Looking at an Alfetta GT... - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Looking at an Alfetta GT...

Hi everone!

So, I am a long time lurker and theoretical Alfa enthusiast. I say theoretical in that I have never actually OWNED an Alfa before. However, I am looking to, potentially, get my first Alfa. There is an Alfetta GT that is quasi-local to me that I am considering, but I want to get a rough idea of what the experts on AlfaBB think about it before I make the drive down there. It is a 1977 model, running and driving, but needs cosmetic help. My main concerns are the small rust areas and the rather trashed interior. I know it is hard to tell from a CL ad, but I was hoping you guys could give me your gut feelings on how bad the rust really is and how hard it would be to fix. My goal for the car is basically to do a driver-level restoration. It won't be perfect by any means, but it will be a fun car to drive on weekends around SoCal. I want to do some mild performance enhancements, repaint it the original blue color, and get the interior mostly redone. Oh, and Euro bumpers. Gotta have Euro bumpers. So, based on the idea that the car runs and drives (and is smogged ), do you guys think it is a decent starter project for the asking price of $2500?

Thanks for any advice!

sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/cto/6043168087.html
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 07:42 AM
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This seller looks like a car flipper, so he probably doesn't know squat about it, nor cares as long as he can unload it for a profit. All the reason to be very very careful. Very rough interior and the rust will be expensive to repair (plus the rust that's covered up that you don't see), plus new paint.

The other costly question is the condition of the fuel injection system. Old worn-out injection pumps can leak fuel into the engine oil, yet actually run pretty well. However, a leaking FI pump downs the car because you don't want fuel mixing into the engine oil. Beware if it looks like it has a very fresh oil change. That could be an indication of trying to hide a leaking injection pump.

The cost to rebuild the injection pump and maybe the thermostatic actuator is almost $1400 alone, not including labor to take it off, put it back on, and tune it . . if you can find a mechanic locally that even knows how. That can make your $2500 car expensive in the extreme by the time you fix the rust, repaint it, and rebuild the injection pump, not to mention reupholstering the entire interior, replacing a dashboard that's in really bad shape, or any other mechanical problems . . . like bad syncros in the transmission and the already admitted to bad brake system.

Not trying to rain on the parade here, but as a first time Alfa owner, it's almost always better and much cheaper to buy a car in very good condition.

Read this guide on assessing the fuel injection system before you go look at the car.

Pre-Purchase Inspection of a SPICA Injected Alfa
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Last edited by Roadtrip; 03-17-2017 at 07:50 AM.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 08:20 AM
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Unless you can do the body work, like replacing rusted metal. I say pass on this one.
If final cost is important to you, I say pass on this one.
IF you have your heart set on this car and feel the Injection Pump is Ok, then verify that all the smog stuff is there (critical for us California residents):
  • air pump with a drive belt on it down on the passenger side
  • working catalytic perveter
  • I don't see an air injection manifold that feeds into the headers so I think the seller "cheated" on the smog certificate, it will not pass visual inspection when it is your time to smog the car.

No first you should look up and meet your local Alfa Romeo shop. You are going to spend a lot of time and $$$$$ there.

Good luck and let us follow your adventure. An Alfetta GT owner for over 25 years.

Paul Blankenship AROSC
76 Alfetta GT Time Trials and Wine Tours; 88 Milano - Daily Driver
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 11:22 AM
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My first ALFA was a blue 1977 Alfetta GT that I got in SoCal in 1981. After having a few Brit fun cars, this car convinced me that it was actually possible to have a fun car that didn't have electrical issues, leak oil, or leave you stranded. But, it was only 4 years old when I bought it. The one you have your eye on is now 40 years old. So, I won't comment on whether to buy this one.

As stated above, it's good to have a seasoned ALFA mechanic on your side. Not that ALFAs are mechanical disasters... just that they have enough quirky things going on, that you don't want to be paying a mechanic to find out the tricks the hard way! A little body panel rust is not that big a deal. But if you find rust around the shock towers under the hood, etc... you may have a parts car.

When it came time to replace my Alfetta, my only mild gripe was that it could use a little more HP. In steps the GTV6, with a sweet V6 replacing the 4 cylinder engine. If you are going to take the time to research ALFAs to buy, this opens up your options. In either case you'll find yourself spending a lot of time carving the curves on the Angeles Crest Highway near Pasadena. Either car is a total hoot in the twisties! Good luck in your search.

Peter
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys.

This is why I came here before I jumped in. I'll keep looking.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 12:29 PM
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Good call. Spend more up front for your first time. If you get the Alfa bug there will be more to come. Where are you located?

Paul Blankenship AROSC
76 Alfetta GT Time Trials and Wine Tours; 88 Milano - Daily Driver
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidewaysalfa View Post
Good call. Spend more up front for your first time. If you get the Alfa bug there will be more to come. Where are you located?
Thanks. Just a little north of you, in Ventura.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 12:57 PM
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Jiveslug--- So what are you comfortable doing in terms of working on your new Alfa? Mechanical and electrical work? How deep are you comfortable in doing that? Bodywork? Anything you definitely don't want to do, or are not equipped to do?

I ask this because we'd all like to see you have a good first-Alfa experience. I don't do bodywork, and I have very little experience with transmissions and differentials. But everything else... I'll tackle it, including interior and electrical stuff.

Sounds like you're wise to pass on this Alfetta, though.

alfaloco
Lexington, KY USA
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Anything mechanical and electrical, really. I'll also do interior work. I just don't have any experience with body work, nor do I have the tools. Hence why I am really scared of rust. There is a Berlina for sale in LA that interests me, but there is a rust hole below the windshield that has totally scared me off. The other issue is that my wife is refusing to go for a car that doesn't run. So yeah, I think a non-rusted, running vintage Alfa that seats 4 may not be doable on my budget. lol.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 01:10 PM
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Well... I'm not so sure about that statement! We bought my son's '86 GTV 6 back in 2014 for $4500, and it was a running driver, from New Mexico (no rust at all), with a cooked interior and some pretty nice upgrades. You ought to see it now, HOWEVER I'll admit we could never sell it now and make any money on it. It's a keeper, anyway...

And, an Alfetta would run you even less than a GTV 6 in the current market, I do believe. Why not post in the Classifieds section here, "WANTED", and look for a decent Alfetta you could drive and work on in the meanwhile? The Sport Sedan is a real 4 seater, and has the same chassis as the Alfetta coupe. You see those for sale from time to time.

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Lexington, KY USA
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Good call. I may go ahead and do a wanted ad.

Thanks.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 03:08 PM
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Start your research this Sunday

Sunday your local Alfa Romeo Club chapter is going out for lunch in Ojai. I'm positive they would be happy to meet you and talk your ear off. And you get a great drive on what looks like a great day. I suggest you meet them at the Bluffs and do the drive.
This is a great way to introduce the wife to other Alfa couples. You need to start doing your sales job now. This group is fun and always eager to welcome newbies.

Sunday, March 19 AROCCC – Caravan to Boccali’s for Lunch
Meet at 10:30 am, Carpinteria Bluffs
Exit 84 - Route 150 Ojai. We’ll have some time to chat before we head out to Boccali’s.
Southern group, meet us at Boccali’s at 11:45.  
Boccali’s - 3277 Ojai Ave., Ojai.
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76 Alfetta GT Time Trials and Wine Tours; 88 Milano - Daily Driver
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Cool, that would be fun. I will try to talk the wife into going. I think it may ACTUALLY be possible!
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 04:41 PM
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That CL ad now shows as: "This posting has been deleted by its author." which suggests that someone decided to buy it. I think I saw the ad a few days ago, and frankly it didn't look that bad to me (and I'm the guy who always talks people out of buying rusty cars!). For $2,500 and assuming it really did pass smog (see below), it could have been an OK first Alfa.

I would suggest that your scope of work is a bit ambitious: "I want to do some mild performance enhancements, repaint it the original blue color, and get the interior mostly redone. Oh, and Euro bumpers. Gotta have Euro bumpers." If the car has rust, you are better off driving it as a "beater" to cut your teeth on Alfa ownership, and then moving up to a cleaner car in a few years. It makes no sense to repaint a car unless the rust is completely cured. And curing a rusted Alfetta is a big job!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidewaysalfa
verify that all the smog stuff is there (critical for us California residents):
air pump with a drive belt on it down on the passenger side
working catalytic perveter
I don't see an air injection manifold that feeds into the headers so I think the seller "cheated" on the smog certificate, it will not pass visual inspection when it is your time to smog the car.
Given Paul's observations, maybe this one wasn't such a great deal. Without all of the smog equipment, the car couldn't have legitimately passed smog. That's the advantage of a pre-76 car like that silver Berlina - smog is a non-issue.

Jay Mackro
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Last edited by Alfajay; 03-17-2017 at 04:44 PM.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 05:48 PM
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The Sunday drive

If you decide to go to Boccalis on Sunday send me an email with your "real" name and what car you will drive. I will "warn" them to be on the lookout for you.
I might not make the Sunday deal because the above mentioned JAY has organized a drive way down in OC on Saturday for us So Cal chapter Alfisti. As you can see you are surrounded by Alfa Club chapters. Santa Barbara for the Central Calif chapter and Los Angeles area for the So Calif chapter.
Oh you are in for a treat at Boccalis if they have some of their strawberry shortcake. Worth drive just for that.

My email: sidewaysalfa at msn.com

Keep posting on your search for an Alfa. These threads are fun to follow.
And remember all the advice you get from us is worth every penny you pay for it!

Paul Blankenship AROSC
76 Alfetta GT Time Trials and Wine Tours; 88 Milano - Daily Driver
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