Monday, June 30, 2014

BMW e28 (5 series)

Not sure what model, since the owner shaved the badge.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Gianni's cars part 6: 1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX Wagon

We sold the Honda Civic sedan in 1996 and bought a Passat wagon with a 5-speed and the VR6 engine.  A lot of VW fanboys talk up the VR6, but owning one along side the Alfa V-6, I can say the VR6 didn't impress and was lacking in acceleration, willingness to rev and soundtrack.  It always seemed lazy to me (maybe it was the gearing of the Passat) and really didn't encourage you to hit the rev limiter like the Alfa V-6.  That said, the car was great in snow with a set of Blizzaks on it.  This is the only picture I have of it on a camping trip to Idaho in 2003.

My father-in-law's Explorer is behind our Passat.  He still has it, rusty and with close to 300K miles on it...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gianni's cars part 5: 1991 Alfa Romeo 164L

I traded the '76 Alfa Spider for a new 164L in 1992.  I bought the car from Bellevue Alfa Romeo when they were on NE 8th in Bellevue (its a Lamps Plus now).  The car was new, but was unsold (a sign of what was to come for Alfa in the U.S.).  It was my first and only new Alfa Romeo.  I owned the car until 2002.  I sold it to a guy that worked for Arthur Anderson.  I carfax'd the VIN a while back and found out the car was totaled about 6 months after I sold it.  What an unfitting end to a great car.  The 3.0 V-6 was the best part.

When we drove down to Monterey in 1994 for the Historics, we took the 164.  Here it is on the 17 Mile Drive.
And in the Alfa Romeo Association paddock at Laguna Seca for the Historic Races.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gianni's cars part 4: 1973 Alfa Romeo 2000 GT Veloce

I sold the CRX in the fall of 1991 and began the hunt for an Alfa Romeo GTV (Alfa stands for Always Looking For Another).  The Bertone coupes look so right to me, I had always wanted one.  Searching around the Seattle area only came up with scruffy cars, so I joined the Bay Area Alfa Club the Alfa Romeo Association.  For some reason there are a lot of Alfas in the Bay Area.  I found a car, a 3 owner Burgundy GTV that was all original except for a bad respray.  I negotiated the deal over the phone and got pics via the US Mail (pre-internet days).  On January 2nd, 1992 I bought a one-way ticket to SFO and met the seller.  The car was a US market car but was purchased by a GI in West Germany and had shipped it back to the US after his tour.  He sold it in 1976 to a Bay Area man, who then sold it to his daughter in 1988.  She sold it to me in 1992, to fund her going back to school.  The seller and I drove to a highly recommended shop for a pre-purchase inspection.  The car checked out with a few minor needs, but nothing that should stop me driving it back to Seattle.  I paid the seller, and got underway from Cupertino in the late afternoon.  I drove until I made it to Grants Pass, Oregon and stayed overnight in a Super 8.  I was a little concerned about driving over the Siskiyous Mountains in a car I hardly knew in the dead of night in winter without chains, but the snow held off (I could see some on the side of the road in my headlights).

The next morning the car wouldn't start, but I got a jump from the service station next to the hotel and I was underway.  No problems from there and I was back home in Seattle in the afternoon of the second day.

Here's the car just after I bought it.  You can see it has some ugly plastic mirrors, incorrect wipers and a funky install of an antenna.  What you can't see is that the hood looked like an alligator.  The previous owner had the car resprayed and the painter didn't know that GTV's were painted with lacquer-based paint and painted enamel over the top.  This is a no-no as the lacquer then reacts and causes the enamel to crack.

That summer I decided to repaint the car and spent July and August sanding off the bad paint.  In the first shot you can see how bad the hood was.  I was able to take a razor blade and scrape the paint off.

I had a friend of a friend repaint the car in his home shop.  He was a retired auto body man.  He used DuPont Imron in the correct AR509 Rosso Amaranto.  This was back before DuPont had to reformulate Imron.  I hear it is not so good anymore.  He made sure to spray a barrier coat prior to priming and shooting the topcoat.

Reassembled, shortly after returning from the shop. 

In October, 1992 at Seattle Center for Festa Italiana.  The Seattle Alfa Club would put on a display at the Italian celebration over the Columbus Day weekend.
In the Alfa Corral at the Pacific Northwest Historics in 2000.  Alfa was the featured marque that year.

Fall, 2013.

Last week, yes I still own the car after 22 years...




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

Gianni's cars part 3: 1988 Honda Civic LX

When I got married in 1991, my wife had a 1988 Honda Civic LX.  It's only redeeming feature was that it had a manual transmission.  Other than that, I have no memories of it. 

This is the only picture I have of it.  It's fortuitous I even have a picture of it.  We drove it down to Monterey in 1992 for the Historic Races at Laguna Seca.  I took this picture of the hotel parking lot at the place we stayed at in Salinas.  I think I was worried the film didn't load correctly in the camera.