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Collect the whole set!

Over the weekend, I paid a visit to my local hobby store and was able to
find a 1/24 scale model of an ur-Quattro (ESCI brand, made in Italy,
nicely cast but lacking an opening engine compartment, for example). 
Naturally, I snapped it up, picked out paints, and took it home.

On opening it, I was delighted to see that the bodywork had been molded
in something pretty close to the same color as my '83 GT, an orange-red
that fits in with, but is distinct from, the other two red cars in our

Saturday when the sun was behind our walnut tree so the car was in
shade, I washed and polished the full-size Audi, giving it a second
application of the Zymol polish that did such great work a few weeks
ago.  I still want a sealer-wax for it, haven't purchased one yet (and
in our move of a few months ago, I was *brutal* and threw away any can
of car stuff that was less than 1/4 full).  

On Sunday, I went to my impromptu hobby shelf in the bedroom and
pondered the question... "Gee, which should I work on first, the Alfa or
the Audi?"  Why this is funny: I now, for the first time in my life, own
1/24 scale models of the competition variants of *both* of the 1:1 scale
cars I own.  Needless to say, I'm detailing both models to look like my
actual cars.  (Well, up to a point anyway; I don't think I'll duplicate
the odd paint chip, for example, or the cracks in the dash...)

There's more to it than that, as well.  I started going over the
similarities between the two cars:

Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior/Audi Coupe GT

* Designed by Giugiaro, using a platform common to an entire product
line for maximum cost-effectiveness.

* In competition form, utterly dominated their selected form of

* The less-expensive to own and operate version, with less expensive and
flamboyant bodywork (aluminum in the case of the Alfa, flares in the
case of the Quattro).

* Recessed roof panels over the rear seats.

I bring up that last subject for a reason.  I don't know if this is the
case in the Audi, but in the Alfa, this is apparently because Alfa
discovered in 1965 that the FIA had a series of magical measuring sticks
that they used for scrutineering.  If one particular magical measuring
stick could fit vertically in the rear seat, the Alfa GT could compete
as a sedan instead of a sports car -- which basically meant it raced
against cars like the Lotus Cortina and BMW 2002 instead of the Porsche
911 and Lotus Elan.  So they recessed the roof panel and also dropped
the seat slightly, and the magical measuring stick just fit into place. 
For whatever reason, the GTA took Alfa to three consecutive FIA
championships in its class, 1965-67, and various other championships in
its later refinements, but that's all fodder for a different list than
this one.  Anyone know whether that was also the case for the original

Oh, and one final piece of historical irony that links Alfa and Audi: A
week or so ago, my 2-year-old son brought out a book for me to read to
him, this one from 1958, titled "Great Racing Drivers of the World." 
(He has good taste for one so young... :-)  Long after his attention
span had waned, I pored over the biographies of something like 50
drivers who warranted the title 40 years (or more) ago, but two in
particular stood out: Achille Varzi and Tazio Nuvolari.  These were the
two legendary rivals of prewar racing, competing against each other in
ways that went far beyond Senna and Prost in the Eighties or Damon Hill
and Michael Schumacher in this decade.

Among the three or four photographs of each man was one apiece that
detailed their Grand Prix careers after they left the factory Alfa team
(or its successor, Scuderia Ferrari, a name that a few people on this
list may have heard since) in the late Thirties.  The car that each was

A silver Grand Prix machine with a V16 mounted behind the driver, and
four rings painted on the nose...

--Scott "If it's good enough for Nuvolari..." Fisher