Keith’s Blog: Why I’m Selling the Sprint

“I know Keith’s 1958 Sprint Veloce in and out, I have spent a lot of time sorting it out and a few memorable moments driving it on my test loop. I think it’s the Crown of Keith’s Alfa collection.

When he asked me which Alfa he should sell, I never imagined this would be his choice. I always figured this and the 1600 Spider Veloce would always be with him. It is a very special car, well sorted and well loved. Best color scheme ever!”

That’s what Alfa restorer Bill Gillham wrote recently on Bring A Trailer.

The auction for the ’58 Sprint Veloce is underway. Find it here. The auction ends this Thursday at 11:05 am.

The current high bid is $75,000.The Sprint has a reserve, but it is priced to sell.

Since this auction started, I have been asked many times why I would pick this car, out of my seven Alfas, to sell.

It is the most rare, the most valuable, and to my eyes, the most beautiful of my Alfas.

But in the rhythm of life there is a time for everything. It took me 10 years to find this car (I didn’t realize when I started on my hunt for an “eyebrow Sprint Veloce” that only 199 were built). It took another five years to get the drivetrain and cosmetics done to the standard I wanted.

From the beginning, I knew I was after a period hot rod. A car with “day-one” modifications, set up the way Conrero’s speed shop might have in period. 1,400-cc pistons. Hot cams. Slightly lowered. Bilsteins and Rugh suspension. Fresh tunnelcase gearbox by the late Claus Menzel.

When I first saw this car at Concorso Italiano six years ago, what I remember the most is seeing the original (not a repop) data plate. The numbers of the engine and chassis were stamped into it in the slightly imperfect way that only an original plate has.

I’ve driven it on a couple of 1,000-mile tours, and it is a delight in every way.

But now it is time for it to go.

Having a stroke last January brought home to me just how fleeting and unpredictable life is. I’ve had my time with the Sprint. I had the pleasure of finding it, buying it and making it what I wanted to be.

Now it’s time for someone else to own it.

We can’t own them all and we can’t own them forever. The Sprint has been a lifetime fantasy — now fulfilled. How often can we say that about anything?

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.

Posted in Blogs, Keith Martin

1 comments

  1. Good point Keith. I totally understand the idea of “catch and release.” Many times people ask me the same thing. I think they miss the point that mostly I just want the experience. The possession is simply the consequence of that.

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