Owner's Club News
In the late 1970's Howard West, Don Wannagat, Kevin Benzenhoefer and several others initiated the development of an Alfa Romeo Owners Club chapter in the Pittsburgh area called "Allegheny Alfisti". Several meetings where held over about 3 year period but the club just wasn't able to get up and running.
In 2010, during the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix's Cortile Italian Car Show that was celebrating the "Alfa Century", and featured a 1939 Alfa Romeo Tipo 256 owners by Mark Gessler.
This is a 1939 Alfa Romeo Tipo 256 with reconstructed aerodynamic berlinetta Touring coachwork. It is the only correct example in existence. The underlying Tipo 256 chassis and drive train were rediscovered in 1993 with postwar cabriolet coachwork of unknown origin. The reconstuction of this highly complex superleggera (super-light) aluminum body was realized through a collaboration between the former head of Carrozzeria Touring, Carlo Felice Bianci Anderloni; master coachbuilder Dino Cognaloto; and rare archive documents provided by Alfa Romeo. The coachwork was completed in Italy in 2003 just prior to Anderloni’s death. It was the famed designer’s final project.
Marianne Fenoglietto and Jim Shaw started discussing the idea of creating an AROC chapter in Western Pennsylvania. Marianne's family had donated a wonderful Alfa Romeo cake to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Alfa Romeo, the "Alfa Century", and Jim Shaw was the Chef for the Cortile. Both owned Spiders and suggested doing some driving events to gage some interest.
The idea was discussed for quite a number of years but no one could really take the mantle of leadership to get a club launched. There where quite a few potential members, who where more than willing to help out, but the idea needed someone to really drive home the entire launch effort.
In 2016, Ron Lewis Automotive Group became the only local Alfa Romeo dealer in the Western Pennsylvania area. Jim Neville, who was the Alfa Romeo chairperson for the Cortile just happened to be stuck on the tarmac with the sales team from Ron Lewis as they where returning from Alfa Romeo corporate training.
It was at that event that the Alfa Romeo Owners Club chapter idea again sprung up. Bernard Martin and Jim Neville proposed to Gwen Lewis and Jobie Glessner from the dealership that they might want to be a part of starting an Alfa Romeo Owner's Club chapter to bring together the Alfsiti in the Three Rivers area. Gwen fully embraced the idea!. Bernie was the Managing Director of the Cortile and also an Alfa Romeo owner. It was decided that night to start the process of finally forming an AROC chapter.
In celebration of Alfa Romeo's return to Pittsburgh, Gwen Lewis commissioned an Art Car during the PVGP's midweek celebration, that highlighted local artist Dave O'Brien's Live Painting with Giulia at Market Square and featured Andy Warhol on the hood.
The Three Rivers Alfisti officially launched at the Cortile Italian Car Show Saturday July 15, 2017.
Howard West's Sprint Speciale was on display at the 2017 show, and Don Wannagat's' Alfa was on the track both weekends bringing AROC history in along the Three Rivers full circle.
Each year the Cortile Italian Car Show at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix selects a marque or model to highlight for the annual event based upon factors such as historical significance, unique local interest, brand resurgence, etc.
Alfa Romeo was selected as the 2017 Proiettore Macchina!
In honor of Alfa Romeo being chosen as the "Proiettore Macchina" at the 2017' Cortile, Gwen Lewis of Ron Lewis Alfa Romeo wanted to create something special, something to truly showcase both Alfa Romeo's emotional edge, as well as a dedication to Pittsburghs unique history in the arts.
This is their tribute to exactly that. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Sport in collaboration with Dave O'Brien. Dave painted live in Market Square, Pittsburgh on during the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix's Downtown Car Show and Parade into the city on Wednesday July 12, 2017.
More information: www.ronlewisalfaromeo.com
Photos by Matthew DeSantis
written by Bernard Martin
Vincent Vaccaro, from South Salem NY has vintage racing for a little over 9 years. He purchased his current racer, a 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV five years ago. Prior to this car Vince raced a 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta which he campaigned in Pittsbrugh for 4 years when the track was called Beaverun.
The 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000, which hits a top speed of around 130 mph has got a 2 litre engine and twin Weber 45s. It's sports a red and black livery that features the Captain Lawrence Brewery Logo, the brewery that's owned by Vince's son Scott and located in Elmsford, NY.
Vince bought it in 2012 and has campaigned the GTV with SVRA (Sportscar Vintage Racing Association) and VRG (Vintage Racer Group) up and down the East Coast at iconic tracks such Sebring, Savannah, Indianapolis, Mid-Ohio, Summit Point, Watkins, Glen and for the past 5 years here at Pitt Race, the Pittsburgh International Race Complex.
When we asked him about his favorite section of the newly expanded Pitt Race course he got a big smile! "The Downhill corkscrew is just incredible!"
In 2014, Vince was treated to a tour of the newly re-opened Alfa Romeo Museum and he told us that the racing history of Alfa Romeo on display was something that each and every Allfisti should some day make a visit to see.
Vince goes on to explain that the Alfa Romeo racers are a very close community who really support each other during the races.
Videography by Blaise Swiess and Stone Swiess
Here you will find the details about upcoming and past events as well as member profiles.