Thursday, April 30, 2009

How the world has changed. Another take on that Alfa GTV6 brochure #images

Alfa GTV6_brochure_058a
Originally uploaded by gtveloce
I just realised, of course, that the classy driver is in fact a classy passenger patiently waiting for that adventurous pilot/husband/boyfriend of hers to finish with the flying, already, and take her to that trendy restaurant featured elsewhere in the brochure.

I suspect Alfa's marketing is a bit sharper now. I remember it used to tagged with "the line, the style, the power". At least that stuck in my head. I have no idea what tag line they use now, so they aren't reaching me, anyway. And I'm probably in the target market.

In hindsight, a faintly hilarious Alfa GTV6 brochure, circa 1982

Alfa GTV6_brochure_060
Originally uploaded by gtveloce
Ah, nostalgia. This brochure is a hoot in many ways, if you want to look at it like that... but it was a serious marketing effort at the time. Alfa Romeo was spinning a tale here, of a car that races the wind, overtaking lesser cars at will. One loses count indeed. It reads like a poor translation from the Italian in parts, giving the impression that the car was actually built for classy women with a penchant for upmarket, trendy restaurants and hooning. I suspect that after she leaves the airfield she completes some nice circle work before drifting into the sunset. Or it could just be my imagination.

As a side note, although I vaguely knew GTVs existed, I saw my first one in the flesh, so to speak at Camden Aerodrome, Sydney, whilst awaiting a flight in a glider. It struck me then as a car that had style, and that I wanted to own. It was the very early 1980s. Maybe there's some truth in this Alfa + flying demographic.

ALFA RL SPORT e Super Sport

Originally uploaded by gtveloce
I've owned several Alfas and along the way have collected bits and pieces... including this set of old ALFA drawings in a red folder. It came from a dealer, when I bought my Giulietta, so I assume as promotional material Alfa was releasing it for everyone's edification.... including yours, if you choose to look.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I can't believe I'm testing another aggregator... Posterous, anyone?

Here we go again... another post-once, post-to-many service. At first
glance it's slick, but without the finer control of some:

Posted via email from gtveloce's posterous

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

200BHP from what size engine?

I did read this right, didn't I?

Starting from April 2009, the new 159 will be available with a brand new engine: a 1750 cc turbocharged petrol engine that conforms to Euro 5 standards and develops 200 HP between 4,750 and 5,500 rpm with 320 Nm of torque at only 1,400 rpm.

Of course it's turbocharged, but it's still a long way from the standard 1750 of yore. The 1962cc twin cam, twin carbed GTV in my garage only has 130BHP. And that was considered pretty good, if not absolutely amazing, not so far back. I do like acceleration, but do we we need this much power? Or will the 159 be made of lead and concrete?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

LeMons, as in lemons. Just a bit of fun with a $239 car

It's what they are for, I guess: driving, and racing. If it moves, a human will race it.

one of the participants is Charleston-based “Team Dog Ciao” – get it? it sounds like “dog chow?” – driving a 1974 Alfa Romeo Spyder.

When the cheap oil is all gone I think we'll still be doing this - racing cars. And this grass-roots racing is much more interesting than that F1 circus money-go-round.

Kissinger said what? Oh, FIAT and Chrysler again

FIAT and the US car makers. It has a tail a mile long and it's a tale worth telling, but let's hear from Henry first:
Even Henry Kissinger spoked about a “very good wedding, a perfect alliance between two firms very different from each other but at the same time complementary”.

I thought Ford looked shakiest 2 years ago, but GM has out-done them by going closest to the edge and looking deep, deep into the void. Let's not forget that GM did a tie-up with FIAT, too, that cost them a packet to get out of. And now sick and sorry Chrysler, having failed to make merry with Daimler Benz, is looking for FIAT for salvation. My guess is that FIAT will get more out of this deal than Chrysler.

I think they meant to say...

You just have to read this translation, presumably from Ancient Latin to early Sanskrit... the pics are worth it, too:

Earlier this year, Alfa Romeo announced that in observance of the 46th anniversary of the Registro Italiano Alfa Romeo or ‘RIAR’ for small, it would start off a particular number form of the MiTo that would be produced in a bare 46 examples for the members of the supranational cudgel. RIAR has at present started to receive orders from its members for the circumscribed sprint MiTo that is powered near a 155HP 1.4-liter Turbo engine.

Launceston's 1923 RLSS runs just twice a year - and it did so yesterday

A famous car in a nice spot...

A RARE 1923 Alfa Romeo RL Super Sport was the centre of attention yesterday as it was driven around the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery car park, Launceston. QVMAG curator of history Jon Addison said that the car was one of only five remaining in the world. This was the first time the Alfa had been driven for about two years, but it is started twice a year as part of its regular maintenance program.

It's a bit like my '82 GTV, which also seems to run just twice a year (oh, OK, maybe 6 or 7 times a year).

How to sit in a car and drive it

It's really quite simple. To control a car properly you need to be close enough to the pedals to easily and quickly operate them, and close enough to brace yourself (with the footrest and your knees) when cornering. Which is quite close. Indeed, it means your legs are splayed and braced against the door and the centre console. If they are too straight you cannot brace and will be unrestrained in a corner. Instead you will roll from side to side.

Now you also need to control the steering wheel, so you need to be quite close to that, too. Forget the straight-armed F1 look from the 1940s and 50s, that may look cool - or stupid - but it doesn't give you leverage on the wheel. So you should be close to the steering wheel with legs splayed. You'll find that position is perfectly attainable in most cars but especially so in older Alfa Romeos. They are made to be driven.

However apparently most people prefer to keep their legs straight, and older Alfas typically don't allow that as an option, at least not if you are taller than about 5feet eight inches or 180cm, whichever comes first. Which is why we get silly comments from car reviewers who don't understand how to actually drive a car:

Sit inside the 147 and the memories of Italianate driving positions that we grew up with in Alfasuds and Giuliettas are banished forever. Seat, pedals, steering wheel, gearstick and mirrors all appear to be positioned around an anthropomorphic figure of a human being rather than a gibbon (as was the case with the old 145).

One day a 'reviewer' will actually seek to explain this, rather than just expose their personal misunderstanding.