Aug 26, 201311:01 AMLitchfield
Hooked on Alfa
A British car show host, Jeremy Clarkson, classically remarked that Alfa “builds a car to be as good as a car can be – briefly.” Anyone who remembers when Alfa was in the United States will remember their absolutely reproachable reliability, their Italian idiosyncrasies – and the outstanding performance that is at the heart of why you have passionate diehards of the brand in the first place. To this day, that same British car show host maintains that one “cannot be a true petrol head unless you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo.”
So when Keith Goring told me that his Norfolk, Connecticut, shop, Alfa’s Unlimited, is preparing an Alfa Giulietta GTV6 for Lime Rock’s Historic Festival 31, I knew there was a story not only about the car, but the kind of man who would so willingly submit himself to the trials, tribulations and jubilations that are so closely associated with Alfa. Keith, though, deserves his own piece because his experience so perfectly illustrates the unique passion that people can have for their cars.
It is remarkable how often passion and stupidity are intertwined so closely that they become almost indistinguishable to the outside observer. Especially if that person is observing Keith at age 12 sitting in the cars at his uncle’s used car lot. It’s fairly reasonable to expect (I know because I have done the same thing) that he was reaching for the pedals and imagining tearing along the nearby roads in whatever car he happened to be “driving” in that day. I’m sure to the neighbors it looked strange – maybe even stupid – that he would close the doors and windows on hot summer days to revel in his fantasy drives. But passion is unique in that it overrides and can even encourage “stupidity.”
And no other car brand demands as much passion as Alfa Romeo. Alfas are renowned for their incredible driving experience and handling on both road and track. But for every great fall drive, for each time that an Alfa makes its owner smile, just as quickly that smile can twist and compress as the headaches build over their dreadful reliability.
To sate his passion for cars before he could take to the streets, Keith made his way to Lime Rock Park when he was 14 years old; his parents would drop him off for a day at the track. “It was just that kind of atmosphere I was drawn to,” Keith relates. Now as then, the Lime Rock track is always abuzz, from amateur and professional races to racing schools and club “track days.”
From there he was hooked. While his first car out of high school was an MGA, Alfas soon followed and since then became central to his career – and life. If you want to see automotive passion truly “at work,” find him in the Historics paddock on Labor Day weekend. You just might end up with an Alfa Addiction yourself!