- ¬One last blast north on Hwy 101 to the Gaviota tunnel before I turn the keys over to the new owner

24 Hours Left – My BaT Auction Is Ending And I Am Bajiggity!

Is This Good? 728 ‘Watchers’ – 7,515 ‘Views’ – 12 bids – 174 Comments (many of them mine, probably too many)

With 24 hours to go I admit my palms are sweaty. I’ve owned ‘383’ (and her organ donor sibling ‘395’, long since recycled into wire hangers or oven doors) for almost 30 years! Letting ‘383’ go is bittersweet, however I console myself with thoughts of the ‘next’ restoration project I intend to tackle: a 1982 Alfa Romeo GTV6 2.5.

Blame Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear. He raved about the GTV 6 that he drove on the Top Gear and then bought one. I think he still has it. I think that episode aired in the US around the time that I inadvertently drove into Dunsfold Airport many years ago, looking for the Top Gear lads (I was kicked out when discovered - I wrote about it). I’ve never driven one, but I still want one. And not just any car, I ‘need’ a version on which I’ve lovingly restored every nut and bolt until I’m satisfied that the driving experience will be 100% authentic for the model and year.

Here’s the BaT auction link. Go there! Comment!

bringatrailer.com/listing/1971-alfa-romeo-spider-15/

Something like this would be a good starting point, I think! - Image courtesy ERClassics.com

Something like this would be a good starting point, I think! - Image courtesy ERClassics.com

The most asked question during the auction is: “Why are you the selling the car?” Every person who has come for a test ride/drive has asked (I did my best to impress with some tail wags, LOL). Every person who has DM’ed me has asked. I have dutifully explained that I want to do a new project, but I don't think anyone fully believes me.

The long answer is more complicated. Oh, and I want a roof, and maybe air conditioning whilst I decline.

I’ve taken ‘383’ as far as I can to deliver that absolutely authentic ’71 1750 Spider experience. I know EXACTLY what that means now – it took 20+ years to achieve, but now I know.

I know for example that you can chuck the front of '383' into a posted 15mph turn at 35mph that any sane person would only attempt at 25. And, get away with it. The front just BITES. None of this engineered nanny under steer to make sure that when you’re too frisky the thing won’t swap ends. ‘383’ will definitely let you know if she’s been underappreciated from a driver’s skill perspective.

Do NOT exit 101 north here on your next Porsche Club or Lambo event! Any vehicle with less than 6” of clearance is not adviseable.

Do NOT exit 101 north here on your next Porsche Club or Lambo event! Any vehicle with less than 6” of clearance is not adviseable.

Even more complicated is that ‘383’ has, over the years become prettier and prettier. While on the very first test drive for the LIVE AUCTION (hint, hint), I exited the 101 north at a small ranch service road. It’s an actual exit that leads to 1000 yards of completely chewed up and neglected asphalt that only the ranch hands in their work trucks (and I assume the ranch owners in their Land Rovers) are using. I had to crawl in first gear in the wrong lane to avoid the potholes and piles of road chunks. As I did so a nondescript SUV sailed by in the proper lane and then immediately pulled over. The driver, a young woman, stuck her phone out of the window to capture us creeping past under the freeway. I’m sure she thought we were in an exotic Ferrari or something…

The world’s finest museum archival auto photographer, Michael Furman shot my car on a drizzly day during COVID during his annual California artist residency

The world’s finest museum archival auto photographer, Michael Furman shot my car on a drizzly day during COVID during his annual California artist residency

The final part of the ‘long’ answer is that I’m afraid of what I might do if I keep ‘383’. Have you SEEN the Alfaholics online catalogue of performance bits and pieces you can buy? It shouldn’t be allowed! Beautiful performance big brake kits with their glistening sinewy braided steel cables. The shapely brushed aluminum radiators with their brazed welds on the intake and outflow fittings. Obscenely curvaceous Perspex headlight covers beckoning a more slippery profile through the wind. But I digress.

I would, I’m afraid, eventually ‘replace’ ‘383’ by pieces, one expensive bit at a time over the next several years to achieve … what?

I like the perfect patina she has now. The crack in the dash from the central heater vent to the windshield – invisible when one is driving – has character. Like Ann Margaret’s mole or Tina Fey’s imperceptible scar. I even like the ragged plastic on the center console – it has SURVIVED, and it is still doing what it was meant to do without complaint.

If you like dimples, ‘383’ has a beauty. A defect that was decades in the making, right on top of the passenger front fender, daring anyone to ‘have an issue’. Yeah, it's hard to see, but it's there!

If you like dimples, ‘383’ has a beauty. A defect that was decades in the making, right on top of the passenger front fender, daring anyone to ‘have an issue’. Yeah, it's hard to see, but it's there!

I know that there is a GTV6 out there that just needs some love to relive her former glory days. That’s the soundtrack I hear in my head for the video when my GTV 6 is ‘done’ – Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days”. The verse includes: “In the wink of a young man’s eye...” Maybe I expect to recover MY youth during the restoration, convincing myself that my defects and faults, my cracks and ragged edges equate to character and not general decrepitude.

Below you can find links to the full archive of articles and videos in the series about “AR1486383”. Please give them a look! If you are following the auction, and especially if you are bidding on the car, thank you! If you do decide to ‘drop by’ the BaT auction, please leave a comment and let me know that you came from DriveTribe!

Watch the reunion 25 years in the making of ‘383’ and the previous owner on Highway 1 in California

Screaming through the Gaviota tunnel at 5,000 rpm, just like Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate"

Go behind the scenes of the video shoots for the BaT auction listing

Learn to shoot auction pictures like a pro, with tips from Michael Furman, world famous car photographer.

Should you shoot your own photos, or buy the "Plus" BaT listing?

Where I went for help to figure out how to photograph my car.

Join In

Comments (28)

  • Man i wish i had the money to buy the spider. But i cannot take on another car haha

      22 days ago
  • It's an interesting dilemma that your taking on. Your placing faith in an unknowable outcome as your trusty steed stands staring at you contemplating the fate of both your futures. I do have to thank you for sharing the journey Stephen. I hope to someday have your courage to move on from my 16 plus year Porsche project. Alas every time I pass her in the garage she smiles at me and reminds me of all our great times together. So far that has been enough. Good luck at the auction and I hope you share your new Alfa experience with us. Cheers Stephen

      22 days ago
  • Funny how I was looking at this exact one the other day. It is very beautiful, and I would be bidding on right now, but I sadly cant.

      21 days ago
  • She sounded like an amazing car, always sad to see a car go but on too the next adventure!

      22 days ago
  • Man I wish I could bid on that, but I don't have the space for it unfortunately

      21 days ago
28