One day I got an e-mail from a friend in California, he'd heard of an "Alfa Ghia" that might be available in an area near me (Lawrence, MA), and wondered, if it was close by, if I could swing by and check it out. He was pretty sure the seller was mistaken, it was probably a Volkswagen Karman Ghia, but if it wasn't too far out of my way, it might be worth it to swing by and take a peek.
Well, I did a quick query, and the only real Alfa Ghia was a special bodied coupe from the early to mid 50's. There were a total of 18 built, and only a few are known to survive.
Anybody that is familiar with Lawrence MA knows it's the last place you'd expect to find such a rare car. The neighborhoods are mostly low income, lots of drugs and gangs, etc etc..
I contacted the seller, he was a decent gent, and he was pretty sure he had an Alfa. He knew the difference between an Alfa Romeo and a Volkswagen. He'd found this car in the garage of a house he was restoring, recognized it was something special, and wanted to make sure it got into good hands.
I met him at the property, we opened the door, and there was no mistaking it - the distinctive grille was Alfa all the way! Wow! And, to boot, it was certainly a Ghia Coupe! Incredible! The sad thing is, the car was missing the engine, one or two of the wire wheels, the glass was broken, but the rest was all there. The seller spoke with one of the tenants who's lived in the building since the early 70's, and was told that the car looked and ran well when it was parked in the garage way back when. Time was not kind to it however, most likely the alloy engine and transmission were sold for scrap aluminum, the car hadn't led a sheltered life since it had been parked.
To make a long story short, I pondered keeping it for myself. Even just sticking it in the basement, what the heck, if anybody asked I could always tell them I owned a rare Ghia Coupe, but it was "under restoration". However, the seller seemed more interested in making sure the car made it into the right hands than in making any real money off it, and in the spirit of things, I agreed - putting it in the hands of somebody who would restore it would be the best thing.
There was interest from all over, a couple of inquiries that seemed to be from people interested in the car for parts (strangely, most of the trim was intact and in decent shape!), but in the end, the seller found a buyer who was somewhat local (New Hampshire), and sold it to him. It wasn't the highest offer, however he felt it gave him the best chance of getting a ride in it when it was finished..
I'm hoping to someday update this page with pictures of the restored Ghia, in the mean time, here's what it looked like when we dug it out:
This file generated by HtmlTree 1.02, Copyright (c) 2003,2004, Brian P. Shorey