Keith’s Blog: The GTV Gets To Go For a Drive

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As you know, we’ve been wrestling for a few months to install a rear-seat shoulder harness in the 1967 GTV, so that we could put 5-year-old Bradley there in his booster seat.

Early on we gave up on an inertia reel, opting instead for a belt that adjusted both at the shoulder strap and the lap belt. We found the right item on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/3-Point-Shoulder-Black-Length-Chrome/dp/B0013HWD1I/ref=pd_sim_sbs_auto_7.

We found a local restoration guru to reinforce the rear parcel shelf, and he installed the shoulder mount there. Yes, we worried slightly about drilling a hole in the “perhaps original gray vinyl,” but as someone commented on a blog, “if you are in a situation where the shoulder harness comes into play, you’d gladly trade the extra protection for the hole.” Well said.

SCM Legal Analyst John Draneas asked us to join him this past Sunday on a short jaunt into Oregon’s wine country, starting with an invitation-only tasting at Brick House winery. I was up early on Sunday, cleaned the GTV, checked tire pressures (I like 32 lbs. all around), topped off the oil (remembering to replace the oil filler cap this time), put the trunk organizer in with a variety of travel items, and, finally, loaded the family.

At first it was a war between leg room for Bradley and leg room for Wendie, but once Bradley figured out that if he removed his shoes his little feet could slip down behind the seats we had peace. The lack of an inertia reel was irrelevant, so all of our worries about that proved unnecessary.

We met up with John and his wife Carlyn at their home in Wilsonville, and headed out to Dundee. We were joined by Northwest Passage organizers Jim and Judy North in their SC, and Mark and Renee Huglin in their America Roadster.

John drove his 1957 Giulietta Spider Normale that he bought on eBay some years back — a tastefully and correctly restored car upgraded with a splitcase 5-speed and a two-barrel downdraft Weber (in place of the pathetic, progressive OEM Solex). I mentioned that a 1959 Normale, not nearly as nice as John’s, had sold for an astounding $140,000 at Gooding’s Amelia Island auction. Carlyn’s immediate reaction was, “Doesn’t the buyer need two of them?”

We discovered that two cases of wine, one from Brick House and one from the next vineyard, Roco fit easily into the trunk of the GTV.

Aside from the engine temperature acting like there is an air bubble in the line somewhere – the temperature gets hot suddenly and then just as suddenly drops to 170 degrees – and a slight vibration from the driveshaft / exhaust system area, the GTV ran flawlessly.

We had the iPhone plugged into the accessory power outlets I had Guy Rekordon install, and we streamed Pandora to the Jawbone Jambox speaker we stuck on the dash. Alas, you can’t create an “Alfa Romeo” playlist on Pandora, so we settled for Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jimi Hendrix and Madonna. We thought all of them would like the GTV.

We’ve ordered another shoulder harness, this time to be installed in the 2002tii, which will bring it into the fold as weekend family car. Yes, we’ll have to have the parcel shelf reinforced, and yes, we’ll have to drill a hole back there. But the ability to have Bradley with us — and to feel like we are providing him with some thoughtful safety protection — is worth a piece of perforated vinyl.

Now to the Big Question Of The Day: I’ve always liked the look of H4 headlights and Hella driving lights on 2002s. To install them on our tii would mean drilling two holes in the virgin front chrome bumper. I think it’s worth it, and would give the car a period, aggressive look. Your thoughts?

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

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