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Friday Slide Show: Alfa Romeo 4C Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

2 June 2017

As we were wheeling our bright red Target shopping cart back through the parking lot the other day, we heard a rumbling whoosh and felt the asphalt melt under our shoes. We turned just in time to see a fresh-out-of-the-showroom Alfa Romeo 4C glide by.

We returned the cart to Target like a responsible citizen and walked back to our funereal black 2001 Honda Civic HX (which, you know, has pretty nice wheels itself all in the name of fuel economy).

But our heart was on fire. Where was that Alfa?

We had a deprived childhood. As adolescence dawned, we spent hours in class doodling Rat Fink hot rods, trying to outdo the Rat Fink hot rods Joe Crowley was drawing one aisle over.

We were good with the rat finks driving the things and we could do circles for the wheels but the hot rod part was elusive.

But our heart was on fire. Where was that Alfa?

To improve our designs, we would spend hours watching the cars fly by behind our house on a four-lane road that was elevated enough to be level with our bedroom window. In those days the Dodge Dart passed for an elegant design.

Car design is a deceptive art. There are precious few admirable designs on the road to prove how difficult an art it is, too.

Just try finding a grill design you admire. Lexus leads the parade in godawful attempts. BMW has wisely stuck to a good thing. In between are mostly failures of various degree.

Except for Alfa Romeo which, like BMW, knows a good thing when it has designed it.

We used to scour the classifieds for Alfa Romeo listings. Of course, in those days, telephone operators would take the ads over the phone and routinely list an Alfa as an Alfa Romero. A slight we've never forgiven.

Our day came in 1984 when we snagged a 1967 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Veloce, which you may recall as the Rumbalino.

But last week the only red vehicle we were driving was a Target shopping cart.

So when we got back in the Honda, we were hoping to get another glimpse of the Alfa 4C. It wasn't likely (was it?) that the new owner would park it between an SUV and 1980s Toyota pickup. It wasn't likely he'd park it at all, frankly.

But we found it on the less populated outskirts of the lot. People do hate to walk. They'll drive around a while just to find a parking place close to the door. Which leaves the spaces at the end of the lane unoccupied for the most part.

Histogram. Seeing red under that gray sky.

We jumped out of the Honda with our iPhone in hand and circled the beauty, snapping images from a crouch to follow its lines lit by an overcast afternoon sky.

These images were refined in Lightroom CC, adding Clarity and compensating a bit for the iPhone's wide angle lens. The histogram is revealing (look at that red bump). But we didn't do any retouching.

We were tempted, though. A cup holder? With a Starbuck's coffee? Even a Rat Fink would know better than that.

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