We all are drawn to motoring for different reasons and enjoy it in different ways, but at a base level, it all boils down to the same components, a car, and the open road. A road trip then, is perhaps the purest form of driving, a simple A to B, the only goal the end destination and leaving what manifests itself between under the governance of happenstance. The road stretches out before you, seemingly forever but also gone in an instant, a little bit like time, and time, is never time enough.
We’ve all been on road trips, the reasons for going are varied but often the trip is undertaken with a treasured friend, or perhaps a partner, a brother, or a father and son, that most special of relationships.
Some time ago a father and son did plan a road trip, in a Bugatti T35C, but time and circumstance conspired against the duo and sadly they never had the opportunity. For some that would be the end of the story, but in this instance, our prodigal protagonist decided that he would return home from his father’s final farewell by completing the trip that they had always dreamed about, in the car that they had always planned to drive.
The main player in our story is someone you may be familiar with, Federico Göttsche Bebert the Chief Operating Officer of HERO-ERA, the man running the company, but who is also a rally competitor from time to time. Like many of us, he was exposed to the sensations of classic motoring from an early age, but of all his experiences in motoring, this one is perhaps the most poignant. “It was a trip we always wanted to do together, but we didn’t get to do it” he tells me, “so the day after his funeral, with mixed emotions, my girlfriend and I jumped into the car to make the journey from Italy to England.” For some, the thought of even leaving the house whilst in the grip of grief is too much, but then tragedy can also be a great catalyst and the catharsis of pure motoring, with nothing but the sensation of driving as company wasn’t lost on Fede. “My father was the reason I got into cars, I used to sit as a small boy in the cockpit with a little white helmet on, barely able to see, dreaming of driving. I’m not hugely spiritual but doing something like this you can feel the presence of the person you have lost with you.”
“We had no plan, just to see what happened on the road between Piedmont and London; the only goal was to park up at the Royal Automobile Club for breakfast!” A romantic idea indeed, but this trip is but another part of a chapter in a multi-generational romance story with cars, and it was a story that’s origins can be traced further back than Federico’s father, but actually to his grandfather, on his mother’s side! “Dad got into cars through my mother, until he met her he didn’t have an interest, but she was actually quite a successful rally competitor and her interest began with my grandfather who used to race from the ‘20’s to the 50’s and then became a collector, so there were always cars around.” Fede describes his Grandfather as a “relatively well-known gentleman racer” but that is somewhat bashful, as his grandfather was Giovanni Lurani, and amongst other successes took three class wins in the Mille Miglia throughout his 20 or so years competing as well as racing at historic circuits such as Brooklands, Crystal Palace and the original Monza (a circuit he would become president of). He was instrumental in the initiation of GT racing and Formula Junior with the FIA, oh and set a few land-speed records along the way, and took a class victory at the 1951 24 hours of Le Mans, just your reasonably well-known gentleman racer…