How many ‘projects’ lie unfinished in corners of garages or abandoned in lock ups? And when you hear the trials and tribulations that restorations entail, it’s not surprising so many people run out of steam when trying to realise their dreams.
When David Ward rescued his Alfa from the scrap yard in 1983, little did he realise it would take a 20 year labour of love to bring it back from the dead…
“There were times when I’d just shove a seat in, stick on the steering wheel and sit there trying to visualise what it would be like when it was finished. And you know it worked.”
So much so that when his pride and joy was on its first trip back to the Alfa’s homeland, at one point on the journey he was getting flashbacks of the times he sat in the half finished shell in his garage!
You may have gathered from that little snippet, that David doesn’t believe in hiding his car away. Although he finished his car to a concours winning standard (and has the trophies to prove it), the joy of ownership for him has always been in the driving. That’s why since completing the car some ten years ago, he’s clocked up over 20,000 miles travelling the highways and byways of the UK and Europe.
Mind you that hasn’t been without its ‘moments’…
“We’d driven up the Stelvio Pass in Italy and as we were coming down the other side, my master cylinder went! For a moment or two I thought it was curtains and I was going to end up like that Lambo in the Italian Job.”
Fortunately fate had other plans in store for him so he lived to tell the tale. In fact trips like that have led to many great experiences and re-affirmed for him the pleasure that comes with restoring and enjoying his classic. And the Type 101 1965 Giulia Spider definitely fits that category. Yes it has the odd chip. Maybe even some slight pitting on parts of the chrome trim. But David is realistic.
“The Alfa really is like a mistress. Ignore her and she can bite back. But cosset her regularly and she responds with a purr. Or rather a gentle roar.”
Yes mistresses can be difficult. And expensive. But having an understanding wife is even more important when undertaking a project like this. Of course the upside is when it comes to an end. Then it’s all dolce vita and invitations to exclusive events. Except of course unless your David…
There in the back of his workshop lies his nemesis. Or is it? An Alfa Romeo 1964 Giulia Sprint Speciale which definitely qualifies for the description of basket case. Although about 90% complete, the shell has already taken two years of intensive care to get it stabilised. But the patient is starting to show signs of recovery. Which is driving David on to add this latest acquisition to his stable sooner rather than later.
We’ll keep a watching brief on progress and wait to see how long this baby takes to see the light of day. Maybe if you can pass some trade David’s way (he runs a company called Autodent down Essex way, which explains his prowess with bodywork), he’ll get on with finishing the Sprint Speciale a little quicker. We hope so because judging by his first effort it will be well worth the wait.