ARI El Segundo…what ever happened to them?

Alfa Romeo Incorporated (ARI) in El Segundo California used to be where cars, parts and factory service were performed for the west coast. The address used to be 215 S. El Segundo Boulevard, El Segundo CA. (street view).

For those of us that lived even remotely close (100 miles) it was worth it for us to make the drive down to ARI to do our parts business. You could go in the back door which was the opening to the shop area. You went up to the parts counter, and Tom (Bonser?) would show up and ask for your order. He would write it all down and disappear. A short time later he would show up with the parts in hand if they were in stock. Now that is what we called “factory direct” service. Over time the dealers were crying “foul” as they were losing business because it was convenient to drive over to ARI and get parts, rather than order them through the dealer. Then you had to wait a week for the order to get sent in on a certain order day and then wait a week for the parts to show up. The last item I bought there in 1971 was a new 1600 original foam dash board for my freshly repainted spider veloce. (It has since disappeared into dust.)

A story circulated around that Tom was found out in the desert dead. It was said the death was suspicious. You couldn’t have met a better person.

DPeterson said, “I remember that I was required to submit written orders for our dealership.  Calling in an order incurred a 16% handling fee.  No idea why I remember that, or how they came to that number, but it compares in an interesting way to the modern automotive idiom of giving brilliant service to their car owners, particularly for “car-broken-down” orders, in order to earn a future car sale.”

ARI had a full service shop where if you wanted  you could take your car in for service. They generally did work on the car that was strictly warranty work. I took my 71 GTV into them as my injection pump went bad. They removed the pump, took it into their clean room and did some work on it. Inside the clean room was a place where they had a fuel injection station where they could tune your injection pump back to factory specifications. I was in and out the same day.

JohnW said, “I purchased parts from ARI, Inc. for my 1957 Spider and 1961 Sprint Veloce until they quit selling to the public. I have all of my receipts from ARI. I used to buy parts from Tom at ARI. I had them rebuild my SV front suspension and differential. The differential housing and ring and pinion were replaced… I truly miss buying from ARI, Inc. The people were just great and now we cannot purchased any new Alfas. I hope that Alfa Romeo returns to the US car market.” 

The man in charge of the shop I think was Kurt Heineman (?). I found him a few years later working for I believe BMW. I had owned for a while one of the original AR service vans, a Romeo 2 front wheel drive. There was a rumor going around in certain circles that Kurt had some spare parts for the van. When I met up with him I was two weeks to late as he had cleaned out his garage of all the spare parts to the dump.

Mario Silvi (?) I believe was the man in the PR dept. I remember going in to his office in 1971 to receive a gift from him, which I still have, of a copy of Luigi Fusi’s Alfa Romeo dal 1910. It was and has been one of the best books I have owned. I will write another story in the future of how this book took me to Italy to meet Cav. Luigi Fusi. Mario later went to work for the Italian consulate in Los Angeles.

When word that ARI was closing we were all wondering what we were going to do for parts as now they would be coming from the east coast and taking longer to get them. JohnW says, “I was told that when ARI, Inc. closed its doors in El Segundo many of the parts went to the salvage yard. The parts had been depreciated and could not be sold according to what I heard. I heard that new 6C2500 engine was sent to the salvage yard. I do not think that all of the parts were scrapped because I bought parts from Willy Mueller in Huntington Park that were from ARI, Inc. He had 1900, 2000 (102) and 2600 parts that came from ARI, Inc. I wanted to know if other parts went to other people, but he did not say anything. I think that some of the ARI, Inc. parts were sold to other parties, but that is pure speculation.

The rumor mill was alive and well with stories of what happened to the parts. The parts were a total write off for Alfa Romeo. Rather than sell them to the public, collectors or returned to Italy, the parts were thrown away. Several large roll off containers were said to have been dropped at the back door and the parts department was cleared of all parts. It still staggers my imagination to speculate what was thrown away into the land fill. Maybe someone can fill in the blanks as to what really happened. 

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1600 Spider Veloce For Sale – Portugal

I don’t have an exact count of just how many of the original 1091 units are still around, but my register shows just a few hundred. Here is #390637 for sale in Portugal. Nice car, needs some detailing. There is a German plaque on the fire wall, so it gives a hit of where it has been. The email wasn’t working when I tried it. Find it here on Car and Classic UK. (click to link) Let me know if you buy it.

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Sprint Speciale Article

Ever wonder what happened to your car after you sold it? We sign papers, exchange  money then see it drive off down the road with a lingering sense of loss and wonder if you did the right thing.

Here is a great story from Pete Vack of VeloceToday and his Sprint Speciale that he sold some time back. I have included his photos of the car to see if anyone knows of its whereabouts. If you know, please contact me!

Alfa-SS-2-1978 Alfa-SS-1978-1

July 27th, 2005Something SpecialeAn Alfa at odds with itselfBy Pete Vack

 


The Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale, or SS was produced with both the 1300 and 1600 engines. Photo by Alessandro Gerelli.

To some eyes, the Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale (1957-1966) was a great looking piece of automotive art. Yet, so radical, so sweeping was the scope of the design, to this day there may not be a consensus. Is it a work of rolling art or is it a bloated caricature of a space age nightmare? What was the original intent? Did the SS live up to expectations?

The best laid plans…

Derived from the experimental B.A.T. prototype of 1953-55, Alfa’s Sprint Speciale was designed by Bertone as a counterpoint to Zagato’s brutally efficient and lightweight coupes. A counterweight might be closer to the truth, for what it gained in beauty over the soapbar SZ, it lost in weight. This was not the original intent; Alfa Romeo was looking toward Bertone to create a faster version of the Guilietta, favoring Bertone over Zagato as a co-producer of their cars. It is one of the more fascinating ironies that beset the Sprint Spinta.

To continue reading the story…VeloceToday Sprint Speciale article (click to link)

 

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Need History on an SS

Question of the day…who owns this SS? I found this SS while surfing and was wondering who might have it and be able to provide me with some numbers for my Sprint Speciale Register. (click to link) Here is what the EBay ad said: “

On Dec-01-12 at 07:40:40 PST, seller added the following information:

This is a 1 owner car from new. The car was sold new in May of 1965 in NYC. The purchaser was a military officer that shipped the car to Italy where he was stationed. Upon arrival to Italy the owner had the car resprayed in red from its original white. The owner also replaced his MPH speedometer with a Kilometer speedometer. ( 37000 original kilometers) The mileage on the car was 13 when this was performed. The original U.S. version speedometer will be a part of the sale. The car was shipped back to US after the military tour was completed.The Alfa was shipped from Antwerp back to the USA in 1969. Several more years of use and the car went into a barn to be stored. This car has been sitting dormant for over 25years. This car is very complete. This car has its matching number engine 1600cc 129HP twin cam 4 cylinder. The interior is original, the paint is a repaint from white to red. The car has rust in the passenger door and the fender bottoms. The floor is in tact. the trunk has rust in the bottom from water settling in thru the trunk seal. The windshield was broken by a farm animal as the story goes …so in 1990 the owner ordered from Italy, a new windshield for this car, and that part will be included with the sale. This car comes with the documentation to support all claims for the rare 1600cc Giulia SS. Pictures of the car from 76 and 86 will also support the history of this automobile.”

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750F Spider Veloce For Sale – Connecticutt

WOW!” doesn’t describe this car. It is meticulously restored and comes with a lot of spare parts. No idea what the cost is and I have sent an inquiry as to the correct numbers to the advertiser. It is listed on Hemmings. (click to link)

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Now if I was financially well off…this would be on a truck to my garage.

 

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1600 Veloce For Sale Soon -RM Auctions in Monaco

Coming up for auction May 10th  at Monaco through RM auctions is a Giulia Spider Veloce 390417 with matching engine 00121.01950. The car is rough but appears to be mostly  complete. Go to the website via the link to see more photos of the car.

390417an 390417ar

Here is your chance to get a rare car at a decent price. I am going to be interested in this auction because I want to see where the value of these cars is headed. Not many come up for sale, so this could be a good test of the market even for a car that is not in pristine restored condition.

If you look at my website for 1600 Veloce’s, you will see that there are only about 200 cars that are documented in some manner, add in another 100 or so that I haven’t been able to document of the original 1091 cars that were built, you can see that there are not many around. Rust in the floor boards and rocker panels got to most of these cars over the years. These are easy restorations as you can get everything to restore the car.

The 1600 Veloce sports twin Weber 40DCOE2 carburetors, 9.3 mm cams, 9.7:1 compression, forged rods and crankshaft, with a butterfly pan, and sand molded headers gives you 129 hp and a top speed of 112 mph (I know because I tried it several times and it was all I could get out of her). Matching that, are large two shoe drum brakes in the rear and Girling brakes in the front. Car has a 5 speed synchro gear box (lighten the gears for better shifting) and a 4.56 rear axle. Car gets 27 mpg if jetted correctly from a 15 gallon gas tank.

So who is in on this one?

 

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750 (00106) Sprint Veloce Intake Complete and other related

If someone is in serious need of a complete 00106 series intake manifold, cold air box and carburetors, then this might be what you are looking for. The price is steep, considering how hard this stuff is to find, might turn out to be a bargain. 3000 Euro (click to link) INTAKE PARTS

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In a separate ad here is a set of DCO3 carbs for 5000 Euro (click to link) CARBS

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