Simanaitis Says

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THIS TITLE—SAP @ Y MBCU CAST 35—is so wonderfully evocative of traditional time-speed-distance rallying that I’ve recycled it from an old Tech Tidbits piece. The extended version resides at

Here, I celebrate the particular car involved in this madness, a beautiful dove-gray 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider kindly lent (twice, in fact) by friend and vintage racer Mark Carpenter. I was reminded of all this in reading that a similar car, a red 1961 model, sold at the Gooding & Co. Pebble Beach auction this past August for $41,800.

This 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider was the first car on the block at Gooding & Co.’s 2012 Pebble Beach auction.

Actually, from the photo and description, I’d guess that Mark’s Giulietta might be in even nicer condition.

Mark’s is a sweetheart of a car—and amazingly modern in feel for one built more than half a century ago. The Giulietta Spider’s Pininfarina styling is well nigh timeless. The car’s features include double overhead camshafts, twin Weber carburetors, a non-fiddly convertible top, even roll-up windows!

Its rack-and-pinion steering, independent front suspension and a well-controlled live rear axle make the Giulietta a very pleasant, predictable handler. Like other Alfas, it motors con brio with nary a vice.

I borrowed Mark’s Giulietta twice to take part in the Monte Shelton Northwest Classic Rally, centered in Portland, Oregon.

Mark’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider is right at home posed in view of Oregon’s Mt. Hood.

This annual 3-day event, typically in early August, is organized by the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon. To learn more, check out

What makes the NWC so much fun—and so “Classic”—is its being a traditional rally. No maps are provided; rather, there are precisely worded point-by-point instructions that can be devilish indeed. For instance, there’s a difference in rallying between “Turn at …” and “Turn onto ….”

Some checkpoints are easily recognized; others are hidden to keep folks honest. The Alfa driving past is a rare 1938 8C 2900B, owned at the time by David and Adele Cohen.

I enjoyed Mark’s Alfa in the 1997 NWC with wife Dottie as navigator.

Here are navigator Dottie and me at the start of the rally. Fifteen years later, we’re still married.

In 2003, my oldest and best friend Duane Polo handled the route instructions and timing calculations. And, I can add with complete candor, Dottie is still my wife and Duane is still my oldest and best friend.

These facts speak well for the Alfa, for the NWC organizers and for Mark’s continued friendship.

And, in case you’re wondering, the instruction “SAP @ Y MBCU CAST 35,” taken directly from the NWC routebook, translates into “Straight as possible at the Y. May be considered unnecessary. Change average speed to 35 mph.”

Of course; easy peasy. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2012

One comment on “SAP @ Y MBCU CAST 35

  1. simanaitissays
    November 4, 2012

    Oops. The hazard of hitting iPhone keys at 6:10 a.m. I was aiming for the “Facebook” icon. – d

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This entry was posted on November 4, 2012 by in Classic Bits and tagged , , .
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