As an American born car enthusiast, I am often envious of our European neighbors. This is particularly true when it comes to the cars that us Yanks don’t get to enjoy. The Most notable brand by far is Alfa Romeo. Alfa Romeo has trickled a few models stateside over the years, but nothing like what they get in the rest of the world. Jason J. from Australia has a GTV that is the epitome of my jealousy.
The 2000 GTV is one of the most iconic Italian cars, and for good reason. It’s small and engaging, all while being drop-dead gorgeous. For a car that was designed in the mid 60’s it handles well and even makes fair power. Yet Jason wasn’t happy with any of that. Jason decided he wanted a radical GTV. One that would make purists gasp, and in that regard he has done a great job.
When Jason met the man he was looking to purchase this GTV off of he wasn’t exactly clear with his intentions. Jason explains “The owner was passionate about keeping things period with the car. I had to keep my mouth stitched well shut about my future plans, lest I offend. I knew my plans wouldn’t find too many ears keen to know about my build.” No kidding. Jason’s plans went a lot further than some moderate tinkering, he envisioned something radically different.
Within hours of acquiring his little slice of Italy Jason was already hard at work. The first thing he did? Ditch the 1962cc inline 4 that so many enthusiasts know and love. He did so in favor of the ultra popular Nisan SR20 engine. The SR20 from Nissan is one of those engines that has a cult-like following. Known for being able to produce good power and being relatively cheap and reliable, the SR20 is evidently an ultra common engine in the land down under. 240sx owners take note. To make the mighty SR fit the firewall and transmission tunnel needed to be extensively modified. This turned out to be a good thing for the Alfa though, allowing for a weight distribution closer to 50/50.
Mounting the engine further back also allowed for some much-needed room for the intercooler and turbo plumbing. Jason also elected to mount an oil cooler just under the front bumper, leaving its hoses exposed. This is a popular trend in Japanese car culture, yet I can’t help but feel like it doesn’t fit this particular car.
After taking care of the engine bay Jason turned his attention to the bits that can handle the GTV’s new found Japanese power. As if he was trying to restore the purist’s faith in his build Jason elected to mount GTA-R spec suspension from the famed Alfaholics. This package upgrades almost every aspect of the GTV’s suspension to that of something considered race caliber. To compliment the suspension Jason used Alfaholics GTA-R brake package as well. This gave the GTV a new set of 6-pot calipers and bigger discs, all connected through stainless steel lines. Jason even added a ‘balance box’ so he could adjust the distribution of braking forces from front to rear. With each part complimenting the next, it was time for a serious wheel and tire upgrade.
This became a little tricky for Jason, because what he was looking for isn’t something that is readily available. The 4×108 bolt pattern found on the GTV makes wheel selections rather small. On top of that the size’s Jason wanted made finding anything nearly impossible. So he settled on a set of Saab 15-inch wheels, and then had custom barrels made to widen them to his liking. The end result is a set of 15×9’s up front with 15×10’s out back, absolutely massive for the pint-sized Italian. The new wheel width did require some fender modifications to make everything fit, a risky move when you are working with such a gorgeous body. Like he had done before, Jason elected to use Japanese influence by equipping vintage 240Z fender flares that mold perfectly into his now track worthy Alfa.
For the interior, Jason kept it clean and simple. A pair of Bride racing buckets makes up the majority of aesthetics. He did redo sections of the dash with bare aluminum and gauges on gauges, because race car. It’s even received the big red push button starter and flip kill switch, as well as a MOMO racing wheel.
Between the aggressive interior, hydrodipped graphics in the engine bay, and the excessive amount of stickers this build takes on a fair amount of boy racer mentality. It takes away slightly from a build that was almost flawless. The GTV body is one of the classiest shapes that you can hope to roll through town in, yet now it’s slightly tarnished. I get it. Purists would have hated it anyway, so why not be bold about it. Except I’m not sure that would have been the case. It was so well built up until the looks that It would have been hard not to love it. And I still do, just a tad less.
There is no denying that Jason knocked it out of the park with this absurdly unique GTV. While I personally disagree with some of his minor styling details overall I am extremely envious of his final product.