By Pete Vack
The Editor wraps up the story of the Alfa Find with the help of Brighton Motors, Dr. Peter Fodor, Matt at Re-Originals, and current owner Frank Allocca.
As we have seen, the Alfa found in a horse barn in 1977 passed quickly from the editor to the home of Alfas Unlimited in Norfolk CT., where Keith Goring and Sue Dixon decided to make a vintage race car out of the engineless Alfa. The Sprint Veloce would stay with them until in 2007 when they finally gave up the old workhorse race car and sold it.
Keith sold the car to Brighton Motor Sports in Scottsdale, Arizona. They had first advertised it in the damaged condition sustained at Lime Rock. Current owner Frank Allocca tried to buy it from them, but his offer was too low. Brighton then decided to fix the damage to the nose and grill along with touch up some other dings. In November of 2010, Brighton floated the following ad:
Brighton Motorsports is pleased to present this highly desirable 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce vintage racing coupe – perfect to enjoy driving on the road, rallies and vintage racing. This car was a regular at Lime Rock Park and other famous road racing circuits where its previous owner raced it, including many VSCCA vintage events. The log book and other documentation are included. Built and raced by Keith Goring of Alfa’s Unlimited, this car retains its original, numbers-matching Veloce engine block with a 1400 piston kit and a 101-1300 head and intake, plus dual Weber carburetors. Gear changes are made by a lightened GTA close-ratio, 5-speed gearbox and lightweight flywheel. The rear end is a ZF unit with 5:12 gears and limited slip. It stops very well, thanks to the larger rear brakes, and the original larger Veloce front brakes. It has a dual-circuit brake system with a 1969 ATE GTV master cylinder. The interior is finished in basic race car trim – the floor and roof are freshly sprayed in chip-resistant liner, and the remainder of the interior remains in “period” look including the hounds-tooth fabric seats. The engine was rebuilt a few years back at Alfa’s Unlimited with just a few races since, and our own technicians have just completed a full service on the engine, and refreshed the engine compartment and other details. The radiator has been rodded and painted. The engine runs strong and smooth. The exterior is in very presentable, and in good condition.Since vintage racing can be a contact sport, we’ve re-sprayed the body in a quality paint finish, but certainly not to show-car standards. The paint is fresh – there are no dings, dents, scratches or other paint/finish defects. It can be street driven as-is or easily returned to vintage racing or rallying. If you have never experienced a vintage Alfa Romeo that has been built for racing, it is very hard to put into words the absolute joy to be had.
The Alfa according to Dr. Peter Fodor
Dr. Peter Fodor, based in Los Angeles and relatively new to the sport, was having an Alfa Normale Sprint restored at Matt Jones’ Re-Originals when he found the Brighton ad on EBay. “I had always wanted a Veloce, the Normale was not yet finished, so I thought this car might be perfect.” He bought the Alfa sight unseen and had it sent to Matt Jones to be finished in time for the Colorado Grand. Says Matt, “The Alfa came to our shop with the Veloce 1300 motor, a GTA close-ratio gearbox and a GTA style limited slip rear end. Once we put the slightly warmed-over 2000 cc motor in it, it became the most pleasant car to drive and enjoy we’d driven in 30 years.”
Dr. Fodor had previously named his Sprint Normale “Bela”, his middle name. After a while it became apparent that the ex-barnfind, ex-Goring Dixon race car had a life of its own and deserved a name as well. Fodor’s wife’s name is Barbara,”Babs” for short, and the Alfa was christened “Babs” (like Parry Thomas’s 1926 Liberty-engined record-breaker). Babs met with her new owner at the start of the Colorado Grand in 2011.
Babs was being driven in earnest by Dr. Fodor’s co-driver on the Colorado Grand, and in the midst of passing a truck, a rock hit the windscreen and it shattered into a thousand fragments, but stayed intact in the frame. Prior to the use of laminated “Safety Glass” windscreens, European manufacturers had designed a glass that would shatter instantly upon impact, and lessen the damage from being propelled through the windshield in a head on collision. However, when the windshield shattered but remained in place, it totally obscured vision. “Fortunately,” said Fodor, “There was a five inch diameter section of glass which had not shattered and allowed my co driver to see where he was going as he passed the truck on this very dangerous road.”
If that wasn’t amazing enough, a replacement “Safety Glass” windshield for the Alfa was found almost immediately and installed overnight, and the participants nary missed a beat.
Still, Babs -the car – was a bit of a bittersweet experience for Dr. Fodor. While keen on making the car more pleasurable to drive, the installation of the 2 liter engine was difficult and the increased weight and speed potential made the braking system less than satisfactory. He still had the Normale, so decided to part with Babs.
But Fodor had not soured on Alfas or the use of 2 liter engines. Continuing his search for the perfect Alfa vintage event car, he found a Sprint Speciale and had a 2 liter mated up to the five speed. This led to the acquisition of a Montreal, and then a Spider Veloce, in which he also had a 2 liter engine installed. In all cases, he kept the original engine, so if desired, restoration to original condition would be both possible and easy.
The Alfa according to Frank Allocca
Frank Allocca owns a Mercedes-Benz dealership in New Jersey and is a longtime car enthusiast. After finding that the Barnfind Alfa was at Re Originals, he kept in touch with Matt and in September of 2011 Jones sent Frank some photos of Babs taken on the Colorado Grand. Matt told Frank the car might be for sale. Jones wrote, “The steering wheel in the picture is one borrowed from another car and not with the car. The leather one that came with the car is a nice steering wheel and more suitable to the use you have in mind. Other than that, the car is as you see it. The original motor does come with the car.
“You’ll love the way this car drives. You’d get the big front sway bar also and the stronger Borrani wheels. They have 175/65 X 15 tires on them instead of the original size 155/80 R15. Don’t know if that’s legal for your class in racing but the car went superbly on them.”
“Doctor Fodor gave me a list of what he thinks the car needs. He says the brakes feel spongy and don’t inspire confidence. I think they just need a power bleeding with suction, as I replaced all the wheel cylinders and replaced the master cylinder too. I didn’t have a good suction system to bleed the car and found it difficult to bleed while I was finishing it up in Colorado. He drove the 1000 mile Colorado Grand without mechanical problems. He said the left door needs to close better; the mirror on the dash vibrates though the left door mirror is fine. The water temp gauge in the original gauge cluster does not register.”
Details and prices followed and by late October the deal was closed. Frank Allocca had become the next owner of the Barnfind Alfa. But he didn’t know the full history at that point.
Frank, being a good VeloceToday Premium Subscriber, contacted the Editor in January of 2013:
Dear Mr. Vack,
Thanks for checking on my subscription and providing your personal address. I was hoping to contact you regarding my 1958 Veloce AR 1493E 06930. It is a car that you found many years ago for Keith Goring and Sue Dixon, in what Keith remembers was a chicken coop somewhere in Virginia. The car was raced in period and fitted with an SCCA approved roll bar and some very sophisticated suspension elements, all of which are still with the car. Do you remember the car, and would you consider doing some research and writing a story about its history? One of the fun elements of this hobby is gathering as much data and history of the cars I own, and eventually passing on that history to subsequent owners.
Best wishes, Frank Allocca
And there you have it, the history from 1977 to the present: From Norfolk VA to Norfolk CT to Scottsdale AZ to LA and back to the East Coast, the Barnfind Alfa has been around. And, ironically, it is still maintained by Keith Goring at Alfas Unlimited! Allocca emailed us and said he recently spent time with Keith and Scott Terry at Alfas Unlimited fitting different sets of springs to make the car ride and handle better for road use. “I will be sourcing and installing a 10/41 rear for rally events, saving the 8/41 for racing (currently the engine is turning 5000 rpm’s at 70 mph and it is quite tiring on a long trip ). I plan to use the car with the current 2 liter for this season and refit the Veloce 1300 next winter. The brake issue will be attended to when we swap the axles,” said Allocca.
We are still trying to find out more about the car, when it was obviously raced somewhere at some time in the Mid-Atlantic States, perhaps at Marlboro or Virginia International Raceway and will update this story if we do find out.