Single marque car shows can be odd affairs. Some work, some don’t. Most will understand the appeal of Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or Porsche event, perhaps a Cadillac, Thunderbird or Mustang event, but a Land Rover Freelander MK 2 (I kid you not) show may be harder. Personally, my choice would normally be for an “everyone welcome” event. But in August we made an exception, for the UK’s National Alfa Day, organised annually by the Alfa Romeo UK Owners’ Club and held this year at Bicester Heritage, north of Oxford on the southern fringe of the midlands of England. Bicester Heritage is a redundant RAF station, first opened in 1916 and closed in 2004. Recognised as being an historically significant example of the such stations, it is now protectively listed and is being developed as a site for businesses working in the fields of classic motoring and aviation, covering the range from supply of specialist lubricants to vehicle restoration and vintage aircraft flight experiences.
This was an Owners’ Club event and it shows. The show is open to all and any Alfa Romeos. The MD of Alfa UK was there, with his own Alfa Romeo Spider (916 series) and his membership card, along with some examples of the new Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV available for demonstration drives. Non Alfa fans were welcome to enter, but had to leave their cars at the gate. Let’s take a gentle photocentric tour – a picture is worth a thousand words and all that – starting with a 1975 Montreal and a 1964 2600 Spider. And notice how far we can go just by seeing red, or Rosso Alfa.
Let’s start with Spiders – the Tipo 105 was perhaps a seminal product for Alfa – almost affordable, long running and staggeringly good looking, at least until the spoilers got too big. This is a 1975 car.
A privately imported car, probably from the west of North America.
See what I mean about the big spoilers and bumpers?
But perhaps the earlier boat tail Duetto (in this case a 1970 1300 Junior) was the best looking? No head lamp covers for the Junior.
Not much wrong with these cars, in my book.
The 105 Spider was preceded by the Giulietta Spider – this was built from 1955 to 1965 and offered a 1.3 litre twin cam engine, and later a 1.6 litre engine from the new Giulia saloon.
The Giulietta Sprint Speciale was originally built for FIA homologation for motor sport, and the first 100 cars (or maybe 101, depending who you ask) were built with an even more striking lower pointed nose.
The earliest cars were 1290cc; this is a 1964 1570cc car (Tipo 101.21), sold as Giulia Sprint Speciale and with a claimed 120mph capability. Car of the day? Got to be a contender!
Or maybe you’d prefer a 1970 1750GTV?
This one’s 1974 2000GTV- personally, I could spent all day looking at Tipo 105 coupes.
A 1965 1600 Sprint GT and a 1970 1750GTV
What is the collective known noun for Alfa GTVs – suggestions on a postcard?
A 1964 Alfa 2600 Spider – just over 2000 of these Bertone styled cars were built from 1963 to 1968. It was based on the 2600 saloon, itself derived from the 1957 2000 saloon, and the last Alfa saloon to have an inline six cylinder engine.
The running gear for the 2000 though came from the 1950 1900 saloon, so this car was relatively dated by the time this one came to the UK.
But whilst this styling may be of its time, it’s also a terrific example of the Italian Spider, and as such is usually filed under “Want”. But what are those cars in the background?
Yes, a grouping of 12 SZ coupes and RZ roadsters.
A more recent Alfa supercar – a 2008 8C coupe, a car that perhaps didn’t quite live up to its looks.
Is this the best looking saloon Alfa ever built? Just hearing the engine could convince you of that.
Some more good news – although there were no Rosso Alfa Alfasud saloons, there was a Rosso Alfa 33 Permanent 4.
This car was derived from the Alfasud, with a version of boxer engine and gently enlarged Alfasud floor pan. An interesting counterpoint to, say, a VW Golf GTi Mk2.
But perhaps an Alfasud Sprint would be your choice?
Three generations of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta – a 1962 1.3 litre car, from the first 1954-1965 range.
A 1982 1.6 litre car from the second 1977-1985 range.
This car was closely based on the Alfetta, as were the later 75 Milano and 90 saloons.
The 1970s period styling is perhaps love or hate – I loved it and tried to persuade my Dad to buy on, to no avail.
And a 2018 1.4 litre car and a 2017 1.6 litre car from the third 2010-2020 generation. These cars are parked on grass typical of this year’s long, hot and very dry English summer.
But perhaps the best way to show the predominance of Rosso Alfa is to look at this array of Brera coupes and 156 saloons and Sportwagons.
Is the Brera perhaps the best looking Alfa of this century? Perhaps one of the best looking cars of this century?
Certainly looks good in Rosso Alfa!