Alfa Owner member review
Forum name: Justin Fox
Real name: Justin Fox!
Occupation: Self Employed Designer
Lives: Sydney Australia
Marital status: Not married
What car(s) do you drive and why? Currently driving an Alfa Romeo 147. In 2001, when I was in the market to buy a new car I attended the Sydney International Motor Show with the intention of actually buying a car (that was really exciting!). I sat in everything that was in my price range, then I saw her, she was the sexiest thing at the motor show in 2001.
What modifications have you made to your car?
First thing I did was replace the stock exhaust with a Sebring (so fat and beautiful), I lowered the car 30mm front and 40mm rear with H&R progressive rate springs (no more body roll). I took all the badges off the boot of the car and replaced the orange side repeaters with white ones, replaced the massive antenna with a very small 156 one (so much nicer). I added a subtle silver mesh to the front grill, replaced stock air intake and air filter with an Auto Delta Carbon Fibre cold air intake and super thin filter (much better throttle response now) and fitted an Autodelta strut brace. I got rid of my supersports wheels and bought some 156GTA wheels (pricey but I am so happy with this decision!) I got my windows tinted as dark as possible. Replaced the stock pedals with really nice Novitec ones and I just purchased a Zender/Linea Alfa rear wing (fitting next week).
Tell us about Alfas in Australia? How are they seen? Are they popular there, many clubs, etc?
Iíve never seen a 156GTA on the street. In general the modern Alfa is seen as a yuppie car.. a car to buy if you live in the city and have lots of $$$. Many businessmen drive 156ís. Many women drive 147ís here. I think thatís coolÖ Iíd much rather wave and whistle at a woman in a 147 than a male!
Tell us about your website, How it started?
I have resisted launching a 147 site so far because I make sites for a living and Iíd like to keep my car passion separate from my work. Iíve been a web designer since 96. The main site I run is Australian INfront (http://www.australianinfront.com.au) itís a non-profit community site run by designers for designers and aims to elevate the perception of Australian design. It started because there was a need to convince Australian designers that they did not need to go overseas to make it, nor did they have to be influenced by American or European designers. Australia is an amazing country with an amazing environment and history, all we needed to do was take inspiration from our own backyards. I also own and run GillespieFox (http://www.gillespiefox.com), a design business with my partner Caryn Gillespie and I also have my personal artwork and photography online: http://www.cia.com.au/dfm/tintin
(warning! Some images may offend!).
What started your passion for Alfa Romeo?
I never paid much attention to Alfa Romeoís until I saw the 147. Iíve been to the motor show every year since I was knee high. But every time Iíve been Iíve always just gone to drool at everything on show. This time was different. I had some money. I was in the market to buy a new car and being at the motor show, with purchasing a car in mind was the most amazing fun Iíve ever had at a motor show! I sat in a new Toyota Celica (my previous car was a 90model Celica) and thought it was a little too plastic for my liking. I thought the Integra TypeR was a little too toy like too. The Audi A3 was old and boring, the Nissan 200SX was nice. I liked it because it was fast and very low, a real sports car. But then I saw the 147. It was the very 1st time I had ever seen one. It was black, 5-door (the door handles on the rear blew me away, amazing design) Caryn and I sat in it and we just couldnít believe the interior. The 147 is oozing quality and design, there was no interior in any other car in our price range that came anywhere near close. We looked at the 3 door and realised the shape of the rear window was not quite right, design wise the 5 door had everything over anything else on offer. When we glanced at the price, 6 air bags, 9 speaker Bose stereo, traction control, ABS, our minds were made up instantly. We test drove a car the week after and wow, the SOUND!!!! Iíve been addicted ever since.
What do you like most about Alfas?
The handling is amazing and the sound of the revvy engine. Itís as close to a Ferrari I can get with the money. All those guys driving Japanese cars with massive, loud, deep droning exhausts have no idea at all.
What do you like least about Alfas?
Iíve noticed a lot of little creaks and rattles from inside the cabin, this has to be due to poor build quality and bad design where they have bolted plastic onto metal, thus the noises. Also, not many Alfisti seem to want to upgrade their cars, thus thereís a lot less after market products, especially in Australia.
What would be your dream cars?
Iíd be happy with something understated, something I can live with and drive everyday, something like a 156GTA or a Porsche 911.
What will be your next car?
I might be trading my car in on a 147GTA!
What car would you least like to have?
Anything that is unreliable and makes me look like an idiot (eg: a little consumer 4WD that is nothing more than a little tin can with 4WD or a super sleek fast looking sports car with a 1.6 litre engine).
What would be your ideal drive in an Alfa, (destination, passenger, driving music, etc)?
My dealer invited me out to Eastern Creek last year, an International race track. We belted a 156GTA and also a 147 around the track. My passenger was a professional race car driver. He told me when to brake, when to change gears, where to look and basically, how to drive fast. Music? Nothing but the roar of the engine hitting the redline and the squeal of tires gripping for dear life. Iíll never forget that experience. I never knew what a car was capable of before that day.
Any humorous Alfa or car related stories you wish to share with us?
I have never ever driven drunk and never would but back when I was in school I went out clubbing one night with a few friends, we all got quite drunk. They got tired and we all decided to leave. I drove that night so I sat down for a while, in the street, looking at my car, breathing deep trying to sober up before I drove home. I was feeling pretty good so I hopped in and started to drive home. I realised that I was not as alert as usual. I was so paranoid about being pulled over by Police that I drove as slow as possible and as carefully as possible. I made it all the way home. We had a very steep driveway and inward opening automatic gates. I opened the gates and drove my car up behind my parentís car and closed the gates. I was So happy that I had made it home in one piece, just at that moment I was about to turn the engine off but I realised I had not put on my handbrake! The car started rolling backwards and I panicked, thinking that I was about to roll back into the gates so I floored the accelerator and smashed right into my parents car!!!
What interests do you have outside of Alfas?
Iíve played the guitar for years and still play it a lot. Iím quite into aquaria and have some very strange Jurassic fish. I still go clubbing a fair bit as Iím pretty into music and breaking moves on the dance floor. I make a lot of digital art and speak at design events quite often. I collect robots and other weird toys. Iím always getting into new things and when I get into something new I donít do it in halves. I tend to go all the way.
Tell us something nobody knows about you. (e.g. special skill, ever been on TV, etc)
Many of the people on this Forum probably donít know that Iím an absolute punk with a big orange mohawk, many tattoos and piercings.
To get to a stage where my money really is making more money. Complete financial independence.
What do you like most about Alfaowner forum?
Like Australian INfront. Itís a great community where we can very easily ask questions and share opinions. It makes me love my car even more to have all this support here. Itís like hanging out with a whole lot of people, in the same room, who share the same passion as I do.
Any favourite threads, posts you wish to share with us?
Any thread that has something to do with modifying the 147! Especially threads with photos in them!
How would you like to see the forum develop in the future?
It would be great if AlfaOwner could find a lot of server space and allow all of the Forum members to upload photos to the server. I think weíd see more posts with pictures in them then. And also, an even better idea that would strengthen the community would be to allow all the members to have their very own web page where they can have their profile and pictures. My url would be something like www.alfaowner.com/justinfox.
How about it AO?!