Sometimes owners of a classic Alfa Romeo Giulia give their classic an engine upgrade with their own hands. Replacing the 1300 or 1600 engine with a 1750 or 2000 Berlina (or GTV) copy is a popular modification. Frans de Groot has far-reaching plans to give a Giulia with 1300 engine a 2000 upgrade. That is fodder for a future multi-reportage, which has much more to it than the transformation of the Giulia alone. Because Frans de Groot also plans to give a glimpse into his career, which has been linked to the beautiful brand from Northern Italy for a lifetime. That career was accompanied by many beautiful stories, one of which we already share.
In contrast to the owners of a classic Alfa Romeo Giulia, the Italian manufacturer itself never saw any benefit in offering a series-produced Giulia with a 1750 or 2000 engine. Frans de Groot was active for more than thirty years as sales manager Rinsma in Berlikum. The former Alfa Romeo dealer was long the oldest Alfa Romeo dealer in the Netherlands. Frans was also active for Alfa Romeo in other areas, including as a service inspector for Alfa Romeo Netherlands. And at that time Frans also experienced a lot, which leads to astonishment and wonder at the same time.
“Porsches fast, but not practical”
During a report in 2019, he told us a story from the XNUMXs, in which it becomes clear how the Italians served the market at the time, and sometimes did not. “I'm a little less adept at remembering years, but I do know that our 2000 Berlina was already in the showroom. The Berlina was closely related to the Giulia, and the latter had really made a name for itself, also with the National Police. At that time, it mainly had Porsches in its fleet. Of course, those responsible found the cars very useful for enforcement in terms of speed, but in a practical sense they missed a lot. ”
Surprise effect for speeders
At Alfa Romeo in the Netherlands they heard about this, and the sounds about the Porsches saw a great opportunity to do business with the National Police. The idea soon arose that the Giulia 1600 Super would be a good alternative for the Porsche brigade. Frans told the following about this in 2019. “The 1600 Super was very fast, and would offer a lot more comfort than the Porsches. In a practical sense it was also more useful, attributes and coats could be carried much more easily. Another thing was the inside height, and the desired dimensions of it were excellent for multiple police purposes. Engineer Caltanisetta, closely associated with Alfa Romeo Netherlands, wondered whether the Giulia could also get the technology of the 2000 Berlina. This would make it even faster, and the road users in violation could be extra surprised. ”
No sooner said than done. A test model was prepared: a Giulia with Berlina 2000 technology. The result of this construction was handed over to the police for a test. Frans remembered that this test would be carried out by Mr. Krol or Knol (“It was a long time ago, I don't remember exactly what his name was”). That happened. “The police became more and more enthusiastic, they liked such a construction. And eventually we held a meeting about the test results. Director Molaski, Mr. Caltanisetta and I were present. Molaski wondered if that request at the factory had a chance. Engineer Caltanisetta said literally, and with an unadulterated Italian accent: "If we are strong at the factory, it should be possible."
To audience and the veto
The manufacturers of Alfa Romeo Netherlands believed in an opportunity and with the necessary optimism and conviction they went to an audience in Northern Italy. There it turned out that Italians viewed market opportunities slightly differently than in the Netherlands. Because in Italy, the proposal was firmly rejected, it was not even tested. Frans explained how the management reacted in Italy. “They said that they already had the Berlina 2000 at home, and that it was pure nonsense to convert Giulia's. There was absolutely no need for this. Nor of the effect that a police Giulia would have on the regular models. I do know: if any German manufacturer had been given this opportunity, it would have pulled the order book right out of the bag. Come on. But Alfa Romeo refused. No, we already have the Berlina. That way of doing business was typical Alfa Romeo. Take it or leave it. ”
In Italy there are special versions
It is also striking that quite special police Alfas have been built. The carabinieri liked to drive Giulia's, and more police versions of the Giulia were built. For example, the border police had a version with an armored front and a dome on the roof. From that perspective, too, it is a shame that the Dutch importer was unable to convince the Italian management of what a Dutch police could have meant for Giulia.
On the way to a nice report
We are going to write down these and other stories, and Frans himself is going to put the conversion of a Giulia Super into a Giulia 2000 into practice. We will follow this extensively, and we will be driving one and the same Giulia with both the 1300 engine and the 2000 engine. Because of course we also want to assess whether Alfa Romeo has missed a historic opportunity by ignoring the Giulia 2000. We combine these experiences with beautiful stories that provide a wonderful insight into the Dutch background of the historical Alfa Romeo sales force. That will be fascinating anyway, so keep an eye on the news in the near future.