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Alfa Romeo Giulia & The 30 Year Itch

When I came across an advertisement listing an Alfa Romeo Giulia for sale, I have to admit that I had no idea Alfa Romeo had released a new Giulia in 2017.

For anyone familiar with Alfa Romeo’s history, you know that there really have been limited Alfa offerings to the American car buyer across the better part of three decades. And before that, a similar gap existed. That’s right, three major offerings spaced across 60 years with nearly 30 year gaps between them (and if you didn’t know much about Alfa Romeo…well, that’s a thing you know now).

But 30 years between advancement sets an odd standard of excellence and, frankly, it got me thinking…How weird would it be if we were only expected to do something impressive every 30 years? Seriously, what if every three decades the world enjoyed some sort of 52-week Renaissance, but you were pretty much “off-the-hook” for the next 29 years.

In a coincidence too eerie for me not to point out, I had recently enlisted the help of my 11-year old self in writing a piece on used car sales. While I have no real interest in spending more time with the obnoxious prick that I was in 1988 (I was no Tom Hanks in “Big”) I see no reason why we can’t gain a little perspective by taking a walk down the proverbial memory lane to revisit those Wonder Years…

First, let’s put this exercise into context. If the world had remained relatively unchanged for the last 29 years, your life would differ in that:

  • You could buy a new or existing home for under $92,000.
  • Your rent would average out around $420 / month.
  • Running low on gas? Regular Unleaded would be $.91 / gallon.
  • For every letter mailed you would pay $.24 in postage.
  • A dozen eggs would cost you $.65 and a gallon of milk, $1.89.
  • A movie ticket would run you $3.50.

That’s quite a difference! Aside from nighmare-ish flashes of Michael Dukakis’ face, there are some strong arguments in favor of 1988. But, while that all sounds pretty appealing you should probably wait before you go and peg your acid-washed jeans. After all:

  • Your income would float somewhere around the national average of $24,450.
  • No more cell phone. Consider yourself reconnected to the wall, and reliant on pay phones when you were away from home. Don’t even get me started on Caller ID.
  • No internet, including Google? That’s right…enjoy those hours spent in the Reference Section of your local library. (You can find “Bullshit” in Volume 1 of the Encyclopedia Brittanica).
  • No more texting, emails or social media? Yep. Speak in person, on-the-phone or send a letter (see above for the cost of postage).
  • No more Amazon or eCommerce. You can find what you need at the mall, or your local department store. Remember those, it was like Wal-Mart without all of the corporate reliability.
  • You need GPS to get there? Sorry, get directions from someone unless you’re feeling ambitious enough open an actual map. All right, opening is the easy part. Now re-fold.
  • Want to listen to music? Enjoy those cassettes and vinyl, unless you were able to afford a $650+ CD player. If you’re not sure what a CD player is, then I can only assume that very little of this entire piece has actually made sense to you.

Still not sold? Here’s where the big guns come out. Even if you’re still really excited to drive around in your Acura Integra, remember that you’d probably be listening to “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley.

That’s right…if we were only expected to progress every 30 years, we would be trapped in a perpetual “Rick-Roll.”

And it’s that kind of perspective that makes the 2017 Giulia stand out. Regardless of how it measures up against other vehicles in its class, it feels like a Quantum Leap (and if you see what I did there, you’re as old as I am). Factor in the feeling of exclusivity, and it’s not unlike getting laid for the first time in 29 years. You probably forgot that you missed it, but wonder how you ever got along with it. (God, I hope I didn’t just jinx myself with that last part…even if Alfa’s tagline of the Giulia is “Proof that Love is Worth the Wait”).

Now I’m a believer that, if you’re going to dream, “dream big.” With that in mind, let’s just pretend that I’m able to buy a Giulia…and the top-trim Quadrifoglio, at that (after all, what’s $72,000 to start?)

Right off the bat, its hard to complain about 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque courtesy of a direct-injected biturbo V6 engine. With a top speed of 191 mph, you can reach 60 mph within 3.8 seconds. (Feel free to look for further elaboration in my upcoming best-seller, “Things That Don’t Suck” or its follow-up “Rick-Roll THIS, Acura Integra,” the latter of which is only available at your local Waldenbooks).

Alfa’s racing pedigree certainly carries over to the Quadrifoglio in its trademark DNA features. This allows the driver to adapt the vehicle’s performance to fit everything from daily driving conditions to performance racing mode.

With a design centered around the driver, the Giulia is not engineered for utility or to accommodate passenger comfort. As a race-inspired luxury sedan, it remains faithful to Alfa Romeo ideals that have been in place since 1914. Whether or not we see another of its kind before the year 2047 remains to be seen.

But through the Giulia (regardless of trim level) two things become abundantly clear.

First, if Alfa Romeo was going to wait 30 years to offer something new, the Giulia Quadrifoglio was an inspired offering. Secondly, real progress is measured in “Rick-Rolls,” or the absence thereof (remember this whenever you see an Alfa Romeo Giulia for sale).

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