Welcome to New Member Shelby Smith

Greetings, with the purchase of a 1993 Alfa Spider Veloce, I am finally back as an Alfa (part) owner.  I was fortunate to grow up around Alfas during the 1960s.  My father, Madison Smith was a dealer from 1961(?) until 1977.  During that time, I was in and out of Alfas regularly.  I remember flying up to Baltimore with Bill Andree to pick up one of the first two Alfettas we received in the fall of 1974(?).  It was a new generation for Alfa and a fun ride home.  I later went to the west coast to pick up two Alfettas that had suffered smoke damage.  On the boat ride over a car broke loose and caught on fire.  It was just smoke damage, but Alfa only sold them for off road (racing) use.  So, off and on I would and did have access to almost all of the cars sold during this period.  Madison sold the Alfa dealership to his employees, Andrew Ewing, Bill Andree and Wayne Barnett in 1978.

After a few transitions, the dealership became available in the late 1980s and I applied for it.  I think it was about 1988-89.  At this time, I was operating a single point Peugeot store and my father was retired.  I felt Alfa would be a great compliment to Peugeot’s offerings.  Unfortunately, when I got to Lyndhurst, the dealer “parts package” was changed, besides not having the money, I felt like there just weren’t enough cars in the market to justify almost doubling the inventory in order to take it on.  We parted on amicable terms, and looking back, with Peugeot pulling out of the market and ultimately Alfa, it was probably, while difficult at the time, a lucky decision.  Following this, I did buy and sell a few Alfas and one of the last I bought was for my wife, Sonya.  We didn’t have children and it seemed a good option.  As luck would have it, and maybe the Alfa had something to do with it, we got pregnant.  Lots of challenges business wise during this period so for a variety of reasons we couldn’t keep the spider.

Over the years, I’ve tried to keep up with what was going on with Alfa around the world and was hopeful they would re-enter the U.S. market.  But, like a lot of the things we experience in our younger years, I always hoped for another lap around the Alfa track.  I have not been happy with a VW Beetle Sonya has been driving for the last couple of years and when I would complain about it she would say, “this is my favorite car next to the Alfa Spider.”  So, a few weeks ago I met with an auction company and lo and behold, they were selling an Alfa Spider. 

Bo Richardson went out and looked at it with me and I did a little research on what folks were asking and decided to give it a go.  Thanks to a friend I didn’t know was bidding against me, I paid too much.  But, if you are going to pay too much, it should be for a nice one.  I believe it to be a one owner, 32,600 miles, was purchased at Paul Spruell in Atlanta.  Interestingly, I bought an almost identical car to this for a friend in 1994-95 from Paul’s son, Todd.  It is not perfect, but it is a solid car.  Most important, Sonya and I both love it.  Anyone want a VW Beetle?  There was an ulterior motive you know.

One last bit of info on me and the dealership.  I still operate Madison Smith, primarily as a broker and to maintain zoning on our property downtown.  Things are changing though and I’m in the process of liquidating all or almost all my accumulated junk and equipment.  Our dealership website, which is www.neatcars.com may morph into something else but for now you may find some interesting Alfa pictures.  Some of you may remember Andrew Ewing, an almost lifelong friend of my father who is pictured in some of the photos.  They rallied, raced and worked together for roughly 20 years and remained friends long after that.  I talked to Andrew almost weekly after my father died and until he passed away as well.  Sonya and I are looking forward to attending Alfa get-togethers in the near future—exciting times!