Your Lucky Day? | Have Some Alfa, With 4x Of A 4-Leaf Clover.

in hive-174578 •  2 months ago 

Credits to: Anakin Ryan - ArtStation

If there's something more lucky than a four-leaf clover, it would be four times the Alfa Romeo, all in one convenient post for that quarantine reading. After a week-long hiatus without automotive content from yours truly, I have prepared something truly near and dear to my heart. In these dark and depressing times, it helps to have something to tug at the heartstrings, and this is something that you need now, more than ever.

Because who doesn't love an Alfa Romeo? Yes, it's not as reliable, nor is it as recognisable to most people, but all of that won't matter until you drive one. Even their worst attempts still have that magical human-to-machine connection, in a way that many automakers can't manage. You're not just driving a car, you're taking your best companion out for a jolly good time.

Credits to: GIPHY

It's a reminder of why you became a car enthusiast, and if you're not already one, have a nice drive with an Alfa, and you'll never turn back. So, without further ado, here's a compilation of the most exciting things about Alfa Romeo that have happened recently, and aren't you glad you're here?



Altered Carbon.

We're starting off with the classics, as one usually does with Alfa Romeo. Their newer cars are great, though they still lack some of that zest from their golden years, and it's something that I hope can happen sooner rather than later. With the company going in full swing after having just launched the GTA and GTAm variants of the Giulia, some of us are still looking back at the original Gran Turismo Alleggerita.

Credits to: Alfaholics (GTA-R 290 Build)

Switching our time machine back to the 1960s, Alfa Romeo was known around the world, and their brand meant something back then. It meant that you made it in life, and you want something special to reward all that hard work. It was a fantasy for any petrolhead, long before BMWs and Mercedes became the new obsession. Even here in the tropical outback of Malaysia in the 70s, our very own Royal Malaysian Police even cruised around with Giulias and Alfettas, locking down criminals.

My beloved of these classic Alfa Romeos was the 105/115 series. It had a gorgeous body, with its trademark step-nose front grille, penned by none other than Bertone's famed Giorgetto Giugiaro. He's the designer responsible for the VW Golf Mk. I, Maserati Ghibli, BMW M1, the DeLorean, among others. Not only that, it had a lively little inline-4 engine, with one of the most soulful exhaust notes you'll ever hear, proving that small engines really can sound great.

Credits to: Alfaholics (GTA-R 290 Build)

These older Giulias are highly sought after in the second-hand market, and they're getting rarer by the day, not least because these old cars are prone to rusting into oblivion. Those that survive are highly treasured, though as some owners are wishing to keep it in the original state, others are keen to explore what happens if you modernise a classic machine.

For those who are unfamiliar, "restomod " is a process of (Resto )ring a classic car back in good shape, while making some (Mod )ifications along the way, either to update the design, or maybe add some new-age touches. Imagine taking apart an Macintosh, cleaning it up, then putting in a new motherboard, some solid state drives, an octa-core CPU, an RTX GPU, and then overclocking that.

Credits to: Alfaholics (GTA-R 290 Build)

With modern cars getting more complicated and cumbersome, some have turned to the simplicity and charm of older machinery, just as a barista might like a vintage espresso machine. For a discerning Alfisti, there's one company that has proven its mettle, and they're called Alfaholics. The UK-based outfit is one of the world's most renowned vintage Alfa Romeo experts, with a treasure trove of spare parts, and an endless depth of knowledge.

One of their most extreme creations is the GTA-R 290, which itself is based on an old 60s/70s Alfa GT Junior. The recipe is simple enough on paper, though harder to execute. In essence, it's a matter of saving weight, with the whole car being stripped down to the bare essentials. Meanwhile, the chassis has been stiffened, with modern suspension and brakes keeping the car in place, as the engine has been turned up to 11.

The end result, is a car that weighs only 830kg, a featherweight by modern standards. Combined with its spirited Twin-Spark four-cylinder engine that now produces 240hp, the GTA-R has a total horsepower-to-weight ratio of 290hp/tonne, hence the name. While today's sports cars can manage more with ease, the GTA-R's lightweight chassis contributes to excellent handling, with even more smiles on your face. If you're keen on all the small details, here's something that I wrote many moons ago.

Imagine then, if you could take that even further up a notch. Modern technology has gifted us with the magic of carbon-fibre, a material that weighs less than aluminium, but being more rigid that steel. You can see then, why it makes the perfect material to build cars with. Alfaholics had previously used a carbon-fibre bonnet, boot lid, and doors for the GTA-R, but they've now bested even themselves.

Credits to: Alfaholics (GTA-R 300 Carbon-Fibre Bodywork)

Working their magic, they now offer a fully carbon-fibre bodykit for their GTA builds, which is something you rarely see, barring the crazy hypercars of Koenigsegg and Pagani. With this beautiful creation, Alfaholics have managed to shave off 70kg from the "stock " GTA-R, and 38kg from the GTA-R 290. With those weight savings, it now has a power-to-weight of 300, and if you're one to take part in classic racing, this could give you a decent bump.

However, you'll want to be careful with this, as carbon-fibre isn't a cheap material to fix, and you're not going to easily buff this one out. Also, only 20 of these full-carbon kits will be made, and given that GTA-R 290 builds can cost over $300,000, this one won't be cheap. Then again, Alfa Romeos are not bought with a sensible mind, but with a loving heart. As described well by Petrolicious, would you want to paint yours with classic Alfa red, or just leave it in naked carbon?

Credits to: Alfaholics (GTA-R 300 Carbon-Fibre Bodywork)



Electrifying Power - Sacrilege?

Okay, so now you've understood what it means by restomodding, and how extreme it can be. But what if you want to take it even further? Imagine if you took that same Giulia GT Junior, and rip it all apart for something new. Well, the folks over at Totem Automobili have presented to us what that would look like. If I'm right in saying, this could very well be the first production electric vehicle to proudly carry that Alfa Romeo badge.

What they've created here, is by restomodding a classic Alfa with electric motors, and thus creating this retro-futuristic blend of old and new. It has a new design all-around, while still keeping that same exotic bodyline. Harking back to the olden days of rallying and motorsports, their new GTe has quad-headlights instead of twins. Flanked in the middle is a new, more modern take on Alfa Romeo's famous Scudetto grille, while the taillights are now recessed into the rear fascia.

Credits to: Totem Automobili (Alfa Romeo GTe)

One familiar trait with the GTA-R 300, is Totem's use of a full carbon-fibre body. In fact, so much has changed when making the GTe that only 10% of the original GT Junior still remains, and what's left is just the bare chassis. Being lightweight is important, to make sure this little EV remains efficient. The Twin-Spark engine is gone, now replaced by motors in the rear, and the fuel tank has been swapped for a 50.4kWh batter pack, weighing only 350kg.

It generates a whopping 518hp, with 692lb-ft of torque, accelerating the GTe from 0-60mph in just 3.4 seconds. Most importantly, it'll have a 200-mile range (350km ) with quick charging, thus keeping your range-anxiety at bay. More has been changed under the skin as well, with a now-stiffened chassis complemented with retuned suspension and brakes. Any car can be fast, but it won't be fun until it can handle some corners.

Credits to: Totem Automobili (Alfa Romeo GTe)

The front suspension now has MacPherson struts, and fitted with manually-adjustable Bilstein coil-overs, while the rear gets a multi-link suspension. Pneumatic air-suspension can also be specified as an option, and brakes come from Brembo, fitted onto a set of retro-styled wheels which have been inspired by old GTAm racers.

Being a low-volume bespoke creation, the GTe's interior also sees a modern touch-up, with features like air-conditioning, electric and heated windows, a Bluetooth-compatible radio, keyless entry, and a pair of 3.5-inch screens to replaced the analogue dials. In the mix of it all, there are some vintage touches reminding you of old times, just as soon as you sit on the lovely 70s-style Fusina leather bucket seats.

Credits to: Totem Automobili (Alfa Romeo GTe)

Overall, I think it's a fitting tribute to the old Giulia, though we'll have to wait a bit before it launches, as it was planned to be released at the now-postponed Goodwood Festival of Speed, for well-known reasons. I really like its new design, and the whole ethos behind the project, though I have some concerns about these EV restomods. This is something that's become increasing popular as a way to maintain these vintage fuel-burners in an increasing eco-conscious world.

I understand why someone would want one, but I'm also not sure about cannibalising something as precious. I suppose I wouldn't mind if the donor car had been a rusting, broken down Giulia, destined for the scrapyard. Still, I can't avoid falling in love with Totem's little GTe, and I'm excited to see this in the flesh. What about you, is this your cup of tea, and what're your thoughts on EV restomodding projects?

Credits to: Totem Automobili (Alfa Romeo GTe)



If Only This Weren't A Dream.

This isn't really news, just an imagination of what could've happened had Alfa been in better financial shape. That said, there's still hope it could happen, and if we pray hard enough, maybe the gods will grant us our wish. As a company, Alfa Romeo of today isn't doing particularly well sales-wise, and what could very well be the true return of the old GTA, could never be justified, and it couldn't happen. Notice how often I used the word "could "?

It was nearly a reality some months ago, and one which was highly anticipated. With the miniscule 4C sports car going into retirement, Alfa did plan on releasing not one, but two successors, supposedly to be called the 8C and GTV. Nevertheless, it was canned by the suits at Alfa's parent company, Fiat-Chrysler. At the very least we got something, in the form of the GTA and GTAm variants of the Giulia some weeks ago.

Credits to: zacknorman97/Alfa Romeo (GTA/GTAm Interior)

If you've read in a previous post, you'll know that I shared my candid details on those two, all the good and bad stuff included. In short, there's a lot to love, and one would only be disappointed at the fact that they're building only 500 units. Still, however great it may be, we still didn't get a proper sports car.

The GTA and GTAm did have an option to remove the rear seats, which would make little sense, given that the Giulia is a 4-door. So, imagine then if Alfa had the resources to shorten it, and make it a coupe instead. Over on Behance, Aksyonov Nikita shows us how it would look like. Already, I'm loving it to bits... How about you?

It still has all the aggressive bodykit and aerodynamic enhancements that the saloons have, with much carbon-fibre adorning its gorgeous looks. It's certainly something to admire, and I just wish that Alfa Romeo could make this come true. As for the technical details, I imagine this GTA Coupe would still carry the same tune, so you can read my previous post to know more.

Credits to: Aksyonov Nikita - Behance (Alfa Romeo GTA Coupe Render)



Bitter, Sweet.

Now grounding ourselves back in the real world, Alfa also has some bittersweet news on its current line-up, specifically its higher-riding vehicles. Our new SUV-crazed world means that carmakers are turning more and more onto big, heavy, thirsty SUVs. Some companies are doing it better than others, and Alfa's Stelvio is a great example of that. It's not only looks good, but it also drives well, with that emotional connection that you typically get from an Alfa.

Even among people who don't really like SUVs, there's little to hate about the Stelvio. It carries the same powertrain as with the Giulia, and the Quadrifoglio variant takes that up even further, with its Ferrari-derived twin-turbo V6. When Alfa announced the GTA and GTAm, some hoped that it might come to Stelvio. Though it seems now, that Alfa's brass has made it clear that won't be the case, courtesy of Autocar.

Credits to: NetCarShow (Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio)

"The GTA is an important name for Alfa Romeo," he said. "Frankly speaking, we had a meeting on a Stelvio GTA but it’s just not in line with customer expectations. It has to be the best possible [on track]. On the Stelvio, we have a higher centre of gravity [than a Giulia] so it won’t achieve the same goals.”

Fabio Migliavacca, Product Marketing, Alfa Romeo

I can agree with those comments, as a sportier, harder, more powerful Stelvio doesn't really make sense when the QV is plenty enough. However, I do hope Alfa Romeo would consider exploring that GTA name a bit more soon. Speaking of variants, here's another bittersweet news, "Alfa Romeo Giulietta to be axed this year ", reads the headline on Autocar.

Credits to: AutoCar

If you don't remember or know the Giulietta, it's Alfa Romeo's hatchback, and also their oldest car in its line-up. First launched back in 2010, this pocket rocket has seen little revisions throughout its lifespan, although it did sell well enough when it was new. Since then, competing hatchbacks have been getting better and better, while the Giulietta is showing its age.

No more, as it's slated to be replaced by the Tonale, Alfa Romeo's soon-to-be bread and butter. Again, I'm not the biggest fan of crossovers and SUVs, but clearly, I'm in the minority here, as customers are flocking to dealerships en masse. Just like Aston Martin's DBX, the Tonale is a necessity meant to buck up Alfa Romeo's ever fragile balance sheet, and if that helps the company to stay alive and make great cars for enthusiasts, then people can have as many crossovers that they want.

Credits to: NetCarShow (Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept)

Another similarity to the DBX, is the Tonale's striking good looks, and it carries that sense of exoticism which I would expect from something so left-field and Italian. There has been leaks so far, and even though it doesn't look as stunning as the concepts, it's still something wonderous to look at. The only thing stopping Alfa now, is its synonymy with poor reliability. Still, I'm hoping for a great turn-around.



Last Words.

There you have it, all the Alfa Romeo news and developments that you need in your life right now. I spent quite some time preparing this, yet I couldn't think of a proper ending. The conclusion is, if you're ever feeling down, there's always something somewhere to comfort you, and I hope these Alfas have been helpful to you. Quarantine life is rather dull, but it’s the best thing that we can do now. So, stay safe out there!

Credits to: DriveTribe (The beautiful and tragic story behind Alfa Romeo's four leaf clover)



Thanks for reading! For more updates on my blogs, or the more minute things in life, feel free to follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Medium, and maybe give a shout there as well!

While you're at it, follow along @zacknorman97 for more, coming soon :-)

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I appreciate your creativity, dear @zacknorman97!
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A huge hug from @amico! 🤗

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Upvoted 👌 (Mana: 0/30 - need recharge?)

Thanks for all the support, lads and lassies!

Wahoo huge post... luckily we have time now 😀.

I want to be a policeman in Royal Malaysian Police in the 70's :

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1960 Sprint Special

The projects you present are incredible, especially the work done to achieve the final result. Unbelievable. But as you said, if the original model should go to the scrap because otherwise sacrilege 😀

Thanks for this post and take care.

Thanks, mate! I was going to do individual posts, but as they're all related, might as well dump them in altogether 😁. As a young deviant himself, my dad has more than once got into trouble with the cops, and has had some experience being around these Alfa patrol cars! Though I couldn't blame him I guess. If you have a fast car, what else are you going to do but floor it? Really beautiful Sprint there! I really miss that classically curvaceous design. Take car, and hope you're doing well in these troubling times 🙂

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