Book Review - All the Cars Alfa Romeo
Giorgio Nada Editore by Lorenzo Ardizio
Book Review by Wallace Wyss
There should be guides to all the collector car favourite brands, and Giorgio Nada, a well respected Italian automobile publisher, has waded into this challenged and printed several one-marque guides, this being one of them. It is hard to believe they can pack this much information into a hardbound 592-page book that is so compact. There is a little summary of each car on the right, and on the left facing page a box of specifications and a picture. On the opening page of each mini-chapter is a painting of the car.
Now only having two illustrations per car is a problem that, for instance if they have just the side of the Alfa 4C and a front ¾ view you don't know what the back looks like, hence if you spot an unidentified car in someone's garage as you drive down the road, this book won't help you if all you see is the view of the car that's not in this book.
Nevertheless once you know what model it is it is a place to start gathering facts on a given car.
The book covers a broad reach of history, going back in Alfa's history even back to 2010 with the 24 hp. model. It really is made to be a reference source, not something that tells entertaining stories. It's just wham-bam-thank you ma'am and on to the next car.
But if you do get a hint what kind of car it is you can look it up and it will tell you all about the car, the engine, the market for the car, etc. It even includes race cars like the Typ 179 of 1979 thus crosses across almost all models of whatever genre they pick. My favourite by the way is the 33 Stradale coupe. It gives the production number for that delectable race car turned street car as 18, just what I expected.
When it comes to collecting I found in writing my Incredible Barn Finds series that the number of a given car made is just about the most important number. For instance, this book says 3,925 Alfa Montreals were made. Then you can compare it to another low production car, say the Mangusta, where about 400 were made. I would say the rarer the car, the more it is potentially worth, so if you have the choice of two collector cars I would check the production numbers first.
Above all these guides have to be accurate. Having just said that I looked up the TZ sports car, where I knew some were fiberglass and it did have in there that some were fiberglass bodied, (they say the last 10 were so bodied out of 112 made) so in my spot check I saw they got that right.
And I was surprised they even choose to feature some prototypes like the 33 Stradale Concept car done in 1968 by Scaglione.
This book also covers the prewar period and I think it's especially valuable to artists, writers, model car collectors and the like because it seems like most car books either concentrate on prewar or postwar but don't have both.
But maybe with those production numbers the audience that will value it most is the car dealers and barn finders, who have to know right away how rare the car is in front of them…
This book is available in Australia from The Pitstop Bookshop for $65.00.
CarOpinion's guest author Wallace Wyss is the author of The Baroness and the Mercedes and 49 Other stories (as well as many other great motoring books) available from Enthusiast Books, Hudson, Wisconsin, USA