By Stuart Light
It’s not often that a car club…any car club for that matter gets to celebrate a 30th anniversary….well….here is the New York Region of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club (NYAROC) that has been around since 1984. What makes this all the more remarkable is that here in the USA we haven’t had new Alfa Romeos for 20+ years.
If I’m correct, the last year for a regular production Alfa Romeo coupe was in 1986 when I purchased my GTV-6. For Alfa Romeo Spiders the last year for a regular scheduled production car was 1993 and for sedans the 164 model was around until 1995. Just imagine if something like that happened to owners of Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porche, Ferrari, etc.
I kinda persuaded (nagged) the NYAROC into using the Greater NY Region/AACA (GNYR) Spring Meet at Westbury Gardens as the time and place for a 30th anniversary club gathering. After all..it’s a beautiful site..one of the famous Long Island “Gold Coast” mansions. 2014 is the 48th year of the show, and it’s an event that’s run like a ballet…registration, car parking, judging, and awards ceremony all like clockwork….smooth sailing all the way.
As much as I hate getting up at 5am (I need my “beauty sleep”) and arriving at the show at the early hour of 7am….it makes it easier for me to set up the row that’s gonna be used for the Alfa Romeos and the rest of the “furrin” cars. The weather was perfect…the best I’ve seen in years.
It wasn’t much after 9:30 that the contingent from the NYAROC caravan arrived at Westbury Gardens. With marked off spots for show cars that are wider than Alfa Romeos means it’s easy to place 3 cars in spaces marked for 2….placing an extra car or two in the row keeps everybody together.
Although it’s not that easy to persuade (cajole) people into becoming a judge I managed to get former NYAROC President George Linton (who did not enter a car) and a young assistant to judge the Alfa Romeos. Phil Jacobs and I split up the 2 “furrin” car classes and went through our paces. Funny thing though…every flyer for the event stipulates that every car must have a fire extinguisher…however fully half of the cars in those classes were missing a fire extinguisher. I will overlook dust on a car and a certain amount of undercarriage grime from the trip to the car show…but sorry…I can’t overlook a lack of a fire extinguisher. That omission cost at least 3 beautiful cars a trophy.
As part of the 30th anniversary celebration Vic & Gail Cerami picked up trays of food for the Alfisti and borrowed an awning and table. The only thing missing was maybe a little “homemade vino”..but you didn’t hear that from me (LOL). It’s soo nice to sit comfortable with fellow Alfisti, talk about cars…not always Alfa Romeos and enjoy the day.
This year…I have to tell you…the awards presentations started a little earlier than last year, which made it easier to get entrants and trophy winners to hang out a longer fir the entire ceremony. I had three deserving Alfisti who couldn’t wait to pick up their awards. They ere kinda like school kids when they went up for the trophy presentation.
First place in the Alfa Romeo class went to Jimmy Dipietro;s beautifully restored 1979 Alfa Romeo Spider. Second place was awarded to Vic & Gail Cerami’s very rare Jr. Zagato. Third place went to John Catera’s mint Alfa Romeo GTV-6…all deserving cars. Maybe next year I’m going to have to find an Alfa Romeo judge who like me can’t be bribed…but can at least be “rented” (lol).
I’m looking forward to seeing everybody next year.