Bob Berta alerted us to this news item: In an action that a local fire chief called “heroic,” Ralph Gilles, Fiat Chrysler’s Global Head of Design, used his Jeep Wrangler’s bumper to push a burning Ford Edge away from a crashed Ford Fiesta and its trapped occupants, having arrived first at the scene of what was to become a fatal car crash in suburban Detroit, local newspaper Oxford Leader reports.
After midnight last Sunday, a man in a Ford Edge traveling down a rural road in Addison Township, MI crossed into the oncoming lane, and struck a 2013 Ford Fiesta, which had two occupants inside. Fiat Chrysler’s head of design, Ralph Gilles, who was returning with his wife from an event, says he was the first person to the scene, arriving just after the initial crash as the Edge driver was exiting his vehicle. While moving his Jeep Wrangler to park somewhere safe, Gilles witnessed a second collision: a 1997 Buick LeSabre also crashed into the Fiesta, pushing the compact car close to the Ford Edge, which caught fire. Gilles pushed the burning Edge across the road, as the local paper Oxford Leader describes:
Seeing the “tall flames coming from the Edge’s engine compartment” and concerned the Fiesta, which was now touching the burning vehicle, would also catch fire while the couple was trapped inside, the quick-thinking Gilles used his Wrangler to “push the Edge to the opposite shoulder, away from the other two vehicles.” Gilles explained that he was lucky he was in something with a big bumper and four-wheel drive that night:“I still have no idea where that (thought) came from,” Gilles told this reporter. “The only thing I can remember thinking (is) I’ve got a Jeep, it’s got a bumper on it, I think I can do this. All I could think about were the two people still inside the other car.”…“I give the Jeep a lot of credit because had I been in my (Dodge) Challenger, I wouldn’t have had the traction to do it,” Gilles noted. “Luckily, we had the Jeep that night. I put it in four-wheel drive and it worked perfectly. ”The fire department was able to get the Fiesta’s two occupants out of the car, though one of the two—a 57 year-old woman from Goodrich—died after being taken to two hospitals. Her husband is in stable condition, the Buick driver sustained minor injuries, and the Edge driver also suffered minor injuries, the newspaper reports. The Edge driver has been put in jail, and the police deputy claims that he admitted to drinking. 
Jerry Morawski, the Addison Fire Chief, praised Gilles’ actions, saying “That guy did a pretty heroic thing… I think the guy did a great job… (If he hadn’t taken action,) it could have been worse.” Jalopnik has reached out to Gilles and will update if we hear from him. A deputy at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office speaking with Jalopnik did not know the names of everyone involved but did confirm that “an executive from Chrysler” was at the crash, and that his efforts were life-saving. “The two vehicles were connected and the elderly couple were trapped. They would have burned to death right at the scene. ”The deputy continued, “We’re quite proud of him.”

UPDATE: Ralph Gilles responded to our inquiry via email, saying:“I wish the woman involved who was clearly loved in the community based on mutual friends accounts, had survived.” He continued in another email, saying “I would also say… we should all think twice about driving impaired in any way.”  –

Note: Ralph Gilles is a longtime Alfa enthusiast, Alfa owner, and former AROC member.
Doris Gilles snapped a photo: (C:2018)

The latest compilation of the Alfa Romeo Source List created years ago by David Hammond and painstakingly researched and verified.

Click this link to be redirected to the Dropbox storage file

A sudden rush of events for winter days. The one needing your immediate attention is an invitation from the Michigan chapter of the Ferrari Club of America for AROC members to visit Brothers Custom Automotive, 10 AM to 1 PM on Saturday, January 27.  The address is 317 Park in Troy near the Clawson border, east of Livernois/Main St., south of Maple. Breakfast munchies and lunch will be provided. This is essentially a custom Autorama-type hot rod shop, but I’m certain the will be happy to fabricate small bumpers to hide the mounts on an Alfetta GT or any other part you might want. RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than Thursday, January 25.

Next we partner with FCA-Michigan again for “The Devil is in the Detailing” at Motor City Auto Spa on February 25, 1-3 PM in Royal Oak Matt Lifter, the owner, will discuss the ins and outs of detailing.  He will provide munchies and give away a detailing package. RSVP to Jim Pawlak at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than Thursday, February 22. The address is 901 W. Eleven Mile Rd. in Royal Oak, east of Woodward/west of Washington. Thank you to AROC and FCA member Lauren Mendelson for arranging the event.
I’d also like to have a group gather at the Detroit Institute of Arts for the Monet exhibit, just for its own sake. We’ll fly that past the board at the next meeting. Which brings us to our next topic: The AROC monthly meeting at Mi Zarape in Pontiac on Tuesday, January 30 at 7:30 PM.
Perhaps we can get Richard Davisson to open his shop for a tour this winter. Richard performs custom and restoration work only on Alfa Romeos. One of his cars even won at Autorama. Yes, hot rod Alfas as well as stock. He even built a GTAm replica and a fierce GTV for FCA design chief Ralph Gilles. The specs read more like a custom Hellcat, but it’s an Alfa Romeo. We’ll work on it if there is interest from members.

Besnik Engine Design Tour

Saturday March 24 10-Noon – Please RSVP to 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
by Thursday March 22; indicate if you will be having lunch, too. Pahsko Kalaj will show us how custom high-performance engines are built (e.g., 1,200 hp Nissan GTR)
Besnik Engine Design
It’s time to register for The Tail of the Dragon Tour, Located near Deals Gap on the North Carolina–Tennessee state line on US Route 129, the Tail runs from Tab Cat Creek to Deals Gap and has about 318 curves in its course to the Blue Ridge Parkway, hence the name Tail of the Dragon. A registration form is at  This tour will be all Alfas and Fiats, April 5-8. A link and info is on our Facebook page:
Also on our facebook page are links to a video of Driving a Stelvio on ice, an Alfa 6C rumor from “reliable” sources and Sergio Marchionne telling that he wants Alfa Romeo in IndyCar racing.
Don’t forget our Italian Happening Facebook page at
Hope to see you at several events,