FIAT gets a roommate . . . a seductive little Italian number that's turning heads at 5700 San Mateo, NE in Albuquerque

May 01, 2016 1012

That's where Fiat of Albuquerque will now share its showroom with Italy's legendary, high-performance line of Alfa Romeo cars. Pat Melloy is all smiles as he shows off the 4C Coupe that arrived last month just after the ink dried on his New Mexico Alfa Romeo dealership agreement. Fiat of Albuquerque, and now Alfa Romeo of Albuquerque, are part of the Melloy Auto Group, a family-owned and operated business in New Mexico since 1959. Pat became the Melloy family's Italian Car Guy during a trip to Italy where he had the opportunity to observe Italy's iconic Fiat cars in action on their home turf. He liked their fuel efficiency, the way they handled, and their Italian craftsmanship and design. He had a hunch that the cute, classy and economical Fiat could win hearts in the Land of Enchantment.

So, when the Italian automaker announced that the Fiat 500 was coming to the US, Pat was first in line to apply for the New Mexico dealership. Late in 2012 his hunch became reality, as Fiat of Albuquerque scrambled to keep enough inventory to meet demand. "That was right at the time when fuel prices were sky high," says Pat. "We just couldn't keep enough cars on the lot. Fiat's fuel economy was a major attraction."

Will that history of high demand/limited supply repeat itself with the Alfa Romeo? Pat laughs. "Not a chance. The 4C Coupe and the Spider (coming soon) are not your everyday cars. They're two-seater turbocharged sports cars. The 4C is capable of going from zero to 60 in 4.1 seconds with a top speed of 160 mph. It's the car that you take out for fun on the weekend, and then put back in the garage. It's not the car you take grocery shopping." There is, in fact, no storage space in the 4C Coupe. Groceries are not an option. It's a car for a niche market of sports car enthusiasts, Pat explains. And those enthusiasts will not necessarily be Italian Americans. Instead they'll be collectors and car buffs who covet the Alfa's world-class Italian craftsmanship and crave a high-powered, exotic driving experience – like members of the Alfa Owners Club of New Mexico, for example, who were some of the first to welcome Alfa Romeo of Albuquerque and to pay a visit to the Basalt Grey Metallic 4C Coupe on display out front. Prices for the 4C start at around $55,000. That grey beauty sells for $73,000.

But even if you're not in the market for an Alfa, a social visit to Alfa Romeo of Albuquerque is well worth your while just to witness a slice of Automotive Italy in New Mexico. See scores of colorful Fiats lining the lot. Feast your eyes on the 4C. Then duck into the showroom for a gander at a 1970s vintage Alfa Spider. And maybe you'll run into Italian Car Guy, Pat Melloy, who is obviously having fun bringing a share of Italian culture to New Mexico, sitting on the board of Italian Festivals of New Mexico, and making new friends and happy customers in the Italian community.

Source: Italy in New Mexico

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