It was 1987, and nobody was thinking of making a business out of tuning performance cars, especially exotic ones like Alfa Romeos. Nobody, that is, apart from a young engineer with an appropriately (if entirely coincidental) Alfa-related name: Jano.
Jano Djelalian could not think of a more apt name for his new and blossoming company than ‘Autodelta’, after the illustrious Alfa Romeo Works Racing Team with development/engineering functions operating from the Sixties, called indeed ‘Autodelta’.
Originally, premises were small but enthusiasm was always big: Jano operated from a tidy, if modest workshop in Alperton, near Wembley. In the tuning business, it is the reputation that earns the customers, and soon Jano was doing routine maintenance as well as chipping and tweaking the Alfas of the day: the troublesome but iconic Alfasud as well as GTV6, Alfa 33, 75, 164, 155, Spider, and even the beautiful and rarer SZ Zagato Coupe’.
Tuning is all about pushing the boundaries without unfortunate consequences, and being supported by a growing following of loyal and enthusiastic customers. How to extract even more power from the standard Alfa engines? The answer centered around modifying pistons, valves, liners, exhaust manifolds, brakes, and finally boring out the engines. The results were always spectacular.
It was only a matter of time before the media’s attention was caught. Performance and handling are the main key points about owning and driving an Alfa Romeo. Writing for ‘Italian Cars’ back then, motoring journalist Roberto Giordanelli was moved to quip (in a very Clarkson-ish way) that “Autodelta has managed to turn the SZ from a thug into a terrorist.”
After the mechanical mods, came the visual changes. Calling upon his early design training, Jano set about to create a variety of body kits to address aerodynamic issues, as well as meant to look visually striking.
Personalising one’s Alfa is an appealing option which goes beyond the UK boundaries: both kits and engine modifications attracted the attention of owners in Europe and the rest of the world; a manufacturing division, ‘CreativeStudio’, was set up to interpret concepts, desires and requests, and to produce special parts. A detachable hardtop, Targa-style, was created for the Alfa Spider, the only one of its kind.
The original location became too tight for the pressure from the growing business; custom-made upgrades made to Jano’s exacting specifications were much in demand and the market expanded enough for Autodelta to appoint official agents throughout Europe and the Far East.
Inventory and warehousing of Autodelta products for both domestic and export markets, the need to accommodate sophisticated equipment for R&D, and the space and tools to carry out round-the-clock servicing and upgrades onsite meant that bigger premises were required. By 1997, Autodelta’s turnover had expanded at such a rate that it was necessary to transfer the business to the present, purpose-built headquarters in Park Royal. Autodelta is within easy access to motorways (M3, M4, M25 and M40) as well as mainline railway and London Underground stations and Heathrow airport. The Alfa Romeo hub boasts the perfect location.