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Hemmings Find of the Day: 1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina

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Vintage Alfa Romeo Berlina for sale on From the seller’s description:

1973 ALFA Romeo Berlina 2000: 06/26/19

Information about the car:

1) Never been raced.

2) 71 year old owner who has owned the car since 1996.

3) Car has been in Conway, AR or Little Rock, AR all its life, so it has never seen salt.

4) Car color is original Rossa Red, interior color is original black.

5) Car was originally sourced from ALFA Romeo at the Houston port by Charles Mauldenwho owned the ALFA dealership in Little Rock, AR, named ‘Precision Motors’. Charles told me that he had driven (as was his custom) to Houston and drove the car back to LR. Charles was very proud that he had the longest running single marque AR dealership in the US (over 25 years). He endured for a number of years after AR bolted the US in the nineties trying to wait out the return of ALFA to the states. He became a SAAB dealer finally but then they of course were no better than AR.

The car may have been foisted off on Charlie by AR because it seems it did not sell easily at Precision Motors and they had it as a demo since miles did accumulate. Finally, a local banker fell in love with the car and put it in top condition with some loving touches. During the banker’s ownership the car was said to have been run into on the streets of Little Rock at a later date however and the banker’s heart was also broken. So the car was repaired and sold or traded back to Charlie.

In 1997, I bought the car from Charles for my second daughter to drive to and from school. She loved it and was the envy of her contemporaries as the car made noises they had never heard from a car in their lives. The ANSA exhaust and the twin Weber carbs were a music unknown to most of the high schoolers of the day. Unfortunately, it didn’t last as she plowed into a Geo Metro on Front Street in Conway while searching the floorboard for a Sony radio knob that had fallen off the radio. She was then relegated to part time driving of a family Aerostar van. Talk about a fall from grace. One note is that before the crash, I took the girl and her car to Hot Springs one fine Saturday in the Spring of 1998 to an Italian car show. The Rossa B did not win but got honorable mention.

After the accident I stored the car and began looking for body parts for the repair. By the time I found a donor Berlina, the middle daughter had moved on to college and the youngest daughter was ready to drive. The Berlina was repaired and she enjoyed it at l east as much as her older sister had. Alas, it was with much the same result. This time the Rossa Berlina tangled with a full sized Chevy Blazer. It was not the girl’s fault this time but the result was the same, all the way up to and including having to drive the same Aerostar van. Just a shout out for the Aerostar van … We put 213 K miles on it with everyone in the family driving it at least some. It had hurts on it that would have sidelined the Berlina or many lesser cars.

The Berlina had to be stored again. Finally, I found a donor car in California and a spare Berlina came with the deal. So one day in 2004 a flat bed truck came to our house and unloaded a front clip and a Silver Berlina in the driveway. The good news is that this time the work was done right by Brad Shutt at the Best Little Body Shop In TX. So for the intervening years my wife and I have enjoyed the old car as it should be, namely as a date car of the first water.

In 2016 I began getting the car ready to be my rally car. By mid fall 2017 it was ready. It was tested on the 1.8 mile road course at Hallett Racing Circuit and it passed with flying colors. In November of 2017 I drove the car in the 1000 mile Texas 1000 vintage rally. My navigator and I did not drive for a winning time however as it was our first rally experience. Interestingly, we ended up passing any number of more expensive cars stranded by the side of the road: Ferraris, Jaguars, and even a Mercedes. The Rossa B ran like a top for 1000 miles of the Big Bend country.

As septuagenarians, my wife and I must now begin to pare down our fleet of toy cars so the Rossa B is sadly on the block. Hopefully someone else will enjoy it for the next 25 years as much as we have.

Details about the car:

1) Custom reproduced dash by ‘Just Dashes’. Installed by Shadetree Enginetrics

(Robert Rodgers, proprietor)

2) Seats reupholstered by Brown Uppolstery, NLR, AR.

3) Current body work was done by Best Little Body Shop in Texas (Brad Shutt, Proprietor). All body rust addressed at the time including the installation of NOS rocker panels. These may have been the last NOS Berlina panels in the world.

4) Like all OEM ALFA gearboxes it still shifts like a knife through soft butter. It has five forward speeds. It is manual with OEM clutch. (Gearbox has been serviced by Shadetree.)

5) Car is shod with four refinished Chromodora ‘Turbina’ aluminum wheels. A fifth refinished of the same design is included as a spare. These were dealer installed options at the time the car was new. New chrome lug nuts are included.

6) Rear axle has been serviced complete with new press in bearings. (Shadetree)

7) Car prepped for vintage rally use by Shadetree Enginetrics fall of 2017.

a) Included installation and repainting of new spare wheel well in boot.

b) Hand brake service with new shoes.

c) Full tune of engine and associated systems.

d) Bearings as mentioned above plus new ones on the front.

8) Car has original 2 Liter engine.

9) When I bought this car I immediately changed out the SPICA fuel injection system for twin throat 40 mm Weber carbs. Having owned a 1972 GTV since new I was all too aware of how hard the SPICA fuel/air delivery system could be to live with as a “wake up lets go’ car. The thusly Weber-ized car has performed flawlessly ever since.

10) Car has OEM points and condenser refined by period Mark 10 B square wave generator.

11) OEM Marelli distributor.

12) No radio. When the new dash was built, I installed a period AR blanking plate instead. No amount of piped in music can take the place of what the car produces.

13) The car has Koni Red adjustable shocks along with stiffer springs that lowered the car 1 1/2 inches.

14) ANSA twin tip exit exhaust system.

15) New roll up window fuzz. (Reoriginals)

16) Cast aluminum wing window knobs. (Centerline)

17) Real Berlina floor mats. (Centerline)

18) OEM jack and tool set.

19) Reproduction owners manual.

These items are included in Sale price of the car:

1) California Car Cover made to fit the Berlina. It is in the Noah fabric.

2) Box of filters and parts.

3) Callaway Cars anodized Aluminum shift knob. OEM knob is included. Callaway knob comes to the hand beautifully and I had the shift lever cut to accept the Callaway threads.

4) Italian front license plate (Arkansas uses a rear plate only).

5) Leather steering wheel cover. OEM wheel for the Berlinas was very thin rimmed and my big hands likes the thicker feel.

6) A rarity for these cars is the OEM package tray. I have not mounted it in the car but it is included. They were made of plastic and broke rather easily I think.

7) Special gold World Champion badge affixed to dash. This is a period piece, now rare, that celebrated the fleeting racing glory of AR in the mid seventies.

1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina red side Hemmings 1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina dashboard interior 1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina engine 1973 Alfa Romeo Berlina on track

Location Marker
Conway, Arkansas
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