John Crawford is a man who knows the auto industry. Since 1965, the Australian native has worked for publications such as Modern Motor Magazine (pictured), Wheels Magazine, and Racing Car News. In the ’90s, John stepped over to the dark side as public relations VP for Jaguar North America, and continued his auto obsession until retirement in 2006.
After retirement, he knew the only car he could ever own was an Alfa Romeo. A long time “Italophile,” John managed to snag a handsome 159 Sedan with a 1.9-liter turbo diesel engine, and has loved it ever since.
Here’s the full story:
How did you acquire your ride?
It was a Demo car for the local Alfa Romeo dealer, and he wanted it sold so he could replace it with a 2.4L turbo-diesel model.
What drew you to it when you bought it?
I began writing about cars for a living in 1966 and my favorite marques were MG, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari. I was drawn to them because of their strong motor racing histories. I worked first as an auto journalist, and then as a corporate PR manager for a number of different car companies, so from 1966, until I retired in 2006 I either drove test cars, or ‘assigned’ company cars. When I retired and I had to spend my nickel on a personal car, it HAD to be an Alfa Romeo.
The Alfa Romeo experience that first seduced me was a road test over 1,000 km in Australia in a 1974 Alfetta 1.8L sedan. Then in 1976 I toured Italy in an Alfasud Giardinetta.
Does it have a name?
It is called the Tipo 159, and was designed by Italy’s contemporary icon of car design, Giorgietto Giugiaro of Italdesign.
What do you feel like when you drive it?
As a tragic Italophile, it makes me feel like I’m in Italy, mentally associating myself with Italy’s great sense of style and culture. Italy is my favorite place to vacation.
What you would change about your car, if anything?
I would like it to be about 200kg lighter, which would improve its already fantastic handling, performance and fuel economy – although even now it gets 6L/100km (39 mpg)!
What have you done to make it a bolder ride?
Nothing mechanical, I have only replaced the standard audio head unit with a JVC Bluetooth-equipped stereo, so I can use my iPhone.
Dream accessory for it and why?
Given Alfa Romeo’s past reputation for inconsistent quality, I just want my 159’s current good reliability to continue as long as possible. At least until its replacement (the Guilia) is announced.
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- Alfa Romeo