We have recently informed you several times about a wonderful, ongoing project. Frans de Groot is currently working on giving his son Koen's Alfa Romeo Giulia Super a new heart and new technology. Currently, the Giulia still has the original 1300 engine, but this will soon be replaced by the 2000 Nordmotor. And that conversion includes technical adjustments, which are already a feast for the eyes. High time for an update.
Patience is a virtue, and Frans de Groot is a patient person. That does not alter the fact that he is making steps with the conversion of his son Koen's Alfa Romeo Giulia Super. As you know by now, the Alfa still has the original 1300 heart, and in many ways it still resembles the car we were allowed to drive a few times last year. But behind the scenes, Frans is quietly preparing for the new and already desirable Giulia layout.
And those preparations have continued steadily in recent times. I will soon see the result in Frans' neatly organized workshop. First there is coffee. And that is always accompanied by a combination dear to me, in which humor, beautiful history and very serious matters alternate. I've said it before: this is more than just about cars, the phenomena that bind us together.
After coffee we go to the workshop, I am very curious. The work log in the living room has grown, and the proofs I see within the space that breathes all historic Alfa Romeo love and engineering. As I am used to from Frans: everything is equally clear and neatly arranged. And there isn't a part that wasn't ever used on an Alfa Romeo. And the stock has now been supplemented with new and used parts. One Frans visited the other Frans (van Riel) and Frans de Groot not only picked up parts, but also his heart. When I see the purchases, I also know why.
The 2000 rear axle is now ready. Together with his example, he is resting on a mobile scaffolding, in front of that soon-to-be captivating power source that has now been left untouched for a while. Piece by piece† Frans tackled every inch of the shaft. The idea that you know from where the driving forces will soon find their way to the asphalt is nourished by the sight, and that food tastes delicious. Also on the front is a beautiful piece of construction work. The unit with, among other things, the brake disc, the brake calliper, the hub, the mudguard and the spindle have been completely addressed by Frans. The paintwork looks great and will last for years, it will offer years of resistance against dirt and other disasters splashing from the asphalt. There's another secret that reveals the assembled suspension and braking interplay. The whole thing is extremely solid, and it literally carries weight.
There is more that belies the historical press perception of alleged Italian fragility. There is a set of beautifully painted wishbones ready. "Take it," says Frans. And I do. I immediately feel why a Giulia chassis can handle so much, and why the Tipo 105/115 series, regardless of version, can boast a chassis reputation that you can count on. This stuff is massive in construction and weight. These parts are part of the interplay that gives the Giulia its great tolerance between neutral driving and limit range. If this is all under Koens' car after all….What a prospect.
The weight in the shell also offers space for things that you don't immediately think of, which are normally hidden from view. But they do make the difference between good and excellent. When Frans sees a minuscule oxidation point on a flange, he ensures that the flange in the rim is flattened to the micro-millimeter. And all screws, bolts and nuts get a beauty treatment. Derusting, degreasing, blasting parts and then back in the paint. Make sure that no point is skipped.
Yes, Italian technicians already worked very carefully on the beautiful car during the construction of this Giulia. Decades later, Frans does this again in extremis. It's beautiful to see. The way the rear light units are reworked and get their chrome accents back is another testament to that. The chrome color returns extremely precisely on the separation between the various light sections. Tweezers and a knife go a long way. With calm as a condition.
Finally, we look at one of the ultra-light and nowadays very expensive Tecnomagnesio rims. Koen has had these rims as a trophy under the Giulia for some time, and these beautiful wheels make the Giulia even more beautiful than it already is. Not only the sight of the rims does wonders for the already excellent mood. Other details do that too. Frans says that the steel rim rings are not screwed, but pressed. You can see it, and you can feel the difference between screw grooves and meticulous pressing.
Alfa Romeo and its network of suppliers were masters of eliminating potential resonances and the smallest potential wiggle room as much and as precisely as possible. The assembly line in Milan ran at an appropriate speed for a reason, which provided room for ultra-precise grinding of the beautiful technique. And the knowledge that Frans is perfecting that work today makes this Giulia even more special than she already is.
Every millimeter worked will soon add weight. And will soon ensure that Alfa Romeo's Sunday child makes every day a buona domenica in her future condition. It will soon be the ultimate proof of why patience sometimes pays off in a wonderful way.