Gary’s 1967 Alfa GTV

All posts tagged Gary’s 1967 Alfa GTV

Alfa July 2014 002c

When my GT’s 2-litre motor turned a rod bearing in 2013, I pulled the engine and hauled it to California. There, my friend Steve Smith disassembled the entire motor to give it a thorough check.  What he found was a perfect machine … except for the one bad bearing.  Steve removed the crank and had it repaired and renitrided.  Then he reassembled it using a new gasket kit and all new bearings (not just the bad one).  He also rehoned the cylinders, just because he could. Because we live 700 miles apart and I’m moving at the speed of a glacier these days, it took about a year before the fully refreshed engine was back in the car.

Click here for a short video of the car’s first time out of the garage after the long rest.

3 alfas - art new

Photos from 1966 to present

Below are before and after photos of my first Alfa, a 1959 Spider Nearly Normale with its original 1300 engine. The pictures were taken circa 1966. The new paint job doesn’t show well in the third photo down, but it’s metallic silver.  Anyone know what happened to my old Spider, California license NDS 576? Even though Giulietta was only seven years old in ’66, the poor little thing had suffered a dinged front, cancer of the paint on most surfaces (no rust), and the interior was shot. Fortunately, it was in excellent mechanical condition.

Giulietta at Memorex  giulietta spider side   giulietta spider front

Below:  The 1967 GTV that’s plastered all over these pages was white when I bought it in 1983.  I didn’t care for the original, faded appliance white (Bianco Spino), so in 1984 paid for a bare-metal respray, changing the color to BMW Baltic Blue..  The same car became 501 red, after yet another bare-metal respray.  In 2018 I sold the car to a New York man who painted it a very nice shade of blue.  The Alfa is gone, but its memories linger on.

GTV white in driveway white gtv GTV white in driveway 2

I bought the multi-color, primer patched GTC shown below in 1983, stripped it, then took it to a place that dipped the entire shell in a chemical stripper. As you can see, it had a rust-free body.   That’s about as far as I got before becoming sidetracked on the restoration of the ’67 GTV. Below is a black & white thatshows how to keep three Alfas in a standard two-car garage: make one levitate (that’s it hanging over the 1971 Spider).  The GTC was finally restored in southern California in 2003 or 2004, after changing hands at least twice more. Honest folks, it really is more cost effective to purchase the best car you can afford, rather a beater that needs everything. Just not as much fun.

GTC front view GTC side view GTC being stripped Gary in garage with GTC GTC on trailer Alfa GTV & GTC

The 1971 Spider Father-Daughter Project

After the enjoyment of restoring the ’67 GTV, I proposed building a 1971 Spider for our daughter Hillarie, if she would help with the cost and the work.  She readily agreed and held up her side of the bargain.  The result is shown below, a car she was pleased to drive through high school and college.  Some of the photos show her 1750 Spider in the driveway next to my, by now, 1750 GTV.   It’s ironic that both cars were originally purchased as parts cars for the GTC that I never finished. I hope the Spider is still being well cared for. We sold it after Hill finished college and was heading out of state to her first teaching job.  The “NOSPDRS” license plate was a joke.  Our daughter is not fond of arachnids.

gary & hill in spider gtv and spider spider & gtv rear view spider interior spider on trailer spider rear puttiedAlfa Spider license small

We jumped in Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine to find this black & white shot of me and the ’59 Giulietta in Yosemite National Park, California, circa 1967.  (Historical note:  I used a Rocky & Bullwinkle reference here.)
59 Alfa Yosemite abt 67 sml

Below is another of the Giulietta Spider. Unfortunately, it’s the only interior shot I have. Love the very sharp turquoise indoor-outdoor carpet.  This is a poor college boy interior and it shows.  Giulietta Spider interior sml

The GTC levitating over the ’71 Spider I built for our daughter from a stripped shell.
.Alfa GTV & GTC

In the driveway is the stripped down GTC that preceded the Spider and ’67 GTV, which were to be its parts cars.
GTC & GTV best sml

During the 2012 Columbia River Concours Tour, we stopped by Pearson Field, in Vancouver, Washington for a photo opp.

Alfa and AT6 at Pearson Field Vancouver 2012 b

Gary’s ’67 GTV with Steve Smith’s ’89 Spider Graduate and ’59 Sprint Coupe. In the background is an Italian-American, a white Jeep Liberty with VM Motori turbo-diesel engine.

Gary & Steves Alfa trio smaller

How do you tow your Alfa 1,000 miles, from Callifornia to its new Pacific Northwest home? Behind a Jeep Liberty with an Italian motori. Drops the Jeep’s mileage to a palty 24 mpg from its usual 32-34 mpg on the interstate, but it does the job.
amoving feb 2006 001b

Touring the northern California coast and Gold County back roads with friends and the Odd Couple of the auto world, our GTV and their Z06 Corvette. Having one of those snarky black machines in the rear view mirror for several hundred miles is like being tailed by a hungry shark. The parking lights glow like sinister yellow eyes. It’s nerve racking, I tell you. Nerve racking!

Touring Washington’s Olympic Peninsula with the Northwest Alfa Club, 2007.
Alfa tour 62506 001b

Enjoying a tour southeast of Salem, with the Oregon Alfa Club, 2009. Winding back roads, rolling hills, pretty farms, covered bridges … it’s a great place to enjoy an Alfa.
Oregon tour 2009 1
Oregon Tour 2009

Part of the car’s history, the Alfa Romeo Association (ARA) of Northern California’s sticker, applied circa 1983 and still looking good.


Original art by Guy Allen for C&SC Magazine, Feb. 2007.  See Guy's art at .

Original art of me and my car by Guy Allen for C&SC Magazine, Feb. 2007.


This car’s story began in 1967. Brian Lamb and his wife, the first owners, purchased it from a California dealer, arranging for delivery in Milan. When it was ready, they flew from California to Italy, picked it up at the factory, then toured Europe before shipping it home. The Alfa came in appliance white (In Italian that’s “Bianco Spino”), with 15″ steel wheels, skinny 155×15 tires, and a 1600cc motor. The only modification by the Lambs was reupholstering the front seats in a grey tweed fabric found in Chevys.

When I responded to a newspaper ad in 1983, I could see that the GTV was a find. The body and interior were in good condition; it had no rust; and its original mechanicals were in good, though worn, condition. We struck a quick deal and as I drove it away I looked back to see the Lambs teary-eyed and waving goodbye from their front walk. alfa orig mirrors

The short drive home verified that normal wear and tear was beginning to show all over the car, most noticeably in the motor, which could lay a cloud of smoke like a Navy destroyer. That wasn’t surprising; with nearly 100,000 miles on it, the only engine work it had ever required was a valve job.

I was beginning the restoration of a 1966 GTC at the time and the GTV was going to supply the missing pieces, something I neglected to mention to the Lambs. Shortly after arriving home, however, I decided that restoring the GTV would be a whole lot easier and less expensive than the GTC. Besides, after the emotional goodbye from the Lambs, there was no way I could turn their baby into a parts car. 

Giulia’s gray phase

Within months of buying the Alfa, it was at a paint and body shop to repair some parking lot dings and change the color to — cover your eyes if you’re a purist — BMW Baltic Blue. This 1984 metallic blue-gray Beemer color turns out to be a great choice for a GTV.  It even had a thin red pinstripe down the crease  line on each side.  Its original 1600cc motor was the next to go, replaced with a 1750 engine that served us well for another 20 years.    I kept the motor mostly stock, adding only Shankle 8L cams, used with the original 40DCOE 27 Webers; a Magneti Marelli Plex 201 electronic ignition, and low restriction air intake and filters.  The wheels were taken off a new ’84 Spider, whose owner wanted something different.  Blue GTV 7 b

Sixteen years after painting the car Baltic Blue,  it came time for another respray and new upholstery.  While the Alfa had no serious prior damage and only two small spots of rot on the front fenders, it left for the body shop in January of 2000, and I didn’t get to drive it again for two full years!

How it all turned out is chronicled on this site. You’ll also see that Scuderia Non Originale (SNO) is a prominent part of this website. The idea for SNO was born while several friends and I were sitting beside my GTV and its red twin at Concorso Italiano, in Monterey, California. So, while my car isn’t “originale,” and hasn’t been for years, if it weren’t for this GTV and the friends who helped me build it, Scuderia Originale wouldn’t exist. And that would be a loss to the Alfa world … though I have no idea why.

The car was sold in 2018, after 35 years of delightful ownership. Sniff! Sob! Pitiful flow of tears!

Click here & hear me roar!

Engine compartment

Black Interstate battery
Moroso vapor canister with braided line and AN fittings
Moroso catch can for radiator overflow
Fuse block moved into interior, under passenger side dash
Relay added between ignition switch & starter to cure the typical won’t restart
when hot malidy

Relays added between headlight switch and high beams; between headlight switch and low beams; and on the electric fan
Moved horns and alarm siren up under fenders, behind the mud guards
Recored radiator
Electric fan, thermostatically operated Mishimoto MMFAN-10 (Probably could have used larger fan, but car has never had overheating issues)
The thermostat is a Stant 45358  180-degree unit (costing about $7) that sits in a Meziere inline aluminum housing.  The car had a screw-in thermostat.  I cut the original top radiator hose into sections to insert the Meziere unit
One-wire alternator from a Milano, with built-in regulator (switched to an
alternator 20 years ago)
Heat shield for alternator from a Spider
Late model starter (
Holley fuel pressure regulator (I have a good electric fuel pump, but wanted
an adjustable regulator)