Car collections are a true passion project. In addition to hunting down the most desirable cars, their owners then devote plenty of time and energy keeping them well protected and in great condition.
Alan Greenhalgh’s collection is no exception. After moving to the UK from New Zealand, he reignited his interest in Alfa Romeos and now has several examples in his 6-car collection, including a stunning Giulia GTAm.
To find out a little more about him and the cars in his garage, we sat him down for a quick chat.
How did your car collection start?
It started with one car and then got out of hand! I’ve always been a car person, and I’m a lot better at buying cars than I am selling them. It’s probably my only vice… although my wife may disagree!
We – my wife and I – have therefore been trying to make sure that we’ve got a whole bunch of different cars so that we can experience all kinds of things.
We’ve got other things in the garage, but the collection is mainly Alfa Romeos. I think that I was born an Alfa person. I’m particularly interested in the GTA versions of the very high-end Alfas – I just want to experience driving as many of them as possible. So when we were lucky enough to have the option of collecting a few, it was just great.
What cars do you now have in your collection? Do you have any favourites?
I’ve tried to collect the limited-edition cars, the ones that are really difficult to get hold of. My current pride and joy is a Giulia GTAm. My latest addition is a very rare Alfa Romeo 8C Spider, which is a lovely thing. Those two are probably the ‘halo’ cars of the collection.
We’ve also got a couple of sports cars, including a classic Porsche 911, and I’ve got the original Alfa, a red 147 GTA, which I got new after moving to the UK. I can’t bear to sell it, although last year it spent the entire time in the garage, which was a bit of a waste. This year we’ve made an effort to use it a little bit more.
Do you have any cars on your wishlist?
For something else to come in, something would have to go! Despite that, we did try to buy a car last year, which was definitely on my wish list. Sadly, we missed out, which was disappointing. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to disclose which car it was!
However, we’re constantly talking to Alfa Romeo about what’s coming. Often they don’t tell us, but sometimes they do, so we’ve tried to have a close relationship with them. The process is often long – I waited for the GTAm for about 2-and-a-half years. Sometimes they are delayed, and sometimes there are pandemics that slow things up! So we try to listen out and get in front of as many people as we can. Alfa Romeo has been very good to us over the years.
What do you like to do with your car collection?
We use all the cars – I don’t think anyone dies thinking ‘I wish I’d driven that car less’! We want to experience them as much as we possibly can.
We’ve therefore been to lots of events. We took the GTAm to Italy last year, which was a real highlight, and this year we went to France for the Le Mans Classic. We’ve been to endless UK events too, including national meets, and we’ve done a few track days in a couple of the sports cars. One of the benefits of taking cars to shows is that we’ve had loads of people getting the opportunity to experience them, and a few kids have sat in them, which is great.
We’ve also done a few weekends away in the UK with the cars. We did a tour of Scotland in the Alfa 4C a few months ago, which was just fantastic. The only real problem we have is that some of the cars have really limited luggage space!
Do they take a lot of care?
It is probably fair to say that sometimes I buy a car and then suffer from buyer’s regret because I realise all the work that’s involved.
We have 6 cars and they all need MOTs and putting away for winter. They also need the right Car Insurance, which is impossible to do through a comparison site because we have very specific needs.
On a comparison website, the questions just aren’t relevant and there are all kinds of things that you worry about as a car collector that just don’t register with mainstream insurance companies. For instance, our cars are worth more than your average car which you use to get to the supermarket. This also means that we are a lot more invested in security and the conditions in which the cars are stored. We also drive fewer miles.
Why did you start working with Chris Knott for your Car Collector Insurance?
When we had one car, Car Insurance was easy. When we had two, it was semi easy. After that it got to be really, really difficult. It just became impossible to insure the cars using mainstream providers and we realised that we needed to use a broker.
We learned that Alfa Romeo Owners Club UK (AROC) had a relationship with Chris Knott Insurance, so we went with them.
We’re in our second year with Chris Knott now. The single biggest benefit is that they ‘get’ me as a customer. They have worked really hard to find an insurance provider that will give us what we need.
There is also a tremendous benefit in being able to have a single policy, where we can have some similar conditions on the cars. It means that we can have other people drive the cars, because a couple of times we’ve taken multiple vehicles to events and I can only drive one of them!
Being able to speak to people who have an appreciation for some of the difficulties you run into is really important and it’s just impossible to do that with a non-specialist.
Would you recommend Chris Knott Insurance?
Yes, I would recommend going through a broker and I would recommend Chris Knott Insurance. I really like the fact that because I got the insurance through AROC that there is money coming back to the club. That makes me feel good about it.
I also like the fact that I know the person I’m dealing with and that they are always thinking about the next renewal and what tweaks we will need to make. It’s really important that we find every opportunity to make sure that the cover is right. I don’t want the cheapest insurance – I want the right policy. We’ve got a bunch of money tied up in this hobby and we need to make sure we’re properly protected.
Talk to us about Car Collector Insurance
If you have a car collection featuring at least one classic or specialist vehicle, get in touch with our knowledgeable team. We’ll work with you to make sure you get the right cover put in place.
And, if you’re a member of a car club, you could get a preferential rate along with some money back to your club.
Call us on 0800 917 2274 now to find out more.