MONTEREY, Calif. -- Fiat aside, Italian cars live in a rarefied world of the very rich and the very few.
Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Pagani, Zagato -- those luminary brands barely add up to a percent of a percentage point worth of sales in America.
But oh, the mystique.
Oh, the power of the Italian design -- the curves of the Italian body and the seductiveness of their bold ways, even among Americans who in many cases have never owned one or even driven one.
This weekend, some 8,000 people will pay $155 each to crawl over a golf course here to murmur sei bella and ti amo to 800 or more classic Alfas, Ferraris and Maseratis parked on display at the annual Concorso Italiano.
Tom McDowell, who has been president of Concorso since 2009, says advanced ticket sales indicate the crowds will be up by one-fourth over last year. That’s partly due to moving it from Friday to Saturday for the first time in 28 years -- but even that doesn’t explain the simple fact that more fans of automobili italiane are out there than there used to be.