For four days and three nights this past week, the Wintergreen Resort in Virginia
became the hub for all things related to FIAT. From all over North America, hundreds of
FIAT owners converged on the mountain resort for a weekend of vintage cars, test drives and an overall sense of community and brotherhood.
To kick off the event, FIAT “freaks” were invited to participate in a track day at Virginia International Raceway. The Phil Wicks Driving Academy hosted this once-in-a-lifetime experience for FIAT enthusiasts to take turns and straightaways with all that their FIAT vehicles had to offer. Once they got back to the resort, the theme of “all FIAT, all the time” had plenty in store for them. From an open house to a Concours Show to the final Awards Banquet, this was a weekend truly crafted for FIAT enthusiasts, young and old.
The FIAT Brand North Americawas also well represented. We kicked off the newest feature to our blog “Your FIAT Story
” with a station in our Olympic Lounge where people could come, chat with us about the brand and share their favorite memories from their history with FIAT. Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand North America, capped off the final evening by giving an overview of where the FIAT Brand has been in the past year and a glimpse at where the brand might be heading in the coming years.
Overall, we had an unforgettable time at the 2012 FIAT FreakOut. We had the opportunity to see and feel the love from some of our most passionate owners, and hear what FIAT really means to them. We’ve captured a few of our favorite stories from the weekend below, and don’t forget, you have the opportunity to tell us about your passion for FIAT in our “Your FIAT Story
” section here on FIAT Backstage!
“In 1998 I was driving home from work and found that the usual entrance to my apartment complex was under construction, so I went in the back way, which went through a housing plan. As I came around a bend that I'd never driven before, I saw a man place a For Sale sign on a bright green '73 850 Spider. I locked up the brakes and put the car sideways on his street. It was a beautiful little car and the man wanted to get rid of it because he couldn't make it run right. I bought it on the spot and drove it home, then spent some time online looking for a solution. Turns out that the car only needed a carburetor rebuild, and a woman in Sydney, Australia, sent me instructions. It was my first attempt at anything mechanical and it fired right up immediately afterward. I was hooked from that moment.”
“When I was six, my father & I bought our "NEW" 1972 Fiat AR-59 ‘Campagnola’ from a junk yard in Naples, Italy. The Campagnola is a Jeep-like vehicle used extensively by the Italian government, but never imported to the USA. As far as we know, there is only one other in the country. When I was little, it was my family's daily driver, but being a military family, we spent many years stationed away from it. Years later, I started working on it to get it on the road again. I've had a lot of fun and at least as much frustration working on it, but I'm devoted to it. Last year my family got a Prima Edizione FIAT 500 (#31). I couldn't be more satisfied with the car, and I look forward to many more years with FIAT.”
“My 1974 Fiat 500 L was purchased in Rome. The original owner was 84 when he passed away and his grandson, who was given the car, sold it to me. There was one issue: there was no title to the vehicle. When we arrived in Italy the grandson was on vacation! So I went to the department of motor vehicles and asked what was required to get the title. I was told I needed the name and birth date of the previous owner, but in order to get this information we had to visit the local cemetery and retrieve the information from the tombstone. As you can imagine, it was extremely awkward being questioned by the curator but it was worth the adventure to show the passion that I have to obtain my dream cars. Some may call it an addiction but I call it a (F)ascination (I)n (A)ll (T)ypes…FIAT!”