Dual Purpose: Alfa Romeo Races, and Wins Shows
Owner: Steve Crowley
Year, Make, and Model: 1968 Alfa Romeo Duetto
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Photographer: Steve Crowley and Greg Dezutti
This Alfa Romeo was delivered to the dealership in Frankfurt, Germany on June 19, 1967 and was not titled until a US serviceman purchased it in 1968. I purchased this car on December 21, 1986. When I saw a photo of this car I knew I had to have it but knew absolutely nothing about Alfa Romeos. So what did I do? I bought it, in spite of the fact it that had been neglected, and proceeded to nickel-and-dime my way through it for about ten years, until the car just couldn’t take it anymore and I enlisted some professional help. Since then it has been through many rallies, time trial events, and some very spirited touring throughout the Midwest. But after winning its class at the 1996 Fall Challenge at Road America I parked it.
In 2003 the restoration began. The body and paint were done by Custom Cars Unlimited in LaGrange, Illinois. The interior was done by Ogden Top & Trim in Berwyn, Illinois. The engine was built by PER Race Engines in Plainfield (having a brother with an engine shop made this a lot easier). The engine was tuned and the rest of the drive assembled by Besic Motorsports in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. I think the windshield posts were the only thing we didn’t work on, everything else was tweeked to some extent. What I wound up with is a GTA version of a Duetto (shy of the aluminum body panels).
The car presently has a twin-plug 1600cc Alfa motor that develops 142 hp at the flywheel, a close ratio 5 speed transmission, limited slip 4:56 read end sitting on a lowered and upgraded suspension. There is a chassis stiffener hidden in the rockers and two caliper brakes all around. The interior is done in Italian leather and wool with a beautiful GTA steering wheel. I get the most comments about the GTA door handles, which are the only noticeable modification to the body.
The car was unveiled at the 2008 Alfa Romeo National Convention where it won “People’s Choice” and was displayed at their banquet. In 2009 the car won “Best in Class” at World of Wheels in Chicago, “Most Prestigious Restoration” from the Chicago Alfa Romeo Owners Club and was featured on “Grass Roots Motorsports” on TV at the Rte 66 Car Show in Berwyn, Illinois.
But it isn’t just a show queen, the car is an absolute joy to drive and has been out on a lot of the local tracks: Autobahn, Blackhawk Farms, and Road America. Like all Alfas, it’s not made for straight lines. Give me some twisty roads and I’ll be back when the tank is empty.
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