Do you currently own an Alfa? If so what do you have?
I currently own a 2007 Alfa Romeo 159 1.9JTDm Lusso with around 90,000 miles (144,000Km), which I’ve been using for my daily drive for just over a year. In that time, I have restored the tan leather interior and steering wheel as well as added original Alfa brushed chrome wing mirror covers (with self-added Italian flag stripes), OEM exhaust pipe tip and wind deflectors, original Quadrifoglio badges to the wings and aftermarket sun blinds, and a black rear boot spoiler. I have also added an aftermarket chrome Italian flag underneath the speedo for added customisation. It recently underwent a full service and passed its MOT with flying colours!
What is your most memorable Alfa experience?
Without a doubt, getting behind the wheel of my first Alfa – a 156 1.9 twin spark Lusso in black, with a red leather interior and a personalised number plate! This car was really the start of the dream for me, but ended in a nightmare as I had to let her go when a divorce and new relationship meant there was no room for two ‘beauties’ in my life – until recently that is.
If you could have any Alfa, what would it be?
As much as I’m tempted to say the car that started it all for Alfa – the 1910 24HP – it has to be the new Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAm which is streets ahead of the competition in terms of style, performance and sheer driving kudos. This car is beast and beauty all rolled into one, with the Italian flair and design that classic and modern Alfa Romeo aficionados expect from the brand they love. Not only a head-turner on the track but also on the road, this is one Alfa that would really set my heart and pulse racing all day long – with the only track needed for me being that gloriously tuned V6 bi-turbo engine. That said, the GTAm is probably out of my price bracket so my next Alfa will be one from the ‘lower end’ Giulia range.
What was your first Alfa?
This was the 156 already mentioned. The lines and uniqueness of the off-centre number plate beautifying the classic Alfa centre grille was love at first sight and the smell of the leather interior was like aromatherapy every time I sat behind the wheel. Sadly, it was a short-lived affair as the previous owner had neglected the necessary service intervals, and the engine needed new life breathing into her at a time when a change in my personal circumstances meant I could not afford the attention she needed.
What is your favourite Alfa?
It has to be the car I am driving at the moment. Every time I leave the car I turn around for a final admiring glance, and every time I approach her for a drive I appreciate how lucky I am to be driving a part of automotive history. This is a car that is happy driving around town but is really at home on the motorway cruising or ‘dancing’ around the curves of country roads where hills are climbed as if they do not exist.
Why is Alfa special to you?
It’s the feeling of butterflies in the stomach when you walk up to and away from the car and sit behind the wheel. It really is a love affair born of passion and a sense of pride – being part of a family where there’s a sense of Italian beauty stemming from unique design and engineering. I always look at the badge with honour and feel like a king driving my car. I do not follow the ‘crowd’ and know that owning an Alfa is a very individual and unique experience. The fact that there are not so many Alfa Romeos on the road makes you feel special and when you see another Alfisti you tend to flash your lights in acknowledgement and appreciation. Not only that put you feel a part of the company’s rich racing, sporting and luxury heritage.
Which drive holds the most special memory and why?
Probably the first long drive in my 159 from my home in Reading, England, to the West Coast Highlands of Scotland on holiday – round trip of around 1,300 miles. This was a good chance to test it on a range or roads and inclines. The car was a joy to drive all the way and never let us down. To have the beauty of the Alfa amongst the beauty of the Scottish landscape completed the picture. Not only that but on one day we came across a convoy of Fiat 500s who all flashed us as they drove by – a perfect salute!
What is your favourite story involving an Alfa?
This is yet to come as I’m planning to drive my 159 from home in Reading, England, to the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese via France and Switzerland – probably next year down once the situation with COVID-19 becomes a lot better.