Cars in the movies: Vacanze di Natale

“What movie do we watch at Christmas?”. Having easily passed the eve, with the inevitable appointment of "Trading Places" on Italia 1, the choice of 25th of December’s movie is much more difficult, since the list of movies to watch for the occasion is endless. However, if we talk about Italian films, we cannot fail to refer to "Vacanze di Natale" from 1983, directed by Carlo Vanzina. This movie - the first of a series of Christmas movies that will evolve into the latest cinepanettoni - has definitively sanctioned the success of a series of actors such as Jerry Calà, Christian De Sica and Claudio Amendola. But it has also allowed the public to get to know numerous actors and character actors, such as Guido Nicheli alias “Il Dogui” with his providential “Sole, whisy e sei in pole position” or Riccardo Garrone, whose line “Anche questo Natale ce lo siamo levato dalle …. “ is mentioned every year at the end of all the holidays.
Nostalgics of the Italian 80s can cite numerous goodies present in the film. Among these stands out a car that has become a status symbol: the Innocenti Mini de Tomaso Turbo, the car of the pianist Billo, played by Jerry Calà. An Italian jewel, the result of the acquisition of the Innocenti brand by the Italian De Tomaso. Two-tone paintwork, resin bumpers with fog lights, air intake on the bonnet. Its appearance is sporty and intriguing and this is well demonstrated by the performance on the road, guaranteed by the 71 horsepower Leyland 1300 engine (update of the classic Mini Cooper engine). The historic rival of this car is the Autobianchi A112 Abarth, also contested in the cinema in many Italian comedies. In 1982, Innocenti decided to abandon the Leyland engines in favor of more modern three-cylinder Japanese Daihatsu. The following year, the new Turbo De Tomaso version arrives. The change is epochal: 993cc engine for no less than 72 horsepower supported by an extraordinary performance turbo: 165 kilometers per hour (from 0 to 100 in 10 seconds). An image and sales success.
In Vanzina's movie, the Mini de Tomaso driven by Billo arrives in Cortina d'Ampezzo underlined by the unmistakable notes of "I like Chopin" by the Gazebo. A photograph from the 80s, a precise moment in history that will never come back, except through the comedies of those years.
The history of the Mini de Tomaso ends sadly in 1990, when Innocenti changes hands again, marrying Fiat, which decides to put an end to production. Today it is still possible to find a few specimens left over from the latest productions at a good price. Obviously driving requires considerable effort compared to today's cars, although performance remains very respectable. However, we can identify in the Italian cinema of the time a real promotional activity for this car: it is also thanks to "Vacanze di Natale" that the Mini de Tomaso has positioned itself as a status symbol of the young motorist of the 80s.
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