Alexander Traiber:
a lifelong passion for Alfa Romeo

FCA Heritage meets the collectors

The passion for classic cars is truly international. FCA Heritage has decided to tell the stories of car enthusiasts and collectors from all over the world. After meeting Massimo De Micheli, an FCA employee in Turin, and Tristan Bani-Ombrouck, salesman at MotorVillage Boulogne, we travelled to Austria to interview Alexander Traiber, Alfa Romeo collector and employee of FCA Austria.

“It was the end of the seventies. As a kid I spent entire afternoons in my parents’ little ice-cream parlour in Vienna. It was close to the building that was then the Steyr-Fiat headquarters and is now home to FCA Austria. Outside the shop window, cars were always coming and going. I would lose myself, as if hypnotised by those monotonous streams of cars. One day my gaze was caught by a shimmering red Alfa Spider Coda Tronca. That colourful bolt of lightning, in the drab greyness of Vienna and amidst the anonymous confusion of all the other cars, instantly sent me head over heels.”

This intimate anecdote has a special significance for Alexander Traiber, because that was the moment when his passion for the ‘Biscione’ brand took off.

"From that point on, I couldn’t have desired anything else other than an Alfa. Once I got my driver’s licence, I bought my first one: a 145. Then an Alfa Romeo 147. They were nice motors for sure, but I was always looking for something different, something special. And finally here it is: an Alfa Romeo GT Junior 1600. A masterpiece of bodywork!"

But although Alfa Romeo is Alexander’s favourite car brand, his passion for Italian automobiles doesn’t stop there. Not long afterwards, Alexander searched on eBay and bought a 1969 Steyr-Puch 500 S, a sister model of the Fiat 500, built under license from Fiat and equipped with a twin-cylinder boxer engine. The car was in abject condition, but four years of meticulous restoration turned it into a miniature thoroughbred, complete with roll-bar, Fusina racing seats and a Halda Twinmaster for the navigator. Driven by a boisterous 40 hp engine, the fun and exuberant hatchback is more than a match for its Abarth cousins—and other cars besides—in historic rallies.

Alex has nurtured his love for Italian car brands, and for Alfa in particular, by purchasing and restoring historic models. This deep involvement has allowed him to achieve not one, but two dreams.

Alexander still buys classic Alfa cars to restore them and add to his precious collection. He found some of his best models on the Internet. "I bought an Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider Veloce for only 3000 euros. It was in dreadful condition and putting it right again took me six years. Of blood, sweat and tears. And money. But it had to be done, it was necessary in order to achieve my wife's dream, and also mine: that car was going to become our wedding car. Maybe because I spent a lot of time in the company of my other ‘women’ the end, even my wife was seduced by Alfa cars." 

Honouring the promise was no easy feat. It was a race against time, overcoming all the pitfalls that can crop up when you get your hands dirty on cars of a certain age. "The garage became my second home. It was exhausting, but when I saw my wife, radiant in her wedding dress, sitting in the Alfa, dazzling in its shiny new bodywork, I felt very gratified and proud. In short, it was worth it."

It was something of a surprise when Alexander came full circle by achieving his second dream of working for FCA Austria: "I’d grown up opposite the FCA building, with my eyes constantly fixed on it since I was a child, when I would spend hours and hours gazing at that huge building, which made me feel even smaller.

It was like some gigantic neighbour across the street, looming over my parents’ ice cream parlour, which in contrast seemed as small as I was. 

It took some time, quite a while, but eventually I managed to cross that street, step by step, and it’s an honour for me to pass through the main entrance and set foot inside the FCA Austria building."

You too can share your passion for classic cars of the FCA brands. Send us your story hereand become the protagonist of one of our fan features. 

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