Rarebear - Interviewed
Alfa Owner member review
Forum name: Rarebear
Real name: Dolf Brouwers
Occupation: (retired) systems engineer
Lives: Rijswijk , The Netherlands ( Zuid Holland)
Marital status: married (39 years) , two daughters, 4 grandchildren, 1 flatcoated retriever
What car(s) do you drive and why?
I drive a 146 TI since 1996, I like the line of the car and the great 2.0 TS engine, after driving a 155 I wanted a car with a hatchback. I drove FIAT cars for most of my motorized life, I had a father who was a FIAT mechanic and a younger brother who is an Alfa mechanic. I owned almost all Fiat models since 1962, I owned several 600’s with all sorts of modifications, the last one was super fast and had the Abarth oil cooler and water cooler up front... Nardi pistons and twin choke Webers, but with two children not very practical.
The last Fiat was a Croma Turbo i.e. a very underestimated car in my opinion.
I had a turbo boost modification on that one, and the car had approx. 190 BHP.
What modifications have you made to your car?
Not many, a K & N airfilter, sportexhaust, alu pedals, 4 point Sabelt (which I do not use often), lowered the rear suspension 2 cm.
tell us about Alfas in your country? How are they seen? Are they popular there, many clubs, etc?
They are rather popular but mainly by the younger drivers, oldies like me driving Alfa’s are considered a little crazy.. (and I am glad that’s the case) . Holland is a VW and Opel country, Dutch drivers look at the trade-in price first (we are a thrifty nation) and technical specs are last on the list.
What started your passion for Alfa Romeo?
As a young boy I followed car racing and in those days Alfa was mostly a winner
The history of Alfa is one which is unique in the Car history. I call it pedigree !.
What do you like most about Alfas?
The styling and engines,
What do you like least about Alfas?
The finishing could be better, squeaks and rattles are not high tech !
Electronic sometimes give problems, but I hear same stories from other makes.
I do not like the toothed belt system too much, my previous Alfa 155 had a chain, and in my view that is more reliable . I have seen to many ruined engines due to ripped or misplaced belts. My own 146 suffered a major disaster after 6000 km due to the spanner wheel disintegrated.
What would be your dream cars?
The usual suspects!
Aston Martin DB7 and Vanquish
Fiat Abarth 595 ss
Fiat Abarth 1000 TC
No necessarily in that order!
What will be your next car?
147 GTA (maybe)
What car would you least like to have?
A Japanese car, not that they don’t make good cars, but the whole history of copying
In the past. In fact stealing other people’s ideas does not appeal to me. .
What would be your ideal drive in an Alfa, (destination, passenger, driving music, etc)?
From Rijswijk to Modena with my brother (who is an absolute Ferrari nut), Dire Straits and
Queen on the CD system. My brother visits the Maranello plant every year. He has an Italian friend with connections and he even drove his Fiat over the test circuit Fiorano!
So my brother is already anointed!!!
What interests do you have outside of Alfas?
Airplanes, I have been flying a little, but the weather in Holland is usually godawful !
And the rules very strict (we are a bit overpopulated!).
Tell us something nobody knows about you. (e.g. special skill, ever been on TV, etc)
I have been on TV a couple of times in quizzes, the first time in 1965/66 with subject Ian Fleming and 007. Won the ‘big’ price (then 1000 guilders) which was about two months salary from Shell (my employer). Best extra was a Rolex Milgauss watch which I received from the dealer in Holland. That watch served me for 35 years and I sold it in 2001 for a record price (I dare not say how much, because nobody will believe it), but you could buy a 156 V6 with all the extras for it and then some! In fact I made some good money with TV quizzes over the years, and had some defeats as well I must admit!
Stay healthy for a long time! It is still fantastic to be a free man without financial worries. And every month a healthy check from the Oil boys.
I would love to own a plane, that is a wild dream, but I have the feeling that someday that will happen.
Any humorous Alfa or car related stories you wish to share with us ?
Some years ago I drove Alfas for a dealer to customers or collected cars from the importer.
When the first 156 2.4 JTD arrived they wanted to know what the fuel consumption was so they sent me to the north of the Netherlands and back (about 500km round trip). Somewhere in the north I got attention from an Audi 100 (or some such, I’m not sure because I never saw his backside, but it was a big Audi) who tried to outrun me! I never got in trouble and could easily fence of the big German... I had the 156 on 230 on the meter!
And afterwards the consumption turned out to be a little less than 7 litre. Amazing!
Alfa diesels are definitively cool !!
What do you like most about Alfaowner forum?
The reactions on certain threads! I love it
Especially the technical ones.
Any favourite threads, posts you wish to share with us?
The 146 TI (and 145 Q) threads, because I am driving one since 1996 and know all about its idiosyncrasies.
How would you like to see the forum develop in the future?
More technical stuff i.e. problems and how to diagnose and solve them.