Eight Favorites from the 2018 Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club National Concours
Rainy skies didn’t dampen enthusiasm for these Alfisti
OLYMPIA, Washington — Hold an event in Olympia, Washington and you're always going to be taking a chance on damp weather, even during typically warmer and dryer summer months. The annual U.S. Alfa Romeo Owners' Club national meet was not exempt, and while much of the nearly week-long event was held under sunny skies, the Saturday concours was a wetter affair. Nevertheless, the show went on we were there to observe plenty of friendly Alfisti who weren't going to let a little rain spoil their fun. Here are eight of our favorite cars from this year's meet.
1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Touring Spider
Before World War II, Alfa Romeo built some of the most exclusive and expensive cars known to the motoring world. Bodywork for any given model could have been tackled by any number of the world's foremost coachbuilders and this 8C 2900 Spider's Touring-crafted sheet metal is as stunning today as it must have been in 1938.
1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Coupe
An excellent example of how virtually identical chassis could be bodied to look completely different from one another, this 8C 2900 B also features Touring bodywork, but in a closed "berlinetta" style. Check out those slatted wheel well covers—gorgeous!
1950s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider
Post-war, Alfa Romeo decided their way forward was by upping volume and lowering cost and the Giulietta was the first Alfa to be brought to the masses. No information was available for this little Giulietta Spider, but this model began life in 1955 and was available either in Normale or Veloce trim, the latter with a slightly hotter tune on the 1.3-liter twin-cam, four-cylinder engine. The styling is classic '50s Pininfarina, echoing the lines of period Ferraris and Maseratis at a fraction of their cost.
1998 Alfa Romeo Spider
After the demise of the 105/115 Spiders, Alfa started from scratch on a new Spider (and GTV coupe sibling car) to take the brand into the future. The car's controversial styling was a combination of Pininfarina and Alfa Centro Stile efforts, and while the car remained in a front-engine configuration, Alfa chose to engineer it as a front-wheel-drive car, eschewing decades of rear-wheel-drive heritage in the process, just as it had on the rest of its contemporary line-up of vehicles. The most popular engine was a 2.0-liter "twin spark" four-cylinder engine, with twin spark plugs per cylinder. This version was never sold in the U.S., though it did find its way to Canada.
1971 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior Zagato
It's a long way from the sensual lines of an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, but this odd-duck Alfa Romeo wears a genuine Zagato-styled body. These cars were based on the 1300 Spider's floorpan, shortened a bit to accommodate this coupe's Kamm-tail styling. Power came from a 1.3-liter twin-cam four, with two carburetors. Despite just 88 hp on tap (actually quite a bit for a period engine of that size), the aerodynamic bodywork and light weight meant a top speed of roughly 110 mph.
1973 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000
You can think of this period GTV as an Italian contemporary of the classic '60s/'70s air-cooled 911. Both cars have 2+2 seating, compact bodywork and a rear-wheel-drive chassis. The difference is the 2.0-liter twin-cam four that sits up front in the GTV, producing some 130 horsepower - roughly in-line with a contemporary entry-level Porsche 911 T. Alfa stopped sending this series GTV to the U.S. in 1974, replacing it with the Alfetta GT.
1985 Alfa Romeo GTV6
An evolution of the Alfetta GT, the GTV6 swapped that car's four-cylinder engine for a fuel-injected "Busso" V-6 with 2.5-liters of displacement. Power was in the 150 hp range and thanks to a rear-mounted De Dion-style transaxle, weight distribution was excellent. Other cool features include inboard rear disc brakes to keep un-sprung weight low and a hood bulge to clear the V-6's intake plenum. GTV6 models chalked up plenty of competition victories in-period, both in circuit and rally racing.
1970s Alfa Romeo Montreal
This Montreal was yet another car on display without a visible information card, but suffice it to say, this model ran between 1970 and '77. While the Montreal's styling hints at a mid-engine layout, which was especially in-vouge at the time, its four-cam, 2.6-liter V-8 engine actually resides up front, sending power to the rear wheels. The engine itself is quite a beast, derived from the awe-inspiring Tipo 33 race machines and featuring dry-sump lubrication, a Spica fuel-injection system and one hell of an exhaust note. Roughly 200 horsepower meant the car was no slouch, but the avant-garde styling wasn't everyone's cup of tea.