Owner's Club News
Check out the Alfa Owner October issue with a jam packed full series of articles about the Cortile Della Corsa 2019 AROC Convention hosted by our Three Rivers Alfisti Club.
Reporting is by Dave Hammond and Bob Abhalter. In some cases, I've linked back to the convention pages so you can see all of the schedule details in case you don't recall when reading the articles.
In January Bernard martin presented a proposal to the Alfa Romeo Owners Club Board of Directors that the Three Rivers Alfisti chapter of AROC would host the 2019 AROC Convention at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix's Cortile Italian Car Show where the TRA was founded in July 2017.
Our Club presented some rather unique ideas for the convention:
The Board voted unanimously to hold the convention in Pittsburgh. Our next step is to start to revise the initial planning in more detail. The complete presentation is below and can also be found on our YouTube Channel.
Editor's Note: This iS breaking news TODAY! You should also know that we've just recently submitted a proposal to host the Alfa Romeo Owner's Club Convention in 2019 at the Cortile Italian Car Show during the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. We proposed it be called the Cortile della Corsa: The Courtyard of Racing and to feature the racing history of Alfa Romeo! We think it's going to be a terrific time to sample much to the incredible history of Alfa Romeo Racing!!
The prestigious Italian brand owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) today signed a multi-year technical and commercial partnership agreement with Swiss Sauber F1 Team for participation in the Formula 1 world championship beginning with the 2018 season.
The single-seaters will sport the distinctive colors and logo of Alfa Romeo, the team's Title Sponsor, and will be equipped with 2018 Ferrari power units.
The scope of the agreement includes strategic, commercial and technological cooperation in all applicable areas of development, including access to engineering know-how and the expertise of Alfa Romeo technical staff. This partnership will provide additional opportunities for the two organizations in both Formula 1 and the automotive sector in general.
The official name will be Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA, said: "This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand, which will return to Formula 1 after an absence of more than 30 years. A storied marque that has helped make the history of this sport, Alfa Romeo will join other major automakers that participate in Formula 1. The brand itself will also benefit from the sharing of technology and strategic know-how with a partner of the Sauber F1 Team's undisputed experience.
The Alfa Romeo engineers and technicians, who have already demonstrated their capabilities with the newly-launched models, Giulia and Stelvio, will have the opportunity to make that experience available to the Sauber F1 Team. At the same time, Alfa Romeo fans will once again have the opportunity to support an automaker that is determined to begin writing an exciting new chapter in its unique, legendary sporting history."
Pascal Picci, Chairman of Sauber Holding AG, commented: "We are very pleased to welcome Alfa Romeo to the Sauber F1 Team. Alfa Romeo has a long history of success in Grand Prix racing, and we are very proud that this internationally renowned company has chosen to work with us for its return to the pinnacle of motorsport. Working closely with a car manufacturer is a great opportunity for the Sauber Group to further develop its technology and engineering projects. We are confident that together we can bring the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team great success, and look forward to a long and successful partnership."
The return of Alfa Romeo, one of the major protagonists in Formula 1 history, is expected to contribute significantly to the appeal and future development of the sport. Alfa Romeo brings with it technological know-how and a large and passionate fan base, while participation in the championship also offers benefits for the brand in areas such as technology transfer and road safety.
Alfa Romeo is known around the world for its racing heritage and technological excellence. The undisputed champion of the pre-war Grand Prix (in 1925, the GP Tipo 2 dominated the first World Championship), Alfa Romeo participated in Formula 1 from 1950 to 1988, both as a constructor and engine supplier. Immediately upon its debut, Alfa Romeo won the first two drivers' world championships, in 1950 and 1951, with drivers Nino Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio. From 1961 to 1979, Alfa Romeo participated as engine supplier to several F1 teams.
Following its return as a constructor in 1979, Alfa Romeo achieved its best result in 1983, taking sixth place in the constructors' championship. More than 30 years after withdrawing as a competitor from Formula 1 (1985), the brand is returning with the clear intention to make its mark.
About Alfa Romeo and FCA
Alfa Romeo is a historic brand of FCA Group. Since its founding in Milan, Italy, in 1910, Alfa Romeo has designed and crafted some of the most stylish and exclusive cars in automotive history. That tradition lives on today as Alfa Romeo continues to take a unique and innovative approach to designing automobiles. In every Alfa Romeo, technology and passion converge to produce a true work of art. Fully reviving Alfa Romeo's spirit and maximizing its global appeal has been one of FCA's priorities. Following a clear and well-defined strategy,
FCA designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles and related parts and services, components and production systems worldwide through 162 manufacturing facilities, 87 R&D centers, and dealers and distributors in more than 150 countries. In addition to Alfa Romeo, its stable of brands include Abarth, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Ram, Maserati and Mopar, the parts and service brand.
The Group's businesses also include Comau (production systems), Magneti Marelli (components) and Teksid (iron and castings). FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FCAU" and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol "FCA"
About Sauber Motorsport
In 1970 Peter Sauber founded his company and designed his first racing car in the cellar of his parents' house. The race team grew steadily and enjoyed its first major international successes in the late 1980s. As the Mercedes works team, Sauber celebrated a one-two victory in the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1989 and back-to-back Drivers' and Manufacturers' titles in the World Sports Car Championship in 1989 and 1990. In 1993 Sauber entered Formula One.
Among the team's F1 highlights have been a fourth-place finish in the Constructors' World Championship in 2001 as an independent team and - in partnership with BMW - a one-two finish in the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix on the way to third place in the constructors' standings that year. In 2010 Sauber became an independent outfit once again. 2012 was a very good year of the Sauber F1 Team, headlined by four podium finishes, 126 World Championship points and sixth place in the constructors' standings.
The 11th October 2012 marked a milestone in the history of the team - the day when Sauber stepped down as Team Principal and passed on the baton to Monisha Kaltenborn. Between 1993 and the end of 2016 the team contested 424 grand prix in Formula One. In 2017 the Sauber F1 Team celebrates another milestone: it is the 25th Formula One season in the teams' history. The fourth oldest Formula 1 team starts together with its new owner, Longbow Finance S. A., into a new era. In 2017, Frédéric Vasseur was named as the new Managing Director and CEO of Sauber Motorsport AG, and Team Principal of the Sauber F1 Team.
Sauber has its headquarters in Hinwil, in the Swiss canton of Zurich. The team's state of the art factory houses manufacturing facilities and offices spanning an area of 15,600 square meters and boasts one of the most advanced wind tunnels in F1.
Alfa Owner: The Dawn of a New Chapter
Below is the Cover story in the November Issue of "Alfa Owner" it's the monthly magazine published by the Alfa Romeo Owner's Club. The article was written by Enrique Zuniga announcing the formation of our chapter, The Three River's Alfisti!!
Located in the western foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, at the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio Rriver, lies a city well known for its steel history, bridges and sports – and often ranked as one of the best places to live in the world! It’s Pittsburgh, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s largest western city, with a population of over more than 3,000 three hundred thousand and almost two and half2.5 million within the greater metro area. For automobile enthusiasts, it is also a city with a well-established tradition for car events, such as the annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and International Car Show that has been going on for 35 years.
Unsurprisingly, this area is also home to a good number of Aalfisti, who for several decades had hoped to establish a formal Alfa Romeo owners group. While the desire had not materialized, it was not for lack of interest. Locals will relate some of the attempts made over the years, such as the Allegheny Alfisti of the late 1970’s. This was the effort by Howard West, Don Wannagat, Kevin Benzenhoefer and others, to form an Alfa Romeo Owners Club chapter in the Pittsburgh area. Despite holding meetings for several years, a chapter was not formed.
Then, in 2010, invigorated by the 100-year celebration of the Alfa Romeo marque during the Vintage Grand Prix event, local organizers and Alfa enthusiasts, Jim Shaw and Marianne Fenoglietto once again considered the creation of formal Alfa owners group. It would be an AROC chapter in Western Pennsylvania. As Spider owners, they organized driving events,
which brought other enthusiastic Alfa owners together. The idea enjoyed great support, but while the interest never waned and the formation of a chapter was a topic of discussion for several years, formal steps to organize the group were not taken.
In 2016 however, with the establishment of the Ron Lewis Automotive Group as an Alfa Romeo dealer in the Pittsburgh area, the elusive goal was to find a path towards reality. While returning from corporate Alfa Romeo training, during an extended flight delay, the Ron Lewis Sales team found themselves on the airport tarmac with Jim Neville, the Alfa Romeo chairperson for the Pittsburgh Grand Prix Italian “Cortile” Car Show. A few months later, in April, the dealership hosted the area’s 2017 launch event of the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Enveloped by the energy at the event, Jim Neville was joined by Bernard Martin (Cortile event Managing Director), and together they approached the dealership about joining their endeavor of establishing an AROC chapter.
Their proposal was enthusiastically embraced by Gwen Lewis and Jobie Glessner. The newly formed partnership quickly took concrete steps, with Gwen hosting local Aalfisti meetings at the dealership and contacting AROC National on behalf of the Pittsburgh group. Conversations, meetings and a bit of work took place from April through June, as Jim, Bernard and Gwen took the lead to establish a formal Alfa Owners group in the Pittsburgh area.
Three Rivers Alfisti, a.k.a. Three Rivers AROC, is our newest chapter. It was officially launched during the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix week, at the Cortile Italian Car Show, on Saturday, July 15, 2017.
Three Rivers Alfisti Founding Officers
Jim is a long-time Alfa enthusiast and owner of an award- winning 1967 Duetto Spider. He is Vice President of Oil and Gas at Equipment & Controls, Inc. in Pittsburgh PA. “It’s perfect timing for the Three Rivers Alfisti to officially kick off at the Cortile Italian Car Show Saturday July 15, 2017,” said Jim Neville, first President of Three Rivers Alfisti, said. “Alfa Romeo’s return to the U.S., and the launch of our new Chapter, present a great opportunity for owners to share their love for these automobiles.”
Gwen is also Vice President of Marketing/Online Operations at the Ron Lewis Automotive Group. Ron Lewis Alfa Romeo is the newest franchise addition to the family-run dealership group. “To celebrate the launch of our Chapter, Ron Lewis Alfa Romeo will subsidize a 1-year Standard membership of any new Alfa Romeo customer betweens July 15, 2017 and -December 31, 2017,” said Gwen Lewis said. “We’re excited to welcome our customers to the joys of Alfa Romeo ownership and to introduce them to a local group who share the same affinity.”
Bernie is the Founder and President of Rapid Production Marketing in Pittsburgh. In 2009, Bernie created the Italian Cortile in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Owner of a 1988 Alfa Romeo Spider, Bernie completed a 2,890- mile round trip journey to the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in March 2017 in his Alfa. “We’re already receiving positive feedback about forming the Three Rivers Alfisti,” said Bernie Martin said. “All the pieces are in place to make this Owner’s Club a success after many years of trying.”
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.
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.