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Historic Alfa Romeo museum reopens for 105th birthday

1 July, 2015

Alfa Romeo have completed grand renovations to their ‘La macchina del tempo — Museo storico Alfa Romeo’ museum in Arese (near Milan), which reopened to the public on June 30.

Translating to ‘The time machine — Alfa Romeo historical museum’, the museum’s changes have resulted in it becoming one of Italy’s most stunning monuments to motoring. Depicting more than 100 years of history across its three floors, the museum will house 69 different Alfa Romeos. These range from their first-ever production car, the 24 HP, to various Formula 1 and sports cars, including a championship-winning Juan Manuel Fangio Alfetta 159.

In an aim to define Alfa Romeo, each floor represents a distinct element of the company’s heritage. Titled ‘Timeline’, the first floor features cars that are said to best embody the development of the marque. The ground floor, titled ‘Beauty’, will unsurprisingly focus on the most beautiful cars Alfa Romeo have built, as well as the various phases of design that have influenced the brand. And finally, the basement level of the building, titled ‘Speed’, will highlight their motorsport achievement via some of their most well-known race cars.

Built in 1976, the museum faced its first closure in 2009 after its supporting Arese production plant was decommissioned. It was briefly reopened in 2010 to celebrate the brand’s 100th birthday, but was once again closed in February 2011.

It has been a busy month for the Italians following their recent unveiling of the 2016 Giulia Quadrifoglio four-door performance sedan (check out our coverage and gallery here). The Giulia is also on display at the museum; this being the first time it will be seen in the metal by the public.

Along with the car displays and the supporting test track, the museum also includes a bookshop, cafe, and documentation centre.

Saltwater Creek Garage

After passing by this building for many years, I decided to call in and ask the owner about his garage and the car that had been parked there. It was a 1982 Hyundai Pony 1200 TLS that he’d inherited from his mother who had bought it when it was nearly new. I was fortunate enough to buy it from him — many had approached him over the years but were turned away. After sitting out there for that long you could not imagine how dirty it was. At least it had never been wet in all that time. The interior is a mid-blue and almost like new — in fact his mother, Irene, had still retained the original factory-fitted thick clear-plastic cover over the mid-blue vinyl door panels.

Lunch with … Roger Bailey

Roger’s story is a classic illustration of what hard work, honesty to the point of brutal frankness, a ‘can-do’ approach, and a racer’s brain can get you in this sport of car racing. Roger, or ‘Boost’ as he’s known up and down the pitlanes of America, was who Kenny Smith turned to when he was dragging a reluctant teenager around the different pit garages at Laguna Seca.
“Scott [Dixon] kept complaining that it was too hot and he just wanted to go back to the hotel pool. I had to tell him that I was trying to secure his future — we weren’t getting much of a look in until we saw Roger who knew everyone and set about introducing Scott as New Zealand’s next big thing.