The Drive Home

I’m a little apprehensive but trying to keep my cool.  I’ve just purchased a 1974 Alfa Spider and am about to drive it home.  She is Italian Rosso and has been lovingly cared for, but is starting to show her age.  And while she carries her age well, there are already signs that problems lurk beneath her beautiful skin.

The seller has graciously made sure she was well warmed up and ready to start, but warned that stubbornness is an Italian trait.  With that in mind I eased out of the driveway onto the typical Sonoma County roadway full of potholes.  CLUNK  A rather ominous sound from the right rear.  The engine is boggy at low rpm so I try to slip the clutch a little and build some speed.  More CLUNKs.

Regardless, the top is down, the sounds are delightful, and life is good as I find my way onto Highway 12 for the trip to Santa Rosa.  Once on the highway, she rides like a dream. I keep the transmission in 4th to keep the revs around 3500 and she settles in at 50-55 MPH all the way home.  Even on the gentle curves I begin to feel that oneness with the car and the road.  Hey, I’m smiling!

Going up the hill to the house I can tell that power is low, but what the hell, just downshift and let it rip.  Second gear synchro is toast, so I have to double clutch – haven’t done that in years and another smile comes to my face.

OK, the car needs some work.  On the plus side, it is a car that can be worked on.  My goal is to get it back to top driver condition and enjoy the hell out of it.  Fell free to follow my exploits.


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