I've been running into Northern California Alfa restorer Conrad Stevenson pretty regularly- he's the Ecurie Ecrappe crew chief and a LeMons perpetrator, after all- but I'd never visited his shop… until now.
When you're done reading the descriptions attached to the images below, you can check out many, many more photos of the Conrad Stevenson Restorations shop by clicking this link (provided the Server Hamsters are in a good mood, of course).
One word: Whoa!
If you're a vintage Alfa Romeo racer, you probably know all about Conrad Stevenson Restorations. Conrad is the guy who built this 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 racer, which will be returning to Laguna Seca for the Historics next month. Image source: Concept Carz
Starting with a correct 6C chassis and engine, Conrad handcrafted the body from scratch on an English wheel. All the documentation on the 6C 2500 SS was destroyed during World War 2, so his main reference for the project was the tattered magazine page you see in this photo.
Naturally, the shop- which is a comfortably funky warren of buildings and shacks in a typical Bay Area industrial neighborhood- is packed to the rafters with all manner of Alfa components. Alfa Twin Cams are everywhere!
Most of the shop space was being taken up by customers' race cars (including a pair of mid-50s 1900s), since the clock is ticking for Monterey, but some of Conrad's personal rides were hanging around. How about a lightweight 280-horsepower turbocharged '65 Giulia wagon- which even hardened racers describe as "terrifyingly fast"- as your daily driver?
What self-respecting Alfa guy would use a primered-out Dodge Tradesman as his parts hauler? Not Conrad! Check out the huge cargo area of this mid-50s Romeo 2, a two-stroke front-wheel-drive diesel machine that was used as a San Francisco piano moving truck for most of its life. Conrad also has a '64 Ford Ranchero for those occasions that require a truck that can muster up more than 19 horsepower, yet still require an Italian-grade sense of style.
Here's a future parts hauler: a 1963 Fiat 600 Multipla, a lifelong California car still sporting its original black plates. Conrad mentioned that he's tempted to drop a large motorcycle engine in this little van, but he's already got the "big-block" 800cc Fiat Engine in mid-rebuild now.
Here's the car that gets Conrad instant entry into the not-so-exclusive Project Car Hell Poster Child club: a scratchbuilt, tube-frame, mid-engined, street-legal (in theory) supercar powered by the 2.6 liter DOHC V8 out of an Alfa Romeo Montreal. The transaxle comes from an Audi 5000. Conrad, for all his artistic metalworking genius, is a mechanical engineer by training, so most of his super-technical explanations of roll centers and suspension design went right over my head. The body will be made of hand-formed aluminum, of course, and the concept behind the styling will be, in Conrad's words, "What Italian designers of the 1930s would have built, had they had access to 21st-century materials and knowledge." I'm definitely going to keep a close watch on this project as it progresses (in fact, I've volunteered my not-so-skilled labor for it, in case Conrad needs some duct tape work, Pep Boys hood scoop application, etc.), so stay tuned for updates!
If you need to see photos of the CSR shop, just head over to the big ol' gallery page.