Although I was born in 1961, my passion for classic cars is relatively recent. I started driving back in 1980, and my first car was a 13-year-old Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 TI. That car was fantastic. Still in very good shape (it had been bought new and owned by an uncle of mine since 1967), it was powered by the specially tuned 1600cc engine of a Guardia di Finanza (Italian Customs Guard).
I had a very good time with that car but, sadly, I wasn't wise enough to conserve it. Always an Alfista, I have owned only Alfas since then, but I developed a strong interest in classic cars only a few years ago, after attending, by chance, an RIAR (Registro Italiano Alfa Romeo) rally in Sirmione, on Lake Garda.
So I started looking for one of the cars that I had liked most when I was a child, back in the '60s: a white 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint 1300. I found one quite easily, near Modena. The car needed restoration, but the price was correct and it had classic plates. So I bought it and, in a couple of years, I was able to restore it and have it certified by both ASI and RIAR. Unfortunately for my wife, the classic Alfa virus was spreading in my soul! On average, I have bought one car per year since then.
The second car was a red 1958 Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider Touring, which I found near Treviso. This car also needed restoration, but again the price was reasonable. Once restored, it was certified by ASI. The car had been sold new directly in California (the speedometer is in miles, not in km), and had remained in the US for decades before returning to Europe, first to Germany and then to Italy.
The third car was a black 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 Berlina. This car was in good shape, needed no restoration, and was already ASI certified. The car had been sold new to a gentleman in Geneva and remained there for decades before returning to Italy. I found it a few km from Bergamo, where I live. This is my favourite car for participating in rallies.
Finally one year ago I started to look for a relatively recent Alfa model. A car that I remember having seen once when I was a child. A car that didn't look to me like a 'usual' car, but like something special, like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini... that was the Montreal! I found and examined about a dozen Montreals, all over Northern Italy. Most did not have original interiors and/or had serious engine problems. Then, in May 2009, I found an ad in a magazine for a 1972 Montreal for sale in Rome. It was white, not my preferred colour for a sports car, but it looked complete and original, and it had classic plates. It was also already ASI certified. So I went to Rome to examine it. The car was in splendid shape, although the tyres were gone. The owner had bought the car almost new and kept it for 35 years. The price was correct and I bought it. I 'trusted' the Montreal and drove it to Bergamo (about 700km) in about 10 hours. I changed the tyres and, after having a few ignition problems, also the sparkplugs. Since then the car runs perfectly.
The latest Alfa I bought, just a few months ago, is a 1964 silver Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint. I found it in Bologna, owned by a collector who had kept it in very good condition. After examining it, I remembered having already seen it. In fact it had been featured in an article published at the end of 2008 in the magazine Automobilismo d'Epoca, in which it was compared to a Fiat Coupe 2300S. A good price, the fact that it had semi-classic plates, was original in every detail, and was already ASI and FIVA certified, were enough for me to decide to buy it. The 300km drive from Bologna to Bergamo was a pleasure.
Five classic Alfas are enough now! My last dream is about a 1900 Sprint, but... I would risk my wife divorcing!
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