No, we thank you
I don’t know what to say to CAR magazine other than thank you. I’m a young man, mid-40s with a young family and was diagnosed with a serious disease, AL Amyloidosis, late last year.
I’ve been fighting the good fight for nearly a year but recently things have declined considerably and I entered a hospice. We’re not done with treatment, but it’s not looking good now.
I’ve always had a passion for cars all my life, but being someone of moderate means there were no indulgences towards the new, the fast and the powerful. Simply a long succession of inexpensive, secondhand standard versions of cars that took my fancy. Many cringeworthy, some not, but all satisfied to one degree or another.
But I have always been an Alfa Romeo man, ownership amounting to three different Alfa 155s over the years. After I was admitted to the hospice my wife brought in issue 463, CAR August, with the Forza Alfa! cover and it sat on my locker untouched for a week, until today. Probably the most difficult day of my life. I had a severe worsening of symptoms, nurses and doctors in, my wife worried sick. Before trying to get to sleep I picked up CAR and began to browse. I came to the Connect 4 Volvo Saloons article and laughed at your bang-on description of the 460. It was a wallowy underpowered tank, but I loved mine.
Next, the Alfa feature. I loved every word, and so apt considering the sad passing of Sergio Marchionne. But part 7, about Alfa’s back catalogue, was special. The 75 Evoluzione was always near the top of what I thought of as really great Alfas. And then the Alfasud – it was going to be a target for my first classic in the next couple of years.
Then I turned to Valhalla Can Wait in Icon Buyer, and I broke down in floods of tears. The Saab 9000 Aero. I loved my old 9000 that came between two Alfa 155s.
I didn’t break down in tears of sadness. Yes, it was an emotional day, but I cried because it was simply the right magazine, with the right articles, at the right time. Articles about the cars from my early motoring days which triggered countless fond memories and gave a great ending to a lousy day.
I am writing simply to say ‘thank you’ from a reader. Name and address supplied
Driving yes, owning no
> VIA EMAIL
Having owned an Alfasud in the late ’70s, I know what all the fuss is about and I concur with Gavin Green’s comments in your August issue about what a joy it was to drive, although handily his parents were footing the bill! Unfortunately, CAR got carried away in the same issue by announcing that the Stelvio beats the Macan.
I speculate that more than a few lucky souls with £80k to spend will think again as their Mont Blanc hovers above an Alfa order form.
The regrettable fact is that Alfa has a driving pedigree, not an ownership one. Phil Taylor
Some people never learn
> VIA EMAIL
I thoroughly enjoyed your Alfa stories in the August issue. We all know that Alfas have more faults built into them than a government department, but drive one and you can’t stop smiling.
I am the wrong side of 70 and have owned more than 60 cars, from my first new Mini 850 in 1962, and including MGs, Lotuses, BMWs, five Porsches, and even a Vito van. Some are great memories and others just fade away as A-toB transport.
My first Alfa was a 1.3 Alfasud, bought new and driven every day with glee. I sold it and bought the new 1.3 Alfasud Sprint, one of the first in the country, and two weeks into ownership the driver of a lorry going in the opposite direction punched out his shattered windscreen, with all the glass hitting my Alfa.
With no spares in the country and needing almost a full respray I was without a car for four months.
Then I ordered a bright yellow 1.5 Alfasud Sprint Cloverleaf, and I loved it until the cambelt broke at 3000 miles. I sold it to my brother who was in the navy. He went off to sea, leaving it the car park in Portsmouth, only to come back eight months later to a pile of rust!
However, I still smile when I think of those little boxer engines revving away and the lovely rasp from their exhausts, and the fun I had driving them, and they all fall into the ‘great memories’ category.
Shall I buy a Stelvio?
> VIA EMAIL
As a long-term Alfisti it’s great to see Alfa Romeo producing world-beating machinery. However, if it is hoping to get anywhere near its production targets it will need to offer an entry-level vehicle that the man in the street can afford, and it needs to be a class leader.
What, no Macca SUV?
> VIA EMAIL
I’m saddened that CAR decided to applaud McLaren for its lack of model range (Top Ten, August 2018).
McLaren’s ‘range’ is similar to what Ford used to do, simply affixing an S or a GL to identical cars. Come on, McLaren; where’s the front-engined GT, the V12, the four-door and a 4x4?
> VIA EMAIL
I felt strangely nostalgic and not a little seasick reading the bilious August issue with your extensive use of the old British Leyland ‘Citron’ colour, or Morris Marina ‘vomit green’, as we used to call it in Cowley. Should we expect a ‘sh*t brown’ hue to next month’s magazine to complete the BL palette?
So, keep up the good work but maybe a colour blindness test for the editor? Richard Whitton
> VIA EMAIL
With reference to a photo in the Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo test (CAR, August): does Georg Kacher not wear a seatbelt when driving, or do the laws of physics, especially those concerning sudden deceleration, simply not apply to him?
A lot of junk for your trunk
> VIA EMAIL
While I have the utmost respect and love for Aston Martin, one only has to look at the seats in the DBS Superleggera (CAR, August) and consider: what on earth is Aston Martin thinking?
I would hazard a guess that these seats
weigh close to 50kg each while the seats in the McLaren 600LT are probably closer to 10-20kg each. Either Aston Martin has no understanding of the ‘superlight’ concept, their clients are prepared to accept this kind of nonsense, or the recent renaissance is sadly coming to an end sooner than we’d hope.
The same is true of the new Vantage – a fabulous, sleek new design, but the weight kills it.
The ultimate depreciating machine
> VIA EMAIL Following the six-month long-term test by Ben Barry (CAR, June) I could not help but note the absolutely huge depreciation on his BMW 440i Gran Coupe. It lost around 50 per cent of its value in just six months/15,000 miles – the cost of a decent Golf GTI. I had an equivalent car, a 435i, that shed £25,500 of its value in 20 months, but with only 7000 miles on the clock. Not being the owner of a fecund money tree, I have resolved to keep well away from high-spec BMWs in the future. Henry Davis
Tired of pressure warnings
> VIA EMAIL I read Anthony ffrench-Constant’s woes about his XC60’s tyre pressure warning (CAR, July) and sympathised: my mother had two Volvo S60s over six years and during that time the tyre pressure monitor has been on for most of it.
A computer reset fixed the problem for a whole week but after that it came right back, so we just ignored it. Now she got an Alfa Romeo Giulia, so we’ll see if it’s any better.
Manual for the people
> VIA EMAIL I bought a Seat Leon last year, which in many ways I like very much.
Despite the fact that over the years I’ve had mostly cars with manual gearboxes, I decided to give a DSG a go.
It took two months before I finally admitted to myself how annoying I found the DSG in day-to-day driving. Fine on the open road, but rubbish in circumstances when torque-convertor autos are at their best: heavy traffic.
Trying to make a smart getaway, such as at busy roundabouts, I found the car’s hesitation infuriating and often potentially dangerous.
If this behaviour is normal for DSGequipped vehicles, I can’t understand why manufacturers think it’s okay.
Either way I decided enough was enough, and part-exchanged it for a manual one, and I am now a happy bunny once again.
> VIA EMAIL Looking at the pictures of the new Ford Focus (CAR, August) I was struck by how much the side profile looks like a Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
I asked a car enthusiast colleague of mine what he thought, and he instantly said ‘new Mercedes A-Class?’ What with the ‘all new’ design of the Toyota Auris (think previous Mazda 3), and cars where latest versions are barely any different from the previous one (Fiesta, Ibiza, etc) it seems fresh design is on the slide.
Ben’s 4-series lost £78 while he was posing for thispicture
A new Ford Focus. Or maybe a Mercedes AClass. Or a Toyota Auris…