My gorgeous 1969 Alfa Romeo GT Junior Stepnose is back home in Cape Town. It’s been one hell of a journey.
I’ve written previously about the roadtrip to get it from Cape Town to Joburg in January 2019 in a three part series that you can read here. Much has happened since then, both in my life and the life of this car.
The tough pill to swallow on an ongoing basis is that my friend who helped prep the car for that roadtrip, Ignis van Rooyen, was tragically murdered in mid-2019 before he could get to see the finished product. Our brilliant police force continues to prosecute beach users while that case remains as cold as an icy Corona on a hot summer’s day.
He didn’t get to see this car as a finished product, but I know he would’ve liked it. Although it still isn’t an American V8, so his love would’ve been limited.
As a build-up to the story of the roadtrip to bring it home from Joburg to Cape Town, I thought I would give a quick history lesson. Not about the Alfa 105-series GT Junior Stepnose in general, but about this specific car.
I’ve owned it since 2014. I bought the car a matter of weeks before getting married. As I recall, I needed to borrow some money from my father-in-law since my savings had been decimated by wedding expenses.
When a Stepnose comes up for sale, you find the money. They are scarcer than hen’s teeth. In my opinion not just the prettiest of all the 105-series Alfas, but one of the prettiest cars of all time.
Stepnoses weren’t as well-loved after the faster GTVs with “smooth noses” came out in the ‘70s (like Dale’s car which you can check out here). I’ve been told that at one point you could barely give them away.
Times certainly change. That’s one thing 2020 has taught us. These days, you simply can’t find them for sale anymore, with the Stepnose shape commanding a significant premium over almost all the GTV varieties.
Were it not for one of my very best mates, Dale, I wouldn’t have this car. Not only is he my willing roadtrip partner, but he originally found the car after spotting it from the street in Benoni. Charlize Theron isn’t the prettiest export from Benoni after all. Neither is Dale, although he claims otherwise.
No, that prize goes to my Stepnose, especially after the journey it’s been on.
The full story behind sourcing the car is that Dale had left a note in the postbox. The owners saw him at the next Alfa Club meeting and told him that it was their house that he unknowingly went past. They promised to call him if the car came up for sale.
When they decided to emigrate, the call came. Dale couldn’t buy the car at the time so he graciously passed the opportunity to me. Actually, it wasn’t very gracious at all. It went along the lines of “if you don’t buy this car you’re a !@$$!@” and you can work out the rest.
He was right of course. I would’ve been a !@$$!@ if I hadn’t bought this car.
The car was originally in pieces. I remember my wife genuinely questioning my sanity at the time. She married me a month or so later anyway, so she can’t claim that she didn’t know what she was getting herself into.
Several years later, the car has undergone a transformation of note.
I’ve invested a great deal in this car but it’s worth more than I’ve spent. This is a critical piece of advice for any car restoration. Paying a skilled person to rebuild your car costs much the same whether you build a highly sought-after car or one of the less desirable models. The financial outcome on the other end varies considerably. I have no plans of ever selling this car, but it’s still sensible not to over-capitalise in case you need to sell one day.
The entire look of the car has evolved. It’s now far closer to being a GTA replica, which became one of my bucket list cars after seeing one for the first time at the impressionable age of 19. Importantly though, this isn’t a proper GTA replica. It’s a bit of a hybrid (not the electric motor variety). It’s an outlaw.
The roadtrip home certainly wasn’t without excitement. The first day was in fact a complete and unmitigated disaster that nearly saw the entire plan unravel. Things improved from there, luckily.
Stay tuned to Carbs and Coffee for the full story of adventure and overcoming adversity. Life is fragile and deserves to be lived to the fullest. That’s certainly my goal with this car and what I believe that I’ve achieved thus far, helped by incredible friends and at times by the kindness of strangers who became friends along the way.