THE CAR AND ITS OWNER: 1966 Alfa Romeo roadster owned by Jeff Elson
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING: Pluck a battered and exhausted Alfa Romeo 2600 Spyder from the salvage yard, combine it with some hand-formed metal evoking the best Italian designers of the '50s and '60s and - voila! -- you have the recipe for Elson's striking one-of-a-kind red roadster. It's registered as a '66 Alfa, but only the 162-horsepower, dual-overhead-cam engine, transmission, rear axle and steering column actual come from that car. Just about everything else, including the aluminum body and tubular chassis, is the work of Missouri metal craftsman Steve Bonacker. "It took about 25 years for me to get started," Bonacker says. "I decided that I wanted a car with that late-fifties, early-sixties Italian sports car styling. I did not copy any particular car. I just used the styling elements I liked."
HOW LONG HE'S OWNED IT: Elson has owned the roadster since May 2015
WHERE HE FOUND IT: He bought it from Bonacker this year after reaching a "fair price." He first saw and tried to buy the finished car in Las Vegas in 2008 at the annual show of SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, a group of manufacturers and dealers dedicated to aftermarket and custom auto equipment.
CONDITION: "The car is perfect in every way," Elson says. "The workmanship is simply incredible and it's a great driver." At purchase, the Alfa had 10,000 miles on it. Elson took it to a Hicksville shop for a thorough inspection, enhancement of the exterior and interior, and an upgrade of the brakes.
TIPS FOR OWNERS: For collectors desiring a unique or low-production-run car, Elson advises finding one where parts are still readily available.
VALUE: Elson estimates his ride is worth $150,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE: "It is a one-of-a-kind car and truly an 'eye-stopper,'" he says. "People all stop and look" when he takes it to shows. "I never saw this before. They guess (the value is) one million dollars."