Update, later the same day: Will, GTV and Giulietta Sprint owner was there and took a LOT of pictures… he even took some of my Sprint!
In recognition of Alfa’s centenary, CSRG hosted 3 days of racing at Sears Point with several Alfa only races/groups, lunch time parade laps for Alfa’s and a corral in the paddock for all the spectator Alfa’s to park in. I can’t make Italy this year for the ‘official’ centenary in June, so this weekend was my chance to hang out with some fellow Alfa owners and think about what 100 years means.
Not your average vintage Alfa. This 33 was long, low and amazing looking. Too valuable to take on the track? Tell that to the guy in the Aston DB4 GT Zagato who was mixing it up with the GTV’s and Corvettes.
Jeff’s Sprint Zagato Coda Tronca, an immaculate machine that he drives hard. He sat out a race when the mist got it together enough to make a light rain. I wouldn’t drive it in the rain either! 8c in the background was the days pace car.
I had an offer to borrow a friends SS but wanted to give my Sprint a chance to go, especially after having spent a couple hundred bucks and a few hours correcting an intermitten hard starting and possibly related poor running issue (more elsewhere later). The Sprint cooperated and with little fuss we arrived at about 10:30 after I got up early to do the final fix; setting the Sprints timing on its new electronic ignition distributor from Centerline. I’m glad I brought the Sprint as I got to taste the fun that is going around the track in my own car.
Wandering the paddock was fun and necessary to stay warm. Below was a lovely 57 Sprint Veloce Lightweight that we saw on the track a few times. This car marks the midpoint of Alfa’s 100 year history and in a lot of ways the midpoint in automotive history in general. Small, sporty, economical, beautiful and extremely user friendly were not often combined to describe one car before the Sprint was launched, but within 15 years cars with this combination of attributes (well, often not the beautiful part) were common.
These are probably real or one-off repro SZ seats. There is a company in Texas that makes a similar seat that I am thinking of buying seats for the Giulietta SS from.
Weather at the track is always extreme and today was no different with moderate wind, misty light rain and two coats worth of cold. Lap times in the damp went down slightly, but for the most part the track stayed dry and group leaders went fast. About 2 minutes 10 seconds was fast for the mostly Giulietta group, about 2 minutes even was fast for the GTV/Super group and the later, serious Formula cars did about 1 minute 40.
Jon Norman is chased by Anthony Rimicci early in a group with an 80% plus field of 105 GT’s. Anthony retired and Jon went on to win. Jon is hard to beat in this car, a 1971 Sprint he SCCA raced from about 72 to 82 and has vintage raced for at least the last 10 years. It’s hard to tell in green, but it has GTAM type flares.
Amazing on any other day, but just above average on this day was the number of extremely rare cars. A Giulia SS beside a Lightweight Sprint Veloce and both surrounded by Spiders and all prepped for serious speed.
David Swig does his best to chat with me through his helmet and over the din of many race engines being rev’d. Contrary to what your brain is currently telling you, this is not an SZ. It’s a Spider that Zagato rebodied in the early 60’s. Yes, that 8C in the background raced hard with the 101’s.
I didn’t see who owned this Giulietta racer, so I didn’t get a number for the registry. This is pretty much exactly what I envision for my Giulietta SS with the exception that I would not have any grills up front.
So what did I come away with? Well, I got to hang out with some people I like, I got to watch neat cars get used as they were intended to be used and among many other things, I got to take my Sprint out on the track. It was only a parade lap but it was thrilling none-the-less to be going fast on a smooth twisty ribbon of asphalt. I think going racing is the next step for me. Now I just have to figure out which car to use. The Sprint makes the most sense since it already meets a lot of the CSRG rules.
What does 100 years of Alfa mean to me? I’m not much of a birthday/anniversary type but any excuse to get together and have fun is always welcome. Some guys will tell you Alfa died when Fiat took over but I don’t think it’s just about brand survival, it’s more about each persons ‘golden era’ of motoring being evoked. For me the golden era is now, the day to day Giulietta’s I work on, drive and write about. I’m glad things went down the way they did 100 years ago and I’m glad Alfa survives today.
See my pictures here. I need a new camera!