Alfa Romeo paradise is tucked away in the American South - Hagerty Media
The area around Atlanta, Georgia, supplies a trove of fascinating imports for Tom Cotter to investigate in his most recent quest. In the latest Barn Find Hunter episode, he takes a quick walk through the shop of Alfa Romeo expert Paul Spruell before dropping in to check on a fellow hunter—one Tom knows pretty well.
Paul Spruell is a humble man, that much is clear. As Tom introduces him and lists Spruell’s racing accomplishments over the years, Spruell simply nods in acknowledgement of the four SCCA national championships under his belt. All those wins were behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo, so it makes sense that all the cars Tom examines hail from the Italian brand.
The sheer variety of the Alfas assembled in Paul’s shop is impressive. A 1966 Guilia GTV sits on a dolly out back, while cars almost ready to race sit on lifts inside. Of course, there is everything in between scattered about for Tom to investigate, including the very Duetto in which Spruell racked up those SCCA wins, plus a barn-find ’66 Spider Veloce. Paul explains the intricacies of Alfa Romeo’s Guilia/Giulietta naming formula and the finer points of a couple of the cars in the shop. For fans of vintage Italian metal, it’s a must-watch.
The next stop is to see someone Tom has known for fewer years than some of the show’s previous guests; but that’s only because Brian Cotter was born after Tom met those other fellows. Brian is Tom’s son, and the Cotter household could well be an orchard with how closely the apples fall to each other.
Brian’s managed to stuff three cars into a small two-car garage, and each has its own interesting story. The first he discusses is a Mazda RX-7. Many third-generation RX-7s are modified and tuned, but Brian chose to keep his as stock as the farmer he purchased it from had kept it. This silver example is remarkable in its originality.
Brian also has a 1985 Porsche 911 Targa and a Formula Vee racer, each in different stages of maintenance and care. The Formula Vee is currently lacking its bodywork, which gives us a nice view of how these cars got their name—they’re mainly composed of VW parts. The 911 is a bit rough around the edges, a grey-market car born out of Brian’s college-era Porsche search that needed some TLC to revive from a long garage rest.
Tom is clearly a proud father, and he has every right to be. It’s younger enthusiasts like his son who are driving the future of automotive passion. With gearheads like Brian out there, the future of car culture is in good hands.