Gary - must be the Washington gloom doing strange things to your mind ��. 81 and blue sky here in SoCal ☀️ My fondest track time memories are with a 1300/1600 Junior and then a 1.6/2 litre Alfetta GT both of which I co-owned with my best friend. Not the fastest cars but trying to beat each other with the same equipment on the same day, that’s challenging. And a heck of a lot of fun. Come to think of it, our family 850 Mini on cross plies taught me a lot about car dynamics. As did my sisters Fiat Bambina. I’d argue you learn a lot more that way than throwing in some hp and bolting on some wide rubber.
You misjudge me, Aggie57. I'm a native Californian, who bought my first Alfa as a college kid in 1966 ... when I lived in the heart of what is now known as SillyCon Valley. I loved that slow little Giulietta Spider and its single carb 1300 Normale motor. I spent every available hour learning to drive it as quickly as possible on the then largely wide open winding roads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. On rainy nights, I often took it out to industrial areas that had paved roads, but not yet any buildings or cars. There I would slide around on the rain-slick roads to my heart's content, learning car control in the process.
Later I bought a GTC with 1600 motor, a '67 GTV I still own, also with 1600, and a couple of 1750 Spiders. They were all fun, but eventually my skills improved and I wanted to go faster. That led to Shankle cams and, finally, to the GTV's improvements that include its pumped 2L motor.
I am fully aware that suburban mommy SUVs often are faster in a straight line and that there are plenty of other cars that perform considerably better than my 50-year-old Alfa, even with all the suspension, braking, motor, tranny improvements.
Our Audi Avant "sport wagon" would probably keep pace with the Alfa on a track, with super stereo system going, AC blasting, and passengers in the back seat. What the Audi can't offer is a connection between car, driver and road that is Alfa's special gift to driving enthusiasts.
Double-clutching, heel and toeing, 45DCOE Webers gulping air through low-restriction filters, quick shifts and rapid engine response, direct road feel and so much more make the Alfa experience exceptional, especially when carefully made modifications take the car to an even higher level.
I do not street race and am careful to do my fast motoring when it is safe for me and others on the mountain roads I now enjoy in Washington State. The sticky tires and other improvements are for my enjoyment, not because I feel it important to prove that my car is faster than that of some stranger.
Now that you know I have 51 years of Alfa driving experience, maybe it is easier to understand why stock spec Alfas don't hold the same magic for me that they do for more recent converts to the marque.