Kees van Stokkum. A lecture about the history of the Italian car industry

Kees van Stokkum
ER Classics Desktop 2022

When an enthusiast of Italian cars hears the name Kees van Stokkum, the blood undoubtedly flows faster through the veins. If anyone in the Netherlands is an advocate of the beautiful Italian car history, then it is Kees van Stokkum. Jelle Talsma in Leeuwarden (Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Jeep) recently revealed why. Because Kees van Stokkum gave an extremely fascinating lecture about Italian car manufacturers, with surprising details.

The visitor received a wonderful insight into the history. Kees van Stokkum - who came to Leeuwarden at the invitation of Talsma Eventi - said that he came into contact with Italian cars in 1967. “Since then I have spent 40.000 hours in that love. Minimal ”In 1982 he founded his company ItalAuto in Achterveld, nowadays an institute in the field of restorations, repairs, maintenance, adjustments and revisions to special Italian cars. Kees van Stokkum tells more, and starts with the first manufacturers in Italy. Isotta Fraschini, Italo, Legnano, it all comes along, as well as the impressive historical role of FIAT in the Grand Prix races, with for example the Fiat 130HP with an 16.000 cc engine. And about Agnelli's decision to quit racing, because he felt that too many lives were being sacrificed.

Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. Other than imagined

Kees van Stokkum also told a lot about Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari was a techie pur sang. He bought Alfa Romeo's early in the last century, and he also advised the management. Later he took a seat in Modena. He also did a lot for Alfa Romeo. He tied rich customers to him and solved logistical problems. The Scuderia Ferrari (1929) had meanwhile become a satellite racing stable of Alfa Romeo that was successful in the Mille Miglia in those years. Later (years 30) Ferrari was employed by Alfa Corse, but a conflict with the same Alfa Romeo prevented Ferrari from building cars under that name for four years. From 1947 everything became different. Ferrari relieved Alfa Romeo as a GP institute and there were also many special civil Ferrari's. From 166 Inter to Testarossa, and from the 250 GT models to the F40. All their own story, all culture carriers of what is being built by Ferrari today. Maranello also indirectly provided other Italian brands, whose founders had a clear link with Enzo Ferrari. Examples are ISO, ASA and Bizzarrini and ATS. Incidentally, many more small manufacturers came by during the lecture, such as Cisitalia and Stanguellini.

Dissatisfied Lamborghini is going to build supercars itself

Kees van Stokkum also told about the special history of Lamborghini. Here too, the Ferrari link is again, albeit more unintentionally. Ferruccio Lamborghini was a tractors manufacturer and collector of exclusive sports cars. He also had a Ferrari, but thought the prices of maintenance and parts - and the poor quality - were questionable. According to tradition, Lamborghini thought: “We can do that ourselves and, above all, much better.” The birth of Lamborghini as an exclusive sports car brand was a fact on 31 October 1963. It led early on to beautiful cars such as the 350 GT and the Miura.

"Maserati was a genius"

On this beautiful evening in Leeuwarden much more came by. The death of Alfieri Maserati. The genius that the Germans in the 1930s attributed to the now 105 year-old Maserati. The first car with the trident, the Tipo 26. Fiat also came back as a common thread in the Italian car industry. The stories about Fiat's takeovers of Italian automakers from the 1950s and / or the participations in Fiat's Italian car industry were exemplary. And that also applied to the post-war model technical role of Fiat itself. In the meantime, the audience continued to listen to the dynamic lecture, you could feel Kees van Stokkum's passion for Italian history. Even when the various design houses were passing by.

Help each other

Remarkable was the story about how the racing stable was moved from Lancia to Ferrari. That happened at the instigation of Fiat and the Italian Automobile Club. Not draining, but helping a major player in the Italian car industry, a telling story that exemplifies the historic pride of Italian car makers on their culture as a whole.

The role of Abarth

Nice: the way Kees van Stokkum praised the role of Abarth in Leeuwarden. “That man, and later the company, were leaders in the development of sports cars and all parts that had an effect on performance. Kings of weight saving, which was implemented to the smallest screw. Started with exhausts for the Topolino. Moreover, Abarth was a delivery room for the Ferrari racing stable. And there was cooperation because special cars were built on the basis of a Ferrari chassis. Abarth was a genius, and built ditto cars, which by the way were very expensive. The Abarth OT 1300 for example. It was in the books for the same money as an entry-level Ferrari. But those Abarth creations were really special and groundbreaking, the many records in competitions testify to that. ”

Nice stories and Sesame Street

Kees van Stokkum tells a few nice stories at the end of the lecture. About the disassembled Miura, which was taken from Lisbon in parts. And a story about the test drive he made with a Ferrari 312 T2 in Achterveld. "A Formula 1 car indeed, I just drove through the village, and because it was not disturbed it turned out that many people were temporarily unable to watch TV. There were some troubled mothers who said that the children were upset because they had missed Sesame Street. ”

Future. There is perspective again

Later we talk briefly with Kees van Stokkum in the presence of Tjerk Pol, Johan Dijkstra, Durk Tinga and Frans de Groot of Talsma Eventi / Jelle Talsma Autobedrijven. "A lot is coming." And the reasons the gentlemen put forward are optimistic. Kees van Stokkum is on the plain about the future of the Italian car industry. But a few days after the lecture Want PSA (with the very energetic Carlos Tavares) and FCA will merge, merge. It is the push that the Italian automotive industry needs in all respects, certainly with regard to decisiveness and new models. There is perspective again, new Italian momentum is emerging, which, just like in the past, can become important again in the car industry. It used to be, about which Kees van Stokkum told a wonderful story about one evening in Leeuwarden.




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