Aug 13, 2013
08:14 AMArts & Entertainment
Sexy Sports Cars, Alfa Romeos, Drive a Rural Connecticut Venture
For Keith Goring, owner of Alfas Unlimited in tiny, rural Norfolk on the Massachusetts border, a new car is about 20 years old.
Mr. Goring owns a restoration and parts business that specializes in Alfa Romeos, the sexy little sports cars that left Americans drooling in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. No longer imported into this country, the very same cars that set some hearts fluttering in the 20th century are still much in demand among aficionados.
Mr. Goring says his is an official Alfa Romeo Heritage Dealer, which means that he is able to supply original parts and factory-authorized warranty work, as well as performing services on all models, including the 164. He ships hard-to-find parts to Alfa owners around the world while also working in his own little shop on cars whose owners do not want to undertake their own restorations.
“Alfa Romeo, which is now owned by Fiat, completely withdrew its American sales in 1995,” Mr. Goring explained, “so my newest cars are 20 years old. I sell some old parts that I take from parts cars and some new that I get through dealers. I have filled orders from all over the world—I even had to find out where a little island off Borneo was located so I could ship parts, and I am probably going to send an engine to a customer in Saudi Arabia in the near future.”
On the morning this reporter visited, Mr. Goring was completing a sale to an Alfa enthusiast who had driven to his shop looking for a specific piece. The customer had called earlier to inquire about the part’s availability and, despite the fact that his garage is entirely “stuffed with old parts,” the businessman was instantly able to lay his hands on the desired mechanism.
Such service comes from decades of familiarity with his own resources and the cars he services.
It is a business that grew out of his natural proclivities. “I was one of those kids who took everything apart,” he revealed. “I had an innate interest in how things worked.”
He has had no formal training in servicing Alfa Romeos but said that becoming an expert consisted of making all the mistakes that could be made and remembering how he corrected them. That and early experience with his first sports car, an MG that broke down regularly in the fashion of British sports cars, rendered him “pretty good at side-of-the-road repairs.”
His interest in Alfas blossomed when he met Susan Dixon, the woman who would become his wife and partner in the business. “I met Susan through the Alfa Club,” he related. “She had Alfas before me.”
Mr. Goring had followed a peripatetic career path until that time. He had first pursued a career in insurance, working for Aetna and attending the UConn School of Insurance, which he found to be “the most awful, boring thing I ever did—I just stopped going.”