Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Alfa Romeo GT1300 Junior Find

I starting looking for an Alfa Romeo "Scalino" or step-nose about nine months ago. A new obsession I guess. Step nose refers to the depression or "step" that leads from the nose to the edge of the hood. Giorgetto Giugiaro designed this little detail in as it was his first assignment as a designer at Bertone. It was abandoned in 1967 for GTVs and in 1970 for Juniors. The Scalinos are prized by collectors. I followed the usual methods using marque specific bulletin boards and contacting friends in the business. Through the board, I met an internet friend also looking for a step-nose. He had been looking longer than me and had seen pretty much every car I had a shred of interest in. He called me to tell me he had bought a car in Buffalo, NY. Not a likely place for any sports car (no letters please). A week later, he called again telling me he passed on the car because the seller had lost all of the paperwork verifying it as a low-mileage two-owner car. I was free to open a dialogue with the seller if I didn't care about provenance. I bought the Junior sight unseen later to find out the paperwork was found.

Upon Arrival

How did it get like that?

It arrived and it was a bit scruffier than I had hoped but it ran nicely. The interior was soaked so I immediately threw out the jute mats and dried as best I could relieved to find a solid floor in the process. Like all obsessive people, I embarked on a quick refurbishing with the help of my friend Mike. I've got the interior and exterior where I want it and I await a slot at Alfas Unlimited in Norfolk, Conn. to get the front suspension and brakes re-built.

Keith Goring, a well regarded Alfa pro, drove the Junior and deemed it pretty cool and very original. That further verifies the low mileage for any skeptics.

Since I had the original owner's
information, I decide to reach out for him. What a nice man. He was happy to hear his much loved Alfa has a good home. He owned it for 34 years accumulating only 36,000 miles primarily because he always had a job that came with a company car. A week after he purchased the Junior at a Toronto dealership he lost his job. To tide him over during the next job search he sorted mail at the Toronto Post Office.

Outside Done

I heard about "year of manufacture" license plate permits from my friend Mike. If I could find a set of plates from 1970 I could drive legally with them on. I posted a wanted ad on Craigslist and got a call about 20 minutes after the post. I now have a pristine pair mounted on the Alfa and it really completes the restoration.

What is it?

Taken in Garmisch, Germany in 1956…