Blimey, Don't know where to start really. For 2 years I've been mad about this car without truly understanding the whole 'Alfa' thing. Today that changed!
Got, to Berkhamsted and was greeted by Ned (the boss from Smart Alfa), think and hope he was slightly embarrased by the while year long deal, he himself couldn't belive I'd waited so lond and had actually wished I'd taken my deposit back after their first order didnt turn up. But I didn't, so thats why I was there.
Toonster, he was not driving a Freelander or Land Crusier whatever it was, it was a LHD Brabus Mercedes Convertible eek! (only 70 ever made apparently, his hobby is selling specialist rare import cars, Smart Alfa is his bread and butter trade). We set off and Ned gave me a display of the Brabus's performance and I half sh@t myself. laughing I am not a good passenger at the best of times
. I gripped the door handle like I was on a Roller Coaster.
And so we arrived, not to the same venue which poor Toonster was directed, but to a newly rented warehouse.
While I waited for them to open the shutters, Ned announced to one of his colleages, 'meet Mr Chapman, our longest wating customer ever!!!', he was to repeat this a number of times before I left to different people.
Then the shutters slowly opened and there on the back wall of the buidling she was, dimly lit, by the weak light leaking through the shutter doors, teasing me with glimpses of rich Red Leather bearly visible through her tinted windows.
Then they hit the lights, suddeny lit by strip lights, she looked like she could have been at a motor show, God, I wished I'd listened and taken a Camera! rant
Ned said, 'that's yours over there', 'I know', I replied, knowingly. Who else's could she be!
As I approached her and at last drew my first full glimpse of the Gabianno Blue and Red Leather combination, I turned to Ned and said 'God, you are so wrong!'. She looks amazing. He replied, 'it looks facking awful', in his Cockerney/Essex twang. 'What does he know anyway', I thought!
And so there you have it, my apprehension over the Gabby Blue and Red leather was all for nothing. I know now that I will have a bautiful and almost unique Alfa Romeo 147.
OK so far, now let's get rid of the few problems of the day, drivers door courtesy light thingy cover is missing
, they tried swapping it but none oo the others fitted, so they will post me one when they get it, also the 'Bose' stickers on the front tweeters are missing
, so again they will send some on. And that's all thats wrong with her, they prepared her excelently, I was worried that they had not got the Sat Nav CD, but later I found it when I ejected the CD from the front CD player. One bonus, they now come with a suedy/velour like material on the inside of doors instead of that rather naff looking material they used to use, the one bit of interior trim I thought was a bit poor. It's not leather but it's an improvmenet. Maybe they do listn in Alfaland! wink
Loaded up the CD changer with, my chosen 10 CD's, and played around with the gadgetry on offer, worked out the CD changer, Phone, left the Sat Nav for later after getting wound up by it. Shown them the 5 second open all windows and suroof tip!
They were amazed! eek!
Then while talking to Ned he said, 'you should fit one of these Koni shock and spring sets we've got, they completely transform the car!'. 'I intend to along with Brembo's at some point, but the first thing I want to do is Get and Autodelta Remap', I said. He replied 'we do a remap, we could do you one now free of charge, we can go and get the laptop'. This usually retails at £300 by the way. I had a think and thought, 'I want to see what she is like as standard before I do any mod's. 'Would you let me bring her back at a later date', was my reply. He said, 'no problem!'
So there you go, I will get some sort of compensation after all, so that's a damn good bonus. Still would rather go Autodelta after hearing good reports, but I'm sure if it doesnt do as much as I expect, I can always get it reset and get the Autodelta one done later. Anyway the option is there, if I want to take it.
So, Ned disapperaed as his wife was due to give Birth to their baby today! eek! So I set off on my journey. Cheap skates gave me no petrol and I missed the garage they told me about while trying to get to grips with the Selespeed transmission again and ran out of petrol, for God's sake
. Anyway I wont dwell on that, but they came out and gave me half a tank, so I got some free fuel out of them in the end.
Anyway, after the first few trepidation filled miles, I got onto the M1. Remeber what I said about them not bringing it up via road cause I didnt want anyone thraping it, and I intended to keep her below 4000 RPM for the first 1000 miles. Well f@#k that!!!!
God, you just cant help yourself can you! OK I didnt go mad but 4000 RPM was exceeded many times. But I didnt really let go cause I was frightened to death about hurting her on the first day. Sweaty palms all the way home. I was no nervous.
So the drive back to Birmingham and into work was great. The drive home from work guided by the Sat Nav (finally worked it out!) was even better. And the drive I've just had with my friend was just facking awesome. See what I mean! Now I get it!!!!
Now I understand the 'Alfa's thrive on revs' comments. And with the Selepeed making it so easy to change gears, you just have to drop her a cog or two and give her those revs she wants.
And oh yeah, the sound above 4000RPM, the grip on roads which I know is mental, the turn is so precise. I mean, okay, maybe I'm comparing everything to my Punto 1.1, but I have driven good cars, even some great ones. But today the whole Alfa 2.0 Twin Spark thing twigged!
Those who knock Selespeed, I just dont understand you! Within hours, I am already aniticipating gear changes just like a manual. So what it will be like in a Month's time, which eveyones says is the time it takes to 'master' the system, I dont know.
My mate didn't actually belive I'd changed gears when I did, he kept saying 'do it again then!', 'pull the lever!', 'let me see!', 'God, it's smooth!'. He's one of the cynics who couldnt belive I was going to spend so much money on a car, he was the one only an hour or so ago, watching the arrow on the Sat Nav screen and saying 'thats cool!', he was the one who was amazed at how accurate the Sat Nav got the dirctions right!
Oh, and the reaction from the girls at work when they saw the Red Leather. I'll say no more! Hubba Hubba! laughing
Nobody who I have shown her to today said Gabby Blue and Red looks 'awful', everyone said it looked 'amazing'!
So the net result is, I am so glad they messed up and got me the original colour combo I ordered.
I am one happy man, Smart Alfa are almost forgiven. Well they will be once I get the missing parts and my remap and the refund for the missing Comfort Pack. Actually on that subect, can anyone actually see out of the window with the third rear headrest? I can hardly see anything without it.
Also did you all get Car Mats? I didnt so am using my Punto ones till I can source some with Red lettering on them. I feel like I'm degarding her!
Anyway, I'll sign off at that. Just want to say, thank you to everyone who has given me advice on Alfa's and hepled me get through this, it was well worth the wait. Stef and Hans, I promise you photos at the weekend, really I'd like to have the Bose stickers on before I do any interior shots, but I'll see what I can come up with, if I can stop driving her long enough to take some shots. Just think of all those lucky bleeders who I will drive past and will get to see my beautiful car! It rained today so after her long journey she is already a little grubby and has loads fo dead flies on the bonnet (should I get rid of those quickly by the way?).
And thanks to Nemmy for taking the **** over the last few days, love your sense of humour man! You take the **** like my friends and I love it!
I'd also like to thank my Family, God, my manager and the Academy.....blah.....blah......blah!
Good night and God bless Italia! It's been emotional!!!!!