After looking at the world of modern Japanese performance in our last profile, we go a little more classic this time by looking at James’ Alfa 75. A beacon of driving pleasure in it’s day, and the perfect fixer upper for any car enthusiast who loves working on them as much as they love driving them. No other car could be more potentially suitable for the Spares Box resident mechanic.
What type of car is this?
It’s a 1990 Alfa Romeo 75 3.0L Potenziata
What kind of condition was the car in when you first got it?
In reasonable condition for its age. It has 400,000km’s on it (the chassis does anyway) it needed a lot of TLC and still does, but it provided a good starting platform. We’re getting there bit by bit with big plans ahead.
How have you modified or restored it yourself?
Modifications have been minimal so far. Getting the car reliable and neat was first priority, consisting of replacing various trims like the black “hip” trims, tail lights, centre console, tail shaft guibos and some minor panel work here and there.
Modifications at current include Momo Tipo 2300 wheels, Federal semi slicks, Project Mu HC800 brake pads, slotted and dimpled rotors, Koni adjustable shocks, rear King Springs (the front has Torsion bars), Zagato caster arms, 2.5′ exhaust, Momo steering wheel, Stack oil pressure gauge/warning panel, SuperPro De Dion and Watts linkage bushes.
How is it to drive compared to when you originally got it?
A world of difference! Alfa’s Transaxle cars have always required a certain knack to drive, but it was particularly haphazard with the suspension a mismatch of old parts from different brands and almost all of the hydraulic components on their last legs.
What was your favourite moment while working on it?
A favourite moment is hard to pinpoint, I enjoy working on it most of the time no matter the job. That’s part of having an Alfa I think.
What’s your favourite memory with the car?
Driving it home the night I picked it up, I had always wanted to own a 75. My first toy car as a child was red 75 (which I still have) so finally having the keys to my own was very surreal.
What’s the biggest hassle that comes with running a classic Alfa on a day-to-day basis?
That’s a loaded question! The gearbox can be finicky to use when cold and can be annoying in traffic. It’s no secret these cars are a bit “fragile” and when things break they can be hard to source. So I think the key thing is to be familiar with the condition of each component of the car and a mechanical understanding of what is occurring as your driving. If you treat it like a Corolla with a “she’ll be right” attitude, you’ll pay the price with these kinds of cars.
Do you think it’s true that you can’t be a proper car enthusiast until you’ve owned an Alfa?
I think only people who have owned an Alfa (a real Alfa, pre-93, not the Fiat produced FWD ones) can understand why people say that. I don’t think it’s a requirement, but if you consider yourself an enthusiast you should consider it. My friends joke my car is the automotive Rubik’s cube. A test of dedication to the hobby. Maybe that’s why it’s said.
What’s your dream car?
That’s a hard question, if its completely fictional then the 72 Alfa 33tt3. But one car, to do it all? Easily a Lancia Stratos.