Looking Through the Rearview Mirror: That Was a Very Good Year

I have to say, 2023 was the capstone year for my hobby — I received three awards, two completely unexpected! My infatuation with first series Alfa Romeo Giuliettas has paid off. I am not comfortable crowing. Still, suddenly getting awards here and abroad is news that must be shared.

Giulietta Register’s Exceptional Service Award

Alfa AwardFirst, I got my name engraved on the Giulietta Register’s Exceptional Service Award for 2023.  My acceptance speech was read by Peter Yaxley, register secretary, at their Annual General Membership meeting in Milton Keynes East, Buckinghamshire. An excerpt is included below.

LIFE IS FULL OF SURPRISES: I’m VERY honored to receive your award. Your chairman, Duncan Ferns, asked for my bio with Alfas. So, here goes:


A spider web of interests, connections and coincidences or luck caused this. I fancied sport cars at an early age, bought my first, an older TR3, with my savings and a stamp collection. But only after I convinced my father on the strength of “nothing fancy, same engine as in some tractors.” Still, he made me replace it with a VW Beetle after I started at the university. In my second year of studies, I rescued an MG TC from an aggressive lilac bush. Its dashboard presented my hands with a useful diversion for my brain. I had been smitten by the TC’s iconic style for half my years. I also began to dream about a modest collection, just two, by pairing it with a Porsche 356, a T5, with a sunroof.


But that never happened. Cynthia Hayward, an architecture student then my wife, always said “It’s OK, but this Porsche still sounds and feels like your VW.  A nice E-Type Jaguar is cheaper.” I had to concur every time because a beautiful engine is also part of the appeal to me.


We were “professionals” by that time, but were also starting to reassemble that TC in the basement of our first house. And she liked her MGB GT for daily duties. Then we moved to a better location, into a century-old house with a tiny garage. She designed a “proper” garage with a workshop, with space for our TC and an E-Type roadster along the back wall. But she sold her 1st MGB GT to pay for an upgrade to the old kitchen.


Those British cars started our car clubbing. Our professions entailed the early use of computers and spreadsheets for her, digital imaging, processing and the ARPANET for me. So, when websites with listserv utility appeared for MG TCs and Jaguars (no apps back then), I joined immediately. Our clubs were still great for social functions and some networking, but extracting timely help was not a feature.


Our “collection” grew out of control when I helped start a local “club” for storing cars in a dysfunctional industrial building, and my wife got smitten by an Italian. She bought a Maserati Sebring — “it’s an Italian Mustang and I like a real roof” — is what I remember. That car got Joe Benson’s attention, a local and author of the Illustrated Alfa Romeo Buyer’s Guide. A 2L GTV came next, but soon I traded it for a very tired 750 Spider Veloce because Joe wouldn’t stop praising his first Alfa. Soon I added two early Sprints too. I had definitely joined the “always looking for another” club. Then Tony Stevens suggested I join the Giulietta Register, which was very much like the New England MGT Register back then.


But, it was a new T-ABC website with a listserv function that proved the logic and utility for using software to connect with a very focused audience. There was zero cost for fast Q&A to triage technical issues with wide-ranging experts online, and very little cost for sharing and storing documents and photos. Goodbye to shooting film and shuffling paper. Two decades later its obvious to everyone, the new highway to information is fast, cheap, and vast, but just as dangerous too!


I wanted that speed for my Giuliettas. So, I posted an invitation on the Alfa Bulletin Board. With MS Outlook and cc’ing Q&As to a growing list of owners I started a basic network. As membership grew, Lew Rosenberger, who was restoring a 750 spider in San Diego, volunteered to move us to the new Yahoo! Groups. Then Groups was abandoned by Yahoo! Tom Lesko, in Boston, with three 101 Spider Veloces, moved us AND our files of photos and documents to Groups.io. Thanks to Carl Davis, we provide access to the best and continually updated technical documentation anywhere about Giulietta and Giulia mysteries — better than the Alfa Romeo factory ever produced or could provide now!

Ed Mackey Giulietta Award

The Portland, Oregon based US Alfa Romeo Owner’s Club (AROC) staged its annual convention for 2023 in Concord, North Carolina. Their very active Mid-Atlantic Chapter proposed a great venue and list of activities in the heartland of the American-style motorsports industry, with a NASCAR track and drag strip and vineyards to boot! That was terrific incentive to finally finish my 1958 Giulietta Spider Veloce and make it trustworthy, or fully commissioned for an out-of-state adventure. Also, a good friend had moved there, and the three-day pre-convention tour focused on the famous twisty roads north and west of Ashland. Those were terrific incentives to go.

At the convention, I was honored to receive the Ed Mackey Giulietta Award for the top Giulietta driven to the convention and judged at the AROC National Concorso.

Certificat0 D-Oro

Alfa AwardsLo and behold, that was my most rewarding car event ever. Sure, I did my best, but never expected more than a Certificato D’Oro. And last but not least was a very ephemeral reward — at the awards banquet several owners commented that my Alfa sounded fantastic as I passed them on the Interstate!

Now I’ll retire happy from that part of our hobby. My focus and investments paid off. It’s time to extract the pleasures and adventure still possible before fahrvernügen with internal combustion engines is limited to exclusive and very expensive events. Trends don’t look so good anymore. Burning fossil fuel will be as popular as stepping in horse manure .