If you know of Dorian Valenzuela, then you’re probably familiar with this car. The Beige 1970 Alfa Romeo Giulia is Dorian’s Magnum Opus, a defining build that points to his attention to detail and respect for perfection, while also giving a window into Dorian’s vision for classic European automobiles. Dorian’s love for the Italian marque started at a young age, and the unique brick shape of the Giulia sedan was quick to enrapture. The four-door layout and wind-tunnel-sculpted lines planted roots that would flourish for years as Dorian went on to study transportation design and follow the path through internships. Eventually, a chance encounter on a hunt for 964 led to a position at the renowned Singer Vehicle Design. Known for the complete and thorough restoration and reimagining of Porsches 911, it’s understandable why his appreciation for the artistry of automotive builds further grew in his time at Singer. The little beige Alfa Romeo stands as a testament to the knowledge and vision that Dorian gathered along the way, and right down to the details, the build showcases his abilities as a portfolio on wheels.
In 2011, Dorian stood outside Folsom, California, signing over the paperwork for his newest acquisition: a 1970 Giulia 1300ti. The panels were dusted in primer and the old engine had seen better days, but Dorian looked past it and focused on the pleasure of driving the Italian sportscar that he had always dreamt of. Once at home in his driveway, a small oil leak at the front crank seal continued to nag at him. With the engine pulled, the well-intentioned plan to simply replace the gasket gave way to the undeniable tug that threatens so many of our car builds. Before he knew it, Dorian had the engine apart for a rebuild.
As they usually do, his dreams for the build rapidly escalated once given their freedom. The car once meant to serve as a simple, enjoyable driver was now destined for a canyon carving rally overhaul. Opting for a 2000cc engine, Dorian upped the compression with CP pistons that are pushed by Carrillo rods. A Sperry Stage 4 Cylinder Head opened up the airways to allow the pair of Weber 45DCOE14s to breathe freely and growl in fury under acceleration. A 123 Distributor was put in place to ensure that each stroke would have a proper spark to unleash the new and improved power of the blueprinted 2-Liter.
In common fashion, Dorian’s meticulous nature meant that the engine rebuild was pristine upon completion. With parts thoroughly cleaned and coated in new finishes, it just seemed unfair to bolt the new power plant into a messy engine bay. So, just like that, the snowball continued it’s rapid descent and Dorian began steps to clean up the engine bay. Deleting the small, unnecessary bits, Dorian sought to simplify the engine bay and frame the beautiful engine in freshly painted panels. The Giulia took to the streets in its new guise as a primer covered sleeper that harnessed a sparkling clean engine bay and a 2-liter performance engine under the hood.
After a stint as the local sleeper on the streets, it was time to address the shoddy bodywork and rust that lurked below the layers of primer. The final step in the revitalization began as a new coat of paint that allowed the boxy Giulia to finally shine once again. The side reflectors were removed to clean up the quarter panels, and the bumpers were left off to mimic race cars of the era. New carpet and door cards ensured that the finished look continued into the interior. A pair of classic bucket seats and a set of harnesses ensured that Dorian could remain planted, tossing the Alfa through the canyons with a flick of the vintage MOMO wheel. Continuing under the car, Dorian began addressing the cars prowess in the mountain roads. Alfaholics supplied many of the parts as Dorian stiffened up the suspension and began improving. Heim joints sacrificed comfort in the name of removing excess play and the front spring perches were modified to accept the common 2.25″ springs that are available. Koni Dampers compliment the stiffer spring rates while Dorian worked his magic on the front suspension geometry to correct the roll center after lowering the car. Dorian dug into the offerings of old Alfas for the brake upgrades. A Milano donated a pair of aluminum Brembos for the front while a late-model Spider supplied the rear brakes. A 4.10 limited slip makes sure the sticky tires get a proper workout and the fresh suspension is now put through its paces in the mountains of Southern California.
The little Giulia started as a tired project car in need of love and eventually became the perfect canvas for Dorian to exercise his talents, transforming it into the Beige sports car that so many have come to love. With the completion of his vision, Dorian felt an urge to continue down the path, utilizing his abilities to build similar cars for friends and customers. So, in June of 2015, Dorian rolled up the garage doors to open DV Mechanics in Montebello, California. With old Porsches and Alfa Romeos lining the shop walls, ranging from street cars to race and rally cars, Dorian caters to the European Sportscar niche that we’re all undoubtedly enamored with. In a clean back room, Dorian focuses on engine rebuilds and hones his gift at automotive wiring, while out in the shop space, the lift is often occupied by a race car in for preparations, or one of the local cars being sorted after the rallies that carve through California’s countryside.
In just two short years, Dorian has amassed a collection of tools and machines that leave me jealous with every visit, and have increased DV Mechanics’s services even further. Custom mounts and suspension bits are carved out and sculpted on the workbench as Dorian acts to keep the old 60s and 70s sports cars running better than ever. I’m excited to peak my head in whenever I’m in town to see what new creation is underway in the DV Mechanics garage, and with his personal Giulia build as a shining example of the possibilities, I remain eager to see what cars roll out of the shop doors in the coming years.