City Lights in Milan

Forget brunch, the best place to take your girl on a Sunday is a car show.

City Lights Four

We’re continuing our European vacation this month in Milan, Italy at the 4th annual City Lights Car Show.

City Lights Custom Mercury
The Milano chapter of the Rumblers Car Club hosts this small, invitation-only show on a Sunday in October each year. The location is an old factory (rumored to be part of the old Lambretta compound and complete with fascist WWII inscriptions) that now houses special events.

There were 3 giant rooms, one with hot-rods and kustoms, one with motorcycles and one with a special Yamaha display. The vehicles were displayed in the center of the rooms and surrounded by a variety of vendors selling everything from old vinyl records and antiques to street-art and vintage leather jackets. Outside was an area with seating and half a dozen food trucks including the Asian Crossover truck of chef Marco Loy who you may have seen on Hell’s Kitchen or Masterchef.

Italian Style
Italian style.

Milan is the epicenter of the fashion world and a city where individual style is paramount. Needless to say this is supreme people-watching territory. You won’t see any two people dressed the same and despite being some of the most cool and laid-back people around, the attention to every detail from hair to shoes is unbelievable.
Belgian Kustoms
Not just show cars, these 3 kustoms drove over 800km from Belgium.

But we didn’t come just for the grub and people-gawking, we came for cars and bikes. Like most invitationals, the show stresses quality over quantity and the few dozen vehicles on display really measured up. Probably the highlight was the trio of Chevy full kustoms driven all the way from Belgium.
Tristan Louwaars Kandy Devil
The Kandy Devil ’53 Chevy with paint and body by Tristan Louwaars.

Vincent Wolf’s ’53, ‘Kandy Devil’ has been raising a commotion at a few European shows since completion last year (and re-paint this spring) and he is even planning on bringing it to the Grand National Roadster Show in January. With a perfect chop and paint by Tristan Kustomizing in Holland it drew a crowd all day long.
MIchael Liket's kustom
Michael Liket’s kustom.

Jeannot Pirard’s silver ’52 Bel-Air hard-top and Michael Liket’s candy root-beer kustom round out the Belgian trio.
52 Bel Air
A ’52 Bel Air makes for a classy mild custom.

Owning and driving a hot-rod in Europe is a tricky affair so you tend to see more stock and post-war old cars, but that didn’t stop these guys.
Hot rods at City Lights 4
Hot-rods at City Lights 4.

Gianpy Tagliatti brought his hemi-powered 5-window and took home the Best Hotrod award.
Giampy Tagliatti coupe
Giampy Tagliatti coupe.

Erik Nix flathead powered coupe
Erik Nix flathead powered Model A coupe.

Xavier brought his ’31 sedan from France for the show. If you’ve been around the east-coast or Ohio car scene you may recognize the distinctive chop and hand-painted dragon. This car once belonged to Ed Wille who owned Cleveland’s B-Ware video store, drummed in Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival and was about the nicest guy you could ever meet. Unfortunately Ed passed away in 2012 but his memory lives on as Xavier has been a careful steward of the sedan, driving it daily and only updating mechanical items as needed. Ed would be proud!
Ed Wille 31 Sedan
Xavier’s 31 sedan.

Another scene-stealer at the show was organizer Romano Brida’s glowing gold bobber – ‘Pagan Gold’. A classic hardtail chop built around a 1954 Triumph Thunderbird basket-case by fellow Italians Francesco Torredimare at Chopworks and painted by Roby Custom Design.
  • Pagan Gold
    Romano's pre-unit.

Great details include the chopped ’53 Harley Model K forks, seat and fender mounts, frenched taillights, ribbed exhaust, Mondial finned case as side cover and that paint!
Mondial side cover
Mondial side cover.

Perfect paint
Perfect paint.

The success of City Lights is a testament to the innate Italian sense of style and the Milanese attention to detail. Show organizers even have bottles of show wine labeled and the trophies are all skate decks hand-painted by Roby Larogna.

Matteo Pinton's Mercury
Matteo Pinton’s Best Paint winning Mercury.

Vincenzo Di Stefano
Organizer Vincenzo Di Stefano with a bottle of City Lights red!

  • Ciste Cadillac

Music Lover

Anna and Ramone
Anna and Ramone.

Milano Rumblers

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