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FIAT fans celebrate 35th annual ‘FreakOut’

Hundreds of FIAT owners and Abarth performance-car aficionados from throughout North America gathered in Orlando this past week as FIAT Club America celebrated its 35th annual “FIAT FreakOut” (FFO) national convention.  

Hundreds of FIAT owners and Abarth performance-car aficionados from throughout North America gathered in Orlando this past week as FIAT Club America celebrated its 35th annual “FIAT FreakOut” (FFO) national convention.

“The passion and loyalty of FIAT fans were on full display at this year’s FreakOut,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America. “With a full range of fun-to-drive vehicles spanning multiple decades, this is the perfect annual event for owners to celebrate FIAT’s iconic Italian heritage and design.”

Held at Walt Disney World and nearby attractions, organizers tabbed this year’s event as “The Most Magical FreakOut on Earth.” The event registered as one of the most highly attended national conventions in FIAT Club America’s history. A husband and wife even drove their 2017 Fiat 124 Spider cross-country from Tacoma, Washington, to attend this year’s festivities.

Created and executed by FIAT enthusiasts, the FFO event is a fun-filled, annual four-day event that rotates throughout the country. This year’s event included driving tours throughout Disney properties and a scenic trip through orange groves and Florida’s backwoods to the Lakeridge Winery. Members were also treated to festive-themed meals, including a private dessert party at the Italy showcase in Epcot. The main event was the Concorso Di Eleganza vintage car display, which was followed by a banquet and award ceremony.

The oldest vehicle that appeared in this year’s Concorso Di Eleganza was a 1952 Fiat 500c Topolino. Other vehicles on hand included a 1977 Lancia Scorpion, 1984 Pininfarina Spider Volumex, 1986 Bertone X 1/9 Dallarlra, a highly modified 2008 Fiat 500 Abarth Meifestofile and an original factory-raced Fiat Abarth 131 rally car from the collection of John Campion.

A highlight of the gathering included the attendance of Anneliese Abarth, the wife and partner of the late Carlo Abarth, who served as the keynote speaker during the members annual banquet. As the widow of the legendary automotive designer, she carries on his legacy, actively representing Abarth at classic car events and international club meetings throughout the world.

“Each year, we strive for the FIAT FreakOut to be the best ever,” said Doug Von Koenig, president of FIAT Club America. “And this year we achieved that goal by providing our members with a thrilling experience at Disney and having Anneliese Abarth on hand as our keynote speaker.”

At the conclusion of the members banquet, the club announced that the 2019 Fiat FreakOut will be held in Greensboro, North Carolina, July 10 -14.

About FIAT Club America
FIAT Club America was founded in 1983 and has been loyally dedicated to the enjoyment of FIAT brand vehicles and other Italian cars since. The club has local chapters holding regional shows and events. The annual national convention called “FIAT FreakOut” was held August 16-19 in Orlando, Florida. This event draws hundreds of FIAT and other Italian automobiles and even more attendees. FIAT Club America maintains a website and publishes “Ricambi,” its official, full-color bi-monthly magazine, which includes member-written articles, adventure stories, technical tips and classified ads.

About FIAT Brand
The FIAT brand stands for discovery through passionate self-expression. That philosophy is embodied by the iconic Fiat 500 or Cinquecento – a small car that lives big. Italian at heart and rooted in a rich heritage, the 500 is sold in more than 100 countries and is synonymous with modern, simple design blending form, function, technology and a pride of ownership that is genuine.

In North America, the Fiat 500 was introduced in March 2011 and was soon followed by the Fiat 500c (Cabrio), the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth and Abarth Cabrio, the fully electric Fiat 500e, the five-passenger Fiat 500L and the all-wheel-drive 500X crossover. The FIAT brand continues to expand with the introduction of the Fiat 124 Spider, a revival of the iconic roadster that combines Italian style, performance and engaging driving dynamics.

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