Blame it on the “alerts.” Being able to select “notify me when one comes up for sale” on a collector car auction website has surely changed collecting more than anything else.
In just the past few days, listings on Bring a Trailer have included these Alfas: A Junior Zagato, a Giulia Spider Normale, a Duetto and a 1600 Sprint.
Before that we saw a Giulietta SZ and 2600 Sprint come up for sale.
How do I know? Because I was sent an email notifying me when each one was listed.
In years gone by, I would wait for Alfa Owner magazine, the official publication of the national Alfa Romeo Owners Club, to arrive before I could see such a handful of Alfas offered for sale at one time.
In fact, the Alfas I have owned recently were collected by happenstance (actually, eager and always looking happenstance) over decades.
We bought our 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce from an advert in Hemmings. It turned out to be located three blocks from our home in Portland, and I had never seen the car.
We found our 1967 GTV advertised in the local Alfa Club newsletter. We came across our 1967 Duetto in the same fashion.
I bought our 1958 Sprint Veloce at Concorso Italiano, when the owner said he heard I was looking for one.
I once owned a 1900 Matta Alfa Jeep, that I found while visiting a friend in Saarbrücken, Germany. My lightweight Sprint came from a dealer in Holland.
Another Hemmings ad led me to a barn-find 6C 2500 cabriolet in Vermont. The nose was crunched as a result of the owner using his tractor to push the car, brakes locked, into his barn.
The Sprint Speciale turned up at an auction in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
I attended an Alfa convention in Tacoma, WA, and found my Junior Zagato there.
Our most recent acquisition, a 1991 S4 Spider, popped up on eBay when I was sent a notification.
I strongly believe that part of the increased velocity of the market today is directly related to our greater awareness of the cars that are for sale.
Today, it would probably take me less than a couple of years to find and acquire the collection of Alfas that took me 25 years to accumulate.
Further, as increased values have afforded owners more to invest in their cars, there are more restored Alfas now than ever before. Note: I am not saying more “properly restored” Alfas, but certainly more with the rust repaired and shiny paint jobs.
What used to be a once-a-year shopping trip to the Alfa National Convention or a once-a-month pouring over the Alfa Owner has become a 24/7 offering of over-head cam confections, right on my phone.
No matter whether Alfas, Porsches, Mercedes or Jaguars, the beginnings of your instant collection are in the palm of your hand.