By Stuart “Dr. Alfa” Light
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”.
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.
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.
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)?