SAMA MEMBERS GET CLOSE, REAL CLOSE, TO THE NEW FIAT ABARTH AT APRIL LUNCHEON

by: Paul Borden - Photo and video by Pepe Delfino.

SAMA members attending our April meeting got a special treat.

In addition to the delicious buffet lunch and opportunity to socialize, the 48 members and guests attending got to drive the new Fiat Abarth on a special handling course set up in the parking lot at Hialeah Park.

And what a treat it was!

You may remember the Fiat Abarth from the company's seductive Super Bowl commercial featuring model Catrinel Menghia Catrinel and some guy. (If you don't, just Google it.)

Like Catrinel, the Abarth is one hot little model, the performance version of the Fiat 500 the company brought to North America about a year ago. (The Fiat 500 Cabriolet won “Best Small Convertible” at SAMA’s first Topless in Miami competition.)

The 1.4-liter engine from base models gets a boost from turbocharging that boosts horsepower up to 160 and torque to 170 from the rather pedestrian 101 and 98, respectively, in the normally aspirated version.

In his presentation, Tim Kuniskis, who took time from his busy schedule as head of FIAT Brand for North America to make the trip to South Florida, noted that the Fiat Abarth shows that “an affordable small car can be more than a commodity,” which we learned later from hands-on experience.

In addition to Kuniskis, Fiat Engineer Daniel Fry and our good friends from the communications for Fiat and Chrysler, Ariel Gavilan and Lisa Barrow, were on hand for the luncheon and meeting.

We want to take this opportunity to thank them all for the lunch and for a presentation that is likely to be talked about for a long time to come.

Before the presentation, Vice President Bill Adam conducted the business session in the absence of President Jaime Florez, who had a late business commitment come up.

Treasurer Marcello Serrato announced yet another new member, Jonathan Brownfield, who writes the blog Johnny Bond’s Hot Wheels, and also noted that our treasury is at a healthy $6,800. (But that doesn’t mean if you haven’t paid your dues you get to skip them.)

Paul Borden announced that the date for the second annual Topless in Miami convertible competition at the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne have been confirmed as May 24. A welcoming event for members will be the evening of May 23 at the hotel’s Grand Lawn area.

It promises to be a great evening.

The event will begin the next day at 8:30 a.m. this year, an hour earlier than last year because we expect an even bigger turnout of cars. Last year we had 21 vehicles from 13 different manufacturers, so the schedule was full.

The awards dinner and reception will cap off the day’s activities that evening.

Secretary Tony Lesesne encouraged members to take advantage of social media websites like Facebook to keep SAMA members informed of their activities and asked members to remember SAMA when it comes to announcements of events.

And Bill Adam noted that planning is going ahead for our annual Rides-N-Smiles event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The date this year is Nov. 10, which is two weeks earlier that the last couple of years and a week ahead of NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend at the speedway.

Even more activities and attractions to help make the day even more memorable for the patients and families from Baptist Children’s and Miami Children’s Hospitals.

Again, we want to thank Fiat for sponsoring what was a truly eventful day in the beautiful setting of Hialeah Park, a longtime Miami historic place that, as member Joe Castello reminded us, once catered to such figures as Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill. In another bit of interesting South Florida trivia, Amelia Earhart took off from Hialeah on her ill-fated attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

Our next luncheon will be May 15 -- please note, that is a Tuesday -- and we look forward to having another visit from Lisa Barrow because Dodge will be the sponsor. The featured vehicle will be the new 2013 Dart.

Please save the date and watch your email for further details.
 

Click on small pictures to enlarge

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SAMA's Board Address ( Video)
 

Presentation, Lisa Barrow &  Tim Kuniskis
 

Fiat Abarth Presentation by Engineer Daniel Fry (Video)
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