The Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Australia held its national event, the 2016 Alfesta, in SA over the Easter weekend; the swarm of Rosso-coloured Italian metal contrasting magnificently against Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake.
This year’s event celebrated a number of milestones, not least the 40th anniversary of the AROCA’s national get-together, which has been held at various locations across Australia since 1976. Couple that with the 50th anniversary of the iconic Graduate ‘Duetto’ Spider and there was extra cause for celebration.
AROCA SA Division member and 2016 event co-ordinator Graham Stafford headed a team of fiercely-devoted Alfisti who put together a packed schedule in and around the rugged Limestone Coast region, encompassing a Show and Shine and two drive days – important arrangements for a marque with such a driver’s pedigree.
The Good Friday Eurosport Automotive Show and Shine saw 36 cars and 80-odd
participants gather on the banks of Valley Lake to catch up, exchange stories and talk all things Alfa, as well as to enjoy a gourmet lunch provided by the Coonawarra Store. Judges cast a discerning eye over the exotic metal, while attendees voted for the most desirable car.
Easter Saturday saw everyone head across the border to Nelson in Victoria to enjoy a gentle cruise on the Glenelg River, followed by a lunch back in SA at Periwinkles Café in Port MacDonnell.
Sunday involved more driving, this time in the form of the annual Ray Sharp Memorial Observation Run, ending in Penola. After a quick look around the area, the Coonawarra’s Katnook Estate Winery provided a gourmet lunch and hopefully a few magnums for the return journey. For the passengers, of course.
The AROCA Alfesta Gala Presentation dinner, held on Sunday night, saw trophies handed to the Judges’ Award
2004 ALFA ROMEO 147 ANITA MARSHALL is a hopeless case; her grandfather was in the club, as are her parents, her sister and her brotherin- law. She has been attending Alfestas regularly since she was born, clocking up over 20 appearances in her short life.
With a pedigree like that, she was never going to be a Holden or Ford girl!
It should come as no surprise that she met her husband Bradley through AROCA, but her truly impressive dedication to Alfesta 2016 saw her bring her entire, relatively new family; two year old Audrey and eight-week old Evelyn, complete with their own Alfabranded pram.
The journey from Melbourne wasn’t without its challenges; frequent stops meant it took around five hours in her tidy, 2004 Alfa Romeo 147 and when we met her, Audrey was spreading hand sanitiser on a spent parking ticket and eyeing off the 147’s leather seats as her next target.
1967 ALFA GRAN SPORT QUATTRORUOTE ZAGATO THE PEOPLE’S Choice for Most Desirable Alfa went to David Mills and Virginia Oakham for the incredibly rare, Zagato-bodied roadster.
One of just ten built in righthand- drive and 102 cars built in total, their Gran Sport Quattroruote was ordered by Alfa Romeo concessionaire Alec Mildren who displayed it at the 1967 Sydney Motor Show. The first owner, the later-infamous Frank Nugan sold it to a succession of sympathetic owners, resulting in an unrestored car showing only 58,000 miles!
David explains, “The Gran Sport was the result of an article in Italy’s Quattroruote magazine; a purposebuilt chassis was fitted with a Giulia twin-cam engine, 5-speed gearbox, suspension and brakes then shipped to Zagato to have the aluminium bodywork fitted.”
With such low build numbers and a detailed provenance, we’re certain the award befits the car, but are they desirable? “One sold at RM Sotheby’s a while back for $126,500 US, so they’re getting there!” David laughs.
1969 ALFA ROMEO 1750 SPIDER VELOCE LOVING A classic Alfa is normally a long-term affair, never better illustrated than by Mark and Wendy Edmonds who have owned their ‘Duetto’ since 1984. “We stripped it in 1985 and gave it a birthday but we feel it’s due again,” admits Mark, gesturing to the dodgy paint on the lower panels. “People keep telling us to paint it red, but Avorio (Ivory) is the original colour of this car, so it’s staying that way.”
Mark and Wendy’s Spider started life as a CKD kit assembled in South Africa and while Aussie-delivered cars were only supplied in white or red, it was Avorio that was prevalent on the African cars.
“It’s led an interesting life; since we restored it it’s been put on display in the European Union pavilion at Expo 88, appeared in the background of a film clip and back when the paint was a bit nicer, won ‘Best Spider’ at the AutoItalia in Canberra!”
and People’s Choice winners (see breakouts), along with the Ray Sharp Memorial Observation Run Trophy.
Graeme and Lynnie Peake utilised their trusty 1967 Alfa Romeo 1600 GTV to observe the hardest and win the Run!
The final trophy, the Harry & Joan Lewis Spirit of Alfesta award, bestowed upon the attendees best embodying the very essence of the event, was given to Leon & Marg Cottle for their general helpfulness, getting into the spirit of it and just being all-round good guys!
Graham and his enthusiastic crew put together an excellent event that encompassed the best that both the Limestone Coast and the beautiful Alfa Romeo marque have to offer. The team running the 2017 Alfesta in Tasmania has a hard act to follow.
1967 ALFA GIULIA SPRINT GT VELOCE AS OWNER of GP Restorations in Mount Eliza, specialising in restoration, service and maintenance of Turin’s finest, Gary Pearce was in the right position to properly restore his early ‘stepnose’ GTV; “Everything on it remains Alfa Romeo; even the original nuts and bolts were blasted and rezinced!” he adds.
Gary’s GTV was a Melbourne car from day dot and has had only one previous owner. “The restoration has been completed for 14 years now and I’ve only been putting a few hundred miles on it a year.” Now semi-retired, Gary is keen to get out and enjoy it more. “It’s all period correct; no mirrors, no radio; even the originalstyle Michelin tyres, which I had to wait months for!”
Gary’s showroom-fresh Alfa performed well on the drive to Mount Gambier and out-performed all others at the show and shine, taking home the Judges’ Award for Best Presented Vehicle.
2015 ALFA ROMEO 4C LAUNCH EDITION “IT’S A LITTLE twitchy in the wet,” Victor concedes of his 4C Launch Edition, “But in the dry weather it’s perfect!” Alfa Romeo has always been at the forefront of driving technology; they were early adopters of twin cam engines and disc brakes and with the 4C, they’ve built the first reasonably priced sports car with a carbon fibre tub.
“I had my deposit down before I knew the specs or even how much it would cost,” laughs Victor, but it’s Victor who has had the last laugh, “Anything else using a carbon fibre tub is an expensive supercar!”
Victor has been a member of the AROCA since 1985 and is a life member in Victoria. His stable includes an Alfa 159, a GTV6 race car, and an ‘Il Mostro’ SZ, which is eligible for registration in Victoria for the first time this year. It’s been a patient wait; we can’t wait to see that one!