A kid of the ’80s growing up in a communist Eastern European country would have had more chances of encountering some lost Martians than seeing a red sports car from the decadent West. However, for as long as I remember, I imagined the sports car to be outrageously styled, impossibly cool and red. Alfa Romeo’s most famous racing driver was right, ask any child to draw a sports car and he will make it red, the car of my childhood dreams was red. No clue whatsoever of the brand back then, nor did I knew different brands could even exist, but I knew it was red. Life was somehow grey and uniformised on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. After the 1989 change of regime the world had suddenly opened to us too, products and ideas started to move freely. We were bombarded with new, unseen products of all sorts. But the craze among young kids in that period was to collect gum inserts of automobiles. Knowing nothing about cars, I was collecting all hundreds of them, only to have my imagination lit when I discovered the insert depicting “Il Monstro”, the Alfa Romeo SZ. I had discovered the outrageously styled, impossibly cool, the red car of my childhood dreams.
Fast forward a couple of years, by the time I was a teenager, in the mid ’90s. In our neighbourhood showed up one day a new girl, a beautiful brunette that got the attention of all my friends. I noticed her too and I was also anxious to get to see her as often as possible, just as any other hot blooded young male out there. Although I was more interested in seeing her car, as she was driving what was at the time a brand new GTV 916. It was sparkling black with sensual red leather interior, and if I think hard enough about it I can even remember its registration plate. I have no idea whatever happened to that girl, I didn’t even get to know her, but I do know that the last of the cuneo shaped automobiles has aged beautifully and it’s set to became a future classic. Black examples with red leather interior will probably be the most sought after. By this time I was seriously bitten by the automobile, as an editor of the time would have said. Internet was in its humble beginnings so the main source of information were the car magazines. All of my pocket money was spent on car magazines. I even did the stupid thing once of lying to my parents that I was getting on a school trip with my class just to be able to go all by myself to the annual auto show in the capital city. By the time the revolutionary Alfa 156 was launched I already knew Alfa was my favourite make, and instantly Walter da Silva’s masterpiece became my favourite car in whole wide world. I remember the launch pics, the purity of the lines in that Azzurro Celeste livery. The unseen before hidden door handles, the freshness of the design, the sporty body unlike any other sedan in its category. Even if I was only in high school and had no means to do it, I knew one day that car will be mine.
Some years have gone since, I’ve had my share of ups and downs in life, but I became an alfista. The 156 that seemed almost out of reach in high school became soon after my first Alfa. I am on a continuous journey of cultivating my passion, ever curious about the myth of Alfa Romeo, about the Italian culture and history, ever learning. I have attended tens of car meets, I’ve visited the most obscure car museums in Europe, I travelled almost 4000 kilometres on a return road trip to witness the Centenario celebrations in Milan. I’ve met some extraordinary people on this journey, I’ve made some good friends along the way. Together with other people sharing my passion I’ve created Alfa Club Romania. I have lived in Ireland, Italy and I am now living in Germany. I have owned 5 different Alfa Romeo until now and dream to be able to own a classic Alfa one day. If I squeeze my eyes hard enough I know it’s going to be the car that sparkled the virus, the red car I dreamed of as child.