South African built Alfas - Page 3 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #31 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 12:44 AM
ian
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I am still trying to find out exact production dates for the various plants but here is what I do know. Amarther, the info you got from your Google search is, unfortunately mostly incorrect. The only plant in Uitenhage is the Volkswagen factory which has been producing VW's since the early 50's from a factory that started off before the war with the assembly of Studebakers. As a matter of interest, most of SA's car plants are geared up for complete manufacture of vehicles, not just assembly of CKD's The VW factory in Uitenhage has produced all the RHD Golf 4 and 5's for the world market as far as I know. General Motors and Ford have factories in Port Elizabeth. Ford has just an engine plant currently, building engines for export.

South Africa did have the only Alfa production factory outside of Italy. Production started at CDA in East London with the 101,106 and early 105 series cars (no spiders), but this plant also produced and assembled various other vehicles such as Renault and the Fiat Topolino. The CDA plant was taken over by Mercedes Benz around 1970 and production then moved to Rosslyn Motor Assemblers near Pretoria who were also responsible for the assembly of various other makes including Nissan. This plant was not owned by Alfa Romeo. Most of our 105 series production comes from this plant but again no spiders. In the late 70's Alfa had their own fatory at Brits which produced the last of the 105 series cars and Alfetta's, Guilietta's, Suds, Sprint's and the GTV and GTV6. As has been stated already, we had strict local content rules which roughly amounted to 80% local content by weight during most of this time so not much could be imported. As far as I know Alfa SA did not build cars for export and RHD spiders were built in Italy and exported to the various markets directly from there. With Italy and Africa there are always exceptions however! Alfas were imported into Rhodesia via Tanzania to get around trade sanctions.

As has already been mentioned, South Africa has seen some fantastic "Homologation Specials"; cars built specially for standard production racing and for sale to the general public. The Alfa GTV6 2.5 was raced against the BMW 535 with much success, relying on superior handling to offset the bigger Beemers power advantage. BMW upped the stakes with a modified version of the 535 and Alfa counteracted with the GTV6 3.0 which quickly became a legend in local racing. The 535 was completely outclassed and BMW's answer was to produce a 7 series fitted with the engine from the M1! Ford joined the fray with a 5 litre Mustang engined Sierra. These were the ingredients which produced some spectacular racing with the Alfa usually victorius despite the smallest engine. All these cars were production vehicles available to the public.

I hope to be able to add to this discussion with the actual production dates etc once I have them, but what I have written here so far is factually correct and checked with various "old hands" in the various local Alfa clubs.

Ian
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post #32 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ian
South Africa did have the only Alfa production factory outside of Italy.
Ian
Excellent comments, and thanks for confirming my belief that it was the only production factory outside Italy. SA "Car" was normally the best source of info in those days.

As for the BM vs Alfa track wars, did BM not pull out altogether? They eventually came back with another model but could not take the bad PR of smaller Alfas trouncing them on the track. My first knowledge of the GTV 3.0 was sitting in front of the telly on Saturday, and expecting to see the Alfas in 2nd or 3rd row on the grid, were up front. When the flag dropped all the BMs saw were very rapidly disappearing (white?) GTVs. I believe I was as surprised as the rest of Alfisti to see the performance. BM protested the trouncing, the protest was upheld and the results over turned. But they could not repair the PR and undo the fact that SA had seen them trounced. I do believe they pulled out the series soon after, or the end of the year. Good on you Alfa, even if you did cheat!! The 3.0 had not passed homologation yet. I'm not a BM hater, and would happily drive one as my daily runner or have a 635m in my garage. There are few decent RW cars out there, so I applaud them for that.

And on the 7th day, he made Alfas....

There are only 10 types of people.... those who understand binary, and those who don't.
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post #33 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 05:10 AM
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No, sorry, it wasn't the only production factory. Possibly the main one, excepted possibly FNM in Brasil.

Of course one can argue from which extent an assembly facility becomes a "production factory".

I know of the Malaysian one in the 60s-70s, but don't remember the details by memory, and can say safely that, during the 50s, 1900s were assembled at Imperia in Belgium. The cars came as CKD kits, but internal trim was locally produced, and painting was done in Belgium.

This being said, thanks to our SA members for the detail they share here. I have some sources, but cartainly not down to every detail, so keep posting details and witnesses!
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post #34 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 07:39 AM
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As you say it is debatable what constitutes a proper production facility. I'd like to know more about the Malaysian factory, but I wonder wether they produced as much as 80% local content or pressed their own chassis and body panels. Did they have their own chassis numbers? As a matter of interest, for some reason, the Rhodesian models had their Italian chassis numbers removed and new ones stamped.

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post #35 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 12:11 PM
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'South African' built Alfa Romeos

Dear all,

Well I had seen quotations that the South African market for Alfa Romeo was larger than that in the the United Kingdom and a very important one for them in the seventies and before they withdrew in the eighties. Possibly an indicator of this importance was the amount of money spent by their Marketing Department in the form of racing sponsorship/'spend'.

Today people like Dawie de Villiers of Glenwood Motors in Pretoria still 'produce' certain outstanding Alfa Romeo products and services for local and export markets.
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post #36 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 08:49 PM
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For those of you who are interested, the famous E-Bay seller "Autolit.com" (Walter Miller) is currently selling a sales brochure of the FIAT 128 FUN BAKKIE which was produced by Alfa Romeo for a very low "buy it now" price. A nice item to add to your collection for a low price if you're interested. The sales brochure specifies the Alfa Romeo logo instead of the FIAT logo.
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post #37 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-12-2006, 01:29 AM
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3.0 Gtv

A blast from the past....hope the attachment follows
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post #38 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-12-2006, 01:30 AM
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quite a few more pics if you guys want to see.
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post #39 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-13-2006, 12:02 AM
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3.0l GTV

Dear Fortom,

Yes, please post some more.

Do you know what was done with all those cars?
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post #40 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-13-2006, 07:55 AM
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Old race cars

My cousin Robbi Smith used to race the JSN Class A BMW Shadowlines in competition with the 3.0GTV's & he also raced the V8 Ford Sierra "Animal".

The BM's that Rob didn't write off, are still around, as is his "Animal", which is in Cape Town and was actually owned by Rob's ex neighbour, who used to use it on the roads to go to work 2 or 3 days a week.......

The twin turbo GTV 6 race car was still in South Africa, I saw it about 6 years ago, sadly the motor is long gone.

This is a friend's genuine low mileage 3.0 GTV 6, complete with original split rim compomotives & the special glass fibre bonnet, which was needed to clear the triple carbs. Tha family are avid Alfisti.....

Ciao
Greig
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post #41 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-13-2006, 08:55 AM
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Dear AlfistiSA,

We had some 'dealings' with JSN motors and remember Robi Smith. Went into JSN workshops once and saw quite a few 2.7l shadowline(?) engines and knew one person quite well who 'revealed' some of the reasons for the superior performance.

Was Dawie de Villiers responsible for the building of the 3.0l competition engines? What was the involvement of Basil D'Oliviera(?) and Alfa Romeo South Africa? Are we talking about the twin turbo engine that Dawie originally built for the GTV6? It appears he is now building them for customers as and when required.
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post #42 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-13-2006, 10:07 AM
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Basil was a works driver for Alfa at the time. The GTV6 3.0 was raced in Group One for standard production cars .Alfa SA had their own competition department. Only the standard production cars were raced by the works; no twin turbo cars. Also the GTV's racing career was over by the time the E30 "Shadowline" BMW's appeared, which competed in Group N against the Opel Kadett 2.0. The GTV's were raced against the BMW 535 and 745. I'm looking through my stuff for some pics and will post them as soon as I find some.
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post #43 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-13-2006, 12:48 PM
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Alfa Romeo and racing in South Africa

Dear Ian,

As youngsters the 101 and 105 cars were a 'major interest' to us. For this reason we seem to remember the TZ, GTA and GTAm cars. The Barwell family, Arnold Chatz, Sampie Bosman, Basil van Rooyen and Dawie de Villiers were the names of 'the time'.

Dawie de Villiers seems to be the 'old man' that has remained 'loyal' to Alfa Romeo as his name is often mentioned in posts on the Bulletin Board. The other names mentioned above do not seem to feature at this point in time.
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post #44 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-14-2006, 01:43 AM
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Ian is right, the heyday of the GTV 6 was over by the time the BMW & Opels were competing with each other, some of the GTV6's were still being campaigned by privateers, but were outclassed by the Factory Sponsored Opels & BMW's & eventually faded out of racing.

Robbi & his crew used to employ some very interesting "mods" to get the motors to produce more power & still remain*legal*. Head gaskets squished in 40 tonne presses before assembly, blocks shaved in the factory before the BMW logo was stamped into the top mating surface, dummy A/C units to save weight, the list goes on.

Sampie Bosman and Louis Lazarus were instrumental in developing the Turbo Alfetta sedan. Arnold Chatz still has his Alfa & Nissan Dealerships, Dawie is obviously hard at work producing awesome GTV6 motors, up to 3.7 litre now. Yes he was responsible for the twin turbo motor in the GTV6 race car, Ian is correct, it was never raced by the Factory.

Ciao
Greig
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post #45 of 156 (permalink) Old 10-14-2006, 03:14 PM
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some more from kyalami
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