Passenger ride – Joe’s immaculate Alfa 105

Joe Cardone’s Alfa 105 embodies everything I like in a classic fast road/track car. It’s not ridiculously modified and the character of the original car hasn’t been lost. Through careful thought and tasteful modification the soul of this Italian classic is stronger than ever.

I think there’s a rare romance that comes with classic track cars that are still streetable. I’m not talking about lightly modified road cars or modern racers here of which we see many, but genuine vintage race prepared cars that can still be driven on the road. In my opinion there’s nothing cooler than racing all day, getting changed and then driving the race car, with your partner, down for dinner. Joe uses his 105 for supersprints and it isn’t road registered, but the thing I love is that with almost no work it could be a very competitive historic racer, and could still be road registered if so desired. The thought of tearing around a track like Phillip Island at 200km/h in this 105 all day, then listening to the roar of the big Weber carbies as you head in to that famous organic pizza place at Cowes for dinner, the sun setting behind you, is enough to send a shiver of excitement down my spine. Okay, I know I have issues.

Joe and his father built the 105 more than a decade ago with their eye on a Dutton Rally entry. With an extremely short time frame for a full restoration, the boys worked around the clock and made their event.

The 105 performed faultlessly, and since then it has undergone a gradual development program that has seen it become the sorted, planted, quick and enjoyable track car it is today. It’s lapped Mallala in the 1.25 region which is certainly not standing about, especially given the 105’s 40 year age.

And it looks as absolutely immaculate today as it did the day it was finished.

Now I could try to explain what the worked Alfa 2.0 sounds like, but there’s no way my simple words would do the glorious noise justice. I guess this video will have to suffice…

Joe was kind enough to take me for a few laps of Mallala in the 105. We weren’t really going for it, but that kind of just made the experience more enjoyable. When you’re driving on the track you’re usually trying to extract every last tenth out of a car, and when I’m rally co-driving I’m concentrating so hard on calling the notes that it’s hard to stop and savour the moment. This reduced speed meant we could just relax and enjoy the car. It was one of the first times around Mallala where I’ve actually just sat and studied my surroundings and noticed the little details. And I loved it.

I’d like to extend a warm thanks to Joe for taking me for the spin, and then taking the time to allow me to photograph his car. I certainly enjoyed the experience!

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