I guess my first introduction to the Marquee was through an Uncle who had a brown GTV with velor seats, never mind it never really ran properly (his neighbour was a mechanic of dubious ability and even less qualifications who took everything apart and never quite put things back together the right way.) Still the car looked amazing, even standing still and despite only riding in it a couple of times I fell in love. And it wouldn't be the last time.
By the time I was old enough I had moved to California where I longed to own a Spider
but in my Father's infinite wisdom passed his 6 year old Pontiac on to me complete with bad respray (it had water marks in the paint work where the garage left it out overnight and it rained) I cried but made the best of a bad job and ran the nuts off the thing eventually getting hit by a big pick up truck that rolled me a couple of times
since I wasn't wearing a seat belt I was lucky not to have been thrown out of the car. With the insurance money I went looking for a Spider but came back with a TR6 instead that had been sitting in a friend of my dad's garden for a number of years, the front end had been completley demolished in an accident
and my Dad thought it would be a good idea to have me cut my teeth on restoring it before driving the thing
I rebuilt it and drove it for a number of years before it was nicked in San Francisco where I had moved too.
A number of cars came and went, Mustang ('68 Coupe), Frogeyed Sprite ('58), to name a few all wrecks that were put back together and were ran for awhile. Everyday hacks were more mundane Toyota's and other Jap boxes that never inspired me to go to work with a smile on my face (since I was working for my then girlfriends Father didn't impress him and after a few years I was encouraged to move away.)
I moved back to Blighty and resumed my love affair with Alfa's after a friend bought a 33 in grey. It was a pile of junk but put such a smile on my face everytime we drove it to the Pub I went in search of the perfect Alfa. But got lost in various jobs, moves relationships that it seemed to get pushed back to the back all the time.
Then I had a big crash in my little Fiat X1/9 and decided that the best option was to get an Alfa 155 V6 widebody in red. I can still remember driving it home late into the night from Wales to Kent passing everything in its way with disdain.
I ran it for ten years until it just became too expensive to MOT anymore and let it go
In the mean time I had badgered my friend to sell me a little Bertone Coupe sitting in his garage awaiting repairs, it had failed its MOT spectacularly, the entire bottom half of the car needed replacing just hanging on with filler
but it was a full 6 months before the owner agreed to sell it to me. I drove it home, much to the disgust of the Missus, flames coming out of the seized brakes
, the engine dying from fuel starvation ( the key to the filler cap didn't work so I couldn't put petrol in it
) But still managed to get her home in one piece.
6 years later and now in my garage stripped and ready forthat nut and bolt restoration that she deserves I am finally ready to but cutting disc to metal and start the biggest restoration job I have ever done in my life
Wish me luck and if you are ever near College Road in Bingley and would like to pitch in and help I will be the first to shake your hand and put on the kettle. Even if its just a piece of advice all welcome.
Just look out for the Missus at the door ignore her I do!