Nostalgia is probably the number one reason why the cost of cars sky-rocket around the 25-year mark. As we start inching closer to our mid-life crisis, we yearn for those things that remind us of our childhood. When everything was new and wondrous, those vibes still make us feel young during a time when we are anything but.
The subject of today’s story — simply known as Vache — still remembers the ’80s when he was just a teenager. Seeing both the BMW 2002 and Alfa Romeo Sprint Gran Turismo Veloce — aka GTV — on the streets of LA.
“Most of them were stock, but a few were modded out, and they really spoke to me,” says Vache.
Trans-Am racing’s yesteryears have played a big part in why cars such as the GTV, 2002, and 510 have stayed in strong demand with club drivers and beyond. For Vache, the thought of owning a couple of these historic icons was just that, a thought. Until one day when he came across a particular Alfa that changed everything.
Back in 2015, Vache decided to chase those teenage dreams and build the cars of his youth. Working off a lead he got from his cousin, he found a 1969 shell of the Alfa Romeo that he desired. It belonged to an attorney and was the perfect platform for Vache to build on. Many enthusiasts have their cars built by mainstream shops. However, these businesses usually have a long waitlist and heavy price quotes that out-budget the average enthusiast. Luckily, Vache knew of a low-key builder who understands the GTV chassis very well and had him start on a rebuild that ended up taking a laborious 15 months. It was a long and arduous build, but the outcome is nothing short of spectacular.
One of the most significant feats of the project was the ’60s Ferrari Lusso homage. With the Lusso being such an iconic variant of that era, Vache decided to put his spin on it. The Lusso-spec diamond stitching and bucket seats were the perfect compliments to the feel of the Alfa.
Meanwhile, contrasting the Lusso, Vache had the rear seats removed along with the A/C, heater, bumpers, and center console to keep the car as light as possible.
“These cars aren’t making big power, so it is imperative to keep them as light as possible,” Vache stated with a smile.
“It brings me such joy every single time I take the GTV out, and the response from people on the street is just the best!”
The motor is a 1750cc with headers and a Weber side draft carburetor. All of the powerplant’s fury comes out of a 2.25-inch stainless steel exhaust.
As far as suspension goes, the Alfa has a set of KONI shocks on stock springs and is fitted with 15×7-inch Alfaholics GTA Veloce wheels wrapped in Dunlop Direzza DZ102 tires. The wheels have been designed for performance and racing clients in mind, so Alfaholics built them as light as possible. Coming in at 16.5 pounds each, the classic look of these wheels makes such a remarkable statement on this timeless body.
During 2017, Vache came across another desirable vehicle. This time, a 1974 BMW 2002 that ended up being a perfect platform for a restoration. A project which he entrusted Manofied to make into a beautiful Manofied 2002 Alpina Tribute over the course of 16 months. The previous silver color was transformed into a fantastic Alpine White, where the creaminess of the white adds so much character to this historic frame. Vache took the car to a whole new level by adding a yellow element — that resembles Signal Yellow in the Porsche world — and then finishing it off with a Red Alpina banner made by Production Graphics LA. As you can tell, there is a reference to the German flag there. Good move, Vache!
Similar to the Alfa, the BMW 2002 is fitted with custom shortened headers by Manofied and Weber side draft carbs. Except its spent gases exit out of a 2.25-inch exhaust on the car’s lower right side behind the passenger door. When Vache showed me this, I was surprised as you usually don’t see this level of build quality with outlaw style modifications. Hence, the more I have learned about them, the more I have fallen in love with his builds. I would consider these builds OEM+, which are my favorite kind of builds.
The BMW’s suspension is a set of Bilstein shocks accompanied by H&R Springs that lower the vehicle, while 13×8-inch Compomotive Motorsport Wheels wrapped in Toyo R888 tires create its lightweight rolling mass. As you can imagine, after this car got dialed in, it handled like a dream. The grip on the R888 is wonderful and adds to the total driving experience.
It was such a pleasure driving all over the Pasadena area capturing these two like the good old days. The rolling shots of the two through the windy roads really captured the essence of what made these cars so iconic. Almost every angle was picture perfect and reminded me of old race videos of these two going at it. What the camera can’t capture is the sounds and smells these two give off. The Webers produce those iconic racing sounds we have come to love in vintage cars such as these. That, along with the smells of fuel filling my lungs as we raged down the twisties is something I won’t soon forget.
As the day started to wind down, we ended up closing our shoot on Green Street, where we caught some of the night vibes in Old Town. Being a huge fan of neon lights, we strategically placed the Alfa by a well-known Italian restaurant to capture the heart of this Italian banger. We followed that up with some night rollers. Shooting out of the back of a truck at 1/30th of a second at ƒ/1.4 definitely had its challenges, but we were able to pull it off.
With each passing year, many of us will look to our childhood to make us feel younger again. Feeling carefree and chasing the things that brought smiles to our younger selves or perhaps getting into something we always fantasized about as children. The elements that were once unobtainable have now come into reach, and we hope that they live up to the expectations we placed on them. Sometimes meeting your hero is the greatest thing ever.
Vache's 1969 Alfa Romeo GTV
|Engine:||1750cc engine, Weber side draft carburetors, custom headers and 2.25-inch stainless steel exhaust|
|Suspension:||KONI shocks, factory springs|
|Wheels/Tires:||15x7-inch Alfaholics GTA Veloce wheels, Dunlop Direzza DZ102 tires|
|Chassis:||Rear seats, A/C, heater, bumpers, and center console removed, custom roll bar|
Vache's 1974 BMW 2002 Alpina
|Engine:||2.0-liter engine, Weber side draft carburetors, custom shortened headers by Manofied, and 2.25-inch stainless steel side-exit exhaust|
|Suspension:||Bilstein shocks, H&R Springs|
|Wheels/Tires:||13x8-inch Compomotive Motorsport Wheels, Toyo Tires R888|
|Chassis:||Custom roll bar|