© 2013 by AL. All rights reserved.

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  • Angela Louie and Allan de la Plante

From Monaco to Maranello

The road from France to Italy was a hair-raising experience. “This wasn’t here 30 years ago!” Allan remarked again. New freeways and Italian drivers. Immediately we started on winding curves and tunnels. Exits and entrances to the gas stations and convenience stores were short…too short. Our car was able to get up to 165 km at top speed and we were being passed. Allan had both hands on the wheel and trying to get out of the way. Martha predicted 4 ½ hours for us. Allan suggested that Gilles would have dropped that to about 2 ½ hours. “He would have driven up the shoulder if he had to.” “Were you ever stressed driving with Gilles?” I asked Allan. “No”, he said calmly. “I was too busy watching my life pass before my eyes.”

Maranello was a chance for me to see what working life was like for Allan. He was getting images for the Toronto Star. He had already made connections with Ferrari and he went right to work.

We knew that this was going to be an emotional reunion for him. It was 1981 when he last saw Gilles’ 126C. Now, he was not only going to see it again, he was going to capture its images again for the world. We weren’t prepared for it to be the first car we saw when we walked into the museum. It caught both of us by surprise and for Allan, brought up a wave of feelings forgotten for years.

As in years gone by, he worked through them with the camera, taking all the angles and details of the cars (ie all the Ferraris) made famous by drivers and Ferrari. We also went to Modena to see the antique racing cars and the city cars that we mere mortals get to drive.

One of the highlights of the day was having the opportunity to ride in a red California 30 Ferrari. It was the first time I had even been in a convertible, much less a Ferrari! We had a great talk with the owners, two brothers who were great racing and Villeneuve fans.

They shared some stories before Allan got behind the wheel of this beautiful automobile and we drove around the winding roads of the Italian countryside! It was powerful and fast yet hugged the curves regardless of the speed. I asked Allan how it felt. “Orgasmic!” Enough said.

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