around in comfort, because Amillion is a small car with little room for your legs.
At lunch we arrived at a wonderful workshop in Verscio, close to Ascona, Garage Belotti, riparazioni e auto d’epoca. This is the garage of mechanical wizard and co-organzizer Valentino (Tino) Belotti and after lunch it was time for some of his magic and seeing some more great cars of which also a maharaja Rolls! Amillion was not the only patient at the doctor, because his sister Amilcar (CGSs with same colour) was also in need for some Tino’s abracadabra. Tino and his co-wizard Luca soon found the issue that had made Amillion feel so sick. As I expected it was again the magneto, which was unbelievable since the SEV had just been fully restored! The contact point breaker spring had broken and this had happened before in Vaals as well. How was this possible? Perhaps the SEV is bewitched? If it was a curse or an angry ghost in the mag then it should be removed by now, because a screaming C6 engine has scared the ghosts with its hellish sound, and the wizards fixed the problem. We put the spare RB mag back, as it seemed so far to make a great team with Amillion. The SEV stayed at the workshop, because otherwise I would have thrown it into the ditch on a very high mountain road. Ready, set, go and off we went following Black Beauty and my dad to see Ascona! Amillion sounded very healthy again, YES!
The hotel was like paradise, we parked the cars and it was about time to enjoy the sun and chill with all our new friends. It is incredible how many amazing petrol heads you get to know at such rallies. Everyone is happy and enjoying every moment we share with each other and our cars. This is life, c’est la vie grandiose, dass ist das Leben, dit is het leven, come on what more do you need? Luckily I was able to share again in the toast “Amilcar un jour, Amilcar toujours” when we raised the glasses later that evening. After a fine supper, for me always vegan, the organizing crew had a special surprise for me in store… Each chair had a number for the tombola and I was one of the lucky to win a present. It felt like Christmas, but then much better. Dining with so many great friends and getting a present which I needed so much… My SEV mag had been fixed again! Vive Belotti! Bravissimo for the amazing wizards Tino and Luca! Ringrazio i miei amici!
Finally my nightmare was over, no magneto nightmares anymore from now onwards.
To be continued and hold your breath, because things are to get VERY SHOCKING and terrifying…!!!