I did not choose to make this Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 my first Capstone project easily. I studied many marquis and cars: Porsche 356 and 911, Mercedes W108-109 and W116, BMW 3 Series and 2000, Ford Mustangs and VW Squareback and Karmann Ghia. All had qualities interesting to me, all were eliminated for one reason or another. My criteria was pretty specific: a strong unibody, engine and drivetrain intact, all glass in place, suspension mounting points in original locations, a project car under $15,000, parts and technical materials available. I gave credit for a 1966 model (year I was born) but it had to be 1974 or older.
The more I studied both the Alfa and the market for GTV 2000’s, the more my interest piqued. Four Wheel disc brakes, limited slip differential, five speed manual transmission, around 2,400 lbs, 130 HP, lots of glass and great sight lines.
The car wasn’t on my radar for many reasons, mostly because I thought a project car would be out of my desired price range. As I became more comfortable with the idea of a lot of rust repair, both cosmetic and structural, the more I saw the merits. The fact that it is Italian, the country of my grandparents and my lineage, only added to the intrinsic value.
I ‘ve spoke in previous posts about Satori and Capstone. Satori was the realization that I only had so many years left. My father died at 83 but the reality was his body began seriously failing him in his mid 70’s. I’ll be 55 this year. I’ve dedicated my life to service to others: the military, my wife, child raising, my job and the company that has given me so much. I have a bit of time now that my son is older, and that time I’m pouring into this endeavor. Capstone are the projects of finality, the pinnacle of my skills, my abilities, and the things I want to accomplish before I age gracefully and live out the golden years. My biggest fear in life is I will have lived since age 17 in the service of others only to become infirmed before I can realize these capstone projects.
Capstone 001, the Alfa, will be the vehicle, my platform, that I campaign in rally events in North America, Europe and Asia. It will be a continually evolving and improving companion to the adventures I still have left in me: Key West to Deadhorse Alaska, London to Sicily and the grand daddy of them all and my stretch goal, Peking to Paris. These long and arduous drives are the test of both myself and machine, or better yet, my body and my skill. Validation of a lifetime of preparation. No one will remember these feats, few will understand them, and no pot of gold awaits me at the end. This car will never be sold. Hopefully one of my grandchildren or nieces and nephews children take up a love of vintage steel. I haven’t given up on my son developing a love for mechanics either. Satori! It’s the capstone of the best life I can lead for myself, the ying to the yang that is being the best father, husband, uncle, brother and grandfather.
Project Management is a skill I’ve honed for many years. At the heart of project management is understanding the triple constraint: Money, Time and Scope of Work. I’m focused on Scope of Work now. The car will be in my shop in about two weeks after being shipped across country from Los Angeles. A complete inventory of what I have and what it needs will come first, followed by planning. My Dad use to laugh at me because I learned from books instead of his approach to learn by trying. Perhaps its the Us Navy Nuclear Power Program in me, but I’ll think and analyze before one bolt is turned. Where I think I have evolved is I am able now to change on the fly, not be married to my planning, and I no longer have a paralyzing fear of failure mechanically. Dad would be proud and I wished he was alive to sit in my shop, drink coffee and bust my chops, but I know he hovers close by. I asked that the car arrive on April 8th. One year ago, at 3:35 PM on April 8th I watched him take his last breath and say goodbye to this world. I like symmetry in life and starting Capstone 01 on that date to me is perfect symmetry.
Until then, Satori! Find your purpose before a sudden awakening finds you.