Antonio tells us about his great passion for Alfa Romeo...
My everlasting Alfa Romeo’s passion arose when I was a little boy and had been listening to my father’s race stories told during the daily way home-school and back in his Fiat 1100 E , nick name “the Musone” plated SV9841.
I was highly hit by the tale of the 8C 2900B Alfa , a one-off model specifically built for racing at Le Mans in June 1938, a road going version nearly identical to the 8C 2900A which convincingly won the 1936 and 1937 Mille Miglia race. Designed by Touring's Carlo Felice Anderloni, my father’s pointed out its shape very futuristic, with its front fenders as an integral part of the body and not separate as were the contemporary road and racing cars. The 'fastback' roof was also a departure of common practice and gave the car a truly unique look. In Italy, the coupe received the nickname 'Soffio di Satana' or 'devil's breath'. All this work was done to optimize the 8C 2900B for the long straights at Le Mans.
…”At 10 am on the Sunday morning of the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans, Clemente Biondetti and Raymond Sommer held a commending 11-lap lead over their closest rival in their startling Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Le Mans Coupe. Their life was made an even easier by the retirement of several of the quickest Delahaye and Talbot Lago. Not long after Sommer set the fastest lap of the race at nearly 155 km/h (96 mph), the right front tire blew on the Mulsanne straight.
Despite running at around 210 km/h (130 mph), the Frenchman managed to keep the virtually uncontrollable car out of the barriers. One of the cords of the tire ripped the fender apart, requiring repairs. Still with a healthy lead, Biondetti went back out. At well over an hour and 160 km (100 miles) this was the largest lead at Le Mans ever , but could not be converted into a victory due to a succession of mechanical problems. Unfortunately the car ground to an halt after only a few laps with either a broken valve or gearbox failure”.
Few years later, at beginning of the ’60s, my Alfa Romeo’s passion increased deeper and deeper when my father decided to buy the Giulietta ti saloon , one of most advanced car for the time being, which enjoyed all the Alfa Romeo’s technical features, like the two head valves mounted at V, the double overhead camshaft , the hydraulic drums brakes , the gear-box at 4 speeds and the rear wheel drive.
“The family car which wins the races”, so was the slogan adverting the car in those years.
Hence began my Alfa’s dinasty, the red passion inherited by my father , which I pursued on and my daughter Annalisa, will certainly do in future.
I am still remembering my father while driving his Giulietta ti along “the Camionale ” high way from Genoa to Milan in one hour and a quarter of time, not too bad !! The Giulietta ti closely followed his instructions, as usual, but sometimes as a wild baby , by swinging and by rolling the rear while curving the band. These were his comments : “ Don’t be afraid, you must insist on it and then everything will go on well as it should be “.
In 1966, I remind him while accompanying me to Montecatini Terme in Tuscany, for my Summer’s holiday, but at that time with the new Alfa Giulia 1600 ti , which run in a more springy way and less swinging the rear , but always with its hoarse voice sorted out by the DOHC Alfa engine , the driver’s pride.
“Here is Giulia, the car designed by the wind” , so emphasized Ing. Carlo Chiti boss of Autodelta , the Alfa Romeo’s racing firm.
In October 1971, finally I conquered my own Alfa GT the sport car designed by Bertone, which crowned my Alfa gentleman driver’s dream. What a delight by driving it up and down all around the hills of the Sassello road, behind the Riviera beach , by designing each band one after another at high speed. What a fine road handling and at what an high speed , but at the time allowed !!
In more recent years, came over the Alfa Spider Pininfarina, of 2 liter cylindrate and 132 Hp , the first black and red the second. I remind the first while disembarking from the boat at the Ponza Island , on the close port street, and the fishermen joked me : "Eh, cast it away into the sea” said smiling in the local dialect !!!
And sometimes later on, I get the Alfa GTV_6V Turbo , the 2 liters cc. and six cylinders coupé, in red ox blood colour , yet my property at "twenty years old . My daughter Annalisa is usually training herself in driving it while using its gear box and its sport steering-wheel.
She is saying anytime: what a nice sport car !!!
But also what about the Brera 1750 TB, in its white ice colour, which I currently use in my day by day journeys ? Its turbo engine is always giving me a good company, with its alloy components which create its particular voice.