This Italian Fashion CEO Makes His Alfaholics-Prepared Alfa Romeo Giulia Super Part Of His Morning Ritual
Photography by Andrea Casano
At five in the morning, the city of Bergamo Alta has just started to take off its nighttime cloak. The leading edge of twilight is softening the darkness, and time seems to be in limbo before the new day begins. The eerie stillness is broken by the sound of four angrily orchestral cylinders, their song bouncing back and forth between the medieval walls of the city center. I hear the Alfa long before I see it, but its owner will later inform me that this is in fact his “quiet” one.
Tomaso Trussardi, CEO of the Trussardi fashion house whose designs are given life in Italy but are sent all over the world, is, probably to nobody’s surprise, an Alfa Romeo enthusiast. We’ve arranged to catch the golden morning light on the royal Le Mans Blue flanks of one of his exquisite road cars. The Giulia Super is often—and deservedly—considered to be one of, if not the first, true sports sedans, but Tomaso’s has gone a step further thanks to the work of Alfaholics.
As Tomaso and I exchange our greetings and fire off some small talk, the sun starts to poke its snout over the horizon, illuminating the tips of Bergamo’s taller structures, but leaving us groundlings still in the shade. It’s still a bit too early to photograph, so we take the opportunity to go for a little drive instead. Why not?
As soon as I open the door I realize that the car is, well, perfect. Everything is in order, everything is clean, everything fits, there are no signs of age but also absent are the signs of over-fettling. The interior is trimmed in supple beige leather sourced from—where else?—Trussardi. To summarize, It’s a pretty sublime place to take a seat.
I first got in touch with Tomaso through social media, and while I already knew that he was a skilled driver, it was nice to have a chance to experience it firsthand as he deftly navigated the hairpins and hills that made up our route. He drives with the blend of confidence and consideration that all good pilots share. It is one thing to drive a car as if you’ve stolen it, but it’s another level of ability to carry the same speeds without beating on the poor thing. This car is dearly loved, and thoroughly and frequently enjoyed on the road.
“For me it is very important to live with my cars, and despite the fact that this Giulia has been prepared by Alfaholics, I wanted to maintain its style as well,” Tomaso tells me. Indeed the Giulia is a remarkable piece of design, a uniquely squared-off sedan that I would describe as an emulsion of traditional and avant garde Alfa Romeo styling.
With the true dawn now upon us, we arrive back at the first stage of our shooting, one of the most beautiful squares I have ever seen in all my zig-zagging travels in Italy. The medieval historic center of Bergamo fits perfectly with the lines of the Giulia, which as Tomaso points out, it is not by chance that the car is registered in this city.
“Buying a car must be tied to a sense of belonging, not just because it makes you cool to own one car rather than another. This Giulia had only one owner besides me, whom I still know and keep in touch with. At the beginning, I brought her to Balduzzi, who have great experience with the marque for decades, but I was not fully satisfied. It had very good performance capabilities, but sometimes it had small problems with the fine tuning, so I turned next to Afaholics for some pieces and refinement, and the result was a car that had a total of 185hp. A little later I relied completely on Alfaholics for another round of modifications, and I was more than satisfied with the outcome. Not only for the quality of their products, but also for the super professional working method with which these guys conduct the business.” In other words, Tomaso is quite pleased with the build they put together on his Giulia.
To go through just some of the modifications is enough to get the point across. The disc brakes are fitted with four-piston calipers, suspension linkages and arms are crafted in lightweight aluminum, and the Twin Spark motor is fed by individual throttle bodies with electronic injection and is now developing 210hp. The gear ratios have been shorted, the LSD is pretty serious as well, and the list just continues from there. It’s not an out and out race car, but it’s likely the meanest Giulia to be found sans roll cage.
As I walk around taking photos, Tomaso recounts some of the build process decision-making. “Alfaholics had proposed a more powerful engine originally, the 2.4-liter with 230 horsepower, but under the advice of Max at Alfaholics, we opted for the 2.0-liter with 200 horsepower. It still has its original gearbox, but it’s been improved with the rebuild to what they call the GTA-R spec. The car is able to express itself well from low speeds thanks to the ratios, but because it revs so high it also still has some legs before the next gear.”
Tomaso isn’t the type to just drop off a car, write a check, and go for a drive. He likes to genuinely understand the modifications that go into the finished product, and he is always keen to have a relationship with the builder. He knows the original history of his cars like he’s about to take a test on the matter, and as such the upgrades are always carefully considered so as not to erase the identity, but to amplify it.
The aesthetic remains the crucial point in all of this, and even if this thing was engineless and sitting on jack stands it would still be quite an example of the Giulia Super. The exterior belies the amount of mechanical work that’s been done underneath the skin, but being in the business of fashion, Tomaso obviously had to change up the interior. As mentioned, Trussardi leather is used for the upholstery, but there are more touches to be found. For instance, the crank system of the windows has been removed and replaced with aluminum pieces machined from solid blocks, and the removable MOMO wheel adds another, less subtle hint at the car’s abilities beyond its factory setting. Plus, if you take the wheel out of the car with you, that’s a pretty decent anti-theft measure, Tomaso tells me with a laugh.
The sun is rising higher, so before it gets too harsh we hop back in our cars and move from the historic center of Bergamo—waking up a few of its residents in doing so—and head over to another location not too far from the city walls for some rolling shots, a place where Tomaso is used to stretching his cars’ legs. It’s part of his morning ritual before heading to work, and I’m happy to capture it in images.
Propping myself up in the trunk of the camera car, we head into the first turns, me bracing against the rotation and Tomaso makes it worth my while by sending the car into a painterly drift, brushing it effortlessly around the tight radius with a solid amount of countersteer angle. It’s hard to say who had the bigger smile on his face in that moment, and if that’s not a moment that epitomizes why it’s more fun to share our hobbies than disappear into them, consider me stumped.
Tomaso has attained some of life’s finer things, but there’s no evidence of jadedness in his face, in his passion for cars and for driving them. He’s an enthusiast through and through, the kind of guy who seeks out people to share it with.
After a few more shots with the car pointing straight, we pull over to relax for a moment, to marinate for a few minutes in the fun we’ve just had. It’s only 8:00 at this point, but it’s time to head our separate ways for the time being as Tomaso heads to the office and I to my computer to put this experience into words and pictures. I hope some of our joy makes its way to your screen.