Collectors

Today like yesterday

From the nobility of Giovannino, to the nostalgia of Federico

Photo credit: Hero Events

When talking about the “next generation” of collectors, Federico Goettsche is surely one of the best and most famous examples in the classic car world. Cars have always been part of Federico’s life. They have been deeply rooted within his family’s heritage for generations. The famous Count Giovanni ‘Johnny’ Lurani, a Milanese gentleman driver who raced between the 30s and 50s, was his grandfather.

His cars stayed with the family and are both used and driven often, also at classic car events like the Mille Miglia. Federico has inherited the “spirit” and taste of Count Lurani and would like his legacy to continue in the future. The style of driving for cars from the pre-war era had a huge influence on how he came to perceive classic cars, and what owning and driving them was all about. “My personal taste is 100 percent pre-war cars,” he tells us. “Post war cars I just see as ‘transport’.” He is surely a rare example among the next generation of car enthusiasts. What fascinates him about pre-war cars is that they are ‘far more gritty” to use his own words. “Wrestling the steering, double de-clutching, pushing the brake pedal as hard as you can. Being splattered with oil”. His fascination for pre-war classics also relies on the fact that with the older cars, you really feel the driving and theres a sense of great achievement in going fast. Unfortunately, not many young people get to experience pre-war cars.

Federico at the wheel of the magnificent Bugatti Type 35

“Many young people in the classic car world – especially the pre-war cars – grew up with these cars. It’s not so much about the aesthetics as a matter of feeling. Probably as much as 70 percent of younger pre-war owners have these cars in their background. They’re people who’ve had the privilege to test out these things.” The rest of his peers, he observes, follow a more ‘conventional’ classic ownership route. “Unless they’ve inherited the high-end cars, it’s still a matter of funding. Guys tend to buy say Seventies Porsche 911s or Alfa Giuliettas etc.”. Federico and his father took a surely unique approach when they took a very rare car – his grandfather’s 1935 Lurani Nibbo land speed record car – to the 2017 Villa D’Este Concorso D’Eleganza. They sent off the entry application and then heard back the next day. They had been accepted! The Nibbo turned up to one of the world’s most prestigious concours on a flatbed trailer towed by a yellow van. It went on to win the Coppa d’Oro (best of show by public vote) at the event.

He sees a similar ‘lifestyle’ evolution in driving events and contrasts it with his own experiences both as a youngster and a competitor.

Federico and his family celebrating the victory of the Coppa d’Oro from the famous Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este

Federico then tells us about his plans for the future. He wants to build on his grandfathers racing heritage. “In 1936 he set up Scuderia Ambrosiana (with Franco Cortese and Georgio Vilanese). It was a team made up of friends who came together to race, to support each other and to give other a springboard into motor racing.” Federico sees it as a way of getting young people into classic motorsport. “My biggest fear is that classic cars will be banned on environmental grounds,” he confesses. “If we as an industry dont speak out, this could easily happen.” He points out that the stereotypical portrayal of cars as highly polluting vehicles is way in excess of their real impact. He also cites the classic industry’s worth. “It’s a £7.1billion industry [in the UK alone],” he points out. “It employs around 2.5 million people.” Within that group, he sees room for young people to get into the traditional skills the classic car world desperately needs. “Higher salaries will promote the crafts. It’s not ‘just’ about being a metalworker, a carpenter, a mechanic; it’s a niche – an art. It’s better than being just another cog in the corporate machine.”

At all levels, Federico sees the classic car world as the realm of the true individual.

“I want to see a return to real authenticity and personal passion.”

Federico and the Nibbio the day before the show, with his team that prepared the car