Keith’s Blog: Travels With Alfie – On the Road to Santa Rosa


In all the years I’ve had Alfas, I’ve never driven one to a National Convention held anywhere other than Portland.

When it was announced that this years’ convention would be in Santa Rosa, CA  (55 miles north of San Francisco), I thought about going. When I was asked to be the emcee of the Concorso there, have a seminar on values, and emcee the banquet dinner, it was kind of ordained, don’t you think?

And then I found out a group of intrepid Oregon Alfisti were going to caravan down, and I was hooked.

The informal tour was put together by Dennis Torgeson. More than a dozen of us met just south of Portland at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning (thank goodness for Starbucks and three-shot grande lattes). What struck me about the cars was that only a solitary GTV-6 was built after 1974. These were old Alfas by any club standards, and their owners were looking forward to driving them 1,500 miles and more over the next few days.

Our route took us down I-5 to Eugene, and then to Florence on the Oregon Coast. Good friend and Giulia Super owner Doug Hartman drove my 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce, as I am still recovering from a minor foot operation and am being careful in my healing process.

The Alfa has been brilliant. It cruises easily at 65 mph, has enough horsepower to pass judiciously on two-lane roads, and was comfortable with the top down in the morning sun, and with the top up in the coastal afternoon chill.

There were only small moments of drama. The “1600” badge on the trunk lid fell out when I shut the trunk this morning; I bought some trim adhesive at a NAPA store and will glue it back on in the morning. The idle seems to like to be at either 800 or 1,500, and trying to adjust it just seems to make it worse.

I’ve got a Jambox on the dashboard, and we enjoyed listening to opera arias from Pandora as we cruised down the southern Oregon coast.

We’re in Eureka tonight, everyone whole and happy except for a Giulietta Spider that lost a water pump. Tomorrow we head for the Avenue of the Giants, then over back roads to Santa Rosa.

If you’re at the convention or in the area, please come by and say Hi. Our Subscriptions Manager, Rich Coparanis, will be manning the SCM booth, and I’m sure he would like the opportunity to sell you some SCM swag at convention-only prices.

It’s good to be on the road, surrounded by friends and old Alfas. There’s nothing quite like the view when you’ve got a 1960 Giulietta Spider ahead of you and a 1967 Giulia Super in your rear-view mirror.

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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