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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Back in 1977, I bought my first Alfa Giulia Spider - a 66 (titled as a 67), out in Boise Idaho of all places. The car had been beautifully restored by an Air Force Captain. He was selling because he'd just gotten transfer orders to England, and decided that (since he could only take one car), he'd take his XKE and restore it there.

As part of the deal, he introduced me to his Alfa mechanic. A real interesting character named George Gillis. Gillis was a farmer, but just a hell of an engine builder.

He told me that he'd started out with a friend years earlier doing local dirt track racing. He'd turned out to be the better mechanic, and his friend the better driver. Later his friend switched over to sport car racing, and bought an Alfa. Gillis kept on being his mechanic, learning as he went.

His friend moved to Atlanta, but kept racing there. Apparently he kept winning enough that people started asking him who built his engines. "Why George Gillis of Idaho", he replied.

So, one day coming back from the fields, Gillis discovers that an Alfa engine has shown up in a crate with instructions to turn it into a race engine. He did, and the engines kept showing up.

Now, all this is history according to Gillis and I have no idea if any of it is true, but he was a hell of an Alfa mechanic.... saw my first Montreal at his shop along with a lot of other beautiful Alfas.

After he sold my 66 for me (another interesting story for another day) he tried to convince me to buy a race-prepped GTV, but I was young and just had to have a Spider and bought a used '74.

I've regretted not buying that GTV for a lot of years now.

Anyhow, every time I turn a wrench on the Spider, I think about him. I haven't ever found anything on the net about him though....

Has anybody ever heard of him? He taught me a lot... including the important life lesson that "no matter how fast you are, there's always somebody faster- you have to get used to it or get better. Your choice".

Oh and here's your reward for reading all that-

 

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George E. Gillis. Born October 2, 1928, died March 12, 2010. Owner and operator of A&G Machine Shop in Star, Idaho (Star is a small town about 10 miles west of Boise).

I was not acquainted with Mr. Gillis nor his work, but was interested to learn about his association with Alfa Romeos.

Requiescat In Pace.

Reference with photo Relyea Funeral Chapel | Funeral & Cremation Services for Boise, ID - Residents
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the information Peconga. The picture shown is definitely him. He didn't have the machine shop (as far as I recall) back in the 70's. He was an interesting, interesting guy. Requiescat In Pace.
 
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