Escape to Milan: Vintage car enthusiasts drive neo-futuristic passion

Written by By M.E. Kertesz, CNN In May and June, the Milan showroom of the producers of a certain brand of face-pulling muscle car. In each installment of “Escape to Milan,” host Nigel Davenport…

Escape to Milan: Vintage car enthusiasts drive neo-futuristic passion

Written by By M.E. Kertesz, CNN

In May and June, the Milan showroom of the producers of a certain brand of face-pulling muscle car.

In each installment of “Escape to Milan,” host Nigel Davenport will take an immersive trip through the showrooms of some of the world’s most famous luxury car brands. Watch the video of the Spring 2017 edition.

“If the Infiniti is classic, then it’s the Mini in an era of silly motorcycles,” said Shiro Tanaka, vice president of Mini, his mouth agape, his voice dripping with the kind of enthusiasm only dad could muster.

“And you know, the Mini Roadster for me is really cool, especially after we saw the auto show — it’s the kind of thing that everyone wants to see,” added Takashi Miura, a resident of the surrounding suburb of Aosta, on Italy’s Adriatic coast.

Driving nostalgia

Driving the retro cars may be thrilling, but not everyone wants to go back in time.

Moto Gu, a 15-year-old French motorcycle fanatic, and her parents make sure not to hear them talk about their times-warp machines for very long.

“When I was a little girl, I used to ride the motorcycle from when I was young. I went to love cars for my life and this is just the age where they are getting old, so they can’t do anymore,” explained Yoanne Gu from Toulouse, France.

(For the record, she said her younger brother went for a Ferrari.)

“The Mini is not my favorite car, but maybe it is for you. I like the Murano; there’s something that is always like, stylish, and stylish is not important for me. It’s not nice, and it’s small — it’s small, it’s not nice. We’re the same size and there’s nothing beautiful about it,” Yoanne said.

Manos De Platas, visiting Milan with his wife Anna López from Madrid, agreed.

“I love the Minis, I love the models from before we went to the States, like the five, eight, 10, 15, 16 years ago, the 16-year-old models. You know, and the little ones — they’re small, and if I have one, I want to just have this because I’ve never had this,” said Manos.

Love it or hate it?

It’s a typical gathering, an outdoor cafe, and four or five residents are discussing their idols.

One of the women, a Colombian, is beaming at the lettering on her vehicle, a classic Nissan 300Z. Her eyes light up.

“I know that I have the most beautiful car. I love all the cars because these are the classics. Who sees these cars nowadays, really knows them. You don’t see any other cars in the world, except for the Ferrari and the BMW. But we have them in our houses, and we don’t bother to see them. They belong to the history of our culture,” said Carolina de la Cruz.

Daisy — a 36-year-old Italian who likes to drive around town in her 1968 VW Beetle — interrupts.

“The thing about driving a Beetle is, when you go away from the modern world, you don’t have to be like, ‘I must go back to my car.'”

“I can’t imagine walking down the street in my Beetle,” she continues. “But on the other hand, you know, we are all young people, so that’s where I see the future. My future is there. I see a happy future that just doing what I love, that’s it.”

‘It’s a magnificent time’

So, to what do you give when you’re the exec who designed the original Mini Car in 1959?

“We like all the Minis that are new and old. They all were made by me, so I like them all,” said Scion, Suzuki’s chief product designer.

But, in the mid-2000s, he recognized the Jeep Wrangler as the perfect mirror in which to mark the evolution of his own creation and, in 2008, Scion introduced the first production Jeep Wrangler.

“I can always look back and say, ‘That’s when we created a whole new type of car and concept, including engines and vehicles that we never thought about,'” said Scion.

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