Have you ever read a book or have seen a film where a main character unexpectedly meets their demise mid-way through? Some love the boldness of such a plot twist, while others find it a betrayal of trust, especially when it’s a character that they have grown to really like.
My frequent – far too frequent if you ask my wife – trips to the U-Pull-Em junk yards are not often filled with that kind of drama. Most often it’s a slog through row upon row of reminders that all Japanese cars look alike once you’ve stripped them of grilles and lights and whatnot, and that depreciation on the big sedans from Mercedes, Jaguar, and BMW really does end at zero. It’s a rare occasion when I come across a respected friend, awaiting their final turn of a page.
That however is just what happened on a recent Saturday morning, the sunny skies and the cool breeze that wafted through the yard belying the drama that would soon unfold.
This particular yard does a really good job of organizing the cars by continent of origin. Oh sure, they still stick the Saturns with the Asian cars, but those will stop showing up in the yards with regularity in about five or so years. Still, they seem to know what they’re fork-lifting around, and they do get some good quality iron.
I had just made my way through the mix of Japanese, Korean, and Spring Hill, and was heading over to commune with the Volvos, Bimmers and Benzes when something caught my eye, and I caught my breath. I stood there for a minute, and let out a barely audible and completely involuntary oh noes.
On the edge of the European imports section, as though placed prominently as sign of shame, was a white, chrome bumper, Kamm tail Alfa Spider.
Now I know what you’re thinking, boo-freakin’ hoo, it was probably somebody’s parts car, a rust bucket, or under a gypsy curse, and deserved the ignominy of this end. Well, I can’t say about it being cursed, but it wasn’t all that rusty – and remember, that’s something Alfa installed at the factory – so I don’t think that either of those were the reason. It was also amazingly complete so had it been a parts car, it was so for a recipient that needed next to nothing.
The Spiders you see in the yards are typically ones that have gone so far down the rabbit hole that you can, just by looking at them, image their owners throwing up their hands and shouting I have no more money, you’ve taken it all, and you’re still not satisfied. Stop eating synchros! Most of them too have had their delicate Pininfarina noses pushed in like they’ve gone a couple rounds with Tyson. Not this one’s however, it looked clean and perfectly serviceable surrounding what looked like the chrome bumpers from the last year before Alfa fitted the cars with a rubber mouthguard.
The fuel-injected 1992-cc DOHC four also looked like the vultures had yet to make its discovery, and the interior was likewise in remarkable shape for a car of this caliber in the junk yard. Oh sure it was missing a door card, and the seats need some stitching, but the gauges are all there and the steering wheel is totally salvageable. I didn’t have the heart to pull the top up, lest it be intact and serviceable. That would have broke my fragile heart.
Most You-Pick-It yards have a separate section for cars sold as a whole and not to be parted out, and this one is no different. This little Alfa really should have been in there, but for whatever reason, it is not. Much like those beloved characters in literature and film, the revelation of its demise was a real shocker. I hope that Alfa fans find the car and, with great reverence and ceremony, remove its usable pieces so they might live on as this little gem goes to the crusher.
This wasn’t the only jaw dropper I saw at this yard. I’ll have more to report on those later, but right now I think I’ll just raise a glass of limoncello in this Alfa’s honor.
Images: ©2013 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved