Italian Festival Cultural Showcase

New York State Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America
Italian Festival Cultural Showcase
at the Smithtown Historical Society

A wide range of Alfa Romeo cars represented the New York Alfa Romeo owners club at the Italian Festival in Smithtown, on June 29th.  Hosted by The Culture and Heritage Italian Fair 2019,  the Alfisti provided a  taste of the Italian “Biscione”  from the classic Spider Graduate up to the modern and most recent offerings, the Giulia and Stelvio. Other classic Alfas included the GTV coupe and the unforgettable Alfa 164 S. As a mascot, there was also a Fiat X1 Bertone.

   “We really thank the NYS Order of Sons and Daughters of Italy for having us today” said the members of the local Alfa Romeo Club at the Frank Brush Barn. “We really enjoyed answering  the visitors questions and introducing our Alfa Romeos to the audience”.

- text by Lory & Ricky Dalla Rosa / photos by Michael Laurie

Greenwich Concours D'elegance 2019

The Greenwich Concours d’Elegance | May 31st – June 2nd, 2019. 2019
Recognized as one of the premier concours in the country and the largest in the Northeast, Greenwich is unique in that it is two concours back to back.

Sunday - European car day started off damp and foggy but eventually they sun broke through and illuminated a stunning collection of classic cars including the fabulous featured marque of Italian coach builder Zagato who is celebrating their 100th anniversary during the 2019 year.

NYAROC members were in attendance; Mike Bange, Rob and Joyce Rizzo, Vic Cerami, George and Barbara Linton, Gary Pezzella, Bert Wong, Tom Carren, Doug Perrone, Robert Wilder, Lawrence Auriana and John Catera who was displaying his beautiful and just restored 2600 Zagato.  Many other fine Zagato automobiles where in on display as well all overseen by third generation boss, Andrea Zagato who generously surprised Zagato owners with a custom canvas bag containing a beautiful new Zagato hard-cover book. 

NYAROC Autumn Dinner - 2018

NYAROC held its yearly Autumn dinner party at the beautiful Douglaston Club on October 6th 2018. This event was the perfect opportunity to award the coveted “Order of the Serpent” award to both Frank Gesualdo and Harry Nicolaides.

NYAROC Membership drive

We had some really beautiful Alfa's attend, new and old, including Mr. Catera's 8C. The location provided much attention to our Alfa's and  some potential new members. And, as usual, we all had a great time inside Borelli's Restaurant where the World Cup soccer played and we enjoyed the best L.I. pizza. Mucho thanks to David Fluhrer at Newsday for including our NYAROC event notice in his "In The Garage" article and to Frank Borelli for all his help and hospitality. We all had a great time.

Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance 2018

Sunday, February 25th 2018
A group of NYAROC members attended the Boca Raton Concourso. This is a yearly expanding event with Jay Leno, Wayne Carini, Tim Allen, Keith Martin  and other celebrity car people in attendance. The field held about 250 automobiles and motorcycles. A limited group of beautiful Alfa Romeos were displayed and a 1948  Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Cabrolet won its class!

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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