Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


ONE OF the high points of my career as an automotive journalist was enjoying Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks with friend and Grand Prix driver Innes Ireland as we both watched barges of musicians and fireworks move past us down the Thames. We were there in London attending a black-tie affair, the reason being one of Pirelli’s calendar introductions.


Now I’m not exactly a girlie calendar type, but then again Pirelli calendars aren’t the archetypical girlie calendars. First published in the 1960s, discontinued 1975 through 1983, issued annually since then, the calendars published by Pirelli U.K. are known for their artistic photography of unclothed women—and occasionally men—in glamorous venues. Because of their limited availability, the calendars are collectible, of which more anon.

That particular setting for the Pirelli calendar intro was memorable; a vast ballroom fitted out as a pasha’s palace, his harem girls circulating with drinks and noshes. (Real pashas ate noshes, right?)

The “black tie” part of the invitation had frightened me, but Innes advised “Wear one of my black ties with that dark blue suit of yours—and, as you’re an American, you’ll be fine.”

The ballroom overlooked the Thames. With precise timing, its lights dimmed, curtains opened and into view came the barges of musicians and fireworks.


A view of the Fire-works and Illuminations at his Grace the Duke of Richmond’s at Whitehall and on the River Thames on Monday 15 May 1749.

I never did find out whether the concert was specifically arranged by Pirelli or simply a product of simultaneous serendipity. However, I did get a calendar out of the deal.

This leads me to the “For Sale” portion of today’s title, and another story. Jack Gerken, Pirelli PR wizard, was the mastermind of my drive of the Benetton B186 Formula 1 car (see He also arranged for several of us at R&T to be annual recipients of these limited-availability Pirelli calendars.

Over the years I accumulated 19 Pirelli calendars, 1989 through 2007, most of which are not only in mint condition, but unopened in their original packaging as well.


These calendars are now for sale, to be auctioned through eBay but offered first here to SimanaitisSays readers (or anyone else who gets wind of the deal). I’d like to sell them as a set, but let me know your interest at by March 31, 2014.

I confess to a subterfuge being responsible for the pristine condition of my collection. Each year, our several Pirelli calendars arrived at the editorial offices simultaneously, and obviously the aesthetes of our staff were all eager to discover what artistic theme had been chosen for that particular year.

It was simple to wait until one of my impatient colleagues opened his calendar.

This could take as long as four minutes. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2014

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