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Falling in Love with Guilia

Falling In Love with Giulia

Just before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, we had to turn in our 3-year leased Chevy Malibu. Lanette and I immediately started shopping for a replacement at our local Chevy dealer. The Malibu had turned out to be a great ride and a newer model was in the running for our new lease. But nothing is simple now, it seems, and due to an earlier workers strike at GM, their inventory of new vehicles, including the Malibu, was next to zero. We looked seriously, but nothing they had in stock caught our interest.

Lanette suggested an alternative for me to consider. She knew that I would lease only an American-made vehicle—with one exception: I had always admired Italian-made automobiles. Months earlier, we had enjoyed watching Ford v Ferrari, but not being a multi-millionaire hindered my possibilities as a Ferrari customer. As a devoted Italian American and Italophile, though, I would still consider leasing an Italian-made car. In the 1990s I had purchased my step-father’s black/silver Lancia Zagato, definitely a hot-looking sports car. But after several years of commuting from Novato to Mill Valley, the stick shift was killing me in bumper-to-bumper commute traffic, so I sold it.

We visited the Maserati dealer in Marin County to check out the Maserati and Alfa Romeo inventory. We walked around the lot, full of gorgeous cars and found the Alfa Romeos’. Lanette stopped to look at a particular silver one that immediately magnetized me. I’m pretty sure I was grinning as I gazed at its Trilobe grill—without question one of the most recognizable faces in the sports car industry. At the top of the grill, was the Alfa logo—the red-cross flag of Milan and the green Visconti family serpent, swallowing a man whole. Absolutely stunning! I began to see myself installing a green, white, and red Italian flag badge beside the Alfa logo. I had kept the metal flag for some 30 years for this very moment.

I walked to the rear of the Alfa to view the name of the car model. The moment I saw it, I knew it was a sign from God. I turned simply to Lanette and said, this is the car for us! She nodded.

Earlier that month, one of my very best friends and former classmate from 1968 University of San Francisco had passed away. Our families have been friends over the past fifty years, so hardly a day goes by that I don’t think about his premature cancer death. Gary Polizziani and I had so much in common and often discussed our interest in history, Italian culture, opera, politics, Italian cuisine, and whatever was above the fold that morning. He spoke so proudly of his daughters, Stephanie and Lara, and his granddaughter, Giulia. The moment I saw the name Giulia as the model name, it was all I needed to know.

For the past twenty years I have created Italian American-themed crossword puzzles for the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) quarterly magazine, Ambassador. But this Automobile Blog Quiz on my website, is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Gary Polizziani.


Automobiles, Motorcycles, Bicycles


1] Italian-Argentine manufacturer of sport cars was founded in 1992 and is based near Modena, Italy. Typical of most Italian auto companies, the founder’s surname is used as its brand name. What is the name?

2] What Italian scooter, manufactured in Tuscany, was established on April 23, 1946 by Piaggio & Co. S.p.A. in Firenze. The model name means wasp in Italian.

3] What Abruzzo born man was widely recognized for turning the Fiat Group into one of the fastest growing companies in the auto industry? In 2009, he was instrumental in Fiat Group’s forming a strategic alliance with US automaker Chrysler. Under his leadership, Chrysler returned to profitability.

4] What Italian luxury vehicle manufacturer was established on December 1, 1914, in Bologna, Italy? The company's headquarters are now in Modena, and its logo is the Trident. The company has been owned by FIAT Chrysler Automobiles and FCA's Italian predecessor FIAT S.p.A. since 1993. In addition to the Ghibli and Quattroporte, the company also offers the GranTurismo and Levante models.

5] Can you name the Italian automotive genius responsible for introducing steel wheels, the first V and V12 engines, unit body construction, and independent front suspension? In 1951, he coined the term 'Gran Tourismo'. GT still refers to a comfortable, luxurious, well-appointed automobile with sporting characteristics.

6] Name the Italian automobile company, founded in 1963 and now owned by Volkswagen. It currently produces the V12-powered Aventador, V10-powered Huracán, and the SUV Urus powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine. Throughout its history, it has envisioned and presented a variety of concept cars, beginning in 1963. Logo: Raging Bull.

7] As the world's oldest bicycle manufacturer, established 1885, Aria Ultegra Di2 E-Bike remains sleek, graceful, and finished as it hides its battery in a proportional frame and uses a rear hub-based motor to shed any obvious bulk. Who manufactures this $7,200 E-Bike?

8] Innocenti started production of what motorized scooters in 1947, the year after Piaggio started production of its scooter models?

9] What Italian racing car and road car maker was founded by an Italo-Austrian in 1949. Its logo is a shield with a stylized scorpion on a yellow and red background.

10] What motorcycle manufacturing division of an Italian company, founded in 1926, is headquartered in Bologna, Italy? The company is owned by German automotive manufacturer Audi through its Italian subsidiary Lamborghini, with Audi itself owned by the Volkswagen Group.

11] What company has a history of producing light motorcycles, scooters, and more recently, quadbikes? It’s been known lately for its updated Dragster 180 model.

12] Joining the Alfa Romeo Giulia sport car is the compact luxury crossover SUV, manufactured and marketed by the Alfa Romeo subdivision of FCA. It was first revealed at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. Can you name it?

13] Name the Alfa Romeo car model used the 1968 movie The Graduate, costarring Italian American Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robertson. (Birth name Anna Maria Italiano).

14] In 1979, because of one man’s lobbying, Congress passed the Loan Guarantee Act. The Act enabled the government to loan this automobile company 1.2 billion dollars, thus saving the company and tens of thousands of jobs. Name the Italian-American business giant, who was also responsible for the Ford Mustang.

15] Name the Italian car design firm and coachbuilder, headquartered in Cambiano, Turin, Italy, who, for 90 years, has been one of the world’s premier auto design companies.

16] Name the iconic Italian car company who, in 1950, began to race in Formula One, where its 225 Grand Prix wins and 16 world championships make it the most successful team in the series.

17] Can you name another prestigious Italian bicycle brands that cyclists hold in high regard? Like the Colnago bike model, its founder has been the charismatic leader who has become synonymous with his own brand.

18] John Philip Elkann is an Italian American industrialist born April 1, 1976. In 2008, he was the chosen heir of his grandfather Gianni Agnelli, and now chairs and controls what automaker?

19] An Italian premium car manufacturer founded on June 24, 1910 in Milan, Italy, this company won the first World Motor Racing Championship in 1925 and the first Formula One World Championship in 1950. Logo: red cross with green serpent.

20] The automobile company that bears his name was founded in 1909 in Molsheim, in the Alsace region of France. Name its Milan-born founder.


1] Pagani, 2] Vespa, 3] Sergio Marchionne, 4] Maserati, 95] Lancia,

6] Lamborghini, 7] Bianchi, 8] Lambretta, 9] Abarth, 10] Ducati, 11] Italjet,

12] Stelvio, 13] Duetto Spider, 14] Lee Iacocca, 15] Pininfarina,

16] Enzo Ferrari, 17] DeRosa Bicycles, 18] Fiat Chrysler, 19] Alfa Romeo,

20] Bugatti


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