The name is Salone Auto Torino del Parco Valentino, which is Italian for “Turin Car Show at the Parco Valentino”, but everybody calls it “Valentino”. It is named after the public park in central Turin in which it is held, it’s open to the public, it’s completely free and, this is what you want to know, everybody shows up.
Traditional car shows are dying, if I had a dollar for every time I heard this I’d be able to run my own show, and it is, in my view, very easy to see why. Car makers are gradually and inevitably redirecting their marketing budget toward the final consumer, shunning the media in the process, and people simply aren’t willing to pay for access anymore. This is partly because today it is a lot easier to see exciting cars on the road than it was twenty or thirty years ago, for a variety of reasons which I’d be happy to explain in a different post if you like, and partly because the pay-for-admission business model just isn’t in tune with the modern times we’re living in. These days we’re used to getting the basic service for or as little as possible, or even for free, and then we pay for ancillaries. In short, this means that it is becoming increasingly difficult for car makers to justify the enormous budget they need to attend car shows and as a result, well, they simply don’t. Frankfurt is now only relevant for German car makers, same for Paris which is only worth it for French manufacturers. The LA Auto Show is changing, it started out as a car show for constructors and salespersons and it is now evolving into a networking event. And Detroit? That’s the biggest change of them all. They’ve even moved the show from January to June.
At this year’s Parco Valentino, we’ve had 54 car makers and that includes the big names. Bugatti, Porsche, McLaren, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Pagani. The list goes on and this is just the start. In fact, let’s begin with this. It is an autonomous vehicle made by Bylogix, based on a Citroën, which was used for cutting the inaugural ribbon.
On the first day of the show, on June 19, there was a supercar parade with over 350 supercars from all over the world. Some of the cars on display were simply out-of-this-world. I’d never seen so many Dodge Vipers, McLarens, Bugattis in one place. Pagani even brought their €15 million Zonda HP Barchetta. And it’s not just about money or exclusivity, it’s about uniqueness with several one-offs and extremely rare cars like the green Bertone concept car you see in the pictures. Then the Bugatti 110 Ans, Pininfarina Battista, Covini 6-wheeler, the Miura, the Countach, the F40, the F50, the Ferrari 308 GT rainbow concept. There are so many and I have to stop here otherwise I’ll begin to feel like I’m writing War & Peace. That’s not the end of it. In fact, it is barely the beginning.
The same courtyard of the castle which lies in the heart of the park was used for other activities and events, which were also accessible to the public for free, including an Abarth owners club gathering and then a classic parade. There were more parades as well. The Dallara owners club, the Mazda MX5 icon’s day, to celebrate 30 years of the “Miata”, and the Fiat Coupé 25th Anniversary Parade and an USA cars meeting. And another parade to celebrate 100 years of Citroën. Ah yes, there was also an Alfa Owners Club meeting. And Lotus. And Tesla. And Lancia. And that’s about it. Apart from the parade for the 60th anniversary of MINI.
There’s also an area for test drives. In fact, you can test drive just about anything including several performance EVs like the Jag iPace. If you’re not a fan of EV you can burn some petrol in the good old-fashioned way on the road or even off-road, with the Suzuki Jimny Gan for example. It is a great show with great things going on. A gathering of car lovers and friends.
It is going to get bigger and bigger. And you’re gonna hear about it not just because of me banging on about it but simply because it is turning into a relevant show. One of those dates you set in your calendar.
As seen at this year’s Parco Valentino car show in Turin. The show is held at the “Parco del Valentino” public park in Turin in June every year. Admission is free and you can get your free ticket here. It grants access to all parts of the show including collateral events, parades and gatherings which take place in the courtyard of the “Castello del Valentino’s” and in the other locations. The ticket will also give you a 30% discount on train tickets to and from Turin from anywhere else in Italy.