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    26/04/2022

    Customer Stories pt. 14: The Yellow Spider

    Customer Stories

    Name: Vincenzo (Vinnychoff) Iaciofano

    The classic: Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce

    ‘I think that, when it comes to classics, you have to take the time to work on it. That’s the attraction of having a car like that. Every so often, it’ll need something to be fixed or tinkered with, whereas with a new car it’s just get in and go!

    ‘I suppose because I can do it quite easily, I can really appreciate how intricate and gratifying it is to maintain such a beautiful car.’

    Vincenzo first came to own his Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce in 2010 through his daughter’s boyfriend Antonio. ‘Antonio is a builder and was working at the house of a bank manager in Crystal Palace at the time,’ Vincenzo tells us.

    ‘Antonio knew I was looking for a classic car and was chatting with the owner of the house, who just so happened to be selling his 1975 Alfa Romeo. It had originally been a gift for his wife’s 40th birthday, although she didn’t use it a lot. Antonio told me about the car and offered to make an introduction, and it went from there!

    Vincenzo wasn’t on the lookout for any particular Alfa Romeo at the time, but this one appealed. ‘I went to have a look at it and it appeared to be in really good condition, so I was eager to buy it. The only thing which was a bit of a downside at first was the yellow colour – most of them are in red! But I’ve grown used to it now; I like it because it’s unusual.

    ‘The mileage turned out to be genuine as well at only 38,000. According to the history I received with it, it was originally a company car, so I reached out to them to see if they’d be interested in knowing where it had ended up. They didn’t seem particularly bothered which was a shame, but it just goes to show that classic cars tend to be made special by their individual owners!’

    Yellow Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce
    Vincenzo’s pride and joy: the yellow Alfa

    A love for Italian motors

    Although he was born in the UK, Vincenzo’s parents hail from beautiful Italy, giving him a self-confessed bias towards Italian motors. ‘My love of Italian classics is what drew me to the Alfa in the first place,’ Vincenzo tells us.

    ‘My first car was a Triumph Vitesse 2.0ltr soft-top so I’ve always loved open-top motoring. I think if I were going to get a performance car, a GTA would be ideal.’

    Alongside his sunshine-tinted Spider, Vincenzo also owns a Mazda MX5 MKI made in 1990, and a Ducati 916 motorcycle made in 1998. ‘I haven’t got a specific decade of classic car or motorcycle that I prefer,’ Vincenzo explains.

    ‘I do like pre-1990 motors though. I think that’s the time before everything got a lot more complicated under the bonnet. That’s what I like most about classics; they’re a lot more straightforward mechanically and have a lot more space under the hood. Nowadays, modern cars are far more compact and complex.’

    A mechanical background

    As a past motorcycle mechanic, Vincenzo has a great deal of experience with classic motors. ‘I’ve always tried to do my own repairs on my cars and motorbikes,’ he tells us. ‘I do as much as I can myself, but I’ll use a specialist for jobs which are particularly extensive.

    ‘My friend Harry, for example, replaced the rear suspension straps on the Alfa because I didn’t have the appropriate tools. It was one of those jobs that you were very glad you knew someone who could do it!’

    Before Vincenzo purchased his Spider, the previous owners took it to an Alfa Romeo for a thorough work over. Despite this, however, Vincenzo still has some trouble with the engine. ‘It takes ages to start sometimes,’ Vincenzo says. ‘I think when it’s standing still for too long, it’s suddenly not as responsive.

    Side view Yellow Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce
    Vincenzo has a love for classic Italian motors

    ‘I remember one occasion when I was contracted in Cheltenham and I decided to take the Spider with me. It was a 100-mile journey there and then only four or five miles to work each day, but when I started using it regularly, the engine came on perfectly every time! It’s just when it’s not used quite as much that the engine struggles a bit.

    Aside from the engine challenges, Vincenzo didn’t find there was much that the Spider needed when he first bought it. ‘I fixed a few intricacies myself, like the glove box.

    ‘The locks were broken, so I bought a second-hand glove box and changed the barrel over so that the original keys would work with the locks as new. I also had to replace the jack and tool box, and fix the interior light on the rear-view mirror.

    ‘In 2021, I helped my uncle fix up his TR7 and get it back on the road. I think that, when it comes to classics, you have to take the time to work on it. That’s the attraction of having a car like that. Every so often, it’ll need something else fixed or tinkered with, whereas with a new car it’s just get in and go! I suppose because I can do it quite easily, I can really appreciate how intricate and gratifying it is to maintain such a beautiful car.’

    The joys of owning a classic

    With such a striking classic at his fingertips, it’s no surprise that Vincenzo has had his fair share of motoring admirers. ‘When I pull up to petrol stations or stop at traffic lights, there’s always someone who wants to stop and have a chat,’ he laughs.

    ‘The last time I filled up with petrol, a man came up to me and was telling me about the time he used to own a red Spider – it was really nice!

    ‘On another occasion, I was driving back from the MotoGP and parked at Battersea Park for a quick break. I was standing by the riverside with the car parked about 10 yards away, and watched as loads of passers-by stopped to look at it.

    ‘Then a photographer came along and started taking pictures of it! I walked over at that point, and he asked to take some photos of the interior.

    ‘It was quite flattering that he was so invested in it, and he even sent me the photos afterwards as well. It always a great feeling when people admire the car; it’s nice knowing that others appreciate it as much as I do!’

    Yellow Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce
    Vincenzo’s Alfa turns heads wherever it goes
    Ian's drawing of Vincenzo Iaciofano's Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce
    Ian Cook’s drawing of Vincenzo Iaciofano’s Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce

    Would you like the chance to be part of our Customer Stories project?

    If you’re a Heritage Car Insurance customer and you’d like your classic drawn on one of our live drawing sessions, please send a maximum of 150 words about what your classic means to you and at least 2 images to marketing@heritagecarinsurance.co.uk. We’ll send the original drawing to you for free, as well as a printed T-shirt and mug. It’s a wonderful project to be a part of, so if you’re interested simply get in touch!

     

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