'Originality' in 750/101 cars - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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'Originality' in 750/101 cars

I decided to start this thread separately from the 'engine compartments only' thread which has been hijacked for all sorts of other reasons.

Quoting well known celebrity forum member replying to me in that thread.....

'Tim, If you are looking at 750/101 cars ..as a group it would be like looking at a crowd in St. Peter's Square and asking why they aren't all wearing papal red. Sorry you have to be very specific to the year, type, and model before you depend on pictures for guidance.. and then you have to used some written and published references in addition to be more specific and even then you might be close but not 100% correct.. but certainly have a basis to do what you do.'

Why is it that people seem to be so down on 'originality'? Another member has been called a 'snob' for suggesting that originality is important, and also that originality is 'dull and boring'. Well that's one way of thinking and that's fine if chroming your engine is your thing. You're welcome to do that, but you should also accept that there are some merits in attempting to return our cars to something close to originality however vague that concept may be.

You can call me all the names you like but there are plenty of people reading this forum for exactly that reason - to attain a reasonable level of original appearance for their cars. I'm perfectly aware that there were many variations coming out of the factory so it's not an exact science, but if you had a Porsche 356, which I had for 24 years, you could buy Brett Johnson's 'Porsche 356 - A guide to authenticity', or 'Original Porsche 356' by Lawrence Meredith, and get more information in detail about those cars in a couple of hours reading than you could get about our 750/101 cars in several days of trolling through Alfa forums. There is no similar resource for our cars, so this forum is very important, and accurate information is what many of us are after.

If you had the choice of buying two Giulietta spiders - one a completely untouched two owner car with a full history, the other with a fully chromed 2 litre engine, wide wheels, flared arches and bucket seats, which would you rather have. I don't think I would be wrong in assuming that the majority of us would go for the former, however 'dull and boring' that choice is!
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 01:58 AM
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"... you could buy Brett Johnson's 'Porsche 356 - A guide to authenticity', or 'Original Porsche 356' by Lawrence Meredith, and get more information in detail about those cars in a couple of hours reading than you could get about our 750/101 cars in several days of trolling through Alfa forums"

I, too, had a Porsche 356, a Carrera 2 cabriolet - all the bells and whistles, 4 cam engine etc. - and whilst in a garage an anorak observed it had the wrong slotted hexagonal bolts securing the engine fan....

Germans build Porsches Italians don`t.

Richard

Last edited by richards; 08-24-2016 at 02:00 AM. Reason: delete word repetition
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks.... I'll add 'anoraks' to 'dull and boring'
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 04:20 AM
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I like your message, Tim. Sadly, 750-101 Alfas have not been as valued as 356 Porsches, though they deserve to be. The problem, as I see it, is that Alfa did not develop its product as well as Porsche, leading to a gradual tarnishing of the brand image. Secondarily, the Giulietta does not have the robust feel of the 356 and it rolls too much in cornering. But the original Giulietta was a gem of a car. When Italy's labor and political problems began to affect Alfa (and every other Italian manufacturer) in the 1960s, quality and product development deteriorated.

As for Italian vs. German manufacturing, I believe that Alfa was as systematic as Porsche, in the 1950s and early 1960s. The parts catalogue is as well organized as that of Porsche and better illustrated to boot. The model changes are well documented there and, I believe, reliable. Random variations are mostly due to neglectful service, not to lack of discipline at Pininfarina or Alfa. Alfa quality, particularly the Pininfarina contribution, was very good, though not up to Porsche levels. Bertone, well, that's another matter altogether. I guess that Hoffman didn't import the Sprint, at first, simply because he didn't like Bertone's execution. For my part, I cannot get past the miserable arrangement of the door hinges on Bertone bodied Alfas.

So, I agree with you that 750 cars deserve more attention by way of originality and that it's not okay to resign oneself to the belief that the cars were built haphazardly.

Our member, Tony S, has done a wonderful job photographing some original details on my Spider. I would be happy to post them for all, with Tony's permission, if there is some facility for doing so on this website. Suggestions are welcome.

P.S. Information on what is original to 356s is not 100% reliable, either. But the efforts to figure out what is original, in that community of enthusiasts, are impressive.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. Voltaire

Last edited by Tom F2; 08-24-2016 at 04:30 AM.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 06:12 AM
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Really........

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If you had the choice of buying two Giulietta spiders - one a completely untouched two owner car with a full history, the other with a fully chromed 2 litre engine, wide wheels, flared arches and bucket seats, which would you rather have. I don't think I would be wrong in assuming that the majority of us would go for the former, however 'dull and boring' that choice is!
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 07:12 AM
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The perfect is the enemy of the good. Voltaire
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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Richard, you kind of made my point there!
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 08:20 AM
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I have associated with Giulietta cars since 1959 and have driven them since 1968. I know that very few Giulietta owners thought about originality in those times and many parts were replaced when the old parts wore out. I knew that I was going to restore my 1961 SV and purchased NOS parts from Alfa Romeo, Inc. The cars have now risen in value and owners want to restore their cars to original factory condition. I know that there were many changes to 750/101 vehicles and have seen many transition cars. The problem with restoring any old car is finding parts. I think that it someone could write a book about Giulietta cars and give owners information original construction, but I have relied upon the Giulietta parts book and speaking to Alfa restoration people. I also have a one owner 1961 SV for reference as well as other owners who have one owner cars.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 09:46 AM
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As there seem to be diametrically different interests here, can´t we divide this Giulietta & Giulia (1954-1965) section in two halves, one for those liking originality and the other for the crowd wishing knocking them selfs out over rebuilding 750-101 cars to fantasy creations with V8 engines, combine harvester engines, Abrams tank engine and you name it.......?

Dennis
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 09:52 AM
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Whilst considering this thread, it is important to include in the thought process that a car is a combination of the aesthetic and practical – a beautiful way of getting from A to B.
How close to originality? A 50 year old car wont ever be original again, even if its untouched - but there is a right way, a right way and a wrong way - each to his own but don’t come crying when you realise that you have destroyed its value because there is a wrong way! A right way would be not to mess with it at all – its called patina and it can be achingly lovely. The other right way is rebuild it back to ‘factory’ – but you lose the record of the life, and possibly the urge to use it properly. How balanced it is in the wet!

The decision of ‘which right is right’ can be a real dilemma and can seemingly lead to such schizophrenic results as the Villa d’Este preservation award winning SZ – on one hand a tragic loss of originality – on the other…A good laugh before its finished!

Alan Clark MP (a fellow petrolhead (he of free car tax for pre 74 classics in the UK) was a lover and promulgator of utter originality to the extent that he drove scruffy old cars and never wanted to destroy the originality and ‘integrity’ by rebuilding the engine etc. I can understand that others would call it scruffy where I would call it patinated, but not to believe that a rebuilt (to stock) engine would be just as good as the original just makes me think he never found a good engine builder. A 50 year old car that has never been touched by the hand of a rebuilder or sprayer might be deemed to be original Mr Clark, but it probably drives like a dog.

Given a year or two out of the showroom and a sound thrashing and it will never be original again, a point that Mr Clark missed. ‘Returning’ to original is fine but don’t get carried away and don’t let it stop you enjoying the true pleasure of driving it (hard!) There is a necessity to replace worn out parts, but to uprate and embellish?

I raced an MGB and uprated everything. It was bloody quick but it took driving my cousins stock road car for me to realise how nasty mine was on the road – the original or ‘standard spec’ one was a joy.

My son whacked fat alloys onto his lowered hatch – style over function, it was vile to drive but it gave him ‘club entry’ which was his goal. I think it takes a lot to improve on an unsullied factory offering – the engineers (although mostly tied by the bean counters) knew what they were doing and to a price, produced a fine balanced car - but my son would have called that ‘boring’ too. You learn by your mistakes.

Uprate the engine and you would be wrong not to consider the brakes and probably the suspension etc etc to keep it ‘all of a one’. But mess with the bodywork? Do you understand automotive design better than Bertone, Pininfarina, Zagato? – Have to say I love the smooth flowing, uncluttered lines of a de-bumpered classic though – and truth be known, the designer was probably tied by a certain level of factory enforced pragmatism against ideals. But mess with the integrity of an Italian designed beauty at your peril! You might be able to live with the name calling and the hit in value, but really, why not just get a kit car!?

Racers – your barbarism can be forgiven – a bit – as you have a different set of goals and its great to see them on the track – but hot-rodding a sports car? Hmmm!

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 11:30 AM
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The Argument Between Those That Want To Modify Their Cars And Those That Want To Keep Them "factory original" Has Been Going On Since These Cars Were New. And Of Course There Are Disagreements Between Those That Modify On Just How Far To Go. Personally, I Like Modified Cars That Look Original But Drive Much Better (brakes, suspension, larger displacement alfa motor, etc.). Attached (not my car) Is A Current Ebay Listing That Most Everyone Would Agree Has Crossed The Line (especially if it is indeed a 750 veloce). Now That The Damage Is Already Done I Think It Would Be A Cool Project To Make It Look More Original (the ultimate sleeper).

-John

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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 02:07 PM
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Racers – your barbarism can be forgiven – a bit – as you have a different set of goals and its great to see them on the track – but hot-rodding a sports car? Hmmm!
I think in particular this "hot-rod" is correctly done with applicable engine. Not just another pretty face. Build of the Montreal powered "Coupe" is at:
http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spid...nt-effort.html
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 08:35 AM
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Thanks RJ for your comments and link to your Spider thread which is fascinating, and your engineering ability completely enviable.
Not planning on a strategic backtrack on this – but the work that you have put in to your Spider and the quality of the results that you have achieved are an indication of what can be achieved. And it gets many extra points for being driven by an Alfa lump rather than a small block.

Broadly I saw this as a 101 750 thread. Your Giulietta is a race car (by the look of it), so for me its cool. It may come to pass that a 70’s Spider will/should be treated with the same reverence as a 50’s car. It appears that throughout history, as just an ‘old car’ with a relatively low value, modification to any level was acceptable. Its good that many cars make it through to ‘valued classic’ unmolested, so they can be sympathetically upgraded. A Ford saloon is unlikely to – probably a result of high production numbers. Personally I don’t get the visual treatment of your Spider, I guess that the majority here wouldn’t, but so what – it really is each to their own.

Although I can imagine faces reddening right now, I actually love the treatment of this Sprint. It is sympathetic to the original. As a concept it could have almost been factory modified (with the exception of the wheels). I’m glad it lives - but I wont be doing it to mine.

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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 09:00 AM
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Here is the Sprint which I'm referring to
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealbushman View Post
Here is the Sprint which I'm referring to
There was a discussion/thread here on ALFABB on this subject and among others why this Sprint wound up in this shape (poor condition and emptied on original parts) and unfortunately after an engine failure (or what it was) the builder stopped posting any more.

Dennis
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