Pinyo took us south today to visit with Ben and his son John at Italclassic a bit south of Benidorm on N332. This is a shop that primarily deals in restorations and they strongly prefer Alfas. In fact, Ben has a lifelong love affair with Alfas since his first Giulietta Spider long ago during his first trip to Italy from his native Holland, and he has passed this affliction on to John now. They also deal in sales of used “old timers” and Alfas, parts, and some service/repair. In fact they have a large supply of used parts garnered from parts cars over many years, and most from “old timers”. Everything from “soup to nuts” and in many multiples. Some NOS also. Unfortunately the only inventory is in Ben's head. I have attached a few photos of only a small part of his stock.
They also have a good inventory of cars for sale and of projects, both for others as well as their own. Some real exotics that I've only read about like a nice red 1900 coupe which is very rare and 2600 sedan. Ben or John can fill in accurate details of the various bodies and engines laying about in need of time and hands. They have two Supers for sale, a dark blue 1600 and white (red nose). Unfortunately John's 1300 GT Junior (with 1600) outfitted for ralley is NOT for sale. It is a certain eye catcher.
These guys are really hard core Alfisti and a pleasure to visit with. And Ben's knowledge of Alfas is immense. No doubt, he felt that Supers were one of Alfa's finest achievements when asked about his favorite Alfs, and he has little joy for post 105 cars. John also has a 145 Quadrifoglio. Smaller than a 147 but 150 hp and very spirited. John took Pinyo out for a spirited drive on his test track, a twisty uphill, departmental road up the back hills. He gave it a thumbs up after the drive and inspection. “Solid, strong and neutral.” No driveability issues noted. He felt the rumble at 4000 rpm was perhaps rear tire balance as it only seemed to occur in 5th at 4000 rpm and was not noticeable in lower gears. He also noted the start of a leak on the rear axle driver-side seal. As an aside, Pinyo is getting up to 29-31 mpg on highway driving at 110 kph (< 70 mph). A bit lower above 70mph. It is between 24-26 in all city and twisty, hilly road driving. To me, a remarkable feat. Better than my Spica Spider.
After lots of Alfa talk, a shop/parts stock/projects tour, coffees, and drives, we went to lunch at a locals restaurant. Great meal and talk got more social. Unfortunately, the visit had to end as they closed the shop virtually all morning for the visit. Ben sent me on my way with a few tidbits like a spare solenoid (just in case) and radiator cap (mine is leaking a bit). And some speedos in MPH for which he has no use. These guys could make a small fortune with an inventory of their used parts and some time to market. And it would get these rare and much needed parts back into circulation for the rest of us needy souls. It makes me wonder just how many of these parts and car stashes exist around Europe, and elsewhere, with so little exposure. Ben says that Alfas have not really caught on in Spain, and in particular the old-timers. He says that Franco would not allow but a few imported cars into the country per year for show purposes, and only since 1984 has the “foreign” car market become open and taken root. He believes there are not many Alfas here, certainly not that many old-timers (perhaps 30-40 pr
so), and there is little recognition or appreciation for them. In fact, I'd guess that I get most interest here from the many foreign visitors, retirees and part-time residents. This is manifestly unlike Holland. He bemoans that and tries to get some local enthusiasm but with little success. Pity as this is Alfa-driving country for sure!
Once again, we find in the most out of the way places great Alfisti. In the end, now it is not so much about the cars themselves, but about the people who love on them, restore and maintain them, drive them, pour money and time into them, and stock, develop and sell us parts for them. Otherwise, there would be no “old timers” out here. What better way to celebrate Alfa's 100th than for the people keeping the memories alive out here. Drop these guys a line sometime and say Hi. And definitely ask them for the parts you may need! And if you are in the neighborhood, drop by for a coffee and an eye-popping tour. Some great Alfisti live here. Thanks for the hospitality guys.
Reparacion de coches clásicos en Alicante - Restauración Alfa Romeo y Fiat Clasicos
Next stop – Granada!