My Car Quest

April 13, 2024

Alfa Romeo at the 2023 Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals

by Derek Meluzio –

Everybody likes a good comeback story. Who doesn’t like to see the underdog or little guy fight his or her way back to the top? Rocky, The Hoosiers, Rudy, those are all names that come to mind when you think of a great comeback story. Niki Lauda and his return to Formula One might be my favorite comeback story in the automotive world.

Maybe not as big of a deal as Niki Lauda’s return (I am speaking tongue in cheek here), but one heck of a cool comeback story in the automotive world happened last weekend. It took place in the Italian section of the showfield at the Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals. Like many businesses, clubs, and groups, the Central Pennsylvania chapter of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club (CPAROC) was hit hard by Covid-19. A few years ago when we were hot and heavy with the pandemic going on, all of the activities for the club stopped. Everything was put on hold. Alfa flags were folded up and put back in boxes. Club raffle items went into storage in the attic or garage. Gatherings and meetings of any sort ceased. We were all doing our part and sadly just like many other things, Covid basically squashed the fun.

Alfa Romeo at Carlisle

Alfa Romeo GTV and Berlina

That was then, this is now. Things have certainly loosened up. Society may never be “normal” again but we are way better off. People are outside again, events are happening and car shows are back. Some clubs or groups were able to rebound faster than others. When you are a big club it is easier. Look at the Porsche club. Countless members, lots of money, and a wide spread network of contacts made for an easier return for the PCA.

Alfa Romeo at Carlisle

Alfa Romeo 4C that won Carlisle Elite

Alfa Romeo at Carlisle

Alfa Romeo Spider and GTV

Alfisti love their cars and they really admire and enjoy other owners but lets be realistic, there aren’t as many of us as there are Porsche owners. The AROC is certainly more of an underdog car club when compared to the PCA or even a club like the BMW CCA. All that being said, you can’t bottle up automotive passion. You can’t keep car guys off of the road and you can’t keep them from getting together and swapping stories. It took awhile but it was bound to happen. Alfa Romeo owners in the area were ready to come back out of the woodwork and this past weekend in Carlisle boy did they ever!

Andy Kaufmann and Courtney Burroughs are two individuals who are key players when it comes to the CPAROC. They are long time Alfisti, long time members, and most of all they caught the car guy bug long ago and love to share it with others. Enough was enough and it was time to get the old band back together and the Italian section of the showfield at the Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals is where it took place.

It started with some brain storming by Andy and myself. We knew each other from the past and had recently met up at a Fiat club event. After a brief conversation we both agreed that we should try and hold an Alfa Romeo oriented event. We thought a bigger event on a larger stage would be a good way to get back in the swing of things and reinvigorate the CPAROC.

Alfa Romeo at Carlisle

Alfa Romeo 155 imported from Japan

Andy has endless contacts in the car industry but specifically in the Alfa Romeo world. A few phone calls and emails later he and fellow Alfa lover Courtney Burroughs were well on their way to planning the event. I am new to Alfa Romeo ownership but not new to the brand. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s my family was an Alfa Romeo dealer in Central Pennsylvania. My parents each drove one so obviously I fell in love with them. The Alfa 164S was my favorite. I even took my drivers license test in my mom’s 164 and after upholding my end of the bargain in high school (which was getting straight A’s) I was allowed to drive it to school for a week.

Alfa Romeo at Carlisle

Alfa Romeo 164

I had the opportunity about a year ago to drive a late model Alfa Romeo Giulia. I really liked it. It reminded me of a more modern 164. I started looking for one, couldn’t find the one I liked in the spec I wanted, and for awhile I thought I would never be able to buy one. Man the internet can be a pain in the butt, however sometimes it can be a help. One day a quick google search on the weekend revealed a Rosso red Giulia with the bianco white interior that I wanted. It was love at first site. Not only was it the car I wanted but it was even close to my home! I drove the short distance to Faulkner Alfa Romeo in Mechanicsburg, PA and bought it on the spot. That night I went home and joined the AROC.

So armed with two veteran Alfisti in Andy and Courtney and a new rookie like me, the three of us got together over food and some drinks to brainstorm. The idea was to make the first event coming back from Covid a big one and try and do things right. The Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals was the perfect choice. We reserved a tent just in case we needed to escape the rain or sun, we figured out the logistics of who was bringing raffle items, goodie bags, etc. and we started working on getting the word out. Once again, man can the internet be a pain when it involves things like politics or arguments over religion but when it comes to getting car guys together it can be a real blessing and asset. We went on the forums, created a CPAROC Facebook and Instagram page and started reaching out to our buddies. Between long time members, new local owners, a wonderful friend of mine who I met at Watkins Glen last fall, and my old college roommate who recently bought a Giulia, we had the makings of a pretty great display.

Alfa Romeo at Carlisle

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio NRING Edition

We had goodie bag items and raffle gifts donated to us by the local dealer Faulkner Alfa Romeo. We also had loads of things donated by Madness Autoworks/Alfa Madness for our goodie bags. We came up with 20 goodie bags/thank you gifts and at first the concern was would we even get enough people there to hand them all out. Well, that was not an issue. When the event weekend came and cars showed up, we gave all of the goodie bags out in less than a few hours. We had a total of 28 different Alfa Romeos arrive and be displayed over the two days. Our owners came from eight different states to attend.

The event draws car lovers from all over. It has a show field with judged and non-judged entries, a track area for autocross (which some of us did) and drifting, an area for a rolling exhaust competition, and even a section for low car limbo. By the way, if you have never seen a low car limbo competition you are missing out. It is literally what you think it is but instead of people as contestants it uses Fiat 124s, Alfa Spiders, Mazda Miatas, Porsche Boxsters, you name it.

Alfa Romeo at Carlisle

Row of modern Giulias

The show field is divided up by country of origin. Germany features Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Opel. The British section has Mini, Aston Martin, MG, and Jaguar. Obviously we were in the Italian section with our tent right next to our fellow Stellantis buddies the Central Pennsylvania Fiat Club of America. We split our display up by the modern cars (the 952 model Alfa Romeo Giulia and the Stelvio) the vintage cars (Spider, GTV, Berlina), and the fun oddball cars (4c, 155, 164).

The quantity and quality of the modern Giulias and Stelvios was impressive but perhaps the best part was the variety. We had many different versions of both on display. Perhaps the highlight of the modern section was a very impressive Giulia Quadrifoglio NRING Edition. It is #21 of only 55 produced and the owner Jason took 2nd place in the event judging for the Euro other 1997 and newer class. Our vintage section saw cars like the Alfa Romeo Spider roadster, a few GTVs including one that had been owned by the same person for around 50 years, plus we had a stunning Berlina. What is an oddball Alfa do you ask? How about a 90’s Alfa 155 that was recently imported from Japan. We also had a very clean 164 (which obviously caught my eye) and an Alfa 4C that the owner drove all the way from South Carolina! Speaking of that owner, he is a wonderful man named Lars and his car and his efforts were rewarded as he received one of the coveted Carlisle Elite trophies (only 10 are handed out and the show featured 2,097 total cars).

Alfa Romeo at Carlisle

Row of modern Stelvios

Lots of sun and excellent weather on Friday was the storyline as everyone walked around enjoying and checking out each other’s cars. Rain showers on Saturday were the name of the game and many owners hung out under the club tent. Luckily due to Andy’s planning we had Italian Peroni beer to drink during the day while it rained and excellent pumpkin spice lattes in the morning.

Alfa Romeo at Carlisle

Interior of the author’s Giulia

I really do think I can speak for everyone involved when I say the event was a huge success. New friendships were created, old friendships grew stronger, and it is very clear and apparent that the Central, Pennsylvania Alfa Romeo Owners Club is back!

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

THE AUTHOR: Derek Meluzio grew up in a car loving family in Central, PA. He still lives there with his wife, daughter, and car loving sons. Derek is an amateur autocrosser who attends track events, Concours/shows, and Cars and Coffee events all over. He has an appreciation for all cars but especially anything Porsche.

More Alfa Romeos can be seen in the video below.

Alfa Romeo Logo

Summary
Alfa Romeo at the 2023 Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals
Article Name
Alfa Romeo at the 2023 Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals
Description
The Alfa Romeo gathering at the Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals was a great return for Alfa Romeo after the forced covid break.
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Comments

  1. Thank you for letting me share this event on “My Car Quest” Mike. We really had a great time and the best part about it wa sthe variety. It was a great balance of vintage Alfa and modern Alfa. I am hoping to attedn Concorso Italiano and get photos and video from there as well.

  2. Nice write up, Derek. I learned to drive on my Mom’s 1750 Berlina, so I was very pleased to see the red Berlina there. Personally, I’d like to see more classic Alfas on the showfield. Where were the Giuliettas, Duettos, 2600s, Sprint Speciales, TZs, et al? Perhaps the weather kept them home, but they often turn out for the Lime Rock Park vintage weekend in September. C’mon Alfa guys, bring your cars to Import Carlisle!

    • Very cool. Rob. The 1750 Berlina…. ah what a great car. I was very happy with our turnout at the event but…. much like you said, weather was an issue. Saturday is the primary day and we had lots of vintage Alfas registered but the hard rain kept some away. It is a shame cause it was hard later in the day but ealier it was okay. Late model modern guys like Giulias and Stelvios were not detered but we have a few Spiders, a Montreal a Milano and a GTV6 that all stayed home. Hey, maye next year?

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