Alfa Romeo 164 winter car

Alfa Romeo 164Maintaining a mental inventory of the local Alfa classifieds bears a certain risk.  That risk came to light last winter, when a last-minute cancellation left me in Pennsylvania without a ride or flight back to Michigan.  A simple problem, unless left to my internal problem-solving model.  All models are wrong; some are useful.  And, when I’m left in charge of calibrating the models, they point invariably to Alfa Romeo as the answer.  Cognitive bias, to put it lightly.  I was going to find a cheap Alfa to get me home.

Now, I have a history of rationalizing Alfa purchases.  As my first Milano Verde sat engineless in my apartment garage, I convinced myself to bring home an Alfa 164LS daily driver.  That 164 made it two weeks.  A year later, that same Milano Verde burned down my garage, 3 other emerging European classics, and the majority of my backyard; I was back in a Verde within 45 days.  Then there was the ran when parked Alfetta GTV shipped to my garage from California.  And then the ran when parked GTV-6 we towed home from Indiana.  Necessary, all of them.

DSC_1527 _DSC7238 _DSC7241DSC_0648

Hindsight: a year after the garage fire

_DSC5411My older brother outbid me on a 190E 2.3-16 three years ago. I’d sent him the link on the last day of bidding.  Shared my reservations about taking in another needy West German export.  At the time, my 91 318is and 84 GTI had no problem converting my free time into bruised hands.  I faltered; my brother won. 

Our dad owned a 2.3-16 for a brief half year 4 years prior to the bidding.  But for reasons unknown, our dad’s heart shrank the fall of my freshman year of college, and he sold both the 2.3-16 and his 73 BMW 3.0CS.323329_10150370300891799_1619460789_o


Porsche 944 V8 in Motor City


DSC_9551Dan grew up in a dry county in Kentucky, home of Bourbon whiskey. Quite a dissonant combination at first thought – a dry county and Bourbon – but nearly 1/3 of Kentucky counties carry forth the torch of prohibition. And, not straying far from his roots, when Dan got around to buying his first sports car during his junior year of engineering school, he chose the dead sober Porsche 944.

Now, I drive a 90 hp VW Rabbit GTI, so believe me when I say that I don’t mind slow cars, but a stock 944 lacks the verve of a slow hot hatch. The ample ratio of grip to power – likely a boon to track performance – smothers the appeal in day-to-day driving. But, boxed fenders aren’t a common sight on modern roadways. And those fenders, along with proper proportions, atone for the antiseptic driving experience, at least in the sub $5k used German sports coupe category.

DSC_9263DSC_9365DSC_9368 DSC_9379