Cars from the land of shiny metals and leather seats are born crowd-pleasers. There’s something about classic vehicles from bygone eras that raises an exciting frenzy—be it because of the Cinderella transformations these beauties go through to get a new lease on life, or due to the memories they carry with them. One of the veterans of the Malta Classic editions, Thomas Smith’s Managing Director, Joe Gerada, has been lured by the enchanting call of such vintage autos.
Classics are Joe Gerada’s passion; from pre-war MGs to vintage motorcycles. This fascination bloomed some 20 years ago with the purchase of his very first classic—a 1969 MGB. His wife encouraged him to seal the deal, and he stated, it was an impossible-to-resist situation. From then onwards, his collection has spanned to include MG pre-war models, Jaguar and Austin Healey convertible sports cars and roadsters, as well as Norton, BSA and Ariel motorcycles. Joe’s passion is fuelled by the admiration of the vehicles’ pristine mechanical engineering and design, the refined body and upholstery, and the somewhat primitive feel of their drive.
The Malta Classic races welcome some of these sleeping beauties from all over the world, some of which only see the light of day on warm weekends. As they venture away from their cosy life, drivers with abundant enthusiasm matching Joe Gerada’s, have the opportunity to recreate the ambience of the older days and re-live some street racing excitement. Joe marked his first participation in the event’s second edition in 2010, where the Malta Classic races were still held around the Valletta ring road. Nowadays, the Malta Classic has become a pioneer of classic car racing held around the fortifications of the Old Capital City, famous for its curvy and trying roads. Classics taking part in the event can be admired by several auto professionals, enthusiasts and passers-by alike.
Joe keeps his cars in optimum condition throughout the year. Nonetheless, he relayed how a few evenings before the event, together with his mechanic, competing cars are taken on a test-drive and a detailed inspection is carried out.
Joe Gerada has taken his passion for racing vintage automobiles and motorcycles to international rallies. Throughout the year, one may find him participating at some of the most renowned international events that celebrate the heritage of motor racing, some of which are held in Ireland, the French and Swiss Alps, Milano Taranto, as well as the well-known Giro di Sicilia.
Joe recollected a comical event which once happened during an Irish rally. In the midst of the rally and at a standstill in heavy downpour, he ended up with a flat tyre and super late in time. His Jaguar XK120 always attracted people’s attention, and whilst he was trying to get his extra tyre from beneath hordes of car spares and looking like a drowned rat, an Irish man stopped by to share a couple of words. As he recalls the incident, Joe admitted how the urgency to finish up got the best of him and he barked the guy away. Little did Joe know that the gentleman was trying to help by indicating a close-by tyre shop which could do the repair for him in no time!
One suggestion Joe Gerada shares with other fellow drivers in preparation for the Malta Classic event is to “Go and enjoy the ride, take yourself and your car to your combined limits and at the end of the event go back home with an undamaged car!”
Live the excitement at the Malta Classic shows and races. Watch out for a 1938 Alvis 12/70 – Joe Gerada will be the one behind the wheel!
About Joe Gerada
Joe Gerada is the Managing Director for Thomas Smith Group, one of the longest established service group of companies in Malta, specialising in international shipping services and insurance. He joined the Group in 1985 and has been the brains behind the Group’s expansion and service line developments. Thomas Smith Group is proudly sponsoring the 2017’s edition of the Malta Classic.
About the Malta Classic
The Malta Classic is a four-day event comprising of three exhilarating events: the Malta Classic Hill Climb by Thomas Smith, the Mdina Concours d’Elegance, and the Mdina Grand Prix. Over 70 pre-1976 cars will participate in the 2017 edition. Check out the programme of events for more details and buy your tickets online.
Thank you to Thomas Smith for their generous and ongoing support of the Malta Classic weekend. Without Thomas Smith, there would surely be no great thrills on the hill!