I’m sticking to the 105 Series Alfa Romeos.
As I trim and adjust the SCM fleet, I’ve had to make some decisions about which cars appeal to me the most — and which ones work the best.
I’ve always thought that that the 105 Series pre-smog Alfas (roughly 1963-68) represented the high point of that period. They have 5-speed gearboxes, 4-wheel disc brakes, heaters that would drive you out of the car and reasonable creature comforts.
All of the cars that came to the United States had dual Webers and 1,600-cc engines.
The Duettos had a remarkable top that could be raised in less than a minute. The two-headlight, step-nose GTVs are an example of beautiful visual simplicity.
The 4-door Supers were the first true sports sedans — it wasn’t until 1982 that BMW offered an equivalent 4-door sedan.
Further, as the 105-series are pure analog cars, repairing anything on these cars is an exercise in simplicity — if you know what you are doing.
With every 105-series car I buy, I immediately re-bush the suspension, put on adjustable upper A-arms, go to the largest size brakes available and add performance springs, sway bars and shock absorbers. The whole process is not expensive and makes the cars a delight to drive.
As much as I have loved my 750- and 101-Series cars, with their free-revving 1,300-cc engines, they are primitive by 105-series standards. Plus, parts are getting harder to find and are often much more expensive.
Which brings me to SCM’s 1961 Sprint Speciale.
It was in the Cayman Islands Motor Museum for many years. I bought it at an Auctions America sale in Fort Lauderdale five or so years ago.
It had a frozen engine. I paid too much for it (over $80,000 I think, plus shipping to Portland), but as I was walking around the car, it simply spoke to me.
It was painted its original color, bluette.
It was many years stored indoors, and I couldn’t find any rust on it.
Further, it appeared to never have been hit in the nose, and the chrome never redone. (I can’t guarantee any of these things, but that’s how it has appeared to me.) While the original data plate was missing (I have fabricated a replacement) the engine block had the correct sequence unique to an Sprint Speciale — and from the right time period.
The rear wheelwells had been radiused at some time, probably to accept wider tires. I had Tom Black repair them, taking a tracing from another local SS to get them just right.
It also had an extra 10 louvers cut into the hood (and nicely done), which simply added to the unique characteristics of the car.
The car was fitted with unusual Alfa mags that were from the Alfa parts catalog — but from a slightly later era. I also have a set of four correct Borrani steel wheels, refinished, that will go with the car.
I had Nasko rebuild the engine. We used a 1,400-cc kit from Jon Norman. I learned that SS blocks are special. They were decked at the factory to increase compression. So we re-used the original cast-iron sleeves and had them bored out to accept the larger pistons. They went back into the original block.
Jon also provided new profile Pittatore camshafts, which made a world of difference in the tractability.
The engine was balanced. The transmission was completely rebuilt. The brakes were redone, with six rebuilt wheel cylinders in the front.
Two years ago, I drove the car on the first SCM 1000. It performed impeccably. It sailed along with good oil pressure and water temperature the entire time. I fitted new tires from Coker before the event.
I ordered a complete new leather interior in red and gray from Matt Jones at Re-Originals. It should be here in the next few weeks and I am having Guy Recordon of Guy’s Upholstery install it. Along with the blue upholstery, it will be stunning.
As I thin my collection, I am keeping the cars that speak to me with the most clarity.
The Alfas that will stay are the 101-Series Giulia Spider Veloce (that has been with the family over 30 years), and the four 105-Series cars — the 1967 GTV, Super and Duetto, along with the 1971 Junior Zagato.
The SS is a very interesting car. Not concours, but unusual in its straightness and panel fit. The doors shut better on this car than any other Alfa I’ve ever owned.
Sprint Speciale prices have softened over the past two years. This is a numbers-matching, event-ready car with a fresh drivetrain, upgraded pro-built engine, and will have a fresh-from-Italy correct leather interior.
I peg the value at $125,000. If you’re interested in the car before it goes up for auction, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, a three-year subscription and SCM swag come with the car!