Alfa Romeo has always been a driver’s car. While not everyone would appreciate driving an Alfa Romeo, but those who do, fall in love with one and will always have a wide grin on when driving it. Although we live in a small city, we are fortunate enough to be able to easily drive across the border to enjoy driving and experience the feeling and sounds that are unique to Alfa Romeo.
Since it’s the school holidays, we thought we’d catch up with some of our Alfisti in Singapore on their experiences of driving to the less-travelled family road trip, slightly off the beaten track across the border.
Q: Hi Colin, thank you for taking some time off to share your Alfa Romeo experiences with us. First off, we heard you’ve owned a number of Alfa Romeo cars, what was your first and what are you currently driving?
A: I currently drive a 159 2.2L Q2 and my family’s other car is a Giulietta 1.4 (we had a 147 2.0L before this).
Q: Why this obsession with Alfa Romeo?
A: My dad has always been a car fanatic and at one point in time, my family stayed at my grandmother’s house that was behind the previous Alfa Romeo and Fiat dealer along Bukit Timah Road. The 156 was launched and it was a car my parents liked but never owned. Alfa would continue to creep its way into our lives when a close family friend would occasionally fetch my dad and I for supper in a 166.
Eventually, my godbrother would own a 147 and I would join him for AROC Singapore as well as the AROC Malaysia events (even though I didn’t own an Alfa myself or even a driver’s licence for that matter). Being able to join in these activities brought the realisation that when you own an Alfa, it is not just a car you are getting. Camaraderie amongst Alfisti is something special, just because of a single car brand, I have even made friends with people from around the world – Malaysia, Thailand, Croatia, UK, Italy…
Q: Would you mind sharing with us a place you’ve driven to, with your family, which you’d consider less-travelled by Singapore drivers?
A: I have been to different parts of Thailand as part of the AROC SG & MY drives into and across Thailand. I was just a passenger for some of these destinations but I don’t think anyone else would have thought of visiting coastal towns like Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumpon in Thailand.
The group has also done weekend family trips closer to home like to Langjut and Kuantan in Malaysia.
Q: How was the experience? Were there any issues faced during that trip?
A: The biggest (over 20 cars) and longest road trip I have been involved in is the AROC SG & MY trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2008. It was done over 10 days, with a few cars from Singapore joining our Malaysia counterparts for the main event programme. We also met up Thai owners in Bangkok. A highlight was definitely crossing the highway in Bangkok being escorted by local police in their own 156!
As with most big trips, you can never predict what could happen and we did have some cars with issues, but with the network of Alfisti along the way, solutions were found within the group or at local workshops.
Q: For each road trip, what do you look forward to the most? Are there any specific preparation you do for each trip?
A: It’s the journey and not the destination…
Every trip is always a different experience but is one that we can share as friends that is really the enjoyable part.
Before any trip, just as we do for our own physical health, it is important to ensure our car’s road worthiness. EuroAutomobile’s support in conducting pre-trip checks is always appreciated and I think it is important for all owners to get such checks done before any roadtrip, especially if they are going alone.
Q: Owning so many Alfa Romeo cars, in your opinion, which is your favourite choice for a long haul road trip?
A: I have found the 159 to be a comfortable workhorse, especially now that I travel up to Sepang regularly for work. It is stable, comfortable and engaging. It has also been reliable for me on these trips.
Q: Are road trips for everyone? Perhaps some tips or advice for anyone who might consider driving to the location you’ve shared?
A: I think anyone can go on road trips. A key thing is that they have to manage their expectation and remember that they are in foreign country and not expect everything to be practiced the same way back home. Always plan ahead and be aware of contingencies. i.e. delays, unscheduled pit-stops, etc. and not get over anxious about things. If you get too anxious and lose focus, that’s when accidents can happen.
Q: Thank you, Colin. To end off, in 3 words, how would you describe Alfa Romeo?
A: Passion, Heritage, Friendship
Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing other places which Alfisti in Singapore have driven to. Stay tuned to #AlfaRomeolesstravelledroads and perhaps you’ll discover new places which you’ve never driven to before.