Did I mention they rust?

Saturday, January 26, 2008
If I don't get a Bristol, I was thinking of one of these. A 1962 Alfa Giulia Berlina 1600. Cheaper than the Bristol (initial capital costs only, he was careful to add) and more available in the US, at least theoretically. There supposedly is a dentist on Mercer Island just outside Seattle with a barn full of these and other postwar Alfa Romeos.

What began as Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili has a glorious history, one of invention or early adoption of those technical innovations – like overhead cams, aluminum heads, fuel injection – that would one day be standard on most vehicles. There is a famous and almost certainly apocryphal story that Henry Ford would doff his cap whenever an Alfa drove by. In pre-WWII years, they could be surprisingly big. After WWII, all that changed. Smaller, lighter, monocoque bodies, more economical. But the quality of the steel was often not the best and the rear wheel arches and rocker panels lasted about as long as a typical mid-60s Italian government. Same with the A and B pillars and the cowling. Same with the heater blower motor. But when everything is running right, you can pretend you are Tazio Nuvolari or Juan Manuel Fangio as you drive to the Post Office and the supermarket. And the cute girl is included with the car, or so I'm told.

Image: Museo Storico Alfa Romeo.

5 comments:

chuck said...

She doesn't look rusty to me.

Skookumchuk said...

The car? No, I think this was a factory publicity shot, probably taken just after it rolled off the line.

Knucklehead said...

You fickle prick! A Bristol in the carport is worth two Alfas in a barn. Make up your mind - be a man.

Skookumchuk said...

A Bristol in the carport is worth two Alfas in a barn.

You are absolutely correct. I just wanted an excuse for a Saturday post. But the Bristol it shall be.

Rick Ballard said...

No, two Bristols. And an expansion of your shop to 10,000 square feet so that you have plenty of room in which to tinker with them.