There is nothing in the world on four wheels that stirs the human soul like an Alfa Romeo. There is a lot of passion and love that has gone into the creation of an Alfa; that it leaves an indefinite impression on your heart.
Those who have fallen for the Serpent's curse have referred to themselves as an Alfisti. To drive an Alfa Romeo is a pleasure that every car enthusiast must experience at least once in their lifetime.
Recently, I talked about the Lancia Delta Futurista, a faithful modern take on what the name Lancia stood to define. Meanwhile, the Banks brothers in Bristol had built their take on what a new-old Alfa would be like.
Alfaholics (Alfa Romeo) GTA-R 290 (2017)
Alfaholics - the go-to Mecca for the Alfisti to drool over, built the GTA-R 290 21st-century recreation of the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA (1965-1971).
The classic Alfa Romeo GTA was THE road racer of the 60s and 70s. It roared though mountain tarmac and Roman cobblestone roads, long before the BMW M3 and Nissan Skyline GT-R reigned supreme.
The Giulia (105) series was the bread and butter for the Alfa brand at the time, and the GTA was the peak of the family line. It was a racing-inspired car for the road, engineered by Autodelta, Alfa's racing division. GTA stood for Gran Turismo Alleggerita, with a strong emphasis on Alleggerita, which meant lightweight.
Much of the steel panels on the regular Giulia was replaced with aluminium, then bonded and riveted together. This results in a kerb weight of as little as 740kg. Its beating heart was a lovely little inline 4-cylinder TwinSpark engine, with a raspy baritone growl through the singular sports exhaust, then mated to a delightful 5-speed gearbox with long legs to run.
Now, we come to the GTA-R 290. The noteworthy aspect is in the name, 290. It stands for 290 horsepower per tonne. To put into perspective as to how powerful it is, a current Porsche 911 (992-gen.) Carrera has a hp/tonne of 253.
Conclusively, the GTA-R can lap the Nürburgring in 8 minutes, and can even hold it's own against 911 GT3s. It lives up to the principles of the classic GTA - less weight and more power.
In creating the GTA-R, some of the original panels have been replaced with carbon fibre; the doors, bonnet (Americans = Hood ), and boot.
The interior is Spartan as well, evoking an F40 spirit. Crawling over the roll cage, you sit yourself in the lightweight Recaro bucket seats, looking over a leather/Alcantara dashboard, then gripping a lovely Momo Prototipo steering wheel.
Underneath that 830kg body lies a tuned TwinSpark, which has been bored out to 2.3 litres producing up to 240hp, which revs happily to 7000RPM. Here, there is a new electronic engine management system, with Motec fuel injection.
Linking the lightweight flywheel and competition clutch to the driver's hand, is a race-tuned 5-speed gearbox, as in the original car, with equally long-legged gears to row through. This all communicates with the limited slip diff. powering the rear.
The suspension is new too, with some parts replaced by titanium and aluminium. It manages to provide a healthy balance between comfort and performance, with excellent damping, and manual adjustability to boot!
Being a truly bespoke car, the future owner can specify the GTA-R to their hearts content. While the steering is unassisted, power steering is offered as an option. The same goes for air-conditioning, and other luxury features that we come to expect in the modern age.
Unlike the Futurista, there is no production limit to the GTA-R. Nevertheless, this all depends on however many classic GTAs that have managed to survive corrosion.
However, there is a caveat to making love with this Romeo. While it won't involve any poison, it will cost $315,000!; and that is excluding any bespoke options that you may want.
But for me, I'll take it as is. The Alfa Romeo Giulia is for me, the attainable dream classic car. Pending any rust, the little Giulia proves that, sometimes less really is more.