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.