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A 2-wheel Drive Italian Menace

Posted by Kevin Murray on

Dropped alfa wasn’t supposed to exist. It was a car dropped off the flatbed truck. It was supposed to be destroyed, beyond repair. It was a heartbreaking sight of mangled metal.  One could only feel hopeless at the sight of it sitting shattered and bent. Most people assumed it was beyond repair. But it needed to be fixed, this car represented too much to us personally. It was the car everyone enjoyed the most, effortless to cruise in and quick enough to make anyone smile. We couldn’t just cast it aside.

Faced with a long legal battle for financial compensation…. we did what anyone else would have. We came up with a plan and resurrected it so we could once again enjoy the small Italian coupe. It would now forever become something different. Its purpose in life would no longer be a canyon carver - dicing it up with Porsches on beautiful roads in SoCal. It would now be our car version of a scrambler. A 2-wheel drive Italian menace for dirt roads.

Dropped alfa loaded up with Velomacchi gear

My name is Iliya Bridan, I have a twin brother Nikita Bridan and together this is our story.  We are both car designers living in the hustle of a town called of Los Angeles. We work in bringing future cars to reality for our companies, pushing the boundaries of what should be possible is what we do every day. When we get home our true love has always been working and driving vintage machines. So when faced with the dilemma of what to do with a smashed alfa we did what we do best. We sketched it out and started figuring out the specs of the parts we would need to create our vision. Larger knobby tires. Custom roof rack, and most importantly custom suspension.

Dropped alfa with Velomacchi gear

The suspension on the car is ever evolving as the trips got more ambitious. Currently the suspension is custom fabricated to support 8 inch Fox coilovers with remote reservoirs front and back. The whole rear end has also been redone with custom lengthened T-bar and spherical bushings to fix all the geometry issues (axle angle, trailing arm length and wheel arch centering), that come with raising a car not meant to ride that high. This makes the ride exceptionally good over rough terrain, but not so good on street driving!

Although our daily commute is in the traffic nightmare of LA freeways, we still try to drive the classics as much as we can, even the dropped alfa. It hilariously looks particularly out of place sitting next to minivans and soft crossovers on the jam packed 405 freeway with its knobby tires and battle scars, gas cans and spare tire strapped down to its roof rack. To most it probably looks like a crazy apocalypse machine, getting looks and stares from regular folks with occasional thumbs up from fellow enthusiasts.

Dropped alfa top view with Velomacchi gear

It never fails to make any trip memorable.

Having chased classic alfas through the canyons on this setup has proven to be interesting. The body roll, mixed with the crazy knobby tires makes for very vague steering input and puts plenty of heat into the tires under high speed driving. On one such trip when everyone was getting gas, I was off to the side watering down my tires to cool them down. They had gotten so hot they were practically melting. Once cooled down the chase was back on! This is what we do, our love of classic cars and desire to get away from the city means that as soon as the weekend hits we are always driving somewhere to explore new places.

Through our time in LA we were always road racing / canyon carving based and as such we only drove paved roads and hardly ever went off the beaten path to explore the wilderness. This all changed when our alfa got dropped and became our safari vehicle, it changed our perspective forever. Our first trips were small and simple. Learning our way around the car’s limits and even more so ours. The car handled it all beautifully, always being ready for more and more. As we built up our off-road knowledge, we started doing camping and overnight trips into the wilderness.

Dropped alfa in the woods with Velomacchi gear

Trekking to places we could never have gone in any of our other cars. And this is when the true beauty of what the new and improved alfa is became clear. It would show us a new world full of new friends, new places and countless adventures that created experiences we could never have even imagined before the infamous drop. We were only seeing a small portion of the beauty while staying on paved roads, but thanks to a hard luck past of our Italian scrambler, we could now experience the true vastness and beauty of the places we visited.

As of right now, due to the intensity of our work schedules, our trips are weekend getaways only to the soft sandy trails in Joshua tree and palm springs area. Here we hit the trials, sliding hard during the day, doing donuts and climbing mountains such as Toro Peak. Enjoying every bump and drifting each corner before retreating to a bar in palm springs for drinks to call it a night.

Dropped alfa photo op in the canyon with Velomacchi 50L Speedway

When we get a chance to go on bigger trips, we head up further north to Alabama Hills area between Death Valley and Sequoia National Parks. Here it's more of the same. Driving onto unknown trails and climbing hills with no knowledge of what lies ahead. The excitement of looking at a faraway mountain and saying let's climb up that trail and hours later reaching is intoxicating. As is the seeing the joy and bewilderment of true off-road guys waving with excitement to ask “what kind of car is that?” Adventuring in the car has been life changing a truly amazing experience.

Dropped alfa loaded with Velomacchi gear

As our trips grew so did the equipment and requirement of stuff to take supplies with us. Documenting the trips has become a hobby of ours, as such, our gear consists of tons of photography equipment, cameras, laptops, drone, etc.…. but also tools you’ll need to be able to survive in the wilderness with a car that’s 45 years old.

Dropped alfa with Velomacchi gear

Toolkit, toolkit, toolkit! One of the joys of old cars is they need attention in particular the carburetors require a lot of work when climbing up steep high mountains. This is one of the many reasons we carry tools with us, to adjust and tune the carbs to the elevation, thinning as we gain altitude. The Velomacchi Speedway Tool Roll houses all the tools we need, space for 130 pieces to be exact, in a form factor that is tiny and easy to carry around and stows easily in the car.

Dropped alfa with Velomacchi Speedway Tool Roll

We also always carry three 50L Speedway Hybrid Travel Duffel Backpacks with us full of gear. Due to the clever straps and usability that’s been designed into the bags, we can strap them onto the car in multiple ways depending on what we are bringing along for the trip. We have mounted them to our custom-made roof rack with ease as  well as had them attached on the trunk of the car.

Dropped alfa three Velomacchi 50L Speedway bags

The Velomacchi Speedway Impact Tablet and Laptop Sleeves to protect our valuable black screens are a no brainer, allowing us to not be worried about any damage to our toys even under the bumpiest roads.

Dropped alfa with Velomacchi gear

Our Velomacchi gear gets the job done every time we go out and we know the construction will hold up to the vigor’s of any trip. Easy to clean and keep everything inside clean as well. Couldn’t ask for a better bag to have on our little expeditions. The gear has never held us back and just like the little alfa are more capable than we are at the moment.

And with that we go into ever new adventure willing to push further, to test the limits further and when life gives you lemons, always smile and make some damn tasty lemonade. This is the spirit of dropped alfa.

50L Speedway Hybrid Duffel Travel Backpack Speedway Impact Laptop & Tablet Sleeves Speedway Tool Roll

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  • Cool car and trips. What kind of tires are those (and size). Those are badass.

    Peter Hark on
  • You guys are having way too much fun. Wish I could join you. Keep us up to date on your antics. Go little Alfa go!

    Moturcyclenut on

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