I’m used to pulling out of the Continental AutoSports parking lot…
…in something that draws attention. Some variant of Ferrari, new or old, that reduces everything else on the road to the mundane. High horsepower machines best used selectively, and for very brief stretches on empty roads or at the track.
But I’m not used to getting thumbs up from the UPS driver, or the guy loading a mammoth cross-country hauler, shipping late model rockets destined for different parts of the country. Both these guys are regulars, used to seeing stuff others only dream of owning, driving or simply seeing.
All this attention was directed at my morning’s ride, a small, silver Alfa Romeo. A 1974 GTV 2000.
Looking back, Alfa Romeo had spent the post-war years wisely, concentrating on vehicles designed to move the less well heeled. Yet Alfa was always an Italian car manufacturer, simply unwilling or unable to turn its back on a vaunted history, and happy to transfer years of racing history to the street.
These 105/115 series cars, as the factory called them, have become sought after first, for their looks. Styled simply yet gracefully, penned by a then-youthful Giorgetto Giugiaro for Bertone, the basic shape of the GTV 2000 is a thing of beauty from any angle. Giugiaro later went on to design the DeTomaso Mangusta, Iso Grifo and the Maserati Ghibli. Always proud of this his first design, this GTV, Giorgetto Giugiaro Giugiaro was named Car Designer of the Century in 1999 and inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2002. Rightfully so.
The last production year for this Alfa, the US was simply beginning to overpower European manufacturers with stricter emission and bumper regulations, adding weight and relegating aesthetics to the curb.
Beyond being beautiful, cars like this 74 Alfa GTV survive today because they are small, simple machines, designed by engineers in love with driving, constructed at a time when a 4 cylinder, 120 horsepower overhead twin cam motor was all you needed to have serious fun.
It’s not just the history of the Italian automobile that makes this car desirable, it’s the timeless feeling of what driving was like in Europe during the 70’s.
As the collector car market adjusts to current conditions in 2019, Alfa Romeos continue to climb in price and are still undervalued. It’s only now people are beginning to realize how special these little machines are.
Try an Alfa somewhere, anywhere. Or stop by Continental Autosports and take a test drive. I guarantee you’ll be all smiles.