Keith’s Blog: Should I Sell the SS?

The 1961 Alfa Sprint Speciale is finally coming back to life. Nasko has built an all-new gearbox for it, using the original small-bushing tailpiece but with updated synchros inside. It’s been road-tested and is ready to go.

The gray and red leather upholstery and gray carpets that Matt Jones had made in Bologna is being shipped to Guy’s Interior Restorations as we speak. He figures a couple of weeks to get in installed.

My asking price of $120,000 seems to be fair, as I have a couple of interested parties ready to test the car when it is done. It’s not a concours car, but a fabulous driver with great patina and freshly done mechanicals. It’s already completed one SCM 1000.

But now I’m faced with a dilemma. I’m selling it partly because the money could be used to pay off some other debts. But if I sold another one of the Alfas for even $50,000 I could relieve some financial pressure and still have the SS.

I can’t keep them all. I need to reduce my collection by a car (I’ll explain why soon enough). I can’t sell my 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce as it is promised to my daughter. My son is expecting the GTV.

So, if I had to sell an Alfa, to keep the SS, it would be either the Duetto, the Super or the Junior Zagato.

I love all of them.

What would you have me do? Sell the SS and end up with extra funds, or keep the SS and sell one of the other Alfas?

Yes, this is a first-world problem. But it is one that I am wrestling with today.

Appreciate your input here.

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, now in its 33rd year. Keith has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and had his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity. He has received many honors, including the Lee Iacocca Award, the Edward Herrman Award, was inducted into the Concorso Italiano Hall of Fame and more. He is on the boards of directors of The LeMay Museum and Oregon Ballet Theater, and was formerly the chair of the board of the Meguiar's Award.

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24 comments

  1. Sell the Junior Z; keep the SS. And go for the first interior with the piping. Goose bumps are the best medicine. And that’s what you’ll have every time you pull the dust cover off the Sprint Speciale or wind her up to seven grand.

  2. Sell the Junior Zagato….the duetto is at its low point and growth is high; others slower rate of return. Reality: selling any of the Alfas is NOT a wise decision!

  3. SELL THE CAR GET YOUR $120. If you have the money your business will survive. If you do not then you will have to rely of social security for retirement.

  4. I would absolutely keep the Super, as it’s your only Alfa with a usable back seat and, in my opinion as a fellow owner (1970 Giuia TI), probably the best all around car ever… Plus it seems unlikely to bring $50K. Ditto for the iconic Duetto. So for me it would come down to the Junior Z or the SS. A difficult choice but I would probably lean toward keeping the SS based on color alone. Bluette is sublime and you’ve already got a red Alfa…

  5. Hi Keith,

    Sell the SS. You say is not a Concours car, you enjoy driving the other cars more, I read the articles. If you can get your money let it go. Debt is no fun and cash is king. See you at Boca.

  6. When asked which cars from my collection I could part with, I start the mental process by eliminating the ones I wouldn’t want to live without. The hardest cars to sell will be the ones with the most memories or the most rewarding driving experience. I have one car (1934 Bentley 3.5 litre) that ticks both of those boxes for me. That said, if you haven’t made any memories driving the SS, it may be easiest to part with. However, if the SS has been a long term desire and you have another car that you don’t get that special feeling from driving, keep the SS and sell the other. First step, make a choice without considering the financials. Second step, determine if you can make the financials work. Good luck with your difficult decision.

  7. Keep the Super. I suspect it has lots of great family memories. Either the SS or the Junior Z would the one to sell, based on which you love to drive and look at. It is a shame any have to go since you have put so much into building this first class collection of fabulous iconic Alfas that get used.

  8. Sell the Jr Z and the Super and keep the SS and duetto!!! Wish I had never sold any of my boat tails especially the 69 1750, but hindsight is 20/20!!! Almost bought an SS years ago but didn’t have the space-had 4 boattails in vary shape- so passed.

  9. Well Keith this is an interesting issue. I have some thoughts. If a person not involved with Alfas answered this question he or she would probably say sell the one which is the least fun to drive. We know how pointless that discussion would be to you and I. My opinion is to sell the one that is the easiest to replace. I know the answer to that and you do too I bet. See how easy that was?

  10. I read some of these response now Keith and I disagree with the guys who say sell the SS. I have been following your posts for years. It was not hard to notice the frequency you posted something about the SS. Many more times than other cars in your growing stable as time went on. You don’t really want to sell the SS anyway or you would not have spent so much time thinking of ways not to sell it. See how easy that was?

  11. I only know one thing – keep the Super! To the uninitiated it may appear to have the least amount of style of all of the Alfas in your collection. But as you know it is stealth cool, extremely practical for road trips, and also Super fun to drive.

  12. I’d sell the SS. While a hard decision, relieve the financial pressure and avoid another stroke. I know- I’ve had a stroke too!

  13. I can’t help here in regards to the Alfas. I’m a Jaguar guy, so Alfa Romeos don’t do anything for me.

    That said, you recently bought a Jaguar MK1 saloon that had to be hauled away on a trailer. I know something about Jaguar saloons and E-Types, as I have been a long-time owner and worshiper of both. Without knowing any more, I’d say you’ll have to put more in that saloon to get it sorted than it’s worth.

    Personally, I’d begin paring the collection there, and not put up for adoption one of your beloved Alpha children. Let the bastard-child Jaguar go!

  14. Sell the Duetto. I have a newly restored ’62 SS with just a few pieces left to put on. Most beautiful of all those Alfas. I did original format interior like left pic—a tad lighter than Italian “Alfa Red” vinyl but closer to correct car color. Maybe that material is Pininfarina red? Looked wrong. No one had definitive answer incl. Alfa Museum.

  15. I have most of the same cars as you do Keith, and the same need to thin out the collection. I sold the GTV because it didn’t do anything that the Super can’t do. I’m keeping the 101 Sprint because it is so much fun to drive, in a fairly unsophisticated way that only adds to the unique experience. I’m keeping the Roundtail Spider bc its the only convertible. I’m selling the SS because its really just a super model. Great looks, and always welcome at a concours, but it’s just not as much fun as the others on twisty roads.

  16. Here’s a method; make a list of the pro’s and con’s for each Alfa in question. What is it about each one that strikes your fancy? Is there any special connection you personally have? Then sell the one that meets the least of your expectations. Time can change your perspective on what means what to you, make sure your heart and mind are agreed to the decision, without any pressure or skewed input from others.

  17. Keith, first congrats on your continuing recovery. Sell the SS. It takes care of most of your financial issues (I am sure that there are bunches of med bills to cover). I am still sorry to have sold my 67 Duetto hot rod (Trenery sold it for me). Super car and great handling with the upgrades and 155 hp 1750 motor with webers

  18. I have always loved the styling of the SS, but I also like having a variety of cars and cash in the bank, so sell the SS and enjoy the rest of your stable with the security of extra cash!

  19. Late to the party. I think it is absolutely ok to sell the Duetto, the SS, the Junior Z or one of either the Super or the GT Veloce.

    The Duetto is likely easily replaced as there are always some good ones on the market. Prices will not go anywhere soon, either. It is a bit more unique among your 105-series cars though as it is super fun to drive and the top goes down.

    While I am a huge fan of the Junior Z, I think your car has a few things that deduct value: Wrong engine, it is red and it is a 1300. I think that the upside on Junior Zs is immense. However, only for correct cars with correct engines, non-red and preferably a 1600. In other words, if you want the sensational style and driving feel, you should go for a correct 1600 in a fun factory color.

    Another commenter said it perfectly: There is nothing a GT Veloce can do that a Super cannot. The Veloce has better styling of course but the Super is a sensational car to drive. I know that you want to keep it for the kids so this one comes down in how serious the the overall decision and desired outcome versus the desire – and tastes that might change – of your kids.

    The SS is beautiful and you put a lot of love into it. However, they are also replaceable and a rather large stream of cars is always available. Besides, out of them all, it will give you the most absolute money (Though likely not the most return, given your investments). I do not foresee a significant uptick in SS prices, rather the opposite.

    In the end, I would prioritize the Junior Z first as I think you could do so much better if you really wanted one. Then, I would sell the SS.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Mike

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