New Alfisti and his 2017 Giulia

Being a new "Alfisti", I thought it would be nice to share my total experience with my Giulia, from the initial dealer visit, to test drive, to service and my impressions of the car.  What follows is my story.

A good place to start is with my dealership experience.  I live in Suffolk County so my nearest dealer is Brown's in Patchogue, N.Y.  My wife and I visited on a Saturday and were greeted by a young female sales associate named Belce Bolvadin.  She was extremely pleasant, knowledgeable  and polite and after some small talk we got down to business.  I had been longing for a 4 C and was dismayed when they didn't have one available in their inventory. She directed me to a car that was sold and asked if I wanted to check it out. After struggling to get in and out of the car, I knew the 4 C wasn't for me.  However, there were a few Giulias on the lot and they caught my eye and within minutes I was taking a test drive. I can still feel the grin on my face while driving it!  The handling, suspension, brakes and total driving experience was exactly what I was looking for. I was hooked. We proceeded inside and I was lucky to find out that they had a Q 4 Ti Sport in Rosso Competizione just arrive. By Monday at 11am, I was driving my Alfa home. I could not have had a better experience than the experience I had at Brown's.  Belce was wonderful and the whole purchasing experience was great.
 

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Furthermore, I've had the car at Brown's for service and have also been very pleased. I purchased an aftermarket exhaust, which they gladly installed and I was supplied a loaner without even asking for one.  In addition, I have a had some software updates installed and have also received excellent treatment from Rick at the Service Desk.  I highly recommend Brown's and Belce and Rick, if you're interested in a new Alfa Romeo.

With regard to my driving experience with my Giulia, it has been pure joy.  The car is really in touch with the driver and is easily the best car I've ever owned. I'm not alone in my opinion of the Giulia as Motor Trend and Car and Driver have honored the Giulia with their "Car of the Year" and "Top Ten Cars" awards, respectively. In the interest of making a great car even better, I've purchased a Centerline Corsa exhaust and a V 2 Intake from Alfa and FIAT aftermarket tuning company "Eurocompulsion".  Chris Cannizzaro from Eurocompulsion is a NYAROC member and provided excellent service and guidance. I love the fact that Eurocompulsion thoroughly tests their products and specialize in aftermarket performance products for both Alfa Romeo and FIAT. 

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Finally, there is always consideration for the car I traded in.  Do I miss it ?  It was a 2016 Lexus RC 300 AWD Coupe.  It was a special edition color combination of Infra Red exterior with a Light Saddle interior.  It was a stunning combination and everywhere I went I got compliments. It was a great driving car, better than any of the German cars I test drove.  However, it had no soul. It was not a car for a "car guy". I was fortunate that it had very low mileage and the used car manager at Brown's felt it was "eye candy" and offered to pay off the buy out.  Where the Giulia feels light and agile, the Lexus felt heavy and lumbering.  It lacked road feel.  There was no comparison.  Once I drove the Giulia, I was hooked.

By now, I'm sure it's obvious how happy I am with my Alfa Romeo Giulia and to be a part of the Alfa Romeo family.  The vast history of the marque is enough to hook you without owning one, but now that I've become part of the fraternity, I get it. Whether it's a new Giulia or a Duetto Spider, all Alfas have the same DNA.  I look forward to many years of ownership and the camaraderie that owning the Giulia has brought me.

My membership in NYAROC has been an unexpected plus.  A wonderful group of people that have made me feel welcome from day one.

Forza Alfa,
Dan De Giovine

 2017 NYAROC Winter Party & Quadrifoglio Premio

The New York Alfa Romeo Owners Club returned to a familiar venue for its 2017 Winter Party, the Northport Yacht Club.  With its comfortable dining area and large bar, it served as the perfect setting.  This year, there was something different. That something different however was not found inside the Yacht Club.  Rather, it was in the parking lot. New Alfa Romeos, 3 of them, all Giulias.  Something our club has been longing for since 1995.  The ability to purchase a new Alfa Romeo.  Thankfully, that day has arrived.  In addition to new cars in the parking lot, we had the addition of new members at the party.  An additional benefit of Alfa's reemergence stateside is the introduction of new members to the marque and to our club.  In fact, since the introduction of the Giulia sedan, NYAROC membership is up almost 20% !  

But let's talk about our event.  NYAROC has long maintained a tradition of honoring members of the club that give of their time and serve the club either as members of the Board of Directors or chose to serve on the National Board of Directors.  The club has established the "Order of the Serpent" to acknowledge these individuals.  

However, the club needed to create an award to honor long standing members of our club. With many individuals maintaining their membership in NYAROC for decades, this was a glaring omission.  To that end, the "Quadrifoglio Premio" (Quadrifoglio Award) was established.  The brainchild of NYAROC Vice President John Catera, the inaugural recipient was a very deserving, long standing member of NYAROC, Mr. Michael Intintoli.  

Mr. Intintoli is a NYAROC member since 1973.  He is a retired mechanical engineer formerly employed by the Sperry Corporation which was a US government military defense contractor.  He is extremely knowledgeable and mechanically inclined when it comes to all things Alfa Romeo. He still owns the 1969 Alfa Romeo Berlina 1750 that he purchased new in 1970 and has infected his sons, Anthony and Frank, with the Alfa bug. Pictured here with his wife, sons, and daughter-in-laws, it was a great surprise to Mike, and NYAROC was extremely proud to acknowledge one of its longest active members.  All in all, with the addition of new cars, new members, and a new award, the 2017 NYAROC Winter Party was a huge success.

Finally a Local Alfisti Takes Delivery of a 4C

By Stuart “Dr. Alfa” Light

 Vic Cerami viewing his new Alfa Romeo 4C for the first time.

Vic Cerami viewing his new Alfa Romeo 4C for the first time.

I can’t believe it was almost two years ago when I first saw an Alfa Romeo 4C at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Press Day at the New York Auto Show...it was something different and unique from previous regular production Alfa Romeos. Not only did it have a carbon fiber tub and other light weight components to keep the weight down to about 2500 lbs., it also had a turbo charged 1.7 liter all aluminum engine putting out 237hp. Yep, it was a tight fit getting in behind the steering wheel but as with many Alfa Romeos you don’t get into them…ya kinda “strap them on”. 

 Fernando & Alfredo Gulla plus Gail & Vic Cerami.

Fernando & Alfredo Gulla plus Gail & Vic Cerami.

    I looked at fellow local Alfisti, wondering who would be the first one to buy a 4C. Hey…don’t look at me...I wish I could afford buy one…however…the high 50s to low 70s price range kinda puts me outta the market….about the only 4C that I can afford is a container of breadcrumbs (lol). I dunno what was going on…soo many excuses…but it wasn’t about the price. A few Alfisti said they didn’t fit behind the steering wheel…true…others mentioned that they’d wait for the larger 2017 Giulia Sedan to become available. Vic & Gail Cerami, however said they’d wait for a 4C Spider to become available. 

 Alfredo & Vic

Alfredo & Vic

It didn’t surprise me when New York Alfa Romeo Owners Club Director, Vic Cerami mentioned that he put down a deposit on a 4C Spider at Alfa Romeo/FIAT Larchmont. After all in the past few years he purchased a FIAT 500L and a FIAT Abarth from them...and me…my relationship with the Gulla Family goes back to 1986 when I took delivery of my Alfa Romeo GTV-6, a car that I still own and treasure today thirty years later (photo attached). 

Alfa Romeo/FIAT Larchmont is a family business started by Alfredo Gulla in 1961 and it is still run by him and his family over 50 years later....for a long time before Alfa Romeo left the USA at the end of 1995 Alfredo was also the head of the Alfa Romeo Dealers Association in the USA. FIATs and Alfa Romeos are part of their life. Everybody in the dealership eats drinks and lives Alfa Romeo and FIAT….as a contrast, many salespeople I have met at other dealerships might be better suited selling sporting goods or ladies shoes. It’s no surprise to me that this dealership is number 2 in sales for the NYC Metro area with many customers driving over bridges to travel to Larchmont.

Finally on a cold Winter Day in early February I received a call from Vic requesting that I join him and Gail for the trip to Larchmont to pick up their 4C. After a quick lunch at a local diner we made the northbound trek to Westchester. I could tell that Vic was concerned about the patches of snow and ice on the highway and how it might affect the drive going home, but as we crossed into Westchester on I-95 the snow and ice became less evident and Vic stopped worrying…at least for the moment.

We arrived in the Cerami’s FIAT 500L early afternoon. Both Alfredo and Fernando were there to greet us…we hugged each other…it was as much of a family reunion as a car delivery. Like I said…the Gulla family knows how to treat customers…it’s one of the reasons they attract customers from Long Island. 

 Fernando instructing Vic how to use the controls on the 4C

Fernando instructing Vic how to use the controls on the 4C

Vic finally got a look at his new 4C….there was a huge smile on his face as he and Gail walked around it….it was very special….everything from the optional red paint to the removable top. Everything about it was high tech….there’s even a computer app. for the 4C. It looked like Vic’s was the only red 4C Spider on the premises….of course all the 4Cs were all kept indoors… there were a couple of yellow Spiders, a red coupe and a white Spider on the showroom floor locked up of course. I’d probably want one in gray or black…less noticeable on the road.

After completing the paperwork in the office, Fernando went with Vic for a test drive, showing him how to operate the 4C…then it was time to head back to Long Island. There I was having the honor of being the first occupant in the passenger seat riding “shotgun”. My job was to keep Vic aware of cars coming up on the passenger side and of course keeping an eye out for patches of ice and snow plus potholes.  

It was easier for Vic to drive the 4C than he thought….everything was drive-by-wire..all electronic…nothing to do but take it easy to break-in the 4C and watch for Gail driving the FIAT 500L in the rearview mirror. We arrived at Casa Cerami without incident of course…and after tucking the 4C away it was time for me to go back to “my estate”. It was a great afternoon… wonderful to see a deserving Alfisti take delivery of a 4C. 

Now that a local Alfisti “broke the ice” and took delivery of a 4C maybe others will do the same…maybe if I win the lottery I’ll have a 4C in MY driveway…I can dream can’t I (lol)?

Alfa Romeo GTV6 Thermostat Element Installation

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Alfa Romeo Milano and GTV6 Thermostat (IAP #350021)Originally, Alfa Romeo supplied this thermostat along with its housing, but that item is no longer available. We now supply a replacement internal element which you install into your existing thermostat housing. Here's the procedure:

1. (Photo 1). Using pliers, flatten the tabs (A) that retain the old element to the housing's mounting ears.

2. (Photo 2). Now you can twist the old thermostat element free and lift it from the housing.

3. (Photo 3). Place the new element into the housing, making sure the actuating pin fits into the hole (B) in the top of the housing. 

4. (Photo 4). Depress the new element and twist it into the grooves in the mounting ears, similar to the way the old element was removed (it may take a little more effort). Make sure the element is centered and equally started into each "ear" before twisting, or it will be difficult to twist all the way around to the correct location. Keep rotating the element until it snaps into place.

Note: The new thermostat functions the same as the original; it opens at approximately 83 degrees C (181 degrees F), and opens 7-9 mm when hot.

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V-6 Tensioner Modification

Alfa 164 Technical Service Bulletin 01.93.03

Information: New Style V-6 Tensioner Modification

Models: All Models-1981 Thru 1993- with The Old Style Oil-Fed Tensioner

Date: 08/11/93

A NEW STYLE, NON OIL-FED, TIMING BELT TENSIONER IS NOW SUPPLIED AS A REPLACEMENT PART FOR ALL ALFA ROMEO V-6 ENGINES - MODEL YEARS 1981 THROUGH 1993. THIS NEW STYLE TENSIONER (PART NUMBER 605-88421) SUPERSEDES ALL OLD STYLE, OIL-FED TENSIONERS.

TO RETROFIT THIS NEW STYLE TENSIONER, YOU MUST PLUG OFF THE OLD STYLE TENSIONER'S DRAIN BACK HOLE IN THE BLOCK WITH A SPECIAL PLUG (PART NUMBER 608-97507) AND REPLACE THE HOLLOW STUD WHICH' PREVIOUSLY F~D OIL TO THE OLD STYLE TENSIONER WITH A SPECIAL ADAPTER STUD (PART NUMBER 608-97506).

ATTACHED PLEASE FIND THE INSTALLATION I MODIFICATIQN INSTRUCTIONS. INSTALLATION / MODIFICATION INSTRUCTIONS
NEW STYLE V-6 TIMING BELT TENSIONER
(REFERENCE VIDEO TAPE PART # 608-97518)

  1. ON MILANO & GTV 6 MODELS:

    ACCESS THE OLD STYLE TIMING BELT TENSIONER BY REMOVING THE RADIATOR, AUXILIARY DRIVE BELTS AND THE TIMING BELT COVERS.

    ON 164 MODELS:

    1. REMOVE THE PASSENGER'S SIDE FRONT WHEEL.
    2. REMOVE THE STRUT ASSEMBLY (FOUR BOLTS ON THE BOTTOM AND THREE NUTS ON TOP OF THE SHOCK TOWER).
    3. REMOVE THE FRONT INNER FENDER PANEL.
    4. REMOVE THE WATER PUMP-A/C BELT AND THE POWER STEERING PUMP BELT. USE SPECIAL TOOL 1822-104 TO LOOSEN THE REAR POWER STEERING PUMP ADJUSTING NUT.
    5. REMOVE THE RADIATOR HOSES FROM THE THERMOSTAT HOUSING/WATER PUMP.
    6. REMOVE THE TWO LOWER TIMING BELT COVERS.
    7. REMOVE THE TOP ENGINE "DOG BONE BRACE" AND THE TWO TOP TIMING BELT COVERS.
  2. USING A SOCKET ON THE CRANKSHAFT NUT, TURN THE ENGINE CLOCKWISE AND LINE UP THE TOP DEAD CENTER MARKS AT THE CRANKSHAFT PULLEY.
  3. VERY CAREFULLY AND CLEARLY MARK THE RELATIVE POSITION OF THE CAMSHAFT DRIVE PULLEYS IN RELATION TO THE CYLINDER HEADS. ON MILANO AND GTV6 MODELS, YOU WILL ALSO NEED TO MARK THE AUXILIARY DRIVE PULLEY, AS IT DRIVES THE IGNITION DISTRIBUTOR. BE SURE TO MAKE YOUR MARKS CLEAR AND ACCURATE. IF YOU DO NOT MARK THE CAM PULLEYS YOU WILL HAVE TO REMOVE THE VALVE COVERS IN ORDER TO REFERENCE THE FACTORY MARKS. IF YOU MIS-TIME THE CAMS YOU COULD BEND VALVES - SO BE VERY CAREFUL!
  4. REMOVE THE OLD STYLE TIMING BELT TENSIONER. DO NOT LOSE THE RETAINING NUTS AND WASHERS AS YOU WILL REUSE THEM LATER TO MOUNT THE NEW STYLE TENSIONER.
  5. REMOVE THE OLD TIMING BELT (YOU MUST REMOVE THE MOTRONIC CRANK SENSOR IF THE VEHICLE IS A 164).
  6. REMOVE THE LONG HOLLOW OIL-FEED STUD. THE STUD CAN BE EASILY REMOVED IF YOU "DOUBLE NUT" IT AND YOU SHOCK IT LOSE BY STRIKING IT SHARPLY, TWO OR THREE TIMES ON THE END, WITH A BRASS HAMMER. BE SURE TO WEAR EYE PROTECTION AND DO NOT USE A STEEL HAMMER - BRASS ONLY!
  7. CLEAN THE AREA AROUND THE HOLE FOR THE STUD AND CLEAN ALL TRACES OF OIL FROM THE THREADS IN THE BLOCK. BLOW AIR DIRECTLY INTO THE HOLE TO DRY THE THREADS AND TO BACK- FLUSH THE OIL OUT OF THE OIL PASSAGE.
  8. APPLY SEVERAL DROPS OF WURTH THREADLOCKER PART NUMBER 8932423- TO THE 10 MM END OF THE SPECIAL CONVERSION STUD (PART NUMBER 608-97506). DO NOT USE ANY OTHER TYPE OF THREAD LOCK. USE ONL Y WURTH PART #8932423. NO OTHER SEALER OR THREAD LOCK COMPOUND IS RECOMMENDED.
  9. DOUBLE NUT THE 8 MM~END OF THE SPECIAL CONVERSION STUD AND THREAD IT INTO THE BLOCK UNTIL THE 10 MM PORTION OF THE STUD IS FLUSH WITH THE SURFACE. REMOVE THE DOUBLE NUTS.
  10. DRILL, TAP AND PLUG THE DRAIN-BACK HOLE. START BY DRILLING IT OUT WITH A 1/4" DRILL BIT. PUT TAPE ON THE BIT 1/2" FROM THE END SO THAT YOU CAN GAUGE YOUR DRILLING DEPTH.

    NEXT, ENLARGE THE HOLE USING A 17/64" BIT. ALSO PUT TAPE ON THIS BIT 1/2" FROM THE END TO GAUGE DRILLING DEPTH.

    YOU MAY NOTICE THAT THE PASSAGE YOU ARE DRILLING OUT GOES INTO THE BLOCK AT AN ANGLE AND IS NOT A STRAIGHT PASSAGE. THIS IS NORMAL, IN THAT THIS PASSAGE IS CAST AND NOT MACHINED. LET YOUR DRILL BIT FOLLOW THE PASSAGE. WHEN THE HOLE IS PLUGGED, THE THREAD LOCKER WILL COMPENSATE FOR ANY IRREGULARITIES AND SINCE THE PASSAGE IS NOT UNDER ANY PRESSURE, IT WILL PROVIDE A POSITIVE SEAL.

    USE A 8 X 1.25 TAP AND THREAD THE HOLE 1/2 WAY - REMOVE THE TAP AND CLEAR AWAY ANY SHAVINGS. THEN TAP THE HOLE THE REST OF THE WAY. AGAIN, CLEAR AWAY ANY SHAVINGS.

  11. APPLY WURTH THREADLOCKER TO PLUG (PART NUMBER 608- 97507) AND THREAD IT INTO THE HOLE UNTIL IT IS FLUSH. CLEAN AWAY ANY EXCESSIVE THREADLOCKER.
  12. INSTALL THE NEW STYLE BELT TENSIONER. MOUNT IT USING THE SAME NUTS AND WASHERS WHICH RETAINED THE OLD TENSIONER.
  13. INSTALL A NEW TIMING BELT. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE TIMING REFERENCE MARKS MADE EARLIER. USE SPECIAL TOOL (PART NUMBER 608-97517) TO RETRACT THE TENSIONER PULLEY AND SLIP THE BELT OVER THE TENSIONER PULLEY. DOUBLE CHECK THAT YOU DID NOT DISTURB THE TOP DEAD CENTER POSITION OF THE CRANK SHAFT AND THAT YOU ENGAGED THE APPROPRIATE TEETH OF THE CAM DRIVE PULLEYS. USE GREAT CARE SO AS TO MAINTAIN PROPER CAM TIMING. ON MILANO AND GTV 6 MODELS YOU MUST PROPERLY INDEX THE AUXILIARY DRIVE SO AS TO MAINTAIN THE PROPER IGNITION TIMING.

    NOTE: FOR ADJUSTMENT / SET-UP PROCEDURES - SEE TECHNICAL BULLETIN 01.93.04

    SINCERELY, 
    ALFA ROMEO DISTRIBUTORS OF NORTH AMERICA