Letters from readers, October 1970
I am at one with Oscar Wilde insofar as the temptation to get involved with your Alfa Romeo correspondence is concerned; to give in to the inclination is the only answer.
The chief problem appears to be the question of reliability. Everybody who has driven an Alfa soon understands that two characteristics are almost unique—certainly in its price range—superb feel and movement of controls and the overall balance of the design. By this last phrase I mean the way the margins of braking, cornering, etc., are matched so that one is never left with the feeling (as in so many other makes) “it would be perfect if only the brakes were better, the steering more accurate, etc.”.
As far as reliability is concerned service your Alfa as prescribed, WARM IT UP always and you will never be let down. My own 1956 Giulietta Sprint had done something around 200,000+ miles before the speedo-drive broke in the gearbox and everything works beautifully (even the much maligned 750 series Warner synchro gearbox, admittedly with Veloce floor-change). While 6,000 r.p.m. was my limit with the Sprint, 7,000 is used in hill-climbs on the 1963 TI With SS “innards” with no ill-effects whatever. (Incidentally, a fully balanced bottom-end almost cures the 4,000 r.p.m. period.) This TI has now done 74,000 miles and is always driven to and from each event.
Finally, my support to “D.S.J.” if driving skill and no “guts” are what motor sport is about then let’s all concentrate on driving tests (on TV if the GPDA insists) : surely the essence of motor racing is skill being exercised on a metaphorical tight-rope. If there is some worrying feature of a circuit does not the true “champion” make sure that he takes this hazard as he would the rest of the circuit hoping that the “lesser breed” will lift momentarily ? Every year the circuits get smoother, shorter and safer, yet the deaths continue. Surely the sprint-type-“it’s-all-over-in-minutes” style of event is largely to blame. Isn’t it strange that the race the “aces” shun above all others—the Targa Florio—has the best safety record of all. Perhaps a return to the Grand Prix Formula of 1931 might be a good thing.
DERMOT S. HUMPHREYS – Dublin