Alfa Reminiscences

Contributed by Doug Hodson

It’s never happened to me before. You know, the moment when someone sidles up to you to say “ I used to have a car like yours – It was great – never should have let it go – wish I could get another etc”. I always thought this only happened to Wolseley, Riley or Austin Allegro owners.

But it happened to me. I was at a friends house in the Fleet state in Dartford when a next door neighbour got chatting and admired my Battleship Grey 164 Super 3.0 24V (£600 on E-Bay). He said he had had some Alfas once but didn’t think that I would have heard of the cars.

I suggested that I might know more than he thought (remember 3rd place in recent section quiz, so my credentials are well known) whereupon he invited me into his house. I should explain at this point that the neighbour in question was quite elderly (65+) and drove a Rover 200 so appeared quite unremarkable on first acquaintance.

Anyway he dug out an old photograph album which was full of old monochrome car photos. Amongst these was a good few of 1930’s Alfas (1750 etc). He had though, astonishingly, owned several of these cars, most notably what appears to be a 1938 2900 Lungo but fitted with a 6C engine . Does anyone know exactly what car this is (see Alfa Romeo Tradition by Griffith Borgeson Page 104)?

The neighbours name is Ian Holland who worked for a garage just off the High Street opposite Harrison Gibson in Bromley. The garage was called Johnson and Brown and at this time dealt in exotic cars such as Hispano Suiza which were mainly exported to the USA. The garage owner allowed his employees to buy the cars and would then buy them back at the same price if returned in good condition. This was how Ian got hold of this car but I wasn’t able to pin him down on how he raised the necessary £2000 (in the 50’s that was more than several years average wage).

Ian attended lots of motor racing events during those days and one of his photos shows a somewhat distant view of what he describes as a Disco Volante at Snetterton. I am not sure that it is as the colour looks to be grey and the shape not quite right but I am open to correction.

Ian has, as I have said, quite a collection of photos and some clear memories and if anyone is interested I may be able to borrow the complete album for a short time. If anyone can add anything re the cars or the garage please write in by emailing Jeff, the section secretary.