Two categories of automobile history are probably over-romanticized than any other aspect: Italian cars and vintage race cars. Italian cars are mostly difficult in every significant way. Vintage race cars are mostly uncomfortable, loud, unsafe, and significantly slower than their contemporaries. But put Italian and vintage racer together in the same car? Perfetto. (Eds note: The overly romanticized view is perhaps why the car didn’t meet the Bring a Trailer reserve at $350,000 on Friday.)
The rose-colored “perfection” here is a 1971 Alfa Romeo GTV 1750 that competed in the 1971 Trans-Am Two Five class (an excellent story on its own). It was built by Horst Kwech and driven by the Aussie himself—with fitting rosy headlights. Kwech was the Italian race car whisperer in the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s, winning SCCA titles with Alfas before the manufacturer started shipping cars over to his Illinois home directly. This 1971 GTV was one, arriving at Kwech’s doorstep as a body in white and prepped for the season. According to its listing on Bring a Trailer, it was disqualified for fuel capacity regulations from its championship, despite running out of gas at the finish line, The New York Times reported in 1971. (Considering the era and classification, that may or may not be true. It’s possible that Kwech could’ve mouthed off about how Foster’s was better than Schlitz, or something.)
In the 1990s, this car was restored to its disco-era glory and won its class in the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The 2.0-liter twin-stick inline-four breathes through twin Webers and sends its power through a five-speed manual to 15-inch wheels with disc stoppers. The listing notes indicate the Italian block was overhauled in 2016 by porting and polishing the cylinder heads, installing a billet crankshaft, reinforced and forged Wiseco pistons, and stainless-steel valves. In the more than six years since that overhaul, the car has only raced once.
And that’s what makes this car a little more appealing, beyond its provenance—it’s a turnkey racer, not really a museum queen. SCCA logbooks accompany the car and judging by the pics, it could probably race in just about any vintage or amateur series in the country. The belts are good until 2025, and the fab everywhere looks ready to play. A whole list of spares, including a spare crank, pistons, liners, cams, and exhaust manifold come with the car—just drag those to the track every weekend.
And you’ll need to find a track. Although the Alfa has an SCCA brass tag, it doesn’t have a VIN, which means it can’t be registered or driven on the street. That’s a drag because even though this Alfa GTV Trans-Am car is likely far from perfect, that shouldn’t stop someone from spotting this car on the road and pretending like it is.
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