Featured: Introducing A Most Epic Alfa Romeo Journey

Introducing A Most Epic Alfa Romeo Journey

Jethro Bronner By Jethro Bronner
July 28, 2015

Photos by Jethro Bronner

As a student, I bought an Alfa Romeo. I had heard, through a friend, that in a nearby town there was a 1973 GTV in a garden, under a plastic sheet, and that the owner, a friend of my friend, was looking to get rid of it. I bought it for a song.

For two years the Red Car was employed in the daily drive to university, a 60-mile round trip down dirt roads, back roads and the motorway. I made it home every day, and I was a dedicated Alfista.

After a few months of ownership, I put the word out to the local Alfa Romeo club that I was looking for a Giulia Sprint GT, the first of the line of the Bertone-penned coupe. I wanted a first year of production car, and it had to have its proper 502 engine and Dunlop discs brakes. I thought that maybe one day I would get a call…but the call came within two weeks. In Durban, there was a Sprint GT, recently repainted but in a million pieces, and it was a ’64. I bought it unseen.

The weekend after the sale I rented a trailer, filled a van with friends, and drove down to the coast. We arrived to find a perfectly-painted shell, sitting amongst a sea of parts spread out in the owner’s garage. It was all there.

It took me two and a half years to put it back together, in a marathon restoration that I’m sure would test anyone’s patience. If something could be wrong, it was.

During that time, I was talking to a friend one evening about why Alfa Romeo’s are thought to be unreliable cars, and he said that he would bet that an Alfa 105 could be driven across Africa. It was all I could think of on the drive home. Could I really drive across Africa in an Alfa? If I missed my turn off and kept heading north, could I make it to Europe? I obsessed over the idea for a week. I even bought a map.

I decided eventually that I could never move on with my life if I didn’t do it. I could never sleep soundly if I didn’t know for sure. So I decided to drive Dargle to Dargle, from KwaZulu Natal, South Africa to County Wicklow, Ireland—the home of the settlers who founded my small hometown.

I removed the rear seat from the car. I bought some spotlights, and I built a long range tank. Apart from that, I believe that the Alfa, in its standard form, is plenty reliable enough. And at the end of June 2015, I started my drive North, heading for Botswana…

Jethro will continue to share his story on Petrolicious over the coming months, as time allows. We can’t wait for his next update from the road. To keep up with his latest updates, visit his website, dargletodargle.com and Instagram 

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Mel ChanicJethro BronnerPaul ReaClayton MerchantByron Young Recent comment authors
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Mel Chanic
Mel Chanic

Aah these are the stories we live for…now to catch up
Safe travels Gentleman

Paul Rea
Paul Rea

I will gladly meet you with lots of fellow alfa and lancia enthusiasts at the end of your journey in Dargle valley Co Wicklow!!:)
You will receive a warm Irish welcome!

Byron Young
Byron Young

So very excited about this, looking forward to many more updates.

Magnus Thorsen
Magnus Thorsen

I was once wrote North Cape, Norway and Cape Town, South-Africa into google maps’ route planner, and it actually made a proper route. Since that day I have dreamt of one day driving that route in an MGB… *sigh* someday…

Randy Greene
Randy Greene

Excellent! I drive my 1984 Spider thousands of trouble free miles a year. Good luck!

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa

I’m writting this story for my newspaper’s website. Hope you don’t mind if I use some photos. Safe trip Jethro!

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa
Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant

Emanuel, it was a pleasure to read your story in Portuguese. It’s been a long time and helped me brush up!

Muito obrigado e vai firme amigo!