“It would be a drab world without meaningless social aggregations. There would be a lot fewer smiles.” — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Ripped from yesterday’s headlines
The 21st Annual All Italian Car and Motorcycle Show
The following article is excerpted from the October 14, 2008 issue of VeloceToday.com, an excellent on-line publication devoted to Italian cars of all types. It was written by Brandes Elitch.
The San Francisco Bay area has many car events, but if you have an Italian car, chances are your favorite is the Italian car show held in Alameda, a charming town just fifteen minutes east of the Bay Bridge.
The show is held the first or second weekend in October, which is just before the first rains of the season usually appear, so weather is never an issue. How many neighborhood car shows do you have in your neighborhood where the majority of cars are Alfa Romeos? It seems that Alfa owners are a particularly interesting lot, although this does seem like a hopeless generalization, and here (is one) that I found particularly so.
…Steven Smith showed his 1959 Giulietta Sprint, which he has owned since 1973, when he bought this car and a 750 Sprint in a wrecking yard for $300 (for the pair). Alfa means “Always Looking For Another” and Steve has done his best to fulfill this role, having had many cars over the years, but this is the one that stayed. He upgraded it with parts from his Guilia SS, which was hit by a garbage truck when parked in front of his house, and totaled by the insurance company (arghh!). As a result, every time he showed the car, someone would say,”This is a nice car, but (this or that) is not original.” In 2004, Steve met other Alfisti who were experiencing the same exasperating comments, so they formed Scuderia Non-Originale. It now has about 150 members, and Steve proudly displayes the club decal on his car. The club has no rules, but has entertained two mottoes: “Veni, Vidi, Veloce” (I came, I saw, I went fast), and for older cars: “Andiamo Lentimente Fumando Assaiâ” (We go slowly, spewing smoke). I think that this club is one of the more promising developments in the car collecting hobby, and you can read about it at www.gwandrw.com.
(Steve represents a ) passionate, knowledgeable, charming, and discerning car guy, in short, typical Alfa owners. There were dozens of other like minded Alfisti there, most of them with equally interesting stories. It is shows like this, with its $5 entry fee, and convenient parking, that make you glad you’re a car guy!
The story below appeared in the July 15, 2005 edition of the San Jose Mercury News, San Jose, Californa. The Mercury is a major metropolitan newspaper, covering the San Francisco Bay Area. Our story was the lead item in a popular column written by Leigh Weimers. Reprinted with permission.
Team takes pride in non-originality
By Leigh Weimers
Sweet are the uses of adversity. That applies not only to William Shakespeare, who said it first, but also to the sports car scene today.
Steve Smith and Richard Lane of Santa Clara, Ben Lamprecht of Mountain View, Ted Williams of Los Altos, Tom Sahines of Milpitas and Gary Williams of Sunnyvale were showing off their Alfa Romeos last year at Concorso Italiano, the big Italian car event that precedes the Monterey Historics races at Laguna Seca each August. But, relates Gary Williams, “Throughout the day we noticed that a number of people who wandered by grumbled and muttered because our cars are not entirely original. We have non-stock engines, different upholstery, different wheels, etc. Our quip of the day became, “Well, it’s nice, but not original.”
Thus dissed, the six decided to roll with it. As a joke, they named their team Scuderia Non Originale, Italian for “team not original.” Gary tacked a Scuderia page onto his personal Web site (www.gwandrw.com) and they had Scuderia stickers made for their cars, based on the decades-old Alfa racing symbol. Then things took off.
“Little did we know that Scuderia NO would become a hit with Italian car enthusiasts who find us and sign up for our free membership, even though we don’t advertise and all we offer is the guarantee of NO dues, NO meetings, NO publications and absolutely NO relevance,” Gary notes. Branches even have sprung up in England, the Netherlands, South Africa and, of course, Italy. Their furthest outpost: Balad, Iraq, where member Russ Turner of Texas displays the team’s colors on his battered U.S. Air Force Humvee. And yes, the team will be back at the Concorso on the Monterey Peninsula on Aug. 19. Standing proudly while purists sniff at their modified Alfas. The cars may be non-original, but their owners’ creativity isn’t.
SNO in Iraq?