1999 O.S.C.A. 2500GT Dromos The latest Italian dream car was recently unveiled in Italy. Not at a motor show, as is usually the case, nor on some special occasion. Simply on December the 10th at the "Le Robinie" Golf Club in Soibiate Olona (Varese). Very unusual and very romantic indeed. It is romantic because the venue selected for the unveiling is the birth place of the designer who has always dreamt of creating the sports car of his life, the renowned and much expected Ercole Spada. The choice for the venue also reflected many characters of personalities behind the sports car, which could well be the story subject of a movie full of passion and drama, a true love story. The place, between Milano and Brianza, is the same where the Zagato dynasty has grown and is still active, where Spada grew up and made his debut as a car designer, where Touring used to build their "Superleggera" body works for famous makers, including Ferrari and Lamborghini, where the mythical Isotta Fraschini were created by skilled craftsmen in the first half of the century. The story-board also include the exotic touch with an enthusiast Japanese promoter. The project, supported and financed by Japanese investor Shozo Fujita, has taken several years to get through. Conceived, designed and engineered by Spada with contributions of past Abarth engineer Mario Colucci, the prototype has been executed by GMP Automobili under Luca Zagato's directions. The fate of names like Bugatti and Cizeta, just to mention the most recent Italian cases, had not turned the passion for glorious names and new cars down. Actually there are still a lot of people around who keep dreaming of creating a new automobile to associate their names with. Designer Ercole Spada is one of them who strongly wanted to create the car from a white paper and through the years has fought against all sort of difficulties to make his dream come true. The latest difficulty of them all, who took several months to overcome, was actually the brand name for the latest Italian sports car. The Japanese promoter wanted a well established and renowned name. He settled eventually for O.S.C.A. but in the process also managed to put more famous names to the car, including Touring and Superleggera, ending up creating some confusion that one day will have to be resolved. Now, the compact and light two seater sport car comes with the names of 2500 GT and/or Dromos and it carries a number of historical badges such as OSCA (at the front), Touring Superleggera (at the back) in addition to that of its designer "Espada" (on the side). We have time for that, as well as for the project story, as its development continues. Today we ought to focus on the car itself. The name after all is just a way to set apart this very Italian sports car that is the most consequent achievement of a very clear vision of what a modern sport car must be: compact, light, individual, exotic, performing, entertaining, rewarding, affordable. Look at the pictures and you can't but agree that this car has what it takes to deserve the title of a true Italian sports car. You can't call its shape the purest in the world but so were the early sports cars produced by Ferrari, Maserati, Osca and many other small Italian firms. This is why it has a strong character and a clear cut personality of its own. It is not just another sport car like many other ones. The name "Dromos", Spada wanted the car to be called after, has disappeared at the 11th hour from the press release and replaced by "2500 GT" because if was found that Fiat had registered the name of Dromo four years earlier and Luca Zagato, manager of G.M.P., did not want to be confronted with a controversy with the Italian giant. He has had enough experience with the company's executives. Whatever the name, what really matters is that the car comes with an excellent design, showing great care for proportions and style as well as for every detail. It is the job of experience professionals and it shows, even though the car has not been tested yet in the wind tunnel. It all starts front the fundamentals: the right package. Mechanical and cabin have been laid down with expertise: the 2.5-litre, aspirated, 16 valves, four cylinder, flat-four "boxer" engine from Subaru is inboard ahead of the rear axle with the gearbox located behind the differential and thus outside of the rear axle to optimise weight distribution between front and rear. The cabin is somewhat forward, ahead of the engine bay, with the rear screen actually covering the engine. The weight distribution is in the area of 45/55, front and rear. The tracks are 1540 mm on both axles and the splendid magnesium 7 x 16 inches wheels are shod with fat 225/50 tyres. The cockpit is perfectly sorted out. Despite the relatively short wheelbase, 2350mm. long, there is plenty of comfortable room inside the cabin. This has actually been designed around the driver and passenger, as the distinctive shape of the car clearly suggests. Seats wrap around and look gorgeous. The dashboard turn from half a circle in front of the driver to grant him full control of all the instruments and gauges he must or wishes to check and operate. The gearshift lever literally falls in the driver's hand and the hand-brake is beautifully integrated into the central tunnel. The steering wheel is adjustable for reach and rake so that each driver can easily make for his ideal driving position.. Inside the cabin the whole treatment is what one has the right to expect from a sports car and yell "drive me". Nobody has driven the car yet, even though the prototype is virtually ready for that. The body is carried by a frame made of aluminium box sections, with race-type double wishbone and anti-dive geometry suspensions. These are complemented by anti-roll bars and the setting is tuned to deliver superior handling with a fair degree of riding comfort. The steering is a power-assisted rack and pinion. The braking system banks on a powerful disc brakes, self ventilated all-round and without ABS. Given the prototype stage and the limited number anticipated for production, scale of economy do not allow for ABS and all sort of sophisticated electronics. This has suggested the promoters to state: "There are no electronic gizmos - no digital instruments or other fanciful gad-gets which distract from the art of fast driving. The car imparts the immediate sensa-tion that it is the driver who is in total control of this vehicle, not the other way round ". We can't wait for the opportunity to test drive it on the road to the Stelvio Pass in a sunny day, perhaps in Spring 1999. The new sports car, that is meant to be produced at the rate of some 100 cars per year, starting as soon as the type-approval process has been completed. Who, where and when production will actually start, and at which price the car will go on sale, are questions the fathers of the project will be trying to answer in the next months. Whether they will actually find the right answers remains to be seen.