The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

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The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

Post by SimcaBertone66 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:33 am

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Re: The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

Post by friedman » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:50 am

I think Al had a lot of snakes in his head and this photo kind of represents what the poor guy's mental situation was.
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Re: The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

Post by rridge » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:14 pm

That's a great picture. His life with cars reminds us that the ability to work with people, command technical detail, and be a successful competitor on the track are independent variables. They can rarely be found as a complete package in anyone. Al was just an extreme example of that fact. I'm sure that the people who managed to wade through his distrust, biases and generally loose connections to the world around him found the journey very rewarding. For Abarth racers with less patience there was John Rich Motors.

What I can recall from the few times I saw him race an Abarth 1000 in D sedan at SCCA regional races was that his cars ran like a sewing machine, he had little competition, and yet when he was handed the checkered flag he looked like he had just won the Sebring 12hrs.

Here's a link to a story on him that R&T ran after his death. The picture of him standing next to an X1/9 prototype bears a striking resemblance to a younger Carl Friedman. The car not so much.
http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture ... rth-tuner/
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Re: The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

Post by mark » Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:47 pm

I hung out with AL a lot in the early Nineties as he lived near by and coerced me into helping him on a regular basis. Man, do I have stories to tell. Like the time we drove his 037 to a local charity car show and he refused to remove the red satin car cover from it because "no one there was worthy to lay eyes on it". Oh, and he rolled someone else's car out into the drive aisle and parked the 037 in its place. Yeah, that was an interesting day.
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Re: The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

Post by friedman » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:26 am

The picture of him standing next to an X1/9 prototype bears a striking resemblance to a younger Carl Friedman.

Nothing like scrawny guys in funky shorts and tall black socks............yes, I used to look like that too.
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Re: The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

Post by bartigue » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:27 am

I read the article last night and think they nailed what I remember of Al. I first started working on FIATs in the mid 1990s and tried unsuccessfully to buy things from Al on a few occasions. I recall trying to purchase one of his exhausts in 1998 and he wanted me to mail cash in an envelope (I didn't) and in another we never got to where I could place the order, he went on a rant about how dumb it was to restore a FIAT. He must have been magnificently wealthy to overcome his ability to insult people trying to give him money.

Over the years, and the article speaks to it, his website and ramblings reflected a hatred of seemingly everything and everyone except himself. People describe him as a "character" but I don't see it. Characters are generally quirky, likable folk. I think Al was tolerated because, for a time, he sold unique parts that made engines perform better. Once the market expanded and other vendors were producing similar parts without the hate-incensed oddities, he faded away.
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Re: The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

Post by SimcaBertone66 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:49 am

As a retired Mental Health professional I could probably come up with a host of symptoms right from the DSM 5, but in few words He was a FN nut job(a Bronx diagnosis)... sad that his mental illness probably caused him more pain than he ever inflicted on others. Proud that he once hung up the phone on me when I mentioned Joe Serra's name, gave me great advice, "you want to go faster in a Fiat, rev it a 1000 rpm's higher" and sold me, in my opinion, the best 124 TC tube header I have had on my car. It was a French Devil unit. Still floating around out there , having donated it to Shaun Folkerts a couple years ago. RIP Al, you crazy bastard
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Re: The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

Post by friedman » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:38 am

That about sums it up.

This thread did bring up two long lost names, Rich Motors and Serra. My only involvement with either was getting a Rich Motors catalog back in the late 60s (unlike FAZA it was a slick full color catalog) and I went to Serra a few times while visiting my in-laws in NY.
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Re: The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

Post by SimcaBertone66 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:26 pm

The IDF's you got from me were originally obtained from his son Anthony in like 1990. His dad was away in Italy at the time, and the Anthony and Rich ran the shop. The manifold that went with the carbs was replaced by one from PBS , which you now own as well. Joe Serra was a difficult dude at best, see a pattern here with cray cray Italians dealing in Fiats..lol If Serra 'liked" you, you did ok dealing with him. Same could be said about Al I suppose
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Re: The late great(slightly insane) Al Cosentino

Post by abarth » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:54 pm

I have only spoken with him by phone. A year or two before he died I tried to give him an Abarth sign that I got when the Fiat dealership I worked at part time gave me. I received the sign brand new in the crate because the dealership never installed it.

Abarth Concessionario it reads and is a 3 dimensional illuminated piece that had 2 faces. I offered him one side and I would send it to him free.

After an hour on the phone I could not get the address to send it to, he just rambled on.
with one of his usual rants. It was a pleasure nonetheless.
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