Teen rescues special 1973 Alfa Romeo GTV from dusty barn

At a time when most teens consider the MP3 jack to be the most important feature of a car, 17-year-old Drew Bond chooses to spend his weekends covered in dirt and grime under a 1973 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000. If that wasn’t extraordinary on its own, this particular Alfa Romeo has a story that will tug at your heartstrings: The GTV belonged to his dad more than 20 years ago and had been abandoned in a barn for 17 years before Drew acquired it.

“There was a dog living in it along with several peacocks, and some mice made their home in the exhaust, which when we took it apart, was just packed full of bird feed,” Drew says. He purchased the car last February, but his family’s history with the car goes much further back.

In 1991, Drew’s father purchased the car from someone who had modified it for rallying and was stripping it for parts. Drew’s father restored the GTV and turned it from a rally car back into a street car. The GTV was well-loved and it was driven at a few vintage car club events.

17 year old rescues Alfa GTV

The dusty interior of the GTV was once home to a dog and a family of peacocks.
Supplied, Drew Bond

But fatherhood requires sacrifices, and Drew’s father sold the car to a co-worker in 1996, just before Drew was born in 1997. The co-worker took the car with him to Colorado where it stayed for years, but he eventually moved back to Alberta and that’s where the car would call home.

The car’s new owner had a lot of work done to the car including rebuilding the entire engine and some shoddy rust repair. According to Drew, “The ‘professional’ who did the body work welded on new rear fenders right over the old ones.”

Eventually, the glass, trim and parts of the interior were removed for paint and bodywork, but the owner lost interest in the project and parked the open car in his barn. The Alfa Romeo would sit in the barn untouched with just 20 miles on its rebuilt engine for the next 17 years collecting dust and animal droppings.

17 year old rescues Alfa GTV

Dusty but complete, the two-litre DOHC engine will roar once again.
Supplied, Drew Bond

Drew and his father decided to track down the old GTV when Drew started looking for a car. Drew drove his first Alfa Romeo, a 1969 Duetto, when he was just 14 years old and from that moment on, he was hooked on Alfas. “[The car] drove like an extension of myself,” Drew says. “It’s all about the driving experience.” That short drive would spark a year and a half search for his perfect Alfa.

Drew’s father had lost contact with the person he sold the GTV to in 1996 and no longer remembered his phone number or email. But he did remember where he lived. During a road trip from Calgary to Montana, Drew and his father stopped by the owner’s house and inquired if the Alfa was for sale. The car was indeed available and after a few weeks of negotiating, the car was loaded up on a trailer headed for Calgary.

17 year old rescues Alfa GTV

This is the car as it was found in mid-February.
Drew Bond, Driving

The GTV looked rather forlorn in the barn and was covered in a thick coat of dust and animal droppings. But Drew saw the car’s potential and felt nothing but excitement when he got his first look at the neglected Alfa.

“It felt awesome when I first saw the car because there was a chance that I had finally found the GTV that I’d been looking for all this time,” Drew says. The car clearly had a laundry list of needs and he has been very busy getting it back into shape.

“It needed to be stripped to get the peacock stench out, we found some rust in the driver’s side floor pan and we beat both the floors straight,” he says. Every single bushing in the front suspension has been replaced, larger anti-sway bars were fitted and the Alfa is getting lowered on Koni shocks.

“The progress may seem minimal,” Drew says, “but a lot of work has gone into this car.”

17 year old rescues Alfa GTV

The GTV as of one week ago. Drew Bond says it it should be on the road very soon!
Supplied, Drew Bond

Currently, the car is on jack-stands as Drew strips and primes the underside of the car for undercoating but it’s already starting to look like a car again. Remaining tasks include refitting the interior, pounding the trunk floor straight and refitting engine accessories like the radiator. That’s a lot of work, but Drew plans to have the car on the road by early August of this year.

If you have engine oil in your veins, you can’t help but feel moved that a very happy Drew is restoring and will soon be driving a vintage Alfa Romeo his father once drove nearly 22 years ago.

About Clayton Seams