Remember when the Super Bowl MVP would exclaim, “I’m going to celebrate by going to Disney World!?” Well, they all should have been at the 15th Annual Mid-Florida AROC Viva Alfa Romeo held at Celebration, FL on November 4th. This Celebration is a picturesque little town adjacent to Disney World. Its streets and houses are so picture perfect that, as you drive along the tree canopied streets, you wouldn’t be surprised to see Mickey and Minnie sitting on a porch swing or Donald and Daisy waving at you or hearing the “Uhyuh,uhyuh,” of Goofy.
The Viva Alfa Romeo celebration, as always, began on Friday evening with dinner at Café d’Antonio’s on the lake at the corner of Market Street. The café provided a cozy banquet room, put on extra staff and served Italian cuisine with great service. This year the room was packed with 59 Alfisti, many of whom had not seen each other for a year. Good food, good wine, good memories and friends!
The next morning the cars entered at the top of brick lined Market where, at the registration booth, Patty Cowherd and her team of registrars Beth Mann, Joyce Suchy, Jane Sanford and Linda Jay quickly in-processed every car and gave them their windshield placard and goody bag. And, as always, the Mid-Florida AROC hospitality queen, Gladys Bernstein, greeted each and every person personally. Then Phil Cowherd and Norm Burnstine led each car to a parking place and guided it in at just the right angle, just the right distance from another car and curb. Very professionally done so the show’s presentation would be as perfect as its setting. Behind the cars were boutiques, gift and flower shops and restaurants, the place is post card surreal. All set beneath a pure blue sky, 80 degree weather and spectators pushing baby carriages as they bump along the bricks, awed by the beauty of the Italian cars parked on both sides.
As usual, there was a wide range of Alfas although this year the newer cars replaced most of the cars from the 1960s: two new Giulia Quadrifolios, one ti Lusso, five 4Cs, three 164s, one 156 (the only legal one in the US), two Milanos, two GTV6s, one GTV, two Giulia spiders, nineteen Series 2-4 spiders, six Fiat 124 spiders (not the new one), one Fiat 124 coupe and one Qvale Mangusta.
The Qvale was the rarest in the show, only 284 were produced between 2000-2002. The car was designed by Marcello Ghandini for Alejandro de Tomaso and first badged as the De Tomaso Mangusta after the cars Alejandro built in 1967-71. Keeping with the de Tomaso tradition the car was to have a Ford engine. The development was funded by Kjell Qvale whose son, Bruce, renovated a building in Modena for production. The car eventually became the Qvale Mangusto. It is powered by a 4.6 L Ford Cobra SVT V8 putting out 320hp through a Borg Warner T45 5 speed transmission. The Mangusta has a unique, three way, “roto-top.” All up and it’s a coupe. The center panel can be removed for the “targa” configuration. The hard, rear section electrically rotates (on a forward pivot) down behind the seats to make it a spider. This car was displayed by Dan & Kate Morris of Jacksonville.
With all of those beautiful cars in such a beautiful venue there had to be judging and the non-concours was done by Maury Hatcher and Rick Demichina. Inexplicably, this year the cars seemed to be even better detailed than usual making the judging both more difficult and more rewarding. The Fiats were in exceptional finesse.
And the winners were . . ..
Pre 1982 - Closed: Giancarlo Fruzetti’s 1970 Fiat 124 coupe. Maury, who has been judging Alfas and Fiats for 35 years, said, ”This is the cleanest Fiat I’ve ever seen!” Pre 1982 – Open: tie, Harmon & Jo Heed’s 1964 Giulia spider and Bob Minton’s 1972 Fiat 124.
1982 – 2010 Closed: John & Linda Rady’s 1988 Milano Verde. 1982 – 2010 Open: tie, Norman & Joan Burnstine’s 1985 Fiat 124 2000 and Gil & Karen Gagne’s 1991 spider Veloce. Gil purchased this car from John Rady last year at the 2016 Viva Alfa Romeo.
2011 – 2017: Chris & Tiffany Casto’s 2015 4C. This was Chris & Tiff’s first Alfa event!
People’s Choice Award: John & Cheryl Picot’s 1973 GTV 2000 which they bought new in 1973.
Giancarlo drove 550 miles down from Cary, NC. Fortunately for the Florida AROCs Celebration is located in central Florida so not many had too far to drive for the event. Buddy & Marilyn Guynn from the South West Florida AROC drove up 175 miles from Ft Myers in their like new 164LS. Armando Paredes, the South Florida AROC pres drove up 250 miles from Miami in his 1988 Milano Verde with his three sons just as he has for the past twelve years. “My how those boys have grown!” Also up from Miami were SF-AROC VP Noemi Sarasola in her new 1981 GTV6 and Jeff Schuyler in his 1991 spider.
Twelve cars from the Florida Alfa club trekked a mere 100+ miles east from the Gulf of Mexico.
There was also a celebratory drawing. Some of the prizes were exceptional, like a $200 Optima battery gift certificate and a DeWalt portable drill combo worth $300. The Grand Prize winners, Joe and Susan Stigliano up from the SWFL-AROC, were presented with four day passes to the 12 Hours of Sebring enduro held at the Sebring International Raceway in March.
The consensus of the Mid-Florida members was the Most Valuable Player on the team was Margo Miller, the sponsorship chairwoman. She worked the hardest even knowing she wouldn’t be able to attend; she and her husband left for Italy the day before the show kickoff. With all of the wonderful cars, location, weather and friends everyone who attended was a winner and all got to go to Disney World to celebrate, er, Celebration!
Harmon Heed 12 Nov 2017
We thank the sponsors whose names are listed below.
Their support was a key factor in the successful implementation of this program and we recommend them as your primary source when you require the goods or services they offer.
Car Guys Garage - Chicago, IL
Olive Garden Restaurant - Kissimmee, FL
Sebring Raceway - Sebring, FL
Simonize - Bolton, CT
Stoner Corp. - Quarryville, PA
Sport Car Market - Portland OR
Kleen Products - Oklahoma City, OK
Summit Racing - Tallmadge, Ohio
JC Taylor - Upper Darby, PA
Entry forms for 2019 Car Show are at bottom of page. SOON!
Award Winners for 2017:
Pre 1982 closed--Giancarlo Fruzzetti's 1970 Fiat 124 coupe(from Jacsonville Beach.)
Pre-1982 open-- tie Bob Minton' s 1972 Fiat spyder and Harmon and Jo Heed's 1964 Alfa Guilia spider a Abnormale
1982 to 2010 --closed John Rady's 1988 Alfa Milano
Open-- tie -- Norman and Joan's Fiat Spider and Gil and Karen Gagne's 1991 Alfa Spider
2011 to 2017--Chris and Tiffany Casto's 2015 Alfa 4C
People's Choice--- John and Cheryl Picot's 1973 Alfa GTV
Pictures coming as soon as I get the film out of the Kodak brownie hawkeye
Mid Florida Alfa Romeo Owners Club, Inc.
Dear Auto Enthusiast: VIVA Alfa Romeo Car Show 2020 is the 18th of Mid Florida AROC's annual Viva Alfa Romeo Car Show and Parade.
This gala event, scheduled for October 3, 2020 is for Alfa Romeo, vintage Fiat and Lancia automobiles of every year and model.
The purpose of the event is to strengthen the bonds of fellowship among all participating owners, to recognize those who have striven to maintain autos of rare design or condition and to provide a venue where we may display the virtues of our autos to the general public. The site we have chosen is Market Street, in the heart of downtown Celebration, Florida. The town has agreed to cordon off the main block of this beautiful busy street as our show site. The town of Celebration has been highly publicized and draws visitors from around the world. The location is ideal for attracting a large number of spectators during the entire time of the exhibition. Following the show period, our cars will be driven along a parade route through Celebration. We look forward to a great time together.
Those who participate by exhibiting their Alfa Romeos during the show will receive a welcome bag of memorabilia and will be eligible for awards based on judging.
Directions to Celebration Show Site: From North: I-4 W to exit #64 to U.S. 192 east (Kissimmee/Celebration). Turn right on Celebration Avenue to Market St.
From the East and South: I-95 to Beeline (Toll 528 W) exit onto S.R. 417 S. Take exit 2 toward U.S. 192 east. Take ramp to Celebration. Turn left on Celebration Avenue to Market Street.
From the West: I-4 E to exit 62. toward S.R. 417 N . Merge onto S.R. 417 via exit #24 E. Take exit #2 toward U.S.192 E (Celebration). Turn right on Celebration Avenue to Market Street.
From Northwest: Florida Turnpike south to exit #289. Follow U.S. 27 south and merge onto U.S. 192 east. Turn right on Celebration Avenue to Market Street.
Schedule of events:
Friday Evening, October 2, 2020 Group Dinner in private room Café D'ANTONIO 691 Front Street Celebration, FL. 34747
Saturday October 3, 2020 Viva Alfa Romeo Show 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM Parking 10:00AM to 3:30 PM Display 3:00 PM to 3:30 PM Awards 3:30 PM to 4:00 PM Parade through Celebration to Olive Garden 5021 W. Irlo Bronson Highway Kissimmee, FL 34746 for drinks and dinner.
Host Hotel: Comfort Suites Maingate East 2775 Florida Plaza Blvd. Kissimmee, FL 34746 Phone (407) 397-7848 or 1-888-784-8379 www.comfortsuitesfl.com Mention Mid Florida Alfa Romeo Club for a special rate. A block of rooms at this rate will be held through 9/15/20
A limited number of sponsor vendors will be displaying their products and services.
On the road to Celebration from South Florida taking the back roads, the only way to travel!. Thanks for sending Armando.