Wanted WTB: 1974 or older without rust - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2019, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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WTB: 1974 or older without rust

Fellow Alfitsi!

Id like to take this time to thank all those who have helped me with advise and technical expertise when it comes to my 84 spider. Unfortunately Ive fallen victim to the same bug so many of you have, and the only antidote is more Alfas .

So Im looking for another spider!
My only requirements are that it is rust free and mostly complete. Looking for a green or red exterior. Run and drive would be great, project cars are totally acceptable in my book.

Thank you all!

-Dan
Berkeley, California.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 01:11 AM
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Hi Dan,

I took a look at this car about a month ago. It's a project car, but has the potential. https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/...861149484.html

The good: Body looked good and seemed to be accident free. Blue plate. Has some performance mods (per the owner). Tranny pretty good with minimal 2nd gear grind. I didn't notice any of the normal rust problems, but I didn't climb under the car.
The bad: Interior not too hot, but acceptable. Paint is fair, but you could put a nice shine with a buff. Front bumper missing turn signal lens on drivers side and center grille guard is bent. If I remember correctly, the back bumper was dented, though I could be wrong. Normal rubber seal deteriorating.
The ugly: My gut feeling is that this car wasn't maintained well. Also, it died on my test drive. Not once, not twice, but many, many times. So bad that I had to pull into a parking lot. The owner said it was from filling the gas tank while the engine was running. Looking under the hood, I think it was due to missed maintenance. Plan on spending money to get it back to running condition. The oil pressure light also turned on (flickered) as the car idled (when warm) and the gauge was at 1-2 lbs.

Other info. The seller was a former car salesman, so there's nothing wrong with the car. In that industry, it's up to the buyer to confirm everything. I was very disappointed when I saw the car. Mainly because I told the seller that I was driving from Pasadena and if the car was good, I'd give him cash and drive it home. He knew there was an engine problem and he had me drive all the way out to find out it's not a good running car. The other thing is that I asked him how many others have seen the car - it's been on and off CL for quite a while. He made up stories about the car being too much power for the buyer or other stuff. In person, he seems like a nice guy, but that car salesman bit about wasting my time because he couldn't be honest. Add to it, the low oil pressure and I decided that I don't need another engine rebuild project.

But, if you have the bug, the pre-smog Spiders are so much better to drive vs the Bosch cat cars like your '84.

And don't worry, I started with an '83 (Bosch cat car), then moved up to an '80 - don't buy an '80 or '81. I still have the '80 and I do drive it more than my others. Next came the '71 with dual Webers. Oh my, that's a car. Super cool with the old style seat belts, chrome mirrors, steel wheels, etc. Then just recently, I found a '74 with super low miles that needs paint, seat covers, floor pan plus some minor details. I may try to make it a "2" car, but I don't know if I want to invest that much.

Have fun and enjoy your Alfas. These motors are a little tricky to rebuild - it's not a small block Chevy! So if you need a rebuild, plan on $5-6K or so. The people on this site are awesome and they're here to help.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 04:24 PM
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I have the same bug. Bought a ‘87 then a ‘74. I am currently fixing the ‘74 to a 2+ level but for $15,500 I could let it go. Here are a few pictures. Not the colors you want but I really like the black. I bought it in Nov. for $13,500 drove it from San Diego to Harlingen TX. It currently is getting a rebuilt brake booster (new ones are cheaper but I want to keep the car original) a vintage Becker Europa II radio, and new diff and sump gaskets. Before me it was a 2 owner car that spent its entire life in San Diego. First owner had it for 6 yrs, second for 38 yrs. lots of maintenance records. I put on new CN36 tires for the drive from San Diego (look and ride fantastic). Lots more. Not one bit of rust at all. Engine good compression and drives great but 117k miles so maybe a top end rebuild in a few years to get best performance. You can probably find a car on bringatrailer.com closer and cheaper. Just thought I’d offer.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by autobroker View Post
Hi Dan,

I took a look at this car about a month ago. It's a project car, but has the potential. https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/...861149484.html

The good: Body looked good and seemed to be accident free. Blue plate. Has some performance mods (per the owner). Tranny pretty good with minimal 2nd gear grind. I didn't notice any of the normal rust problems, but I didn't climb under the car.
The bad: Interior not too hot, but acceptable. Paint is fair, but you could put a nice shine with a buff. Front bumper missing turn signal lens on drivers side and center grille guard is bent. If I remember correctly, the back bumper was dented, though I could be wrong. Normal rubber seal deteriorating.
The ugly: My gut feeling is that this car wasn't maintained well. Also, it died on my test drive. Not once, not twice, but many, many times. So bad that I had to pull into a parking lot. The owner said it was from filling the gas tank while the engine was running. Looking under the hood, I think it was due to missed maintenance. Plan on spending money to get it back to running condition. The oil pressure light also turned on (flickered) as the car idled (when warm) and the gauge was at 1-2 lbs.

Other info. The seller was a former car salesman, so there's nothing wrong with the car. In that industry, it's up to the buyer to confirm everything. I was very disappointed when I saw the car. Mainly because I told the seller that I was driving from Pasadena and if the car was good, I'd give him cash and drive it home. He knew there was an engine problem and he had me drive all the way out to find out it's not a good running car. The other thing is that I asked him how many others have seen the car - it's been on and off CL for quite a while. He made up stories about the car being too much power for the buyer or other stuff. In person, he seems like a nice guy, but that car salesman bit about wasting my time because he couldn't be honest. Add to it, the low oil pressure and I decided that I don't need another engine rebuild project.

But, if you have the bug, the pre-smog Spiders are so much better to drive vs the Bosch cat cars like your '84.

And don't worry, I started with an '83 (Bosch cat car), then moved up to an '80 - don't buy an '80 or '81. I still have the '80 and I do drive it more than my others. Next came the '71 with dual Webers. Oh my, that's a car. Super cool with the old style seat belts, chrome mirrors, steel wheels, etc. Then just recently, I found a '74 with super low miles that needs paint, seat covers, floor pan plus some minor details. I may try to make it a "2" car, but I don't know if I want to invest that much.

Have fun and enjoy your Alfas. These motors are a little tricky to rebuild - it's not a small block Chevy! So if you need a rebuild, plan on $5-6K or so. The people on this site are awesome and they're here to help.


Autobroker Im glad that I found a sponsor for my addiction . I think Ill avoid the wannabe car salesman, been there and done that with my 84 .

Theres a 79 near me that might be a good candidate for the older style bumper conversion. But from what Im hearing from you, that would only make it look like an older car but not drive like one (carburetors would be missing from the equation). Let me know if Im wrong, is there a difference between the 81-82 and a 79?

Im going to keep an ear to the ground and hope something pops up during the summer. My 84 drives beautifully and sounds amazing when its slightly cold outside.. I cant imagine an Alfa singing through the intake as well as the exhaust!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CohoQuad View Post
I have the same bug. Bought a 87 then a 74. I am currently fixing the 74 to a 2+ level but for $15,500 I could let it go. Here are a few pictures. Not the colors you want but I really like the black. I bought it in Nov. for $13,500 drove it from San Diego to Harlingen TX. It currently is getting a rebuilt brake booster (new ones are cheaper but I want to keep the car original) a vintage Becker Europa II radio, and new diff and sump gaskets. Before me it was a 2 owner car that spent its entire life in San Diego. First owner had it for 6 yrs, second for 38 yrs. lots of maintenance records. I put on new CN36 tires for the drive from San Diego (look and ride fantastic). Lots more. Not one bit of rust at all. Engine good compression and drives great but 117k miles so maybe a top end rebuild in a few years to get best performance. You can probably find a car on bringatrailer.com closer and cheaper. Just thought Id offer.


CohoQuad, first off thank you for offering! I wish I had the budget for a car like that. You have great taste!

BAT happens to be my favorite website, but unfortunately its no longer a secret. Lets see what gets posted in the coming weeks..
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 10:09 AM
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Whew. I think I would regret selling it. But at least now I can tell my wife I tried!

I also don’t “need” it because in MA we don’t need to smog cars 15 yrs or older so that opens up more options for a S2 then you CA folks and feel a bit guilty I took one out of state.

But there are lots of these around. I’m sure you will find a good one. I got mine off of Craigslist SD soon after losing an auction on BaT.

Good luck
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 05:24 PM
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I have this one still I know it is a long way away and its a 1976
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/alf...eo-spider.html
Since taking these pictures, I've added a set of 1974 bumpers (Stainless Steel), grill, new tires, driveshaft (u joints, guibo and support bearing), rear transmission mount and working on the rear suspension. If anything hope this keeps your spirits up there are some nice ones out there!!!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 06:43 PM
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That's a very nice looking '74 Alfa. Very nice! Hey, I like your P1800! Those are awesome cars! I think that guy who has one over 1M miles is still driving his.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-16-2019, 12:28 AM
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There’s a 79 near me that might be a good candidate for the older style bumper conversion. But from what I’m hearing from you, that would only make it look like an older car but not drive like one (carburetors would be missing from the equation). Let me know if I’m wrong, is there a difference between the 81-82 and a 79?

The 1975 and older cars don't need a smog test in CA. You're not "suppose to" modify the emissions, but if there's no smog test required, then how will they know you modified it? I guess you could tell the state that you shouldn't receive updated tags, because you removed a smog pump or cat.

The 1976 and up came with a catalytic converter, which adds back pressure to the exhaust. Back pressure blocks the flow of air out the exhaust. They also came with a belt driven smog pump. The system would pump air into the hot exhaust to complete the burn and reduce emissions. The power to run the pump comes from the engine, so it robs the engine of power. Great engines breathe well and the Alfa twin cam is one.

The 1980-81 Spider came with a single throttle body which fed air to each of the four intakes. The 1979 and older Spiders came with four throttle bodies (one for each cylinder). So, the air cleaner was mounted over the four throttle bodies and air was fed directly in each cylinder. The single throttle body cars had the air cleaner on the left side of the car. To get the clean air to the throttle body, a oval flat accordion style hose went across the engine, heat and all! So, with a longer route to get air in the cylinder, along with hot air and only one throttle body, the "breathing" of the engine was even worse.

The 1975 and older cars aren't choked off as much as the newer ones, hence they run better. My S2 cars, 1974 and 1971 cars drive so much better than my 1980. Personally, I like the dual Weber set up my '71 has, but the '74 pulls strong too.

Be patient and get the right car. If you need to do a bumper swap on a '75, you should consider it. Here's a few tips on purchasing a Spider.

1. Rust - try for a car with no rust holes, but most likely the car you find will have had repaired rust holes or they are there and you can't see them. A small hole in a floor pan is okay, but frame rust isn't good. Nor is rust so bad that jack points are missing or ready to fall off. And watch for the rockers.

2. Watch for a dented nose. A lot of cars have dented noses and the repair work wasn't too hot.

3. Bad rocker panels. Rusty rockers can be repaired, but usually there's a lot more rust behind them.

4. The synchro for 2nd gear is the weak spot on the tranny. If you feel/hear grinding, then the synchros are getting weak. Also, if it's hard to get the tranny into a gear, there could be damage to the gear. Typically, the synchros are worse when it's cold.

5. Oil pressure drop. The oil pressure should be at least 57 psi when the motor is cold. When it warms up, the oil pressure will most likely drop. If it gets too low, that means there wear on the engine (bearings).

6. Excessive fluid leaks. It's an Alfa, so it's going to leak. Just make sure it's not excessive - ruin your driveway bad.

7. Overheating/head gasket. The block and head a aluminum, so they can't take too much heat.

8. Suspension is loose.

9.. Transmission mount has bad rubber.

10. Make sure the top opens and closes well.

Happy hunting and I'll let you know if I see anything.
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