Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Alfa Romeos dominate Italiano

2013 italiano, historic races, PB concours 081813 033

From page B1 | August 23, 2013 | Leave Comment

Pebble Beach every third weekend in August annually starts off with a great car show known as the Concorso Italiano. Next year it will be moving to a Saturday and from the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch back to the Bayonet Black Horse golf course which allows for picturesque views of Monterey Bay.

Fiat, who is a major sponsor of Concorso, started the Friday with the introduction of a new model of the 500 Fiat Cattiva. Presented by Jason Stoicevich, head of Fiat Brand, North America, the new Cattiva can be had as a Sport and Turbo model. They are both tricked out with special trim, colors, wheels, interiors. The turbo boosts hp from 101 to 135. Fuel economy for the normally aspirated version is an astounding 31/40 mpg city/highway. In Italian, Cattiva means a person or situation that is naughty yet cool. Pricing starts at about $19,000.

Stoicevich said since its intro, Fiat 500 has sold over 100,000 units (more than a million worldwide) and for 2013 sales are up 4 percent.

Switching gears to Alfa Romeo (sort of as Alfa is a division of Fiat) which seemed to dominate this year’s Italiano, Terry O’Brien drove his extremely rare 2008 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione all the way from Seattle. Only 500 8C’s were built from 2007-2009 and only 90 came to the United Sates. It retailed for $259,000. Alfa received orders for 1,400 after the official announcement that the car would be produced.

Powered by a 4.7-liter dual overhead cam 32-valve V-8 of 455 hp at 7,000 rpm, it has a cross plane crankshaft and the entire engine was assembled by Ferrari. The transmission is a dual clutch automated manual. In true super car form, it can cover the quarter mile in about 12 seconds with a terminal speed of 116 mph. Top speed is about 190.

O’Brien says the car draws attention everywhere he goes and he does go. “I have driven this car about 15,000 miles in four and a half years. It gets a little light at about 160 mph,” said O’Brien. It is a daily driver of sorts.

“Turning about 3,000 rpm at 80 mph it also returns 24-25 mpg,” said O’Brien, “With a partner, we own several Ferraris and two Lambos as well. How many people get to drive their investment portfolio?”

Perhaps Alfa lovers’ favorite modern design is the GTV, a Giorgetto Giugiaro design (Giugiaro was named car designer of the century in 1999. Noted designs were the Ferrari 250 Berlinetta, De Tomaso Mangusta, Iso Grifo, Maserati Ghibli, BMW M1, VW Scirocco, VW Golf, Lexus GS300, Fiat 850 Spyder and Dino Coupe, Saab 9000, DeLorean, Bugatti 118, 218, Nikon D3, D4, D800 cameras and a whole lot more).

Bought after the 1986 Napa floods, owner George Hewitt said, “If you rocked the car, the water in the gauges would slosh inside.” Hewitt bought the car, which was immersed up to the beltline in water for $350.

“It took four years to rebuild and the first month thereafter I drove it 8,000 miles, including a trip to Niagara Falls. I have put over 30,000 miles on the car in total,” said Hewitt.

Hewitt said that although GTVs come with a rear seat it was only done for European insurance purposes to be insured as a four seater sedan. U.S. cars had a placard that said “not to be occupied while vehicle in motion.” John Norman helped with the engine. It is a 1750 cc DOHC four-cylinder which in stock form produced 132 hp. This one makes about 150 hp. It was Alfa’s first fuel injection car in the U.S.

Larry Weitzman


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