In the Wizard of Oz, following the yellow brick road is a course of action that a person takes, believing it will lead to good things. That is perfectly fitting for this little yellow Alfa.
There are many desirable classic cars in this world, but there are only a handful that have universal appeal across generations of enthusiasts. An even more impressive accolade is the ability of some cars to transcend the petrolhead community to be appreciated by Those Other People – you know, the ones who “want to go from A to B.” Weirdos.
Among the enthusiasts now in their 50s and 60s, it seems clear that there are only two types of car people: those who owned Alfa Romeo GT Juniors or GTVs, and those who wanted to own them. In the 1960s and 1970s, Alfa designed and built the sports car for the working-class hero and people loved them.
The current crop of 20-something to 40-something enthusiasts have equally celebrated the existence of the sporty Italian coupe with a plethora of technology that was way ahead of its time.
“Baby Ferrari” qualities abound in these cars. All 105/115 series coupes were rear-wheel drive, with the exceptionally pretty Bertone body propelled by an aluminium twin cam engine. The raspy soundtrack is assisted by the twin sidedraft carburetors. Removing the airbox and revving the car in a garage is one of life’s true joys (until you are assaulted by carbon monoxide in your motoring hot box).
Disc brakes all round ensured that the cars stopped properly, with the limited slip differential fitted to 2000 GTV models (and retrofitted to many others) improving the already impressive handling.
All sports car. All style.
This may come as a surprise to non-Alfa owners, but the 105/115 series cars are actually highly practical classics. They are far more reliable than the now very old and boring Alfa jokes would have you believe. Weeks can go by between drives and these cars will still start every time (provided you remembered the trickle charger on the battery – don’t even think of owning a classic without one!)
Further proof of this can be found on racetracks worldwide. Alfas are ubiquitous in historic racing championships and are just as successful as they were back when the GTA and far more powerful GTAm racecars were winning trophies in the 60s and 70s. You don’t win championships with unreliable cars.
To be fair, the electrics do have their moments. Most Alfisti have at some point caused mass confusion for the poor drivers behind them through the innocent act of flicking the indicator stalk (resulting in a flashing brake light) or braking (resulting in a blast of yellow light).
Wiggling the fuse box while simultaneously flicking the indicator stalk is also a common Alfa driver talent. The heel and toe equivalent for your arms, perhaps?
Alfa Junior owners also do their bit for the water crisis in cities like Cape Town, because none of them are brave enough to point a high-pressure hose at their babies. Classic Alfas are many things, but waterproof is not one of them.
This particular 2000 GTV is not a concours car and was never intended to be one. Firstly, the colour is borrowed from the Germans – BMW Dakar Yellow. Secondly, the brakes are also borrowed from the Germans, with the common and straightforward upgrade of fitting the 1980s BMW 4 pot calipers. Thirdly, the owner doesn’t care.
This car does exactly what he wants it to do. It is impossible to drive this car anywhere without endless hooting and waving from adoring onlookers. More importantly, it is impossible to drive this car without a smile on your face.
The manual gearbox, once you’ve done the obligatory repairs to the second gear synchromesh, is an absolute revelation. This is driving in its purest form and these cars respond best to having their necks wrung. Yes, you need to take care to warm up the engine properly (aluminium), but the reward is a sonorous experience as you destroy the twisties.
After a period of spirited driving, the feeling of motoring bliss is accompanied by your clothes smelling rather strongly of gearbox oil. It is one of life’s great mysteries. This particular GTV is much better than most Alfas of this period when it comes to the smell, but it is still there.
The only real issue with these cars is the brown cancer. Rust is a swearword for every classic Alfa owner. Luckily, the values of 105 series cars have climbed so significantly that it has become economically viable to restore even the worst bodies.
Finding a good one these days for reasonable money is difficult, but not impossible. If you have your eye on a 105/115 series coupe, you should probably act quickly.
They are only becoming more desirable. Obviously. Just look at her. Che bella macchina.