Peter Becronis' 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super
Not many people get their dream car at age 14. Maybe it's actually a good thing they don't. Take for example Peter Becronis, he got his dream Alfa Romeo GTV two years before he could legally drive. Coming from an Alfa family, which has owned at least nine, Peter was accustomed to working on and restoring cars, so it was no surprise that the GTV was quickly being modified before it was even driven by its new owner. After two years full of modifications it ended up being a little extreme for driving back and forth to high school. The GTV was relegated to track duty and the hunt began for a suitable daily.
Obsession Z Famiglia Di AlfistiBecronis decided he needed something more practical than the GTV but something just as fun and equal in character. While Alfa was best known for its sports cars and GTs in the '60s, it also manufactured some of the best sport sedans in the world. The Giulia Super may have had four doors and a roof, but was as equally at home commuting as it was tearing up the roads.
Becronis' car is a '66 Giulia Super; it's actually his second. The first one didn't last long being the victim of traffic accident. His current car has significant history behind it. The car was first used by Alfa as a company car for their U.S. operations. When executives would fly over from Italy they would use this very car. At the end of its working life with the company it was sold to a longtime Alfa mechanic who had connections with the factory. Becronis' family had known about the car for years but thought it was unobtainable because the mechanic had vowed to keep it for life. An unforeseeable financial situation forced the mechanic to sell the car and Becronis received the ideal Alfa for his 16th birthday/early graduation present.
Being a '66, Becronis' Giulia came equipped with a 1,570cc, twin-cam, four-cylinder engine. Not necessarily powerful by today's standards, but a real screamer back in its day. Both the block and head are aluminum, the engine is still mostly stock but power has received a healthy bump with GTA cams and higher compression pistons. The 9.75:1 pistons are an Alfa factory performance part that were common upgrades, but have become rare over the years. The twin Weber carbs are as reliable as any modern fuel injection and have an amazing sound familiar to any vintage car fan.
The suspension on the car is mostly refreshed stock. The front end uses an A-arm setup while the rear is a live axle, common to even the fastest racing cars of the '60s. Handling is better than what the boxy sedan's looks project. Supers are capable machines on twisty roads and would give '02s and Triumphs a real run for their money.
The Supers also came equipped with four-wheel-disc brakes from the factory, something not that common in the mid-'60s. Becronis has upgraded his brakes with ATE units off of a later car for more reliability. While he was at it, he also upgraded to the ZF steering box, which was also a factory piece. The wheels were sourced from a '79 Alfa Spider and are wrapped in Pirelli P6s. While the wheels look right on the car, Becronis is on the lookout for something closer to the original wheel, while still being a performance upgrade.
On the outside of the car, more upgrades were made using the factory parts bin. The headlights on the car are factory European pieces, which give better light and look a little cleaner at the same time. At the back, Becronis chose the same route and found factory correct Euro taillight assemblies to clean up the back end. The bumpers on the car are actually world pieces. These were the days before the U.S. got bigger heavier impact bumpers than the home market. What is most surprising, however, is that most of the brightwork on the car's exterior is not chrome. All the flashy trim on the outside is actually polished stainless steel. While it may not have quite the gleam of chrome, it has a dark brilliance to it that is a little classier and certainly more durable. The small badges and emblems are a mixture of original parts and parts discovered through late-night Internet buying expeditions. Some things however just don't seem to be available anymore. The small Alfa crests on the C-pillars are apparently all but extinct. Copies and different versions can be had on eBay, but the originals are rare indeed. Seeing the originals in all their patinaed glory let you know that this truly is a vintage car owned by an enthusiast. It doesn't look too perfect or over restored.
Experiencing a car like this being driven in anger through the canyons of Southern California is something special. To know that vintage cars are still being enjoyed for what they were built for is reassuring. Becronis has owned the car for 27 years, he street raced in it in high school, it was the getaway car at his wedding, and it even carried his daughter home from the hospital. That same daughter is now 9 years old and already has her eye on the little Super. At first Becronis laughs at the idea of giving her the car, then shrugs and replies, "Well it survived through my teen years."
1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super
Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
1,570cc, dohc, inline four, twin Weber carburetors, Alfa GTA cams
Five-speed synchromesh manual
A-arm, live axle
ATE power-vacuum assisted, four-wheel disc
*Wheels and Tires
'79 Alfa Romeo 6 x 14 magnesium alloys, Pirelli P6s 195/60
Peak Power: 120 hp (estimated)
European headlights and taillights
Updated European gauges
In Nov. 1994, european car featured a '26 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 Zagato owned by Becronis late father Jack. We had no idea of the connection until Becronis brought it up in the initial meeting. At the time of writing, it was the oldest Jano-designed Alfa in the U.S. and one of the oldest Alfas in private hands anywhere. Jack had brought the car back from England and restored the car from the ground up. The car was regularly raced at vintage events and driven hard on the streets. After finding the old article in our archives, we are no longer surprised by Becronis' Alfa enthusiasm. Maybe his daughter will be getting the Super in a few years to continue the tradition.