The Stig revs up crowd at Italian motor festival

Some say he arrived at Bridgnorth Italian Auto Moto Festival via a complex teleporting device, and that he had such a nice time, he was stunned into silence. All we know is... he's called The Stig!

The Stig on guard
The Stig on guard

Top Gear's tame racing driver was among the thousands of visitors that packed Bridgnorth town centre on Sunday as stunning Italian cars, scooters and motorbikes were admired in the baking sunshine.

Visitors grabbed selfies with the legendary driver but, under intense questioning from fans and news reporters alike, he maintained his vow of silence.

Altogether, there were around 170 cars, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis Lancias, Alfa Romeos, Fiats and more, as well as motorbikes including rare Ducatis. Lambretta and Vespa scooters, gleaming and maintained to perfection, whizzed around the town together as visitors marvelled at the spectacle. There were around 150 scooters collectively.

One car that attracted much attention from rally purists was Phil Matthews' bright red 1992 Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 1. He shared his top tips to keeping a classic car in mint condition.

"I bought it in 2002," said Phil, from Bridgnorth. "It only had one owner from Rome before me.

"You have to keep it out of the sunlight. And when you're driving, you have to become part of the car. The car talks to you, and you have to listen to what it needs. If you think you are pushing it a bit too much, ease off.

"This still has the original paintwork. I took it to Classic Motor Cars (Bridgnorth) to have it ceramic coated last year to keep the colour from fading. It's nice to bring it for people to look at. You do worry if a child drops their ice cream on it, but I suppose it will wash off!"

Ferrari 308 Quattrovalvole owner Gareth Morgan, from Dudley, delighted in letting festival goers sit in his car and give the engine a rev while he told them all about it and other Ferraris on display.

"There are only about three left on the road in the UK," he said. "The Spyder was popular in Hollywood films. It was in Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

He added: "I've been coming here for the last six years and it's probably the busiest I've seen it. We've been lucky with the weather."

Another head turning motor was a Lamborghini Aventador, the same model that held the lap record for the Nurburgring.

Owner Gary Steer, from Shrewsbury, said: "This is the last of the big V12 Lamborghinis.

"You enjoy having the car but the social side of it is also very good. There is a good club for Lamborghini owners. We've been driving to Scotland and Italy. Sometimes we'll just go for a drive out to a pub for a meal."

Festival organiser David Morris was thrilled with how the event went.

"We've had two years off because of Covid so for a lot of owners this is the first time they've had their cars out since then.

"The weather had been kind to us. We've had lots of Lamborghinis, most of the Ferrari range, a group of eight Lancias from Ludlow. It's been a good showing. We've had owners come from as far as Reading.

"The Stig has been very popular. It's clear that lots of people have come to have a photo with him.

"You just can't beat the Italians for style."

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