Owner's Club News
The Three Rivers Alfisti will be supporting the Rally Accross America effort with two upcoming events:
All of the proceeds from both of these events with be contributed to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix charities. Be sure to register ASAP! We will be posting more information on these events with details we get closer. Below is an article from Hagerty Insurance that explains more about the Rally Accross America.
Lilly Pray has a passion for cars, and now she’s channeling that energy into an organized drive that will give back to the community. Lilly, a nurse in Boulder, Colorado, serves an ambassador for Rally Across America, a grassroots organization whose goal is to raise more than $1 million for nonprofit groups across the U.S.
As a frontline medical worker and car lover, the fundraising tour is right in Pray’s wheelhouse, and it all started with her dad. Malcom Pray Jr. was a successful car dealer and well-known collector who gave generously to the Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, Red Cross, USO, and other local charities in Greenwich, Connecticut.
“My father taught me how to drive classic cars,” she says of Malcom, who passed away in 2013. “If I wanted to spend time with my dad, it was in the garage with him, as well as attending a lot of auctions and concours events.
“I’ve been a concours judge for many years, and it is probably how I made my dad the proudest when I started judging at Hilton Head Concours 19 years ago. He instilled in me a great sense of giving and giving back to my community,” she says.
Lilly Pray began working in the medical field in 1987, first as volunteer, which led to a career as a firefighter/paramedic. She became an RN in 2010 and volunteers as a victim advocate for the Boulder Police Department.
“My brother died in a car crash in 1986,” she says of Malcolm Pray III. “It was a life changing event. My life motto has been always to ‘help the weaker hikers on their journey.’ So as an EMS provider, and now a RN, I guess I’m still helping the weaker hikers and holding their hands in whatever way I can.”
She jumped at the opportunity to help Rally Across America, which hosted its inaugural drive on June 7, with proceeds going to the Connecticut Foodbank. A total of 41 cars took part, with each driver donating the suggested $100.
Lilly says the idea began with her friends Frank Taylor and Wendy and Jim Petty, who organized the drive as a way to recognize and give to 501(c)3 nonprofits in their area that have greatly suffered during the COVID-19 lockdown. Pray happened to be in Connecticut at the time, so she immediately registered her 1987 Porsche 911. Since Rally Across America hopes to have ambassadors in every state (and average eight drives per state), she took the lead for Colorado.
The first drive that Pray is organizing is set for June 28, beginning and ending in Boulder. Her chosen beneficiary is the Denver-based Morgan Adams Foundation, which raises funds for pediatric cancer research. “The MAF holds the best four-hour concours in the world,” she says, “and they had to cancel their annual major fundraiser on August 24 due to the ongoing events with COVID.”
She has planned two other drives for July 26 and August 16. They will follow a route “into the foothills of the mountains—an easy 60-mile drive lasting 3–4 hours.” As a registered nurse, Lilly is well aware of the possible negative ramifications of any gathering, so social distancing guidelines will be observed. “We just want to get out in our cars and help the nonprofit community,” she says.
She’ll be driving the 1959 Porsche Convertible D that she has owned for 25 years. If you’re sensing a Porsche pattern here, you’re onto something. Lilly’s daughter is named Portia.
Pray says Rally Across America events are planned in six states so far, including one later this year, organized by Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter, that will travel country roads from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Virginia International Speedway and include a parade lap on the track. Details are forthcoming.
“Driving cars makes me happy,” Lilly says. “My car friends really are my family, and there is nothing as fun as gathering for a family reunion—whether it’s at a concours event, a 1000-mile drive, or a short day-run with friends.”
Rally Across America ambassadors are being sought in every state. If you’re interested in becoming an ambassador or joining a ride near you, contact Lilly Pray at LillyPrayRAA@gmail.com.
Three Rivers Alfisti Events
Here are the links to both of our club events. Sign up for one of both!
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.
By Enrique Zuniga for Alfa Owner magazine
edits and additional details by Bernard Martin
Here's where you will find a list of the DRIVING events that will be going on at the 2019 Alfa Romeo Owners Club Convention. With a theme entitled "Cortile della Corsa", the "Courtyard of Racing" promises to deliver some unique and memorable driving experiences.
Pittsburgh Parade, Car Show and Tune-Up at Heinz Field
Alfa Romeo is the SPOTLIGHT marque of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP) and Wednesday is the day in which the city of Pittsburgh stops to celebrate this magnificent annual tradition.
The map here depcits the parade route into the city.
Downtown Pittsburgh, only 20 miles from the convention hotel, is the place to be on Wednesday! The day begins with a morning Downtown Parade with Alfa Romeos leading the multi-marque event. No where else in the country has there been an Alfa Romeo parade of cars into a major city with a police escort! This is a very unique opportunity for only 40 Alfa Romeo's! For those entering their Alfa, the cost is only $10 per car.
Downtown Car Show
Celebrations continue with the Downtown Car Show, which will have 40 Alfas on display at Point State Park. Point State Park is where the Headwaters of the Ohio River start with the convergence of the Allegheny River from the north and the Monongahela River from the south: It's the "Three Rivers" for which Pittsburgh is famous!
While there, note that this is a great opportunity for a quick visit to Fort Pitt Museum. Your entry payment for the Downtown Car Show display includes entry into the Fort Pitt Museum.
There are three other mixed marque downtown car shows that the PVGP is holding with celebrations at PPG Plaza, Market Square and US Steel Plaza.
Tune Up at Heinz Field
The day culminates with the evening PVGP Tune-Up Party at Heinz Field. Registration for this event has not yet opened so be sure to the check back on the PVGP Website or updates.
All vehicles that are parking in the Car Showcase must be preregistered and can begin to park at 5:00 pm. Enter from General Robinson Street – there are no other entrances. The bars will not open until 5:30 pm and the food will not be served until 6:15 pm but you are welcome to move in starting at 5:00 pm – please do not show up early, the street will not be closed and we are not permitted to block the street until 5:00 pm.
Thursday, July 18
Track Day Time Trials, Autocross, Karting and Parade Lap
The Pittsburgh International Race Complex is the same track that the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Historic Races is held the weekend before our convention starts. All of todays afternoon events are going to be held at the track.
Track Day is always a special for all club members and this year it will take place at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex (PittRace), a 20-minute drive from the convention hotel. The track opens at 7 am and closes at 8 pm, but since it is in an urban area where noise restrictions apply, competitive driving hours are from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm. (Please note that convention plans to have all track activities concluded before 5 pm.) Spectators should note that there is a very comfortable second floor air-conditioned VIP room that overlooks the track below.
Time Trials are open to all cars (race cars, street cars, Alfas and other marques). There will be timed practice sessions in the morning, with the final Time Trial laps taking place in the afternoon. This is a fabulous opportunity to place your car on a fun, 13-turn, 1.6-mile road course, with elevation changes. Drivers arrive early in the morning to set-up their cars and attend the mandatory driver’s meeting. Cars and drivers are classified ahead of the event and placed into groups according to horse power as well as driver experience, but these groups may be adjusted after the first practice laps. Driving a car on a track is just great fun. Drivers may share a car
The Autocross is also taking place at the track. It is open to all cars. Taking part in both the TT and the Autocross will not be an issue, even for those sharing a car. This is a traditional autocross, with AROC car classifications. Autocross laps around the cone-marked course take about 60 seconds, mostly in second gear, but are a blast to experience.
For those who have never driven a course or simply wish to learn the basics in a calm, non-intimidating setting we have created a Novice Only Group. Novices’ times will not be announced and will only be recorded if the driver wishes so. Experienced drivers will not be allowed in this group. The Novice Group setting has proven very rewarding for those always wondering about autocross, but unsure about trying it out.
Important: All drivers who sign-up for Time Trials and/or Autocross will be contacted to go over all details regarding AROC car classifications and safety guidelines. Please note that due to the preparation that organizers must complete, drivers must be registered for these events by the first week of June.
Go-karts may be rented in 10-minute sessions to drive the track’s 0.82-mile circuit. There is a
As is our tradition, the track will open around noon for all to drive a few laps around the course, but this year we are offering an “Enhanced Experience”.
All drivers and assengers will gather to hear an explanation about the track and how racers typically drive on it. Attendees will understand what the red and white markings around the curves are for, what is an apex, what is the line, and what is meant when someone says, “you must slow down to go faster”.
Cars will drive the track in pre-arranged groups according to vehicle powerplant and driver experience. Cars will take their laps following in single file behind a pace car driven by an experienced driver, familiar with the concepts presented.
Friday, July 19
Gimmick Rally and Welcome Dinner Reception
The traditional Gimmick Rally will leave from the convention hotel. There will be a mandatory driver’s meeting in the morning and cars will leave at 60 second intervals starting at 10 am. (There is a limit of 90 cars.) The actual driving time is between 90 and 120 minutes, depending on how the driver and navigator handle the questions.
A Picnic Lunch at Moraine State Park, with a Jeep display is included with the Rally. (Butler County is the birthplace of the Jeep!) Please note that those not partaking in the Rally may register and drive directly to the state park for the Picnic Lunch and Jeep display.
Welcome Reception & Strolling Dinner
Those displaying a car during the Car Show weekend will to drive to the Pittsburgh Golf Club on Friday evening, and have the car pre-staged. The car show will be held on the Golf Course grounds. Organizers will show you exactly where your car will be displayed and deliver all the items you need for the Car Show weekend, including dash cards, lanyards badges and Cortile Car Show goody bags.
Remember that you dash card and badges are VERY IMPORTANT! You will need them to gain admission to events all weekend so don't lose them
At the same time, not just AROC members displaying a car but all AROC members are encouraged to attend the AROC Welcome Reception and Strolling Dinner (6 to 9 pm), which will take place at the Pittsburgh Golf Club. Prizes for those who took part in the Track Day competitions will be announced and presented at the Welcome Reception and Strolling Dinner.
By Enrique Zuniga
Even as a convention advisor it is not often that one has an opportunity to visit the venues of an upcoming convention, so when I received an invite to attend an evening convention planning meeting late last fall, I did not hesitate… and the visit quickly became an overnight stay at the convention hotel with a preview of what was in the works for our annual AROC gathering.
I fired up the Spider engine at 5am on the day of the meeting, setting off for the six-hour drive from northern NJ to Pittsburgh via the route with the most curves – the one that cuts through the mountains, of course… It’s always a joy to hear the engine purr turn into a roar as the nimble bella macchina cuts through the curves and cold morning air as the sun keeps rising.
Despite the forecasted possible rain that materialized into a full snow for forty-five minutes, I made it on time to the first venue: DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh Cranberry hotel.
Upon exiting the Spider I met my host: convention organizer and Pittsburgh chapter secretary, and 2019 Convention Chairman, Bernie Martin. I had spoken with Bernie many times over the phone and via video conference, but this was the first time we got to shake hands. As we stepped into the hotel lobby, I was taken in by the spacious feel and natural bright light afforded by the modern, totally open, layout.
The lobby, lounge, dining room and bar are completely unobstructed from any view point and the elevator’s glass wall allows for panoramic observation while riding up five stories. As we toured the hotel’s meeting rooms and business facilities, I took note of the gym, as well as an indoor pool and another pool outdoors. My room was impeccable, and my overnight stay would turn out to be most pleasant.
When we exited the hotel, Bernie pointed out that we were only 20 minutes from the second venue on our list: Pittsburgh International Race Complex. This re-modeled site offers perhaps the most comfortable setting we’ve ever had for our traditional Track Day.
In addition to the expected driver and meeting room facilities we will have access to the air-conditioned VIP area which is often used to host large dinners and gatherings. I can see many of us enjoying a drink in total comfort while watching the competition taking place on the track below.
We will be running on a 1.6 mile course with 13 turns and exiting changes in elevation. As the track manager drove us around the course a few times, with the fun meter revving high, we commented on the opportunity for every AROC convention attendee to drive this course through what I am calling an Enhanced Parade Laps Experience.
Our traditional Autocross will also take place at the track premises. With the largest
paved area for an autocross that I have ever seen at a convention, this is a course
designer’s dream. Seasoned competitors and their cars will have ample staging room.
Furthermore, we will have a low-key staging area for a Novice Only group. As a full
motor sports facility, this complex also has a Go-Kart course. Karting has become very
popular because it is a blast and the course will be open during our Track Day.
The third venue stop was Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. From the onset, an evening at Jergel’s has been an enthusiastic component of the vision for this convention. Upon reading the website description however, “Jergel's Rhythm Grille" offers a unique live music experience in the Pittsburgh area with a 600-person capacity, full restaurant menu, cigar bar and patio!”.
My vision was that of crowded bar, with loud music that made it impossible to communicate without screaming and appealing only to a very young age group.
Well, I could not have been more wrong. First, the setting is impressive and enormous. The pictures on the web do not do it justice. In the main floor, off to the side, there is a very cool looking and inviting oval bar with comfortable seating for at least 100 people. Yes, I counted!
The well-thought out bar area is not just generously spacious all around, but it does not collide in the least with the stage and main viewing area in front of the stage. In addition to the first floor, there is the even better second floor, which is the one negotiated for our convention. It is accessible via stairs or elevator, as the Jergel’s manager giving us the walk through pointed out.
Our convention will have full and exclusive access to the second floor, which has capacity for 250 people. The second floor has a square opening that overlooks the first floor, including the stage. The opening is built with a ledge for drinks and food and furnished with 60 plus chairs, each of which provide a front row seat to the stage below.
This floor also has an inviting bar, off to the side, with comfortable seating for 45 people. Furthermore, almost an entire wall of the second floor is lined with large booths and there are plenty of tables arranged throughout. I can honestly say that my vision of a crowded room was replaced with the reality of an easy-to-walk-around-and-mingle adult setting. Two-hundred and fifty of us will fit nicely and none of us will have to fight for a chair.
At this point it was clear that Jergel’s has a great setting, good food, drinks and reasonable prices, but I still had to ask about having to scream over music in order to communicate?
As it turns out, Bernie was already several steps ahead of me. The evening reserved for the convention features the music of accomplished musicians "Three Car Garage" who have already been selected and confirmed specifically by our chapter hosts. We will be on the second floor enjoying a lovely evening, and others not associated to our convention may also enjoy our evening, but from the first floor only.
Last, the main parking lot in front of the entrance has been reserved for Alfa Romeo cars only.
The last venue we visited was the Pittsburgh Golf Club, founded in 1896. The convention will hold a Friday dinner at the Club as well as Car Show and Concours weekend. As expected, the grounds are beautiful, the place is immaculate, and classy with a sophisticated vintage feel. Our Alfas will feel very much at home in such elegant premises.
After a very full day, Bernie and I returned to the convention hotel for a full planning meeting. I got to meet some great AROC members. The majority were from the Pittsburgh chapter, of course, but there were other volunteers from neighboring chapters as well. A lot was discussed, but it is very important to note that while our convention is taking place, the city of Pittsburgh will be hosting the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, a major charity event which includes two weekends of historic races.
Our host AROC chapter, Three Rivers Alfisti, has been proudly participating heavily in the PVGP event for many years. While our convention is a distinct event, with activities open to AROC members only, the Car Show and Concours weekend will take place within the PVGP setting, which also includes spectating the historic races that take place on that weekend.
Furthermore, Alfa Romeo has been named as one of two featured marques of this year’s PVGP, and therefore AROC convention attendees may register for overlapping activities. All PVGP historic Alfa Romeo racers, AROC members or not, will be staying at the convention hotel.
The following morning, I got into the Spider for the drive back to northern NJ. This time however, hoping to avoid another unpredicted snow storm, I opted for the reliable, albeit boring, interstate highways. The interstates have these wonderful easy-to-read and up-to-the-minute informative electronic boards. As I drove these kept displaying a warning for “POSSIBLE EXTREME WHITE-OUT CONDITIONS”… Thankfully those conditions never materialized, and I was able to think about my Pittsburgh visit and enjoy the notion that we are going to have a great convention!
Kelly Telfer has been been selected at the featured artist to create the Cortile della Corsa poster for the 2019 Alfa Romeo Owner's Club Convention and the Spotlight Car for the 2019 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.
, aKelly designed and printed their race team shirts and soon, everybody else wanted him to design their shirts! He started a T-shirt company, O.Tee Shirts, when he was 20 years old- based on his original art and new-found race contacts.
It turned into one of the largest T-shirt companies specializing in motorsports in the country. Over the next couple of decades, Kelly created art and apparel for many top racers, tracks, and manufacturers; including Mears, Andretti, Petty, Earnhardt, Senna, Mansell, the Daytona 500, Laguna Seca Raceway, Monterey Historics, Long Beach Grand Prix, Indy 500, Monaco F1, as well as Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge, NASCAR, Indy Car and F1.
Be sure and check out Kelly's website, Kelly Telfer's Fine Art, and learn about his Ambush Art. We should be making an announcement regarding the poster art sometime in February or March.
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.
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.