I have to confess to you that I am the worst classic car owner. Trust me, I take no pride in this, but I’ve sadly had to come to terms with it.
I’ve owned a 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Veloce for nearly 20 years now and I am, apparently, a neglectful owner. This fact was recently brought into sharp focus when I had to have it towed into the shop because it wouldn’t run on more than three-ish cylinders. I knew deep down what the ailment was, the same one that claims the lives of millions of Americans each year, inactivity. Only instead of a clogged coronary artery, my Alfa had goobered up Weber carburetors. Sadly, there’s no Lipitor for Webers.
When I asked my Alfa guru what I could do to avoid this, he said the same thing he told me the last time this happened three years ago, “You just have to drive it more. The gas is just sitting in there and the ethanol in it is corroding all the passages.” I know he’s right, but it makes me feel guilty and neglectful, like a bad pet owner that leaves the family dog to fend for itself…for one to six months.
I always have the best of intentions to drive her, but there’s always some reason why I don’t take her out. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. All the Christmas decorations are piled up around the Alfa like a medieval embattlement. Sometimes I assuage my guilt, by at least going out and letting it idle in the garage. But then the wife complains that it makes all the laundry smell like exhaust fumes…she says that like it’s a bad thing.
So after a modicum of self-flagellation, and an $800 carb rebuild, I had said missus drive me to the shop to pick it up. After the above-mentioned dressing down for not driving it enough, I climbed behind the wheel, she fired right up and I headed out for the 30 minute drive home. With trips to both the cardiologist and the mechanic, there’s nothing like heading home with that clean-bill-of-health feeling. You feel bullet proof! I accelerated with confidence onto the freeway and felt a renewed love and connection with my little car as she strongly purred along.
In fact, by the time I got home, I was so pleased with the experience, I thought to myself, “I really should drive this car more.”
PS- If you’d like to see the poor, old, neglected girl in action, Petrolicious did a fun video on her and I which you can see by clicking below.