No, we thank you

CAR (UK) - - Interactive -

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


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


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?

Rod­ney Collins

Ju­nior choice


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.

Peter Easter

What, no Macca SUV?


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?

Ni­cholas Binns



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

Clunk-click Kacher!


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?

Serge Dubuc

A lot of junk for your trunk


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.

Richard-Mark Dodds

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.

Chris Waite

Get fresh

> 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.

Andy New­ton

Ben’s 4-se­ries lost £78 while he was pos­ing for thispic­ture

A new Ford Fo­cus. Or maybe a Mercedes AŠClass. Or a Toy­ota Auris…

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