Dr. Robert D. Cess 12th Anniversary Concorso d'Eleganza

Sunday, September 10, 2017
The 12th Anniversary Celebration of Italian Vehicle Excellence and Beauty:  A display of  “art forms on wheels” as a means of illustrating one form of Italian culture. Display vehicles will rally at Stony Brook University campus on the lawn adjacent to the Graduate Physics Building and directly across from the Sports Complex off John S. Toll Drive. 

AROC 2017 Convention - Montreal Canada

Each year the Alfa Romeo Owners Club hosts a gathering of Alfa Owners across the USA. This year Montreal Canada was chosen as the location and both the Canadian and American AROC groups worked together on this event. 

The Northern climate was a bit cooler and whetter than most expected and the rough road surfaces in this area of Canada was quite jarring on those with firm suspensions.  These photos cover the start of the convention on Wednesday through Friday.

Spica Fuel Injection Revisited Seminar

By Stuart Light
Spica Fuel Injection what’s that?  Spica was a mechanical fuel injection system used by an Alfa Romeo originally on trucks then adapted for use on USA destined automobiles in 1969 and then from 1971 to 1981.  From 1982 onward Bosch Electronic Fuel Injection took the place of Spica. What was so great about Spica? Not only did it allow Alfa Romeos to meet increased American emission standards, it also enabled the Alfa Romeos of that era to maintain higher horsepower ratings. This was at a time when British sports cars with smog pumps , not only had a loss of power…there was  also decreased fuel economy at a time when gasoline became more expensive.

Since his move from Astoria, Queens to Port Washington in Nassau County, Giuseppe LoRe (”Joey” to his friends) wanted to invite the NY Alfa Romeo Owners Club to visit the new location of the Alfa Import Center. We couldn’t think of a more opportune subject than reviewing and explaining the care necessary to service the Spica Mechanical Fuel Injection system. 

Alfa Romeo has had renewed popularity in the USA with the new 4C and Giulia. Older models from the 50s into the 90s have also had a renewed desirability. Spiders from the early 60s such as my 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider have appreciated at a faster rate than my 401K (lol). Early 70s GTVs which not long ago could have been purchased  for the mid $20s are now selling at prices that are double or triple. 

As older Alfa Romeos become more valuable it is especially important that these cars come equipped as they left the factory. A number of Alfa Romeo owners suffered with incompetent mechanics who often switched the Spica units for Weber carburetors simply because they didn’t know how to work on the Spica units. Today, Alfa Romeos originally equipped with Spica units, but replaced with Weber carburetors  are worth less and locating replacement Spica units is harder and expensive. 

Joey took time to explain many of the small nuances to properly maintain a Spica fuel injection pump. It’s not rocket science….it’s just taking time, doing things carefully and sometimes repeating a step or two to make certain that the system performs properly before completing the service. 

My first two Alfa Romeos were equipped with Spica Mechanical Fuel Injection. First a 1971 Spider, then a 1974 GTV like the one photographed during the tech seminar. My 1971 Spider achieved 31mpg on a trip to Bethesda, MD in 1974 and my 1974 GTV could go round trip to Philadelphia, PA on less than 10 gallons. Since the Statute of Limitations has long expired (lol), I can admit that in 1976 my GTV was on Long Island’s Roslyn Viaduct at night at 120mph without “missing a beat”…a lot of the performance was thanks in part due to the efficiency of the Spica unit. 

This seminar wasn’t a large gathering, mostly the Alfisti faithful who have owned their Alfa Romeos in some cases for 30 years…like me…and insist on keeping their cars as original as possible to maintain peak efficiency, plus the value of increasing rare automobiles.

Alfa Romeo USA present Giulia & Stelvio for NYAROC

“Alfa Romeo Sponsors an Afternoon with the Giulia and Stelvio”
By Stuart Light

Upon the return of Alfa Romeo to the USA after a 20 year absence, it was made clear that FIAT Chrysler Automobiles, the parent company of Alfa Romeo, wants to do things the right way. The first hint was that only a select few FIAT dealers are allowed to sell Alfa Romeos. Next was the successful advertising blitz during this year’s Super Bowl. 

Now FCA is going further by requesting that Alfa Romeo work with local chapters of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club. Who else knows as much about the Alfa Romeo marque…members of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club. Many of us here in the NYC/LI area have owned Alfa Romeos going back to the 60s, 70s and early 80s when there was no local chapter. We’re the ones who struggled through 20+ years of no official dealers, few independent mechanics, and hard to find parts. We’re the ones who know what it will take for Alfa Romeo to succeed again in the USA.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a flier via email announcing that the New York Alfa Romeo Owners Club and Alfa Romeo USA were presenting An “Afternoon with the New Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Giulia” at the home of Alfa Romeo Owners Club National Legal Counsel George Pezold and his wife Lynn. I thought this was a great venue for Alfisti to have a hands-on look at the new models and at the same time provide direct input to Alfa Romeo USA.

The 35 mile trip to the North Shore of Long Island isn’t a short or quick one, and the wet roads from two days of rain made you slow down a bit. Still, I was hoping for a good turnout. I parked my FIAT 500 on the street (yes I drive Italian on a daily basis) and saw the Alfa Romeo signs. As I peered down the driveway I saw the Giulia Sedan and the Stelvio under canopies with assistants wiping the dust and moisture off of the Italian beauties. I was greeted by “Uncle” George

Pezold....we go back 30 years together. He has been an “uncle” image to me and many Alfisti here on Long Island. His decades of knowledge as an Alfa Romeo owner, and as an attorney has made him an valuable asset on a local and national basis.

 First to arrive after me was Vic and Gail Cerami in yes, you guessed it, a new Alfa Romeo Giulia TI Sport Sedan. The dark blue with tan leather interior is my favorite color combination. I had the pleasure of being the first “backseat” passenger when they took delivery just a few weeks ago. Other Alfisti started to trickle in. There were 30+ in attendance including two Alfa Romeo Owners Club national board members, our local chapter president Dr. Dino Pappous plus five previous chapter presidents.

I spent time with one of our past presidents, Harry Nicolaides while he discussed Alfa Romeo’s future in the USA with Scott Cohen, FIAT Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Senior Marketing Manager who traveled to Long Island from the Northeast Business Center. Harry’s first suggestion was that there needs to be a good lease program for the Giulia and Stelvio. Scott acknowledged that Alfa Romeo expects there to be 60%+ leasing on the new models here in the NYC metro area and that they are currently working with several banks to make viable leasing programs a reality in the near future.

Harry’s next comment, another good one, was that prospective Alfa Romeo customers are not going to make a purchase (or lease) when they enter a dealership and are told that test drives are not possible. I can understand if it is a busy day and an Alfa Romeo sales person needs you to schedule a test drive.  However, if a test drive in an Alfa Romeo Giulia or Stelvio (when they become available) is not made available at all then how can a dealer expect someone to purchase or lease a $40,000+ automobile. Sales people who just want you to “buy” an Alfa Romeo and not “sell” one to you should go back to what they were selling before whether it was Hondas, Chevys or sporting goods.

 My comments to Scott Cohen related to the customer after they take delivery of a new Alfa Romeo Giulia or Stelvio. There you are with your new Alfa Romeo parked in your driveway and your neighbors with high end Asian or European luxury automobiles might make ya feel that you didn’t exactly make a great decision in your automotive selection. My suggestion was that Alfa Romeo USA work directly with the Alfa Romeo Owners Club and for first time Alfa Romeo buyers provide them with a complimentary one year owners club membership. Within a few weeks of delivery the new owner would receive a welcoming letter from the national Alfa Romeo Owners Club president and then a letter with a schedule of local events from the local chapter president. Once a new Alfa Romeo owner meets other local Alfisti, and attends a few local events they’re going to feel better about their automotive selection. They’ll treat their new Alfa Romeo with care.

They’ll be more likely to service it at their local dealer and more than likely keep if longer. That’s how Alfisti like me got to own an Alfa Romeo GTV-6 for 30 years…. buying it, getting involved with the local chapter, properly maintaining it, enjoying it and keeping it. I hope it’s the same for all the new Giulia Sedan and Stelvio owners. As I have been known to say, “Once you drive an Alfa Romeo, everything else is just transportation”

Amelia Island Concourso 2017

 Amelia Island Concourso 2017

Bill Warners Amelia Island Concourso along with all the various amazing auto events was again world class. The sheer number of rare and exotic classic automobiles on display, and up for auction, kept going non-stop for days. The Car Club events, the Concourso and the Auctions were very well attended even after Sunday's weather forecast caused the main event to be moved up to Saturday. 

My High School buddy Dave Ahlers registered for the club event so we arrived in his beautiful '69 XKE. There was a Velocity channel crew filming a special Jag 220 and I think they backgrounded the XKE. 

There were a number of  factory reps with mucho hospitality including test drives! The test drives are limited and luckily we signed up early with ALFA ROMEO. There were two Ti's and two Quadrifoglio's available.  We took the red Giulia Quad and blasted off on a really great test drive. The car is a superlative high performance automobile. Very comfortable and quick. For the money, it can't be beat. And its a four door Alfa, which is something I've long waited for. 

There were many old acquaintances there, and a good number of AROC club members such as Dave Yeager, Nick Cervera, J. Michael Helmsley, Delmas Greene and a group of Florida Alfa Club members. Also attending were a number of favorites and celeb's such as Peter Lombardo, Joe Nastasi, Keith Martin, Gary Dragone, Wayne Carini, Donald Osborne and Matt Jones.

Mr. Warner and his crew accomplished another great event, we all had a great time, and an Alfa 8C 2900B Spider won - sports - Best of Show!

Text - Victor Cerami
Photos - Gail Cerami

Scenic Drive to Nashville - AROC 2016

Each year, the Alfa Romeo Owners club – USA (AROC-USA) hosts a convention at a different location across the USA.  For 2016, the chosen location was Nashville, Tennessee.

These gatherings give owners of Alfa Romeos the opportunity to take a road-trip with their beloved automobiles and meet up with old friends for several  fantastic days of social and car centric activities.

Participants from the Northeastern US are fortunate to have some of the country’s best scenic driving roads to enjoy en route to the Nashville convention.  A group of Alfisti from the North East enjoyed such a trip.  Most of the journey followed the historic Blue Ridge Parkway southward starting from Virginia to its terminus in North Carolina. Noted for its scenic beauty, this “tarmac National Park” runs along the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains.  The drive also included North Carolina’s “Diamondback” (NC226A) featuring 190 curves packed into just 12 miles. The route then turned west towards Nashville via incredible The Cherohala Skyway that winds up and over 5,400 foot mountains.

The drive started on the morning of Saturday June 11th and arrived at the convention hotel on the evening of Tuesday June 14th in time for Wednesdays actual start of the convention. 

Thanks to all the participants who took part in this wonderful drive. 
Baktash Bootorabi: 1971 GTV
Michael & Kathy Davias: Duetto
Vic & Gail Cerami: Duetto
Neil Luciano: Spider
Robert & Joyce Rizzo: Abarth 500
Mike Bange & George Pezold: 164S
Roger & Karen Carlson: 2000 Touring Spider
Jim Itin: 4C

Thompson 3RD ANNUAL VINTAGE MOTORSPORTS FESTIVAL

The Vintage Motorsports Festival will showcase cars from each of the periods in which the Thompson road course has operated, and embodies the rich history of the track. The 2016 event will see over 150 cars, including sports cars, open wheel, production and sports racers, race wheel-to-wheel throughout the 3-day event, and will be co-hosted by VRG (Vintage Racer Group) and VSCCA (Vintage Sport Car Club of America).

As part of their designation, Alfa Romeo drivers will receive their own special race group as part of the event. This unique race will showcase a wide variety of vintage Alfa Romeo race cars, including the Guilietta Spider, Veloce Special and more.

Alfas at the Glen - Celebrating the History of Alfa Romeo Racing 7/23/2015

This event this year at historic Watkins Glen speedway was a sensational four day affair. We were treated to mucho vintage track events including an "Alfa only" race which was won by Jay Ilohans 1968 Tipo 33/2 Daytona. Also appearing was another 33: Toni Kasemets's red 1971 Tipo33 #50.
The preceding endurance race was won by Joe Colasacco in a yellow TZ1 which took the Nuvolari trophy. There were over thirty Alfa racers which competed in a number of races including the three GTA Trans-Am Championship Alfa's from 1970 ! The GTA's owned and raced: #3 Bernie Martinez, #25 Sam Cummings and #93 Dave LeBraun. And the Peter Giddings 1935 8C looked, sounded and ran amazing. 

Mike Besic ran several beautiful GTA's, Joe Cannella superfast '68 GTV. Tom Lacosta, Sam Cummings and Rob Davenport all ran and showed GTA's. Eliseo Carrillo's #99 '63 green Giulia Spider, tech by Rex Chalmers, was lightning, and Rob Mocas piloted his cool yellow/black '67 GTV. 

A very interesting "barn find" was Ken Geiger's unrestored 1965 GTA Stradale RHD. 

There was also a classic car show, a reception at the Corning Glass Museum, Police escorted racecars, and a wonderful dinner banquet with guest speaker Robert Little featuring his personal slide presentation: "Inside the Walls" of AUTODELTA and ARI Racing! Afterward, Robert was presented with a special memento of Autodelta Alfa Montreal by Dr. Martinez. 

The Rita award was presented by SVRA Robert Mocas who made an emotional speech regarding the late and highly respected racing lady. 

AROC/NYAROC members attending/pit crewing: Joel Belser, Bactosh and Jen, Keith Goring and Vic and Gail. 

It seems that every five years there is a special Alfa Romeo Dedication and this year was it. A fair number of our NYAROC members went up for 2005 and a larger group attended the 2010 event which was a blast. 2015 was great and hopefully we'll all be around to do it again.

Photos by Gail Cerami. 
Text by -Vic Cerami - NYAROC / AROC