It was our pleasure to speak to dedicated Alfisti Craig Jones, a self-described ‘Welshman who thinks he was meant to be Italian’, about his love for the Alfa Romeo brand. He works as a lawyer in the City, and dedicates much of his free time to his small, mostly Italian car collection. He chronicles the highs and lows of his passion on Instagram, under the handle @scuderia_gallese.
Do you currently own an Alfa? If so what do you have?
I currently own two Alfas - a 4C Spider and an A12. The A12 was originally fitted with a hydraulic ladder and was used by the electricity company in Naples as a street lighting vehicle. I had it converted to a car transporter and I use it to transport my 1936 Fiat Balilla to VSCC events.
What is your most memorable Alfa experience?
My most memorable Alfa experience was in a 1964 Giulia Sprint Speciale. At the time, I owned a Maserati Granturismo and I was invited by HR Owen to join a group of customers heading from London to Goodwood for one of the Sunday Breakfast Club meetings. I accepted, but turned up in the Sprint Speciale instead of the Granturismo. Everyone else was in a modern Maserati, Ferrari or Lamborghini. Luckily, the drive to Goodwood was a gentle affair for the super cars, but I still had to wring out all the performance of the Giulia to keep up. It was a really exhilarating morning!
If you could have any Alfa, what would it be?
How do you choose just one Alfa? My five car fantasy garage has at least six Alfas in it... Ignoring the pure unobtanium that is the Tipo 33 Stradale or the 2000 Sportiva, I have agonised over a shortlist which includes a 1931 6C 1750 Zagato, a 1960 Giulia SZ, a 1966 GTA Stradale - the list goes on. But, I suspect controversially, I am going to choose a 1960s F12 Furgone in period Autodelta livery.
What was your first Alfa?
My first Alfa was the Sprint Speciale. I hadn’t been looking for one. In fact, I went to view an Abarth 750 GT Zagato, but spotted a forlorn Sprint Speciale in the corner of the garage. The roof was damaged, the doors were off, someone had hacked away part of the rear wing - but the beauty of the car just stood out, regardless. An 18-month restoration later, it was mine!
What is your favourite Alfa?
My favourite is the 2000 Sportiva. I remember seeing it in the metal for the first time on the lawn at Goodwood House at the Festival of Speed. I must have spent 20 minutes just walking around it and looking at it from every angle. It is simply stunning.
Why is Alfa special to you?
Alfa just has an incredible history. The list of fantastic cars, both on the road and the track, is too long to recite. People seem to react to Alfas in a way that is unique. Even those who would not necessarily describe themselves as Alfisti appreciate the cars. I think it was Henry Ford who said “Every time I see an Alfa, I tip my hat”. And the original Scuderia Ferrari was, of course, the Alfa racing team managed by Enzo.
Which drive holds the most special memory and why?
The happiest I have been behind the wheel of an Alfa was driving home from the Prescott Hill Climb in my A12, with the Balilla on the back, having just one my class on handicap in the VSCC sprint meeting. I remember being so happy not only that I had won an event for the first time, but that I had fulfilled my wider ambition of being able to drive to and from events in a classic transporter. I think some of my friends thought I was mad when I said I had bought an old lorry to turn into a transporter, but (with huge help from Paul de Turris at DTR Sports Cars) I had seen my vision come to fruition. A great feeling.