My car is being repaired at the moment after someone went into the back of it. They wrote their car off and we just need a new bumper. Mine is a bit of a tank, but it’s a big safe tank.
The hire car I have been given is an almost brand new Alfa Romeo 159 Saloon 2.4 JTDm 200 Lusso Q-Tronic 4dr – which is quite a mouthful, but one hell of a car. It goes like stink, makes an amazing Alfa like growl – despite being diesel – and looks beautiful.
Years ago, when I was 17, I worked in an Alfa Romeo dealership in Oxford called Cornerhouse Motors and as I was just the Saturday lad, was paid a commission for anyone who subsequently bought a car from my introduction. They also sold Mazda’s but I couldn’t ever have any feeling for them. They were all just a bit functional, like a solid domestic appliance.
Being a bit of a statto geek, I could memorise all of the facts about power, torque and relative speeds for the whole Alfa range, but the thing that earned me most was talking about the ‘soul’ of the car and the feeling you get when driving any Alfa. (For example I can still recall that the Alfasud Green Cloverleaf had 115 bhp which was higher per tonne than a Maserati Merak)
26 years later, this latest Alfa is no different. It has soul. Yes, I’m sure it is a Fiat underneath, the driving position is still a little ‘ape like’ and it won’t exactly be built to last for 250,000 miles like my tank, but that feeling it gives you is very hard to ignore.
I am totally taken with it, because it makes me feel like I haven’t given up and died and that driving can actually be cool again. For the first time in years, I drove miles out of my way to get home and am offering to drive the kids anywhere.
That’s far more than any brand can give you on its own. That’s years and years of embedding real values into a brand.
I’m sure Alfa Romeo will be one of the brands that Fiat may eventually cull as we move towards the worldwide homogenisation of everything. But it will be a disaster if it does. If you’ve never tried one, give me a call and I’ll pop round and take you out for a spin.