Remember how it felt when you discovered there was no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and the government allowed electric cars on our streets?
Today’s going to be one of those days. I’ve found an Alfa I want to buy. Yes, I know I’ve mercilessly stuck it to Alfa owners like still regular reader Pete Matthews, with bon mots like: “I just saw an Alfa Romeo driver using his indicators correctly on the freeway. Twice. Should I report the vehicle as stolen?”, or “What is an Alfa Romeo owner’s most ardent wish? Answer: “A bigger …” Well, you know the rest. Actually, it’s the right time for my conversion on the Autostrada to Portello (Portello was the first Alfa factory, but now the cars are made in FCA’s Cassina plant along with Fiats and Lancias).
But wait! It’s also the 100th anniversary of Nick Romeo changing the name from Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (Alfa) to Alfa Romeo (no ego there, Nico!). Apart from naming the company after himself, Nico had another stroke of genius hiring a young up and coming racer named Enzo Ferrari. (Like Nico, Enzo named his company after himself. Should I change my name to Jono?). In fact, Enzo liked Alfas so much he became a dealer and invented the now well known phrase used by car service people around the world: “Non l’abbiamo mai visto prima” (we have never seen that before).
How did we get here? Oh, I was going to tell you about the Banks family and their Alfaholics GTA-R290. The original 1965 Alfa GTA could put out 85KW and became a very successful racer. “The trouble is,” Jeremy Clarkson wrote in The Times (part of our global multimedia empire) last week, “Alfa Romeo has spent most of the recent past making dismal hatchbacks with the word ‘Fiat’ crossed out and ‘Alfa Romeo’ written in crayon. So, we have all forgotten that back in the days before the Arna and the 33 and the MiTo, Alfa was one of the most respected and loved car companies on earth.”
Dad Richard and sons Andrew and Max spend 3000 hours creating a 178KW, 830kg, carbon fibre, little red supercar. The price? Ex-factory from Bristol about $580k for what Top Gear’s Chris Harris calls: “The most enjoyable car I’ve ever driven.” To some people half a mill is a lot of money. Of course to today’s CUBs (cashed-up bogans) it’s pretty good value when you compare it to the big, floating lounge chairs or so-called supercars that cost the same or an original 1969 Alfa Romeo GTA 1300 Junior with serious racing history that Bonhams sold in 2017 for $560k.
Wondering about classic car values during this time of contagious respiratory and vascular disease that will lead to a five-year boom that will make the roaring twenties look like a temperance society meeting?
The HAGI index of classic car values is showing that while Feezer prices are up 7.9 per cent for the year to date, Porkers outperformed everything in October, up 3.32 per cent. Historic Auto Group International founder Dietrich Hatlapa says classic cars are “a good investment in a crisis if you are not under pressure to sell and you can wait for the best time”. Then again classic cars have outperformed the S&P Global 1200, the EuroStoxx 50 and have jumped 300 per cent in the past 12 years.
Let’s talk about Toyota, and our friend Evelyn Martin, the one who went to the president and CEO of Toyota Australia, Matty Callachor, asking why two dealers wouldn’t even quote her on replacing her touch screen stereo on her near new Toyota86 GTS and whose PR person replied to us saying she had referred Evelyn’s problem to guest experience.
Unbeknown to Matty or his PR person, Michael from Guest Experience had already sent a note saying nothing in a hundred words of carefully written waffle. Last Monday Evelyn received a call from a new guest experience person from Toyota HQ telling her how to turn off the stereo (stop the car and pull on the handbrake), but not mentioning replacing the unit.
Toyota said it introduced “countermeasures” to new vehicles starting in 2016 and provided “field fixes” without charge for existing vehicles and warranties were extended to 10 years.
On the subject of up and coming race stars, Jayden Ojeda, 21, from Sydney’s Penrith is worth keeping an eye on. Jayden started racing karts at the age of seven. He won the NSW state championship at 11, the Australian championship at 15, became the most dominant driver to have raced in the Australian Formula 4 Championship in its history, winning the 2018 championship by 58 points and setting several series records. He made his Bathurst 1000 debut after a late call-up to the Garry Rogers Motorsport wildcard entry.
In 2020 Jayden is competing in the Super 2 Series with Matt White Motorsport. I think his car is sponsored by Jayco, which make the fastest caravans in the world.