Alfa Romeo 1300 Duetto – For Sale

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Many of us will dream of owning a Sunday Car – a preferred classic car – that can be enjoyed in the right climate but for a limited amount of time. The aim is not to add materially to the mileage whilst ensuring that it works well when needed with  minimal trips to the mechanic. The dream is for you and your nearest to enjoy, pose a little, relax and breathe.

One of my clear favourites in this precise category is the Alfa Romeo 1300 convertible. I have celebrated this wonderful vehicle on several occasions in the columns of Aestheticons. Please click on the highlighted following links to read our previous posts – Alfa Romeo Spider and Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider

The difficulty for many of our UK based readers is the availability of good stock of this beautiful car in Right Hand Drive. Well here’s a potential solution.

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The guys at the amazing Swiss-run curation site – in a nutshell comprising classic cars and associated lifestyle – Classic Driver –  Classic Driver – are busy celebrating their 20th anniversary with 20 Limited Edition Aston Martin DB11! Yes they launched in 1998 on the internet, geez I have shoes older –  Church’s Brogues . They are also currently running a campaign for an auction to take place on 7th July 2018 and by Historics at Brooklands. One particular vehicle to feature at this sale is a red – is there any other colour – 1970 Alfa Romeo 1300 – Alfa 1300 Convertible  – It carries a guide price/estimate of between £22,000 – £27,000. My feeling, whilst I am rubblish at valuations, is that looks like a particularly good sweet spot to kick off the innumerable pleasures of owning a classic car and enjoying classic motoring.

As many will know the Brooklands Museum is a venue particularly close to my heart – please see my previous post Mike Hawthorn – 1958 Formula One World Champion.

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This charming example of the Alfa Romeo Duetto is a right hand drive version and pre-dates the rather challenging era of added rubber bumpers that, in my view, detrimentally affected the aesthetics of this wonderful car in later models.

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STOPPRESS – Don’t know if you have yet had a chance to look at the listings for the Historics at Brooklands auction on 7th July 2018? A deeper study of what’s on offer has disclosed another classic Alfa Romeo – this time a left hooker – with an estimated value at between £50,000 to £60,000. A 1290cc 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta – simply one of the most stunning Alfas ever made.

 

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Image credits – with grateful thanks – Classic Driver and Historics at Brooklands https://www.historics.co.uk

 

Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder by Scaglietti

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Occasionally, when I see something of great design or beauty there is a real ‘catching breath” moment. The sight of your new born offspring and a Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder by Scaglietti will illicit a similar reaction but for so many different reasons.

I completely forgive you for staring as this is widely regarded as the finest and best looking Ferrari ever built. There is an argument – that I buy into that the later SWB versions can hold a candle but its marginal. It’s lines, its air intakes, its expansive boot and shrouded headlights combine to create a simply beautiful car.

We have featured other Ferrari’s and we leave the final decision to you – see our earlier posts here Ferrari 330 GTS and Ferrari Dino

The 250 GT LWB – because of its 2.4m chassis – was intended for the North American market and was produced between 1957 and 1960 being superseded by a SWB version.  Comprising a Pininfarina designed body and a Tipo 128D 60 degree V12 engine that delivered 228 bhp and top speed of 145mph – Paco for the late 1950’s.

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Original owners of these cars have include French film star, Brigitte Bardot (0937GT) and celebrated “Barbarella” film director and a former partner of the wonderful, Catherine Deneuve, Roger Vadim (1283 GT).

The iconic Ferrari GT 250 LWB California – as in our featured image – is a year younger than me and the current seller, Talacrest 2000 AD of Windsor – as featured on the excellent http://www.classicdriver.com – tell us that it bears the engine number 1503 GT, was the 35th of 50 LWBs to be made by Scaglietti and was delivered into their care in Modena on 7th July 1959. It was completed in October 1959, originally in white with a black interior and was shipped to a client in Caracas, Venezuela. In the early 1960’s it was imported into the US and in 1987 was acquired by a renowned collector who added only 700 kms in eleven years of ownership to the odometer but did change the colour to Ferrari’s signature Rosso/Red with a tan interior.

Provenance is vital with this quality of vehicle and like a fine painting or other artwork the amount of detail as to where, when and by whom that can be clearly demonstrated adds greatly to the cars value.

 

In 2015, RM Sotheby’s sold a stable mate of our Rosso, with engine number 1307 GT – as shown above – in stunning dark blue with its aluminium hood and distinctive air vents – for $8.5m. Rarely has an optional aluminium hard top looked so good as to enhance the overall effect of this majestic Italian classic.

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Photo credits – with grateful thanks to: Talacrest 2000 AD Ltd, http://www.classicdriver.com, Richard Owen/www.supercars.net and Patrick Ernzen/RM Sotheby’s

Fernet-Branca & Friends

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There are several iconic Northern Italian drinks that are seeing huge increases in their popularity. Why? Because they are splendid and have memorable, even overwhelming, flavours.

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Campari – please see our previous post here – Campari  – is a favourite and when mixed with soda or orange juice it becomes a excellent pre-dinner long-drink. The taste can best be described as “bitter” in a wonderfully flavorsome way almost perfumed. Like so many of its contemporaries the recipe for Campari is a closely guarded secret.

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Why not add this cool T shirt featuring Leonetto Cappiello’s iconic Campari vintage advertising image. Minty Tees Men’s Classic Bitter Campari XXXX-Large Maroon

A drink has been seen recently to challenge Campari’s position. This upstart is Aperol and is only fractionally younger than Campari. It was first offered in 1919 by the Barbieri company in Padua. Post WW11 it became very successful and was “rediscovered” recently by the international market.

It is now made by Campari and whilst it may be seen as competitive, Aperol is less bitter and beats the relatively low alcohol Campari on alcohol content. Depending on where it is purchased Aperol’s content various from 11% in its home market and 15% in Germany.

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Why not try a delicious Aperol? Click the following AMAZON link Aperol Aperitivo, 70 cl

Aperol Spritz is a favourite was of serving this refereshing drink as an aperitif. It comprises 6cl Prosecco, 4cl of Aperol Spritz and a splash of soda water.

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Why not try these pre-mixed Aperol & Sodas by clicking the following AMAZON link Aperol Soda (6 x125ml)

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Served as after-dinner “digestifs” the recent trend is for those drinks that take their flavours from infused herbs and are often described either as an Amaro (literally Italian for “bitter”). For me, the best of these, is that was launched by Bernardino Branca in Milan in 1845 and known as “Fernet-Branca” which led to the founding of the Fratelli Branca Distillerie.

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We know that the recipe of Fernet-Branca aromatic spirit is an industrial secret handed down through the generations – its currently known by Fernet-Branca’s President, Niccolò Branca – the but its thought that its 27 herbs and other ingredients consist of myrrh, rhubarb, chamomile, cardamom, aloe and saffron based on a distilled grape spirit. It has a reasonably high alcohol content at 39%

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Fernet-Branca is used in several cocktails including a “Toronto” – Canadian whisky, Fernet-Branca, angostura bitters, and sugar syrup and a “Hanky Panky” – developed by The Savoy Hotel legendary bartender, Ada Coleman – comprising 1/2 Italian Vermouth, 1/2 Dry Gin and 2 dashes Fernet Branca. Stir and garnish with orange peel. In Argentina, partly as a result of the number of Italian emigres post WW11 and partly because Fernet-Branca’s concentrated marketing effort there, the mix of Fernet-Branca and Coca-cola – known as “Fernet con Cola” – continues to be very popular.

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If you’d like to enjoy this fine Italian digestif please click the following link to buy a bottle of Fernet-Branca on AMAZON  Fernet Branca, 70cl 

I must confess – I don’t know what it is – but there is an essential combination of almost magical ingredients with Fernet-Branca that creates an elixir that has the most soothing effect on an over-burdened digestion. I am no Doctor but hugely recommend Fernet-Branca. Then again, I do tend to buy into those products that demonstrate certain claims which are extensively tested over the long-term.

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Images courtesy of Davide Campari Milan SpA. and Fratelli Branca Distillerie.

 

 

Duralex Provence

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In cafes, bars and coffee shops world-wide the iconic Duralex glass is never far from the zinc, glass or wooden bar top – a great example is Bar Italia in Soho (Frith Street, London). See here Bar Italia – Frith Street, London, W1

I long loved and have praised the Duralex range – known as “Picardie” – in our previous posts Duralex Glass – Picardie but I also wanted to share with you their wonderful and iconic range called “Provence”.

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The Duralex Provence is a range of glasses that are smaller than the typical Picardie glasses. They range from the shot sized 9cl – perfect for a Jägermeister – rising through the 16cl, 22cl and 25cl with the middle two being perfect for juice, coffee or wine to the larger size – which is an attractive table water tumbler or a glass for a larger serving of wine!

For those who have spent time in parts of Europe they will know it is very usual for an expresso or cortado coffee – possibly made with Lavazza’s fine beans including their Decaffeinated version – a personal favourite – Lavazza Caffè Decaffeinato – to be served in a tempered glass, often a Duralex as they are resistant to joining water. For those who haven’t tried this quaint and delicious custom – please do.

Duralex’ construction adds a massive advantage to these charming glasses with a great hold feel, as they are virtually smash proof. Hurling them at speed with vigour at a tiled floor may well result in a chip – or worse – but I have knocked over many in the process of serving or cleaning theses glasses and they virtually bounce.

How do you know that your glass is a genuine Duralex? By draining your favourite beverage from one of Duralex’s glasses you will see the following logo appear at the bottom of your glass. For our older readers, I can assure that the sight of this familiar logo will heighten their nostalgic senses as this iconic French company also made the form of glass cup and saucers that were often used in coffee shops, and “greasy spoons cafes” BS – Before Starbucks!

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Images courtesy of Duralex International SAS

Click the photo to buy from AMAZON – Duralex “Provence” 16 cl Tumber

Click the photo to buy from AMAZON – Duralex “Provence” 22 cl Tumbler

Click the photo to buy from AMAZON – Duralex “Picardie” 36 cl Water glass

Click the photo to buy from AMAZON – Duralex “Picardie” 50 cl Beer glass

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Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider

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Alfa Romeo is an iconic breed of Italian sports cars founded as A.L.F.A. (“Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobile”) on June 24, 1910, in Milan. By August 1915 the company was under the direction of Nicola Romero who re-purposed the factory’s output to support the Allies with munitions and aircraft engines.

The name changed to Alfa Romeo in 1920 and a car called “Torpedo” was the first to be badged with the new name. The company enjoyed significant success on the motor racing track with Enzo Ferrari and, in the 1950’s, Juan Manuel Fangio being notable drivers. With Romeo’s departure in 1928 and economic downturn the company was rescued by Mussolini’s government and came under State control in 1933. Following the Second World War and into the mid-1950’s Alfa Romeo started to produce smaller, mass-produced vehicles.

In 1952, Alfa Romeo experimented with a traverse-mounted “Project 13-61” its first compact front-wheel drive car.  The Giulietta (750/101) series of saloons, coupes and “Spiders” – open two-seaters was introduced in 1954. All Giuletta’s shared the Alfa Romeo overhead Twin Cam four-cylinder engine, initially 1290 cc. The Giulietta Sprint, as designed by Franco Scaglione at Bertone, and known as the Giulietta Sprint 2+2 coupé was launched at the 1954 Turin Motor Show.

At the request of Max Hoffman, Alfa Romeo’s US importer, the Giulietta Spider was born in 1955. It was designed by the Pininfarina who also built around 17,000 Spiders at their 107 Corso Trapani and Grugliasco factories between 1956 and 1962 – in the era it was not unusual for the designer to complete the build.

This beautiful example is from 1961:

Our featured image dates from 1959 – see below Hoffman’s range available in the US.

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These beautiful little cars – smaller by today’s standards – would continue to be built in a variety of configuarions until 1965.

Back on the track in the 1960’s and 1970’s Alfa Romeo focussed on competition to great success both in Europe and the US, using production-based cars, such as the GTA an aluminium-bodied version of the Berton-designed coupe.

A Giulietta’s development continued – see this beautiful 1975 Giulietta.

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The 1980’s and 1990’s, aside from a couple of GTV Spiders, were not, in my view, classic years for Alfa Romeo. In more recent years there has been an increasing return to form with a new Giulietta’s and Guilia’s – largely designed as a family vehicles.

In February 2007, the Alfa Romeo brand became Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A., a subsidiary Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Italy, having first merged with Fiat in 1986.

Add this Alfa Romeo Giulietta T Shirt to your wardrobe – click the link below the image

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Men’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider T-Shirt (X-Large, Military Green)

Add this stunning Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider model – as featured above – to your collection: click the link below the image

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Alfa Romeo Giulitta Spider 1300 Cabrio Rot 1961 Mit Sockel und Vitrine 1/24 Modellcarsonline Modell Auto

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Images Alfa Romeo – with grateful thanks

Bar Italia – Frith Street, London, W1

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If you’ve spent a fair amount of time in any City, you will know that of their nature they tend to be impersonnel and people can, if they chose to, be almost completely anonymous. The reliable element that most Cities share in common are their cafes and restaurants that may have been open for many years, thus avoiding fashion but are hugely welcoming.

A model example of one of these refuges is they truely iconic “Bar Italia” founded by the Polledri family from Piacenza (Italy) and which is still owned by Veronica and Anthony Polledri.

The current owner’s grandparent, Lou and Caterina Polledri, arrived in London in the 1920’s and within a decade had a flourishing cafe in Covent Garden, whose clientele tended to be from the fruit and vedge market that was there until it relocated in the 1974 to Nine Elms, south of Vauxhall Bridge.

After a period of wartime internment, Lou and Caterina opened their iconic Bar Italia in late 1949 having fitted out the small cafe using specialist Italian tradesmen, including Torino Polledri who laid the still present terrazzo floor – which is showing early signs of age.

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Housed at 22 Frith Street (Soho, London W1) Bar Italia is not the only claim to fame of this pretty building, as attested to by the blue plaque to the right above the entrance door, on 26th January 1926 John Logie Baird gave the first public demonstration of the newly developed “television”.

The bar is not grand or particularly comfy with low stools in chrome and dark red, the walls and bar are clad in a wood effect Formica and the ceiling is white artex. The Rocky Marciano poster, hanging football and rugby shirts and the strung panettone boxes mean you couldn’t question the bar’s heritage. Yet this is the real thing. The waiters – who mainly seem to be Italian – are sufficiently truculent to be charming clad in black waistcoats and serving those who chose to stay in or take away.

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The ever present flatscreen TV showing Champions League football from an Italian channel – with a studio discussion taking several minutes of over serious deliberation of the featured teams tactics – is the dominant sound above a blend of many other tongues, particularly Italian.

But the coffee in Bar Italia is particularly special, it’s not served in enormous jugs, it doesn’t contain a caramel shot or a gallons of foaming milk but the espresso or caffè macchiato that emerges from the hand pulled Gaggia coffee machine transports you to a time before the upstart neighbouring coffee shops existed. Served in small white branded cups and saucers it’s splendid. Bar Italia now offer a bag of their own blend for you to take away.

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The antiquated copper-sided mechanical NCR cash register clacks into action recording your payment.

In years to come some bright designer will suggest that Bar Italia should update its interior – I am not sure that anyone is ready for that. It’s customers like Bar Italia it just the way it is!

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Schott NYC Leather Jacket

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Schott Bros was founded by brothers Irving and Jack Schott in 1913 and is still largely owned by the Schott family.

They produced the first ever motor-cycle leather jacket in 1928 named “Perfecto” after Irving’s favourite cigar. Schott also used a zipper on a jacket for the first time.

A 618 version of the Perfecto jacket was made popular by Marlon Brando in 1953 in “The Wild Ones” and more recently the New York band “The Ramones” wore the jacket as part of their uniform look.

The company still manufactures much of its clothing in the USA and is particularly active in supplying the US Military and Police with clothing.

My Schott NYC Leather Jacket: My particular favourite of the Schott NYC classic designs since my career as a nascent punk passed by several decades ago is a beautiful rich brown version in cowhide called the “Weekend Pebbled”. Stunning hide cut into a simple  un-elasticated cuff or waste band. Even minimal, its warm and moulds to your shape.

Your Schott NYC Leather Jacket: Why not share your experiences of owning a classic Schott Leather jacket? We’d really like to hear from you.

Picture from Schott NYC