Growing Up In A BMW-Loving Household Wasn’t Enough To Resist This ’74 Alfa Romeo GTV
Photography by Sam Bendall
Sibling rivalry manifests in many forms, but the relationship between brothers Steve and Jonathan Mummolo is one wherein each supports and relishes in the successes of the other, even if they are a bit competitive in the process. We will be looking at Steve’s 1972 BMW 2002 later this week, but this is about his younger brother Jonathan and his ’74 GTV. He’s always been keen to observe his older brother as he waded through the minefields of his own life, and according to Steve, “Jonathan would watch me and then make choices which would turn out to be more successful and better than any of the ones I made!”
Both Steve and Jonathan have found success in their respective fields, and they’d both recently decided to purchase some vintage sports cars. While both grew up in the same household admiring BMWs—thanks to their father—Jonathan chose a different marque and ended up with this Euro-spec 1974 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV back in March of 2017. In keeping with their relationship, it appeared in his garage just six months after Steve bought his BMW 2002.
Of course, each owner and car is an individual, so I sat down with Jonathan to talk about his decision to purchase this sprightly red Italian. What about it spoke to him and why this particular era?
“I just love old Alfas. They just have this incredible blend of style, performance, and sound, a distinctive driving experience. I also really enjoy how the designers prioritized things on this car. As a mechanic once told me, Alfa in this era ‘cared about the engine, the brakes, and the look,’ and really nothing else. However they were made, whatever the reasons for what’s on this car, they have all these quirky features like the toggle-switch operated windshield wipers. It will get cranky if you sit at idle for too long, and it also burns about a quart of oil every 600 miles—which I’m told is normal. But the car is so beautiful and fun to drive that these sorts of issues don’t bother me. I can’t stay mad at this car, ever. Actually that may be what I like most about it. The car’s design and operation encourages the driver to enjoy life while refusing to sweat the small stuff. For an otherwise uptight guy like me, that’s valuable.”
Jonathan purchased his Alfa from a private collector in Los Angeles and was told the car was bought in Greece where it belonged to a friend, but details on the service and ownership history were incomplete. “A lot of the car’s history is a black box. It definitely has some secrets, and the more I work on it, the more of these so-called secrets I learn!” said Mummolo. “Some changes that occurred prior to me purchasing the car are obvious.”
Mummolo is referring to the the “basketweave” wheels, the lowered suspension, and Bilstein shocks, which all make for a striking and more aggressive stance than stock. Some prefer the smaller-diameter OEM wheels and tall tires, and some like a sportier, updated look. To each their own, there are plenty of both out there. This one is a clean example of the latter, and since obtaining the car, Mummolo has has made a number of further modifications that have turned the car into a daily driver and true enthusiast’s commuter, including a dual (Weber 40) carb rebuild, K&N air filters, aluminum motor mounts from Centerline International, stainless steel replica of the stock exhaust system, a new driveshaft, a Vintage Blaupunkt radio with bluetooth upgrade, and wooden gear shift knob in addition to other replacement items like new driver and passenger window glass.
Out on the road is where the GTV really speaks to Mummolo though, as is the case with anyone who truly enjoys being inside their car as well as looking at it from afar. “Driving this car makes me wish for a long commute,” he says. “The engine note is glorious. Downshifting into a hard turn and listening to the motor climb and scream toward red line is just downright therapeutic. There is no power steering, obviously, which restores driving to being a more physical act, like it used to be. There is no A/C, so the windows are pretty much always down. You just can’t passively drive this car, which is great. And every time I take it out, there is a sense of occasion.”
At this point in Mummolo’s ownership, the little Alfa is well-sorted and running perfectly. It starts up right away and never overheats. Watching him pull away in the early-‘70s Italian coupe, he smiles wide and genuinely, just as a good Alfa does for its loving owner.