Saturday, February 27, 2021

Alfa Romeo GTV - The Champion You Drive To Work

 Quite appropriate -  this advertising slogan used by Alfa Romeo.  Indeed, the champion you drove to work if you owned a Giulia Gran Tursimo Veloce back in the '60's and '70's. 


                              

Kind of like the american version that says' Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday'.  All car guys (and gals) want to drive a winner, a racing winner!  Alfa Romeo was tearing up race tracks all across Europe and to a lesser degree in the US back in the glory days of the late '60s and early '70's . The race version of the GTV, known as the GTA where 'A' stands for alleggerita, or 'lightened' was actually available to purchase.  There were only 500 of the GTA's built but they looked almost identical to the GTV's. So if you bought a GTV you could say you drive a race car, sort of,  and be correct.  

I thought this post would be appropriate because my GTV has emerged from the shop after seven months of an intense refurbishment that included many new suspension/ brake parts and a total body refresh, as in metal work, topped with an impeccible paint job done at Realistic Auto Restorations, in St. Petersburg, FL.

A lot of love and passion goes into one of these 'refurbishments'.  I found myself becoming obsessed in getting the car back to as close to factory spec as possible, right down to leaving the right amount of orange peel in the paint to duplicate the factory look.  When I look at this GTV sitting in my garage I can see myself 50 years ago walking out into the garage admiring my new car after driving her home from the Alfa dealer. The feeling is sureal and only a true petrolhead can relate to that feeling.



I do feel part of this car as I did as much work on it as I could, given the tools and knowledge I posess.  Eibell Performance in Clearwater, FL did the mechanical improvements and as mentioned before, Realistic Auto Restorations did the body and paint.  My contribution was to source all the parts needed (including a 3 month search for a new windshield), final sanding and buffing of the paint, spray dying the headliner and putting the car back together after it emerged from the sanding and buffing operation. I can appreciate why it costs so much to do a good restoration on one of these; the number of hours that goes into the process incredible.

                                       A good friend, Delmas Greene helping bring her home.


From paint booth to my garage.


                                              Hours of work sanding and final buffing.



                                      The biggest problem was getting a winshield shipped from 
                                       the UK.  Cost was high but have to have it.

In the end it is worth it- you can also feel good about the accomplishment including knowing you have preserved a piece of history. If not for dedicated enthusiasts, these cars would be lost to time and future generations would lose touch with these engineering marvels of their time.  Here's some pictures to prove it.




I'll cap off this post with two things- the first is my write up about the car I've named 'Snow White' that I prepared for her first showing at the Festivals of Speed in St. Petersburg last weekend  and I follow that up with a video that captures the emotion and passion of bringing a GTV back to life.  I'll warn you the video is rather long and it is in Italian with captions, but it is very well done, and at the end you will be thrilled seeing the final product of a process similar to my journey, only more involved with engine modifications. If you have time watch it, if not at least look at the last 5-10 minutes.

Look for more stories of my travels with Snow White in the future.  The journey is just beginning!


First my write up-  Alfa Romeo GTV - The Champion You Drive To Work

An old advertising slogan for the ALFA GTV was “The champion you drive to work” and it was literally true.  In the ‘60’s and early ‘70’s this little coupe was winning on the track on Sunday and you could drive the street version you see here to work on Monday.  To appreciate the GTV one needs to look back in history.

Alfa Romeo was founded in 1910 and is a marque associated with famous engineers, design houses and racers. One notable person we all recognize is Enzo Ferrari. As one of the Alfa team racers, he was hired in 1929 to set up and run the racing operation for Alfa Romeo. He would eventually go on to start his own company in 1947.  You could say Alfa Romeo has a cousin and they call it Ferrari.

Alfa’s racing cars were so successful, they dominated the sport in the 1930’s. Continuing its winning ways into the ‘40’s and ‘50’s, Alfa Romeo conquered the Targa Florio, the Millie Miglia, Le Mans, and Formula 1 to name a few. For decades the company produced some of the world’s fastest and most beautiful cars.

In addition to speed, Alfa worked with the world’s best design studios including Zagato, Touring, Pininfarina and Bertone to create automotive art on wheels. That’s where a young designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro comes into the picture. Giugiaro was unhappy working at Fiat and Nuccio Bertone hired him to join his Bertone design studio. Not yet 20 years old, he penned the design for the Giulia GT Junior in the early 1960’s that would later be known as the GTV.  The total run of cars started in 1963, continuing to 1977, which was remarkable for those times. Giugiaro created what is today recognized as one of the most elegant yet simple designs ever.  You could say a masterpiece!

These stylish coupes were considered a mini exotic and were comparable in price with the Jaguar E type.  It is said buyers had a choice of an Alfa GTV or a Jaguar E type and it was often a tough decision which car to buy.  In Europe it was the equivalent of the Mustang/ Camaro duel, only twice as expensive.

The Alfa was ahead of its time with four wheel disc brakes, five speed transmission and a limited slip differential. Not even BMW could compare.

With that as the background, the car you see here is one of the few remaining that is in original condition. Many of these fine automobiles have been modified, raced, wrecked, or more likely rusted and rotted.

Remarkably rare, ‘Snow White’ has only been driven by two owners during its 49 year life. The first owner took delivery in March 1973 and sold the car in 2001. The second owner sold it to a collector in 2018 who never drove it. I stay in touch with the second owner in Bridgeport, CT who regrets selling her. I have confirmed the odometer reading to be correct at a little less than 63,000 miles.  A nice touch that I left intact during restoration was an oil change reminder taped on the inside of the driver’s door indicating the original owner changed the oil on February 9, 2000. Based on my research, that owner was 75 years old at the time, a testament to the type of mechanically minded, hands on kind of owners these cars attracted.

In March 2020, a mild restoration was begun that concluded in early February 2021. The car was given all new tires, suspension parts, and new brake lines by Eibell Performance of Clearwater followed by a complete refurbishment of metal and paintwork done by the craftsmen at Realistic Auto Restorations of St. Petersburg.  The car has never been in an accident and incredibly the front and rear bumpers are in excellent condition and are the originals, a rarity with these cars.

This beauty left the factory in June of 1972 dressed in Bianco Spino (Hawthorne White) with Tessuto Plastificato Nero (Black) interior. Whenever possible I have attempted to keep original nuts, bolts, screws and fasteners and trim it left the factory with to stay in keeping with the originality of the car.

The  Alfa Romeo GTV (Gran Tourismo Veloce) is a true classic and if you were a young buck in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s this was the car to have. It still is the champion you can drive to work! 

‘Snow White’   presented by Paul Ziegler of Seminole, FL.

Publisher, Carcamerastory.com    Follow on Instagram @wownowpics

Author of “Echoes From The Glen”, Reflections of Race Fans After Forty Years

 

And finally, the video: Davide Cironi - Drive Experience Video   It will touch your heart.

Thanks so much for following me and look for more about my journey with 'Snow White' in the future.

Grazie,

Paul Ziegler, Publisher  Carcamerastory.com 



Saturday, January 16, 2021

My 1989 Spider Is For Sale See BaT

Hello All,    Here's a tip for anyone looking for a really nice Alfa Romeo Spider.  My 1989 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio is being offered for sale on Bring A Trailer's web auction site. It should be posted by the time you read this or within a day or two.   

Why would I sell such a nice example of the classic Italian sports car?  One word- GTV.  Yes, I have a GTV coming out of the restoration shop this week and between storage and the cost to properly restore my 1972 GTV, I have to make a sacrifice.  So if you are thinking of picking up a great Spider complete with air conditioning for Spring and Summer enjoyment this could be your car.

Here's a treat for all Alfa lovers- a TV Commercial from the '70s featuring the GTV and the Spider. Click below to see why these cars have held their value after all these years.  

I Love My Alfa Romeo


When you see the listing you will see that all the work has been done for you, all that's left is for the new owner to drive it and enjoy it. And it is a 'looker' dressed in black with a two tone interior and geogeous red carpeting.  This is the car for social distancing and cruising to your favorite take-out resaurant!

Brought to you by Carcamerastory.com

Follow on Instagram @Wownowpics.


BLACK BEAUTY




Delivery From Texas February 2020




Jump In And Drive In Style!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Alfa Romeo GTA - The Future and the Past

 This post is centered around a great video I discovered today that shows the engineering behind the new Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA and GTAm .  It's a facinating look at this new supercar; a 4 door Supercar! You can own one if you are one of the lucky 500 customers, but there's a catch.  You can't buy one in the US, only in Europe as best I can tell.  And the price?   If $155,000. is in your budget, you will be good.

The car started as an Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio and was redesigned for maximum weight reduction and aerodynamic efficiency. Looking at the GTA, it looks a lot like a regular 'Quad', but after seeing the video you will see why it costs about $70,000. more!   If you are into cars, this one says Collectible all over it.

Why?  There's only 500 total production and that is split between the more sedate GTA with a real back seat and the ultra track car, the GTAm with no back seat. No back seat? Well they throw in a roll bar, a helmet and a racing suit to make up for it.

What is so special?   You have to go back to 1965 to appreciate this car's roots. It all started with the 'little' Giulia Coupe known as the Giulia Sprint GTA and they only made 500 of them to qualify it for racing. The 'A' stands for Alleggerita, or 'lightened' in Italian.  Back then this little gem was winning a lot on the race tracks around Europe.  The advertising slogan " A win every day, with an everyday car."

So now is a good time if you have about 20 minutes on a cold winter day to pour a cup of hot tea, chocolate or coffee and take a look at the story of the 'new' GTA from Alfa.  Click on the link below and enjoy.

Click Here For The GTA Story

(Credit to Motor 1 YouTube Channel)

But before you go, as the title to this post says 'Past'.  Here's some pictures of my link to the GTA story. My very own  1972 Alfa GTV which is a close cousin to the GTA of the day. Here you see her in the paint booth at Realistic Auto Restorations in St. Petersburg, FL.  She's sporting a new Bianco Spino ( Hawthorn White) paint job, done this week after 200 hours of prep work.  As soon as I get her all back together and detailed, I'll bring you an update complete with a video of the finished product. 

And to give you an idea of what she sounds like here is a video of my generation of GTV/ GTA sounded like. In some ways this is as good, or even better sounding than the new one! Click below to listen:

Sweet Sound Of A GTV

(Credit The Image Engine YouTube Channel)

If you had time to see the video, you will see why I feel so lucky to own a piece of the Alfa Romeo story and get to drive one!  Now if I only had $155,000. and could buy a new one in Europe.....

Here is my 1972 GTV:








              Check back soon for the finished car- should be ready by Valentine's Day.💓💓

                         Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher carcamerastory.com and 
                    author of "Echoes From The Glen".  Follow on Instagram @wownowpics









Friday, December 11, 2020

Old Car Restoration - Then and Now



      My 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 At Realistic Auto Restorations in St. Petersburg, FL


 This post is a little off the beaten path for this site.  Most of my posts talk about the latest race, a road test report or some car show pics.  This time I have a fantastic video to share that I saw yesterday that will bring tears to your eyes if you are a true auto enthusiast.  If you are young or old it won't matter; if you have automobiles in your heart you will relate to the video 'Hirohata Merc Custom Legend'.

This video says more about the meaning of automobiles in our culture than I could ever convey through multiple posts about the subject. At 33 minutes it is worth your time to watch. Great viewing on a cold evening as it will warm your heart.

It is also a good time to put this out as I happen to be in the process of a restoration of my own.  Above is a picture of my 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV as it looked this week.  (More pictures below)  My little gem has been in the process of getting a complete refresh since September.  You can see several pictures of it in posts earlier this year.  When it is done, it will be stunning.

But back to the video-  this is a testament to American ingenuity, creativity and passion all rolled nto one. When you see the car, the Hirohata Merc, you can't help but be moved by its beauty.  It is the Mona Lisa of car creations!

So here you go- feast your eyes on it!

The Hirohata Merc

And after seeing the video, here's more pictures of my 'Mona Lisa'.

And here's a video of what it will be when finished- although the color will be 'Biancospino' as opposed to Alfa's Rosso or red.  A bit more subdued but just as fast!

Click on the link below to:

Let Her Fly





Watch for the finshed car coming soon.   Brought to you by Paul Ziegler,

Publisher of Carcamerastory.com and author of "Echoes From The Glen", Reflections of Race Fans After Forty Years.



Sunday, October 25, 2020

Newgarden Wins But Scott Dixon Crowned Champion in St Pete

 

Scott Dixon,  2020 Champion   Placed 3rd in the race.


It was an action packed race with lots of drama. In fact Josef Newgarden won the race but Dixon finished third, so Newgarden's heroic effort was not enough to overcome his points deficit. It was close; he finished just 16 points behind Dixon. 

With the temperature near 90 and track temps near 125 degrees, the capacity crowd of 20,000 did get a show if not a hot mess at times.  Will Power was out in the early going and several favorites had their problems. But relative newcomer Pato O'Ward finished a strong second and St. Petersburg resident and favorite, Sebastien Bourdais finished fourth.

It won't be long for the Indycars to return as they are scheduled to run the first race of 2021 on March 7th.  

This post will be a short one as I am headed to New York tomorrow and will add more photos when I return, including shots from the Porsche GT3 Cup and the Indy Pro 2000 and USF 2000 series.  But first here's some highlight shots:

                                                    Race Winner, Josef Newgarden


                                       Sebastien Bourdais- St. Petersburg resident came 4th



                                                    A rising star- Pato O'Ward came 2nd.


Hope you enjoyed the pics and look for more in the future.   Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Indycar Championship To Be Decided In St. Petersburg

 


The excitement is building here in St. Petersburg, FL on a sunny Saturday morning as we wait for qualifying this afternoon.  In this most unusual year where everything has been turned upside down due to the Corona Virus, there is an advantage to the fans coming to the St. Pete Grand Prix in October instead of March. They will witness the crowning of a champion for the season.   Who will it be?

Normally the first race of the season that is overflowing with excitement following a long winter where fans can't wait to hear the roar of engines in many months, this 2020 version of the the St. Pete Grand Prix overflows with excitement because we will know if the champion will be Scott Dixon or Josef Newgarden.

I will have an updated post following tomorrow's race but here's a detailed article you will enjoy, followed by some photos from other racing activity from the Mazda MX-5 series and the Porsche GT3 Cup.  Buckle up and let's see what happens!

Championship Determined in St. Petersburg


Action from the Mazda MX-5 Series and the Porsche GT3 Cup:








    And while you are in town, check out Ft. DeSoto Park, minutes from downtown.  Here's my car         with the Sunshine Skyway bridge in the background.   A great place for a vacation!




Thanks for visiting my blog.  Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Publisher of carcamerastory.com and author of the book "Echoes From The Glen", Reflections of Race Fans After Forty Years.



 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Giulia GTV Compared To The Giulia Quadrifoglio- Who Wins? Must See Video

This is a long overdue review of two of Alfa Romeo's favorite cars.  It is likely to be a hotly debated subject as there are hundreds of fans for each and it is a difficult choice.

Who would you chose? The classic white beauty or the macho grey beast?


                                                                   PRESENT AND PAST



                 NEW LOOK - 2019 NRING













                                                                                                                                                                  OLD LOOK  -  1972 Giulia GTV

Now that you have had a look at the two contenders,  I have an excellent video for you that goes into
detail about each.  Watch the video and then decide- which would you chose?

I am extremely lucky to have one of each and I honestly can't pick a favorite.  It would like picking your favorite child if you had two kids.  There's things I like about each that the other can't do, or match.  Is it classic charm and ambiance you want?  Is it sheer brute force and speed?  Is it uniqueness and artistic beauty.  Is it the sound and aural sensation the car gives you? 

I say it is a little bit of all of that and that is why is is impossible to pick a winner.  So my advice is get one of each and you will always be satisfied, no matter which one you are driving.

Here's the video I promised-  20 minutes of pure joy.  I know you will like it!

Giulia GTV VS Giulia Quadrifoglio

Send me a comment on your favorite.


Brought to you by Paul Ziegler, Author  "Echoes From The Glen"

Publisher Carcamerastory.com     Follow on Instagram @wownowpics