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Molto Bella Auto Show Akron, OH - September 10, 2023

Jim Weed

Volume 48 Issue 18

Sep 23, 2023

Molto Bella Auto Show has Ferraris and other makes displayed on the beautiful grounds of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio. An event not to be missed and donations go to The Kidney Foundation of Ohio.

    Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is a lovely mansion set in the hills of eastern Ohio. Built by Goodyear co-founder F.A. Seiberling, it is now a historic location open to the public equally on par with Biltmore and other industrialist’s homes from the early twentieth century.

    The front yard of this home is a large meadow and is the location of the Molto Bella Auto Show. Founded by David Nelson and Frank Todaro, the show now in its tenth year, has paid homage to Frank’s father, Mel Todaro, by donating to the Kidney Foundation of Ohio.

    Through the many sponsors and generous participants, the Molto Bella car show has been able to donate many thousands of dollars to help others.


    Todaro’s Party Center hosts a pre-show dinner on Friday which is a first-class affair with Italian food, silent auction items and live auction goodies.

    Live auction items ranged from toolboxes and jewelry to a rare print called Champions Passing Champions; one of 500 prints, and one of 100 signed by Phil Hill himself. Much money was raised by the crowd.

    The real fun is on Sunday when automobiles fill the lawn. Not just an exotic car show but all kinds. Mustang and Camaro, Porsche and BMW, Vintage, Anique and Classic 1950s fill the rows of cars.

    There was even one Edsel! You know I had to stop and spend some time with this gentleman.

    And there were Ferraris. While not strictly a Ferrari show, there was a strong presence of Prancing Horses. Thirty-three of them to be sure. Nearly ten percent of the cars displayed.

    The Ferrari area was very popular with the throngs of people who came to support the cause and enjoy the cars.

    Local car shows tend to bring out local cars and this show was no different. Most of the Ferraris displayed were more modern cars. There were several 308s and 348s and while I still think of these as modern, maybe even new, I have to remember these are now forty-year-old Ferraris.

    One of the rare Ferraris displayed was a 1988 ½  328 GTB, ABS car brought by David Zapata. I call it one of the rare cars if you discount the Tailor Made models brought by others.



    David Nelson let me drive his GTC4Lusso with many unique details, like wood grain door sills and special pinstriping. John Ashe displayed his 812 GTS with tricolore stripe and number roundels.


    I talked to David Beule who is a new Ferrari owner. His 360 Spider is red with tan, classic colors. This was his first show and he was excited to be involved with both the show and Ferraris. He is already planning to look for another to add to his stable.

    Doug Ripkin was another owner I had the pleasure to sit down with and discuss Ferraris. He owns a black Portofino with tan interior. This was his first Ferrari although he claimed to be a Porsche man, I could tell he was enjoying the experience with his car.

    Among the many Ferraris arranged along the hillside, there was one special Ferrari that stood out from the rest. Ferraris at an event are always a draw to the public, people come to look and inspect the cars that are generally only seen in pictures and rarely up close.

    Racing cars are often the center of attention, and a pontoon fender 250 Testa Rossa was displayed. Fresh from the paint shop it was perfect, looking like it was ready to begin a twenty-four-hour race at Le Mans.

    The hood came off and six gleaming carburetors lined up between two red valve covers. All during the day people would come to stare at the mechanical wizardry. Such treats are not often seen. Thanks for allowing us to enjoy!


    September is a wonderful time to be in Ohio. The weather was perfect, the people are friendly, and the cars were great. You don’t have to be car crazy to enjoy the range of automotive history people bring out for display.

    Molto Bella may not be on your radar for an event, but it should be. The food and fellowship are worth the trip. The cause is worthy. There could not be a better way to memorialize Mel Todaro and support the Kidney Foundation than by attending Molto Bella next year.

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