David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/26/09 10:42 a.m.

The first time this 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce rolled into Peter Krause’s shop, he knew it was the one. Low, curvy and drenched in red paint, it caught his eye and wouldn’t let go. “It’s like a girl who walks by and you can’t help but look twice,” he now says.

However, when the pair first met some six years ago, the car was someone else’s date. Peter’s company, Krause & England, is located in North Carolina and specializes in vintage and sports cars. A customer who had just bought the Alfa Romeo sight-unseen from a dealer in the Pacific Northwest had the car shipped directly to Peter for a preflight inspection.

The new owner was headed to the upcoming New England 1000 road rally and wanted to make sure everything was kosher. Peter’s report: It was nice. Really nice.

In fact, Peter says that 30 seconds after the Alfa was freed from the transporter, he called the new owner, offering to buy the car when he no longer wanted it. At the time, the car’s $22,000 selling price seemed fair, as Peter knew that restoring another example to that level couldn’t be done for that figure.

“The car drove as good as it looked which is really, really unusual,” he says, explaining how many early Alfas were mistreated through the years, often with lackluster results. Some look great and are no fun to drive, while others may go down the road nicely but have too many cosmetic issues. “I knew that it had never been molested.”

A year later, the Alfa was already for sale, as the owner needed space for other projects. “So I wrote a credit card check,” Peter says. “The world of easy money.”

Peter received the car a few days before Virginia International Raceway’s Gold Cup Historic Races and figured that event would be a perfect destination for his first road trip with the car. The famed track had just reopened after sitting dormant for more than a quarter of a century, and Peter and track officials had created the Gold Cup to celebrate the facility’s history.

The new Alfa would tie in nicely with the track’s legacy. While many people credit Carroll Shelby as the track’s first winner, pointing toward his 1957 first-place finish in a Maserati 450S, the results say otherwise. Shelby actually won the track’s first feature race; that race weekend started with a contest for small-bore cars, and Ed Hugus claimed the win in a car much like Peter’s—except it was two years newer.

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