OWNING BOTH: GARETH LEWIS
“The BMW was ordered new from Green Bower BMW and remained local to the dealership until my purchase,” says Lewis. “The original owner was a serial BMW buyer, who bought the latest model every two years: unlike most, he didn’t sell his old cars but kept them, amassing a collection of 13 low-mileage BMWS by the time he died. It’s done 52,000 miles and has only ever been serviced by the supplying dealer. It is largely original – hence it’s a bit rusty in places – but has slightly lowered, uprated springs and shock absorbers that sharpen the handling and reduce body roll. I’ll have to have it stripped and repaired at some stage – it’s a real keeper, so I’ll find the money from somewhere.
“I know less about the Alfa. It’s an original UK RHD car, with its last owner for 15 years. It is known to the Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club and has previous concours wins, but by the time I acquired it, the car had been badly repainted metallic orange, which had split and cracked. I’ve had it stripped to a bare tub, repainted the correct flat orange and had the suspension and so on rebuilt. This shoot was the first time it’d been on the road since completion.
“Both are beautifully styled. The Alfa engine is really rather special, but it’s harder work, a special-occasion car. The BMW is more relaxed and practical, in many ways the perfect all-round classic. Given that they are rarer than a standard CSL and are pretty much identical to drive, I don’t understand the massive price difference.”