Apr 19, 2019
NAGOYA - Approximately 70 vintage cars, including some from rare European marques with long racing histories, left central Japan Friday on an annual four-day classic rally.
Vintage car enthusiasts from around Japan gathered in Nagoya with their vehicles for The La Festa Primavera 2019, a timed road rally for cars manufactured between the 1920s and 1970s.
(A Triumph TR2 departs the start line of La Festa Primavera 2019, a four-day classic rally for cars built between the 1920s and 1970s. Starting on April 19, 2019, the race takes in seven prefectures, starting in Nagoya and finishing in Kyoto.)
Drivers travel 1,250 kilometers in vintage cars, including famous brands like Bugattis, Aston Martins and Porsches as well as some rare vehicles from tiny and relatively unknown carmakers like Ermini and Stanguellini. The rally takes competitors through seven prefectures before they finish in Kyoto.
(A Porsche 356, right, and a Lotus Seven line up at the start of La Festa Primavera 2019.)
A 1925 Bugatti T13 Brescia is the oldest vehicle entered, one of four cars -- two Bentley 3 Litres and a Ford Model A -- from the 1920s competing.
Notable Japanese-made cars taking part include two examples of the iconic 1960s Toyota 2000GT sports car, a diminutive 1969 Toyota Sports 800 and an off-road rally inspired 1972 Nissan Fairlady 240Z.
Car enthusiast and famous TV personality Masaaki Sakai entered the event in a sleek blue 1967 Maserati Mistral coupe.
A frequent entrant in the rally, the 72-year-old said, "My goal this year is to complete the race. I look forward to seeing the ocean view across the Kii Peninsula."
(An Alfa Romeo Giulietta, left, an MG A, center, and an Austin Healey 100/4, right, are parked at the start of La Festa Primavera 2019.)
La Festa Primavera started in 2009 and this year is the 11th time it has been run. The 2019 event departs Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya and finishes at Okazaki Park in Kyoto.
Contestants collect "points" at tourist sites such as Ise Jingu, a Shinto shrine, and Wakayama Castle during their trip. However, speed is not the ultimate aim, rather competitors try to arrive at the end of each stage as close to a predetermined time as possible, with the most accurate drivers and co-pilots rewarded with the highest ranks.
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