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Vintage Cars, a very Maltese passion

Concours 2015 final

The Maltese are very attached to their cars: In fact there are about 595 cars per 1000 inhabitants.  Many Maltese have a particular passion for vintage cars. Collectors, Sunday enthusiasts, original owners … Malta’s garages hide many mechanical treasures.

It all began in Gozo

Imported from Britain in 1907, the 1904 Siddeley bought by three sisters from Gozo was the first car to be registered in Malta. Nicknamed “il karrozza tan-nar” (fire car) it terrified the Gozitans of the time who had only ever known the horse cart as a mode of transport.

However, the sisters also had a brother who was a priest. He confiscated the vehicle as he feared it would draw too much male attention towards his sisters. The 1904 Siddeley lay hidden in a mill in Gozo and was forgotten there for 60 years.

Discovered in 1968 in the disused mill by two Maltese men, the car was complete despite its dilapidated state. Restored, it was sold to an English collector in 1971 to the great regret of the Maltese.

After 40 years of absence, the Siddeley 1904 is back in Gozo and was unveiled to the public in St Francis Square in Victoria on September 24th 2014, to the delight of Maltese!

 

Image courtesy of TImes of Malta http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140928/gozo/Malta-s-first-car-returns.537614

Image: Times of Malta http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140928/gozo/Malta-s-first-car-returns.537614

Unlike countries where cars are all too easily scrapped after a few years, the Maltese lavish more care on their vehicles. As
Malta is a small country, it is not uncommon to find a 30-year vehicle with only 70 000 km on the clock.

The Maltese collectors are particularly interested in old English cars, but of course there is also a big passion for Italian brands, with no less than 45 Ferraris registered on the islands. Quite a considerable amount for a country of 450 000 inhabitants. Almost every weekend, a race or a rally is organized by one of Malta’s automobile clubs.

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Malta Classic Grand Prix

The French classic car enthusiast Thierry Giovannini, organized the first Classic car Grand Prix in Malta in 2007, initially in Valletta. The first edition had an impressive fifty participating racing vehicles, manufactured between 1910 and 1975. These included  Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Jaguars, Ferraris, AC Cobras , Bugattis, Alfa Romeos and many more.

The event is still held today and brings together thousands of visitors from Europe. Italian, British and other drivers make the overland voyages and ferry crossings with their vintage cars to come and compete.

Grand prix

During 3 days in October, Malta provides a fitting stage to these protagonists, providing a beautiful circuit of 2.2 km around Mdina, combined with an exhibition of cars in the heart of ” The Silent City” and known as the a Concours d’Elegance.

We will bring you you more information about this year’s edition of the Malta Classic in the coming week.


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