Alfa Madness?

Some say you need to be crazy to own one!

Being a petrolhead and not loving Alfa Romeos is a bit of a contradiction in terms. Well, maybe.

For us of the older generation Alfa always have been special. Their overt sportiness is undeniable and even through ups and downs, that remains. A company with a chequered past and hits and misses on a business level, the Milan-based manufacturer mostly delivered the goods when it comes to product. But maybe that needs to be qualified: the styling has almost always been spot on (certainly in the case of every GTV ever), the road manners have been a sheer pleasure and the way they make a driver feel emotionally is without peer in mass market cars. These are sweeping statements of course and there have been exceptions.

Alfa Romeo have kept their iconic grille design over the years, one that immediately tells you what car it is.

But even the big cars – the 164 and the 159 for example – left a driver feeling highly satisfied.

Quality-wise…hmmm, a lot of them have been about as consistent as Donald Trump on Twitter.

Alfa Romeo Cuore Sportivo, the Alfa history by Lorenzo Ardizio, includes a foreword by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd. Mason is a passionate car collector and can talk with authority about cars old and new and has also driven many cars in his expansive stable in anger.

In his missive he makes a comparison between cars and animals and points out that there’s little in common between a leopard in a zoo and one in the natural world. True beauty comes in seeing it in action, rather than static, he says.

Alfas are very much like that. They do look good static but they look much better on the move! And of course movement brings with it other sensory pleasure, like sound.

As a teenager I can remember sitting on the cheap seats at Kyalami, with a train of GTVs coming through Crowthorne, multiple 3.0-litre V6s at full chat still a sharp memory. Motorsport has been part of Alfa’s heritage forever though sometimes also a hit and miss affair, from Formula one down. Remarkably, Alfas have only won 10 F1 races.

Nowadays we see Alfa Romeo in F1 via Sauber, an outfit that has had more partners than Liz Taylor. Could 2019 be a significant year for Alfa Rome Sauber F1 with Kimi Raikkonen joining them until the end of 2020? Or is he just slowly winding down into retirement?

Whatever comes to pass on the tracks, there is no doubt that there are still plenty of special Alfa Romeo road cars. Witness the Giulietta, Giulia and the 4C…all three striking, exciting offerings in their segment with a unique flavour. And judging by the number of Alfa customers who make contact with RGMotorsport, there are still plenty of owners who want to make their one more special than the next! There have been special versions of all three to come out of the Motorsport workshop at RGM.

Front grille of an Alfa Romeo

That in itself is an endorsement of the brand – people don’t just buy it and feel the job is done. There’s a constant hunger, a need to feel how changes will enhance the performance and overall driving experience still further…it’s a bit like an addiction – but a good one!

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