Discharge of the Light Brigade

Martyn Goddard

Since the Glen also planned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Alfa Romeo, it seemed only right to include one in our motorcade, hence the restored Giulietta Spider Veloce seen here. Although built in 1959 and comparatively expensive back in the day (even more so now, as this rare Veloce model is probably worth more than the other four cars here combined), it remained in production until 1963, by which point all of the cars we'd be driving had come to market. It was a benchmark for many drivers back then, something to graduate to from things cheaper, less technically sophisticated, and presumably British. More important, its owner, Steve Lehrman, was willing to toss us the keys.

While Italian artisans never got in its way much, most people would say that England's sports car trade was mortally wounded by the rise of the Japanese auto industry. So, we rounded out our snapshot view of the 1960s motoring scene by bringing along a contemporary competitor from Japan, a Datsun 1600 with 43,000 original miles. Built in 1970 -- the final year of production for a model first sold as the 1500 in 1963 -- the 1600, although not unsuccessful, would nonetheless be outshined and outsold by its replacement, the epochal, Brit-killing 240Z.

And so one crisp morning we set out from the White Plains garages of Domenick's European Car Repair, where these five exemplars of the old, top-down sports car creed had gone in for a quick once over and safety check (see sidebar).

Five cars and five drivers, all of whom would have been young boys when these cars were current, and one of whom, another fine vintage British export named Martyn Goddard, would also be taking pictures. Santo Spadaro, who runs Domenick's with his brother Frank, would race his '58 Alfa Giulietta Sprint Veloce at the Glen (earning a Victory Lane Spirit Award for his determination) and tow his mount northwest behind a Chrysler minivan; he agreed to join our convoy in the event we needed some professional wrenching.

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