The bond with your first car
The first car is our first sample of independence, your most prized possession. Any enthusiast is able to wax lyrical about how fun they were to drive and how special and avantgarde their features were. All this while completely ignoring their significant flaws.
In our minds, the first car becomes a friend, a family member. In the end, we bestow upon it a few human attributes. To your friends this fascination looks like madness, in their eyes, it is just an old car.
In several instances, it isn't the actual first car you own, but the one that changed everything. The one that rewards you if you take care of it, the one that urges you to go out and drive it. Does not matter how many years have passed, you still look at it through the eyes of that young petrolhead that fell in love with it. The excuses used in the past, do not change, that bias lives on long after you stopped driving it.
In my particular case, the car is an Alfa Romeo 33 1.3 VL. The last Alfa with the carburetted boxer engine. It is easy to trace its DNA all the way back to the Alfasud. It is a genuine Italian hatchback, including all the quirks that come with the territory.
It likes to drink, a lot, the second gear can only be found with a metal detector. However, the fun handling and great engine sound, make you overlook these faults once you get behind the wheel.
The argument on the joy of driving a slow car, fast, comes alive in it. It makes you work hard for it, double clutching and heel-n-toe are essential to get the most out of the peppy Italian powertrain. Yet, it makes it extra rewarding to get it right, that adds to its Italian charm.
Looking back, I believe it was my destiny to become an Alfisti. From a very young age, I was in love with my neighbour's 164 Super and my mother's godmother drove a Sprint for 22 years.
How I ended up owning it
When I was eleven years old, my mother needed to buy a car. Browsing through the local newspaper, I found the following advert, "Green Alfa Romeo for sale, alloy wheels, electric windows, leather interior, call number...". On the Next day, we went to take a look at the car. Just a few hours later, we were the proud owners of an Italian hatchback. My mother drove it every day for seven years, without one issue. Once I turned 18, I became the custodian of the Alfa.
As I mentioned in previous articles, driving it completed my transformation into a petrolhead. I developed the habit of going out for a drive, every weekend. Man and machine in complete harmony, it is one of the most wonderful sensations in the world. My friends never could grasp my point of view, with the exception of my best friend, also a petrolhead. He was the only one able to understand the reason why I would rather spend my allowance on petrol than on nightclubs.
The Sad part
The Alfa was my main vehicle for three years and dead reliable. Then the day finally came, I needed a more economical car for long trips. This meant, the little green Alfa had to be stored.
Despite being relegated to weekend car duties, it was still well cared for. It has only been a bit neglected in the past four years, sadly, it is starting to become apparent. It currently needs new shocks, a few rubber hoses, driver seat refurbishment, a new exhaust manifold, a decent tune-up and general maintenance odds and ends. I fully intend to bring it back to its former glory, in the near future. This little car completely deserves to be driving around.
I'm aware it isn't a valuable or noteworthy car. However, I'm positive that if I realise my dream of owning a Miura, I will always have a special spot in my heart reserved for this little green Alfa Romeo 33.
I think this car is part of who I have become, I firmly believe cars can mirror their owners. I would love to read about your adventures, so I pose the questions.
Which was your first car? What is the story behind it?