Fred Widmer -- 1972 Berlina, faded maroon, daily driver. I bought it this past October and drove it home from National City, Cal. (San Diego area). Almost no rust at all but if I don't stop this nonsense of driving in every snowstorm I'll be joining Walter and tmartin3, MIG welding my merry way through the spring. (So, my MIG, TIG and stick welding skills are fair. I don't do a lot but over the years the experience adds up. However, in brazing and silver soldering I am expert
. Sometimes after welding something I find that brazing or silver soldering would have been more appropriate, but how else is one going to learn?)
Berlinas didn't appeal to me for the first years of my Alfa awareness. I bought a '74 GTV from a friend about 8 years ago. It would 'ride nice' on the highway and was fun on the back roads but I scared myself a couple times taking a sudden turn. So, the suspension was not tops and, at that time, I was a fan of old, hard tires for their almost everlasting wear. At the end of the summer when it came time for inspection it wouldn't pass (rust) and has never made it back onto the road. (Well, who's fault is that?
) It sits outside. For years I thought I was going to fix it! This week I started cutting it up with a sawzall.
(It IS cold out there.) Dismembering one's darling on the cold white snow takes getting used to
but gets more and more fun as more and more pieces fall off
and the bondo is revealed and revealed and revealed. My poor baby. Being me I'm saving everything, down to the teensy screws. A few items will go into the Berlina. Would you believe I'm trying to take off the roof and upper body as a whole, for...what? Possible use in a sculpture?
In my limited experience, the Berlina seems to take any corner, at any speed, on a rail. With its low stance, solid frame and Campagnolo magnesium rims wearing fresh Cinturatos it can drive circles around what the GTV would do. Was it just that the rusted GTV was floppy? I'm looking forward to exploring this question! I never took the GTV all the way up to see how fast it would go, but bringing the Berlina home across country I was on a lonely road in Arizona... but could push the Berlina only to 100mph. Then I realized we were at 7,000 ft. above sea level and were doing just fine.
The other thing about my Berlina is that it's sort of innocuous, but not quite. I see some people question themselves about it as I go by. In Boston a Very Nice car can be a liability for use as a daily driver. Even though the Berlina is rather tiny, I'm happy to see Very Nice cars ease away from the sleeper "old beater" with its loop of seatbelt hanging out of the passenger door. Or does it look frail, like a little old lady crossing the street? Well, its a blessing not to attract the attention of the local constabulary. I never met so many of them as when I drove the GTV around that one summer.