Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Street Car Named Desire

My father was an incredibly good body man with Chrysler in the mid-sixties. He had a cunning plane to obtain wrecked cars, restore them and sell them. He held a carrot on a stick: if I'd devote myself to his mission I'd be able to get a wrecked car of my choosing and fix it up. Well that never happened but a dream was born in the process of attempted car restoration. I fell in love with an Alfa very much like the blue one pictured here. It had substantial damage to the front end, but my father assured me we could fix it. But then we ran into a problem that would repeat itself over and over again until car restoration was not a business endeavor that my father ever should have embarked upon.

The problem was this: he only wanted to buy the cheapest, ugliest car to repair and my dream Alfa just wouldn't fit that strategy. We must have restored four or five unmarketable clunkers after towing them home, and spending hundreds of hours and dollars on each one, only to make a $50 "profit." So that scheme died a tortuous death along with my home spun religious training (another funny story). I could not get it into his head, that the inititial purchase price was warranted on a desirable car that would fetch thousands after our meticulous restoration process.

Five years later I was in Asmara, Ethiopia as a Spec 5 in USARSTRATCOM at Kagnew station. Ethiopia is run by Italians, and that is no wonder with 271 Ethee holidays to keep production of anything but worship to a bare minimum. At that rank, I could have a car shipped home for free and I could afford a new Alfa sitting in an Asmara Alfa dealership. So I tried to resurrect the dream and asked my father if he'd loan me $500 for a down and I'd use my Army savings to complete the transaction in 6 payments. Well, he had four kids at home and told me the insurance on the vehicle would be "astonomical." I still see one occasionally, but my father and I are both too old to restore a vehicle and are not wealthy enough to have it done.

If anyone has another hi-rez photo of the 1953 1900 Super Gioiello like the one pictured? I'd appreciate any stories or images. Oh yeah, I've never seen one in the "flesh." Maybe someday, before I get my dirt nap.

PS The very top image of a yellow Alfa is what I planned to buy overseas. After I got stateside, I found out that it did not qualify as a sports car and the insurance would have been typical. Oh well...

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