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Man’s Collection of Old Alfa Romeos Forcibly Scrapped After Battle With City

Dozens of old Alfas landed in a Michigan scrapyard after a mechanic claims the city forced him to junk his parts car collection.
James Gilboy Avatar
US Auto Supply of Sterling Heights on Facebook

Despite their reputation for unreliability, classic Alfa Romeos aren’t cars you expect to find in American junkyards. Alfa’s long absence from our market means the broken ones often end up as parts cars passed around between Alfa owners. But right now, a junkyard near the heart of the U.S. auto industry is lousy with them. We have part of the story as to why, but we only know enough to warn you away from trying to find out yourself.

The Alfas are being kept on the lot of US Auto Supply in Sterling Heights, Michigan, in the greater Detroit metropolitan area. Photos recently uploaded by the business show a couple dozen classic Alfa Romeos lined up in various stages of disrepair, with some looking like they could run, and others showing damage from crashes. Clearly, these aren’t from some curated collection but are a group of parts cars.

The photos don’t make clear what the full variety of models is, but we can identify a bunch of Spider sports cars, 164 sedans, and at least one Alfetta. A Giulia TI was also confirmed to be among them by the person who knows these cars best—their erstwhile caretaker, Dean Russell.

Russell runs a local Alfa specialty shop called Trail Auto, where these cars were stored until a recent spat with the city. He told me the cars were hauled off after a court order following a zoning dispute, but still has the cars’ titles and intends to take them back. He declined to elaborate on what exactly was going behind the scenes, saying that he’s already getting too many calls about the cars as-is. So, don’t ring him up.

Commenters under the junkyard’s post speculate reasons as to why a mechanic’s parts car fleet was hauled off and put up for sale like this. Some allege a years-long struggle between the shop and city, though their reasons conflict and don’t clearly identify wrongdoing, leaving the exact situation a mystery.

A series of historic Alfa Romeos in a junkyard
A series of historic Alfa Romeos in a junkyard. US Auto Supply of Sterling Heights on Facebook

One way or another though, it’s turning into a clash over one of the biggest treasure troves of Alfa parts in the country. No matter who takes possession, the most important thing is that the parts make their way to people who need them. Lord knows Alfa isn’t reproducing many of these parts any time soon.

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