2015-2016年度愛快車會執委會成員

Board of AROCHK Ex-co, 2015-2016

余展鵬 Bosco Yu Chairman Desmond Leung Committee member
吳君雄 Kimio Ng Vice-chairman Wong Sau Hung Committee member
朱光熹 Rudolf Chu Treasurer Vincent Kwok Committee member
冼泳欣 Sin Wing Yan Committee member Tsang Chi Kong Committee member
Albert Li Committee member Ray Leung Committee member

 

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Alfa 33 實地試車報告'84
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Alfa Romeo 歷史回顧
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Brabham.Alfa BT46及BT46B
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Article by Percy, 愛快車迷成長路
Newsletter, January 2004
Newsletter, March 2004
Newsletter, August2004
5-word poem by Percy, 愛快五字心經
A passion rather than a car, by Joachim
Article by Benson, 幸福的男人
Alfa Centenary Video, by Kimio

 

Alfa Romeo Centenary in Milano on 2010.6.24
by
Alfa Romeo Owner's Club Hong Kong (Kimio Ng)

 


Alfa Romeo – A passion rather than a car
by Joachim Kazmaier (EC member, AROCHK)

Whenever I see an Alfa Romeo car, I take off my hat to salute (Henry Ford)

To own and to drive a car of the Alfa Romeo brand is a little like Shakespeare’s drama of Romeo and Juliet, fascinating and without doubt dramatic. In fact, most other motorists would consider an Alfa Romeo owner fanatic, and would think the Alfa Romeo enthusiasts, also known as alfisti’ to be a little ‘nuts’. On careful examination, this may even hold true. Most, if not all alfisti are true motorheads, all with gasoline in their blood. Many consider the ownership of an Alfa Romeo car as a passion, almost as an obsession.

……Torpedo 20

And yet, the brand tested its loyal customers and their passion.

For many years the strategies of the brand was heavily influenced by politicians, which were the prime culprits for its rapid decadence and crisis.

The myth associated with cars bearing the signum of the city of Milan, the citizen’s cross and the ‘biscione’ is alive and kicking today, despite all the ‘cassandras’ who sang about its demise. For quite some time it looked as if the Portello – or better still, Arese company would go into the automobile pantheon to join Autobianchi, Abarth, Iso, de Tomaso and many other once famous car manufacturers (and not only Italian brands). 2010 will see the centennial of our beloved brand and today Alfa Romeo, part of the Fiat Auto SpA is, again, going from strength to strength.

Turbulent beginning

Ironically, Alfa Romeo was the result of the failure of a French business man by the name of Alexandre Darracq. 1905, he created the Societa Anonima Italiana Darracq, incorporated in Naples. That soon proved to be the wrong choice and before the end of 1905, the company was transferred to Milan, along the old Portello road. But by 1909, Darracq was bankrupt and a group of passionate Lombard financiers loaned money to put the firm back on its feet. Its name was changed to Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili. Thus, on the 1st January 1910, the history of A.L.F.A began. But despite a promising beginning, with the outbreak of World War I, A.L.F.A . was in crisis again.

Romeo and Alfa

The shares were sold to the Banca Italiana di Sconto, who put A.L.F.A. in liquidation and gave the management to a company called Accomandita Ing. Nicola Romeo & C. in 1915. During the war, Mr. Romeo used the Portello facility for the production of war material, but once the war was over, the great car fan decided to restart car production in Portello. Thus the Alfa Romeo brand began its rise to glory.

From Ferrari to Giulietta

Among the trusted staff of Senator Nicola Romeo was a young man named Enzo Ferrari. Ferrari’s relation with Alfa Romeo began in 1920. Enzo Ferrari had already raced in Alfa Romeo cars for some time, with excellent results. He himself wrote that ‘My life with Alfa! It’s a history’. He remained with Alfa as a driver until 1939, but already then the idea of forming the ‘Scuderia Ferrari’ got into his mind. Ferrari’s departure also marked the beginning of the World War II, difficult years.

……Giulietta Spider

Alfa Romeo’s fortune has been to have the right project engineers at the right time. The man who was to shape the fortunes of the company after the war and with whom an intelligent new start was possible was Orazio Satta Puglia, who gave a radical turn to the Portello facility. With him at the helm of the development, the now legendary Giulietta was launched, a sports car for everyone. By the 1950s it was becoming evident that mass motoring was on its way, in Italy like elsewhere. With the ‘750’ series it began, then in 1954, the Giulietta was launched, in homage to Shakespeare’s drama, a name blending well with that of Alfa Romeo.

Alfa building its myth…

1962 was a crucial year for Alfa. The new Arese factory areal was being built and it also marked the debut of what is probably the greatest Alfa Romeo car ever: The Giulia TI, first launched with the 1.6 l engine, later 1.3, 1750 and 2000 were added to the line-up. The Giulia, including the diminutives of the Giulia Sprint, known to the enthusiast as ‘Bertone’ as well as the Alfa Spider, first launched as Duetto, also known as Osso die Sepia were strongly re-inforcing the myth of Alfa Romeo.

1967 marked another milestone in the history, the Alfasud project began to take shape. The firm also participated in the Expo in Montreal, Canada, exhibiting an experimental car named after the city. The car was later put into production, to date the only car of Alfa Romeo not carrying an Italian name or a numeric distinction but rather that of a city overseas. Only so ever shyly the signum with the Montreal name was only attached to the ashtray in the centre console of the car.


……Giulia TI

……..then almost self-destruct

Sadly, the Montreal was also the end of a very successful era of Alfa Romeo. The oil crisis of 1974 was plunging the company in another crisis. The Alfetta model, launched in 1972 was noticeably inferior in quality and workmanship than the Giulia it replaced. Rust-proofing was still in its infancy and the russian steel forced upon the company by the state was causing the cars to rust much faster than the competition. That and the troubles at Alfasud, where strikes and more than lack-lustre work attitudes spoiled what was in its concept and idea a great little car, the Alfasud was soon regarded as one of the worst cars available in the market. Worse, its bad reputation was spilling over to the other Alfa cars. The car which was launched for Alfa Romeo’s 75th Anniversary was to be what Alfa traditionalists will call the last real Alfa, the 75.

Mamma Fiat

By 1988, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy and only thanks to the vision of the mother of all Italian car companies, Fiat, the brand was saved from its demise. The first car launched under the new management is now largely regarded as the ‘saviour’ of the brand, the beautiful and stylish 164, in Asia called 168. Even today its Pininfarina-designed lines are stunningly handsome and the car does not look dated. Building on that success and extending it and more ironically still, making Alfa Romeo a big money spinner for the now struggling mother company Fiat, would be the widely acclaimed 156 and its hot hatch cousin, launched in 1999, the 147. With the 156, Alfa again claimed their pole position in motor development, this time with their widely acclaimed Diesel technology. By 2002, the Twin Spark 16V, one of the best 4-cylinder engines in the market was to be eclipsed by another milestone in engine development. The JTS direct injection engine.

……New 156 ……Alfa GT

The new GT model, a stunningly beautiful coupe does not only turn the heads of car enthusiasts, even people with no interest in cars will have a closer look.

The future looks bright. General Motors of Detroit holds minority shares in the Fiat Auto SpA, which will help Alfa Romeo to re-enter the lucrative North American car market, where Alfa retains quite a large following.

Alfa in Hong Kong and the Alfa Romeo Owners Club Hong Kong

In the late 80s, the Alfa 75 was very popular in Hong Kong. The car was affordable, its performance was way ahead of the japanese competition and its reputation – cuore sportivo – attracted many motorists. Sadly, the quality and the unreliability of the car very quickly changed the image of the brand, a lack-lustre servicing by the garages didn’t help matters either. The 164 again sold in numbers worth mentioning, but neither the 155, nor the 145/146 models sold big in Hong Kong. By the mid 90s to own an Alfa was owning a rarity. It took gumption to own one, too. End of 1999 another low point was reached, the importer and sole distributor closing for good.

Thus, it was more than once that we pondered if our club was launched because of the passion for the brand or because of the grief with the parts supply and the servicing of the car. The unequivocal answer was and is – passion and passion only. With the increasing popularity of Alfa cars today, the Alfa Romeo Owners Club Hong Kong, while still a small club, is slowly and steadily growing in both numbers of members and resources.

While the cars are still rare, and it still takes resourcefulness and some audacity to own one as one’s everyday car, the brand is becoming more visible in Hong Kong and its image is slowly changing for the better, too. Undoubtedly it helped that Alfa Romeo and the 156 were victorious in the European Car Championships, the 2nd place finish in Macau in 2002 by Larini with the 147 model and of course the positive reporting in the media, so that now Alfa is exotic and many wouldn’t dare, but only very few would deride it.

Today Alfa Romeo boasts one sole authorized distributor and one parallel importer.

With the launching of the AROCHK and the associated website: www.hkalfaclub.net some five years ago, the connections we have made are increasingly international. Friends were made across the globe, in particular from Malaysia and Taiwan, but also England, Holland, Italy, Australia in Canada.


……Alfa Romeo Owners Club HK

Passion for Alfa

I am from Germany. Somebody has to be.

If you are from Germany, you are supposed to accept the fact without question, settle in your hometown, marry a girl named Susanne, go on holidays to Rimini or Mallorca and drive an Opel or whatever else is made in Germany. The most popular pastime of Germans (not only them) is complaining. About the weather, the society and their idiosyncrasies and lots of young people at one time or another plan leaving the country, then they settle in their hometown, marry a girl named Susanne, go to Rimini or Mallorca and drive an Opel or whatever else is made in Germany.

I instead moved to Hong Kong and stayed for 14 years, married a chinese girl, was never in Mallorca nor Rimini and instead of any car made in Germany have lost my heart and soul to that exotic brand, fascinating and no doubt dramatic.

So, perhaps I’m nuts. Perhaps I’m fanatic. Who cares?! I love it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thus the circle is complete, Giulietta and Romeo is a passion play. That’s where Alfa Romeo fits in perfectly.

Joachim Kazmaier AROCHK – EC Member Montreal Canada

Information Sources:

Catalogue Raisonne by ‘Automobilia SpA’

Inspired by: Bill Bryson (the lost Continent)

 

幸福的男人 (Benson Hsu)

經過了多天的下雨天,今早天氣很好,陽光遍地,人走在路上也覺得輕快,路邊青草似受雨水洗禮後開得特別燦爛,令我覺得有時人應該感到滿足,幸福在身邊時應要珍惜、享受,因為這不是必然的。

我翻起一本Michelangelo的作品,其中Pieto此雕塑使我想起Alfa的線條。我沒到過意大利,並不認識Renassenace的真諦,但Alfa車的美可能亦有一部分源出於此。 甚麼叫做美?我認為持久、永琲漱~是真美。大美人Audrey Hurpen亦會年華老去,今天的何莉莉令我想起逛Landmark的闊太。但Alfa的Post War賽車、50年代的Giulietta、70年代的GTV以至90年代的156都美,都擁有懾人的體態。再者,甚麼叫做雋永的美?我想把95年的GTV再等20-30年?人仍會覺得美。我作為男性,當然喜歡美麗的東西,因此亦只有Alfa可以給予我此affordable desire。

有人說外表美不代表一切,那再看內涵,對於Alfa的性能、規格可能大家都很清楚,但我認為driverability是今天人人都追求的開車感受,這才最重要。在香港,我相信要更有效的由A至B目的地、可能是使用地鐵、的士等,因此若不談driverability則大膽講一句開車便毫無意義。 車的魅力除了美外便是駕駛樂趣,無論你跳上一輛老爺Alfa或一輛最新的Selespeed,她都可給你無窮駕駛樂趣。老爺車高難度走彎,挑戰您keep轉數、能耐。震耳欲聾的Twin Cam聲音、使你更渴求開得更好,擁有7年或開了30次仍存在希望等第31次會開得更好。

有人說FF的Alfa已失去Alfa味,對此我並不同意。高剛性車架及超級底盤使156走彎凌駕很多德國對手。Selespeed雖然是高科技產品但非常人性,她仍會挑戰你的能力,因此每次要開好Selespeed亦是要和她交流、要通過不斷學習才可完美地操縱她,滿足感便會填滿你心。 今天我覺得幸福,因為我有自主權可以決定不開毫無味道的日本車及千遍一律的德國車。我喜歡Alfa超逾15年,我覺得生命沒有浪費、時光並無虛耗,在Alfa車形、性能及科技方面我都得到滿足。回看別人,仍在深淵內或有些迷失方向,我是多麼幸福啊! 車評人Mick Walsh曾經說過,若人一生只能選一輛車、他只會選Alfa,作為一個開過250 GTO、Bently及無數經典名車的人會有此選擇,那你的選擇會是甚麼?!

註:筆者現擁有Bertone GTV、Guilia Spider及156 2.0 Selespeed。







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