March 2010 Newsletter

David Faithful
2 March 2010
Club News

Welcome to the AROC  January 2010 newsletter, conatining news from aea sections throughout the UK. 


The new contact details for AROC Insurance are:

AROC Insurance
5th Floor
Cavendish House
Breeds Place
East Sussex
TN34 3AA
Tel: 0800 008 6687

Kent, March 2010
The club’s recommended insurance broker, AROC Insurance, is pleased to announce that it moved to new premises on 1st March.

The move to Hastings, East Sussex, provides a modern environment specifically designed around the current and future needs of the business, which has 30+ staff.

As well as new premises, AROC Insurance has recently invested heavily in technology that will reduce the amount of paper it uses and stores. The overall aim of these improvements is to enhance operations and therefore offer members an even better service.

Watch this space for future developments and details of a new membership benefit coming soon.


The Somerset Section will be meeting again on Tuesday 2nd March at 'The Pink Garlic' Indian restaurant, Hamilton Road, Taunton at 8pm. This is instead of the usual Monthly meet. If anyone would like to come, please telephone Nick Gibbons on 01823 412767.

We also have a place available for our trip to Milan this year. We are leaving Dover on 20th June, and arriving back in England on 29th. So far we have 5 cars and 9 people going. Again, if interested, please phone Nick Gibbons.

Nick Gibbons


Whilst the winter weather has had many of us (and our Alfas) tucked up awaiting finer days, there are still plenty of things happening in the Thames Valley section.

We've been putting together a calendar of activities for the Alfa 100th Anniversary year ahead and hopefully all will go to plan! We are starting out the year with a display at the British Leisure Show at the Windsor racecourse on the weekend of the 19th to the 21st of March, the weekend after the Race Retro show. We'll be flying the Alfa flag in amongst various other car club and 'supercar' displays in what looks like it will be an interesting show.

From there we hope to have a regular selection of activities to keep the interest up through this momentous year. Being centrally located with good transport links around the countryside, we can take in events from areas ranging from Goodwood through to the Cotswolds and we hope to make as much use of the Alfa events going on in our region as possible.

A group of us are also looking at the logistics of the 100th Anniversary party in Milan, so there will be some Thames Valley representation. I've certainly started on the job list for the 1750 GTV to make it ready for the trip, although a 1000 miles or so down to Milan over a few days doesn't have quite the same sense of adventure for me as driving across the Nullabour Plain in central Australia. I'm sure the scenery will be a little more interesting and varied though and I'm much less likely to have to dodge marsupials along the way…

The Thames Valley 'Post-Christmas' party at Antico's in Henley-on-Thames fell victim to the snow falls of early January, so that had to be rescheduled to the middle of February. If we are not careful, it might end up as a Spring event. It almost reminds me of the 'Christmas in July' events we have in Australia where we have a party because it's winter so it's the closest thing we get to a cold Christmas down under, where Christmas lunches are more usually held either as a picnic on the beach or indoors under the blast of the air conditioner!

I couldn't make the last Section meeting as our flight back from Rome was delayed and our luggage got buried in the bowels of Terminal 5 for an extra hour as well, unfortunately.

Our meetings are held at the award-winning Bird in Hand on the A4 in Knowl Hill, which serves great food and an excellent choice of ales to go along with the food. If you are free on the first Monday of the month (or the Tuesday if it's a Bank Holiday) come along and say hello from about 7.45 onwards and join in the Alfa discussion.

More news is available on the section web site at

Andrew Stevens


AROC Cotswolds Section

Prescott Hill Climb


Well, 2010 seems to be gathering a pace and the section events diary is brimming with chances to enjoy your Alfa during the Centenary year. The full diary, Section Newsletters and pictures from previous events are all on the Cotswold Section website at .

A couple of highlights:

Prescott Hill Climb – Sunday May 9th

Each year in early May the Cheltenham and Cleeve Vale Rotary Club hosts a stunning event at historic Prescott Hill that combines non-competitive motorsport (if that's not a contradiction) with a wonderfully diverse static classic car show. It's a format that works really well and the Cotswold Section have been involved for several years. The powers that be at Prescott know their motoring history and so they are well aware that this year marks 100 years of Alfa Romeo. To honour this landmark they have invited us to showcase the marque by creating a really comprehensive display of cars to reflect the heritage of Alfa Romeo. In fact, they have basically given us an open invitation to take as much space as we'd like! In addition, the event will be sponsored in part by Alfa Romeo UK who will be in attendance with a fully staffed hospitality unit and a full complement of new models.

This year the event takes place on Sunday May 9th. Gates open at 9.30am. All club members are invited to attend. And all Alfas are welcome – modern, classic, or vintage.

Timed runs up the hill are now fully booked but the option to park in the orchard in our dedicated parking area as part of the static display of cars is very much still open. Cost for this is £18 per car, no matter how many passengers are on board. The entry fee also includes a souvenir programme and a place in a cavalcade of cars that will proceed up the Hill during the luncheon interval.
You'll need to fill out a form and you'll find them on the Cotswold Section website at

COTSWOLD ALFA DAY – Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire – Sunday 5th September

We are pleased to announce that this years COTSWOLD ALFA DAY will take place at Britain's grandest stately home, and world heritage site, Blenheim Palace.

The event's format will follow that of previous years, meaning we will meet up in the morning and then follow a scenic drive Giro Panoramico – to our main venue which will be Britain's premier stately home, Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. The location of the morning meeting place for coffee will be The Inn at Fossebridge. The Inn at Fossebridge is situated on the A429 Fosseway about 6 miles north of Cirencester and 5 miles south of Northleach.

Cotswold Alfa Day

Tickets for the event will be on sale from the beginning of March and by buying them in advance you won't just be helping us to keep a check on numbers, you'll also be saving yourself some money!
Advance prices are £7.00 for adults and £3.50 for children aged 5-16.

People who arrive at Blenheim without a ticket will have to pay the normal Blenheim Estate prices of £10.30 for adults, £7.70 for concessions and £5.00 for children. So with tickets bought in advance an Alfa with two people in it will save a whopping £6.60.

Alfas In front of the Flagstaff gate at Blenheim

Alfas In front of the Flagstaff gate at Blenheim

As well as all this advance tickets include the tea or coffee at Fossbridge, the route plan, a Giro Panoramico window sticker, and entry into a prize draw. Can't be bad! Entry to the Palace itself will cost £7.70 for adults, £6.80 for concessions, and £5 for children.

It promises to be a spectacular day at a stunning location that befits the Centenary celebrations.
And don't forget our regular monthly meetings on the Third Wednesday of the month at the Merrymouth Inn – 7:30pm start.

Mark Byatt


AROC Central & East Midlands Section

Dave Atkins & Giulietta TurboDave Atkins & Giulietta Turbo at Pistonheads show in January.

Peter Brailsford with MD of Bilstein UK, Richard AndersonPeter Brailsford with MD of Bilstein UK, Richard Anderson

Some of our group outside Bilstein HQ.Some of our group outside Bilstein HQ.


With a tremendous series of events and activities now on our doorstep our local members are looking forward to a fun packed Spring, culminating in several of us travelling out to the June Centenary celebrations in Milan which will be fantastic, no matter what the ultimate organisation. How can it fail with so many Alfisti present? Anyway, closer to home, let's look back at what we've been doing recently since the February magazine entry.

Firstly, at the end of January we had a very special behind-the-scenes visit to the UK headquarters of both Eibach Springs and Bilstein Shock Absorbers, two independent but co-operative organisations both based on a smart industrial estate in the village of Broughton Astley in Leicestershire. This was a step on from the vehicle dynamics discussions we'd had at the end of last year from Peter Cambridge (Prodrive Brera S project leader), and were arranged by section member Peter Brailsford, an employee of Bilstein. It was a really fascinating visit where we all learned a great deal more about vehicle suspension and the whole science behind it, with everything from demonstrations of shock absorbers being dismantled to receiving an hour long presentation from the MD of Bilstein, Richard Anderson. A more expansive report was in the February edition of our local newsletter, and I am expecting to pull together an article all about the two companies in a forthcoming club magazine. To close our visit there we went to the local Red Admiral pub and enjoyed the great hospitality of Alfista Richard Doyle – now an officially paid-up Section member! AROC members are always welcome along there. Also, many thanks to Don and Dave from IntaServices – Leicester's leading Alfa Romeo Specialists – for their very kind gesture of fifty quid behind the bar!

We had 25 people along to our February Meeting at The George and Dragon near Thringstone, possibly a winter meeting record for us. New members Alan and Cath Askey were a little surprised to find me stood on the doorstep when they arrived. I explained it wasn't my usual job to be a welcoming committee, but I was just keeping an eye out for Paul and Tim from Chris Variava who were coming along with a new MiTo! We all enjoyed exploring that when it arrived, it being the very latest 135bhp MultiAir version, the car being in the attractive new Tornado Blue, which looks great with the MiTo's chrome highlights. The car features Alfa's new stop/start system and has a larger starter motor, but not an appreciably larger battery, though we're assured its more than up to the job. Soon after Leigh, Simon and I took turns driving it up and down the road. We all felt it was a good if not as immediately rapid as the 155bhp version which has a real 'kick'. Paul & Tim had earlier confirmed the ECUs in the latest Alfas restrict power to 80% for the first 1,000 miles, gradually letting it all out when they get to 3,000. This one only had 700 on the clock so was clearly still very 'tight'. The steering in Dynamic mode certainly felt better about the centre in particular – Alfa has clearly worked some magic on the electronic PS. I tested the 'electronic diff' Q2 system exiting an island and that worked very nicely too, the car refusing to understeer. The suspension felt the same as ever; 'sporty' I'd call it. We didn't get to experience its 'stop/start' system; Paul & Tim tell us there are several situations when it won't operate – at very low temperatures (as we had), when you have the heated rear window on, etc, all to save the battery one suspects. It can be completely disabled too via the menus if it's not your thing. Of course with the three of us in the car the power to weight ratio was somewhat affected – it will be fascinating to see how it goes 'one-up' and after that 3,000 mile barrier has been breached. Anyway, on this strength of this the 170bhp Cloverleaf version, due in March, will be a cracker.

Latest 135BHP, Multiair MiTo
Latest 135BHP, MultiAir MiTo

Back inside I'd promised another 'What's it Worth' quiz, and, amazingly, that hadn't seemed to put people off! It featured 20 classic Italian cars, with asking prices to choose for each one in multiple choice format. The winner was Simon Addison with 13 (winning a smart Alfa cap) and runner up Peter Farley with 10 (winning an Alfa mug). Happily most got more than the five which would the law of averages would dictate, but we're not mentioning other individual scores to save blushes. Good fun anyway!

During the evening I had a chat with Pete the landlord who's getting quite excited about our Fun Concours night in June. We plan to use the paddock area adjacent to the car park which will be freshly mown. There's ample space there should we beat our record attendance of 43 cars. For May at the G&D we'll also do a twilight drive, and a Barbecue night is also in the offing.

So, another great night and thanks to everyone for coming along; I hope you can all make it again on 10th March and 14th April.

Writing this at the end of February, by the time you read this we will have enjoyed the twelfth edition of our annual long alley Skittles competition against the Ferrari Owners Club East Midlands Region, held at the Griffin Inn in Swithland, that followed two days later by a pub lunch and visit to the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Museum at Browns Lane near Coventry.

Keeping up the Jaguar theme, we've been invited along by the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club Leicester Region to their April meeting on Tuesday 20th at Beedles Lake Golf Centre, (170 Broome Lane East Goscote, Leicester LE7 3WQ), starting at 7pm. A number of other Classic cars are expected too, so do come along it's a very goo night. All Alfas are welcome and if you own another interesting car, why not bring that?
Two days before that of course it Spring Alfa Day at Burghley House, scene of last year's very successful MITCAR event. Entry is a real bargain at just £5 per Alfa with optional half price admission to house and gardens for all occupants. It should be a great day out no matter what the weather.
Another 'by the time you read this' mention – of course in mid-March we'll have had the Race Retro Show at Stoneleigh, where seven of our local members are helping with organisation and Marshalling – thanks to you all.

We're holding one of our popular convoy drives up to the York Alfa event on 2 May. Please meet at the Trowel Services, M1 northbound (just past J25) ready for an 8am departure. That should be a very enjoyable day too.

To get the very latest info on all this and more, please see our local website Also, our free monthly eight-page printed newsletter, 'Alfisti', is posted to around 160 local members and if you'd like to go on to the mailing list as an active member, please contact me by email at


John Griffiths


Alfs Technico

Rusper Alfa Romeo


Sturgess Alfa Romeo

Chris Knott Insurance

Jamie Porter - the Alfa WorkshopSunnyside Garage

Share this article