Good news – my friend Guy’s Alfa 2600 lives again! With sunny skies and the kinds of refreshing winds that only a bright mid-winter’s day can bring, we shared the drive at the recent MSCA Mallala Supersprint and carried out a successful shakedown test as our preparations for the upcoming Classic Adelaide rally get under way.
Those with good memories might remember just how close Guy and I got to the start line of Targa Tasmania (for those without – click here), and since it’s return to Adelaide the 2600 has had a full engine strip down and rebuild to determine the cause of the head gasket failure. Thorough inspection revealed that the piston domes were a shade too big, which were likely making slight contact with the gasket causing hot spots and the subsequent failure of the gasket – no amount of Bar’s Leaks in the carpark of the Launceston Silverdome was ever going to fix that. I guess these sorts of issues are to be expected when you’re messing with cars that have largely gone un-messed with. Nobody in Australia has ever built a modified Alfa 2600 engine for competition before and there’s only a small handful that have been done in the non-English speaking parts of Italy, so it’s not like you can just go and buy pistons for it and throw them in.
The day was largely successful, and I found my time behind the wheel hugely enjoyable. The Supashock suspension is proving its worth, providing huge amounts of grip and safe, predictable handling with smooth absorption of bumps. And that big lusty engine with its triple Weber DCOE’s is a thing of beauty. We removed the air cleaner socks and ran it with open trumpets for a while, and the sheer induction roar as you’d wind it deep into fifth gear down the back straight was surely the noise of angels. The 2600 wasn’t without its faults, but we finished the day with the smallest to-do list that it’s ever had and could still drive it home. Winner.
How’s that dinner plate sized turbo? Feeding it is a 20B four-rotor built by PPRE in New Zealand, putting out a rumored 700kw on a low boost tune. It sends that mammoth amount of power through a five speed sequential dog box, and the mayhem is managed by a full Motec system.
On the other end of the spectrum but no less committed, there was a huge contingent of Hyundai Excel cup cars three-wheeling their way around looking for those crucial tenths in what’s becoming one of the most hotly contested series in the country.
We were all super impressed with this Honda CRX running a built B18, some tricky gear ratio magic and some decent suspension. It was running firmly in the fastest group all day, proving that you don’t need a turbocharger or four wheel drive to be fast. NA for the win!
Gav Steward had his first crack at Mallala, and ended up throwing the 323 backwards into Turn 1 on his first lap (“… the Excel guys reckon you can take turn 1 flat…”). He didn’t actually leave the track, and managed to flick it around 360deg and keep going without stopping – a class act.
Words and photos by Andrew Coles
#2600 #2600 Sprint #Alfa Romeo #Mallala #Marque Sports Car Association #MSCA #rally 2600 #Supersprint