I did some car swapping last Friday. Enlisting good friend Timothy Ashcroft, we took the 1971 Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato to Bill Gillham’s Hooligan Racing in Albany, OR, and brought our serviced 1965 Giuila Spider Veloce home.
It’s about an hour drive each way. Timothy also owns a 1967 Jaguar E-type convertible and a 2015 Porsche 911.1 Turbo convertible.
He and his wife Mandy ably manage all the hospitality arrangements for the SCM 1000. They do a terrific job finding the best local restaurants for us to enjoy. (Just say “no” to hotel banquets is their motto.)
By the way, registration for next year’s tour is now open to current SCM members and is filling up more quickly than we had predicted. To learn more and submit an entry, visit the website.
So back to the swap. As mentioned in my car knitting series, I am getting all my old Alfas cleaned with dry ice, then having a major service done by Bill’s technician, Larry Marks. Larry was a wrench for McLaren in New Zealand and brings a keen attention to detail to our old Alfas. He’s a valuable resource.
Larry found a variety of small things to correct on the GSV, as well as replacing the steering bushings. He enjoyed having a clean car to work on. Bill was pleased with the way his total body-and-paint restoration of the car is holding up.
Bill and I discussed the color combination of my car. He has seen and worked on a couple of other Veloces in Sea Gray (variously called Grigio Mare or Grigio Alba by Alfa) but none with the lipstick red interior my car has carried since new. Dark red and black are the other options he has seen.
So, for the moment, I am comfortable believing that I might have one of one Giulia Spider Veloces in that color combination. There were just 1,091 produced overall in 1964 and 1965. The Veloce shared its 129-hp engine with the Sprint Speciale.
It’s now headed for winter storage in the climate-controlled SCM garage.
The Junior Zagato has no known needs, but is going to Larry for a thorough post-cleaning look-over before it too goes into storage.
The Duetto gets cleaned next, then to Bill, then into storage.
I believe it is critical to have our old cars serviced like this, as it is their slow degradation that makes them unreliable. It only takes one clogged carb jet to bring you to a halt. Or a bad ground to disable your charging. Or worn steering bushings to make the car wander.
We want our cars to be as good mechanically as possible, so that on those rare occasions we get to take them out, they are on the button and ready to enjoy.
We had a delightful drive in the Z. It grows on me each time I am in it. It’s like a shrink-wrapped GTV. With its upgraded 1750-cc engine and 4.1 rear end, along with an optimized Alfaholics suspension, it is a very satisfying GT car from its era.
The drive back in the Giulia Spider Veloce was an entirely different experience. The Conrad-Stevenson built original 121-series 1600-cc Veloce engine is regarded by some to be the most “live-wire” Alfa production engine of its era.
At 4,000-rpm it is just hitting its stride, and the smiles keep coming after that.
The cockpit is spacious. I had plenty of room for my obligatory aftermarket cupholders.
It’s just a different motoring experience than the Z. Less refined but more eager and adventuresome.
Our journey was uneventful. We filled the tank with ethanol-free gasoline, and I am now one step closer to having all our classic Alfas serviced and ready to go into hibernation.