An Interaction with Alfa Parts Exchange - Larry - Page 3 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #31 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 01:39 PM
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For what it's worth, I had a good experience ordering a small part from APE. I needed a reverse thread spindle nut. It was a bit pricey for just a nut (he has a $20 minimum), but APE was the only place in the U.S. that carried them. It was actually kind of fun to order from him. My street address has an unusual spelling and it started some amusing banter. The nut arrived promptly, and most importantly was the correct one.

1986 Spider Veloce Turbo
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post #32 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ossodiseppia View Post
You guys amaze me. This poor guy wants a hard to find part for his car. He calls THE source for hard to find stuff and has a horrible experience. My experience with APE and small parts is that there is a minimum fee for small stuff. 20 years ago it was something like $25.

It's really not fair for everyone to give the OP a hard time because he had a bad experience with someone at APE. He is just sharing his experience.

My last experience with someone there has made it my last experience with APE. I needed a bell housing, I called said exactly what I wanted and gave my credit card number, etc. Sr. called back for clarification and the part showed up some days later. It was full of cracks. I called back to get another and asked that it please be inspected before sending it. I got chewed out and told that these cars are 40 year old effing pieces of s**t. The conversation got worse. I was sent another un-inspected bell housing. How could I tell? It was covered in a thick layer of dirt and grease, just like the first one. I don't mind dirty parts, but I do mind parts that are not serviceable if I pay for one that is serviceable.

I prefer to do business with people who want my money. I consider myself reasonable and am willing to pay asking prices. I will not shop at APE ever again. I'd rather pay $200 for a small part from someone who appreciates my business than to have to put up with moody, burnt out employees and business owners.

I'll buy used parts from anyone other than APE.
I second that. Don't beat up the guy just because he simply wanted to forewarn anyone that this can happen. I'm sure his intentions were honorable. I appreciate a heads up for this sort of thing. Of course, I wouldn't shun Alfa Parts Exchange either. Please don't delete your post. It contains useful information.
Like others stated earlier, Larry probably had a bad day. Anyone can get annoyed or upset, that's understandable. Do I condone or support bad behavior on either side of the fence? Of course not but if and when this happens, just walk away for a while and then try again at another time.
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post #33 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 05:40 PM
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I have no problem with NorCal warning people that the Larrys are kooks. They ARE. They can also be disagreeable kooks. The first time I called Larry Sr, he told me I didn't know what year my car was, so he wasn't going to sell me the part I wanted. I had to send an email with a picture of my engine to prove it was in fact a 1750 and he grumblingly agreed to sell me what I wanted. . I also agree with DPeterson that sometimes you get uninspected used part. Finally, after I had done some business with Larry, I was able to order a particular part for a friend after Larry had refused to sell it to him for some obscure and impossible to understand reason.

The experience is a lot like trying to persuade a 9,000 year old dragon to give you a piece of his gold. Sometimes you get the gold but sometimes you get your head bitten off.

I will further state that I usually pay a little more for a new part from one of the usual suspects, er, suppliers rather than call APE.

Having said all that,I have reached the point where I can deal with the old curmudgeon, (I have a little less luck with the curmudgeon-in-training) and I actually kind of enjoy the adventure. The crotchety dragon has a lot of things that nobody else has and if you want one, well, let the games begin!

71 Spider
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post #34 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 06:03 PM
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Did any of you complainers have the pleasure of dealing with Tom Zat? Alfa Heaven was a great resource and I miss them but I never expected a "Have a nice day" from Tom.

Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
76 Suzuki GT500
2011 Jaguar XKR

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. - P.J. O'Rourke
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post #35 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ossodiseppia View Post
You're reading too much into someone's post, maybe mine. This has got nothing to do with ego and everything to do with being polite. Life is too short to put up with this kind of attitude from anyone.




Don't delete your post. It's a objective as you said.
"I guess you think this song's about you...."

Nope.

Don P
Carson City, NV

Past Alfas...
59 102 Touring (first Alfa $500 running)
65 Sprint GT (2nd Alfa, $500 daily driver)
102 Sprint (never did anything with it, but wish I had)
74 Berlina (first new car - now certainly rusted into oblivion)
61 Giulietta Spider G-Prod Race Car (where is it now?)
84 Spider Veloce (rarely drove it, so sold it)
86 Quadrifoglio (Dull car - no more 115s for me)
1971 Montreal "The Full Monty". Fair winds and following seas

Current Alfas
59 102 Touring Roadster - restoration complete, enough Alfa for any rational man. Or irrational, for that matter
Oops. Add to the "present" list, 10204 01488, 2000 Touring Roadster project

And past...
Two 1946 Stampe SV4C (c/n 294 "Rocinante" - wife's favorite airplane. RIP), and c/n 235 "La Bon Temps Femme" (gone to a new home, but never forgotten)
Zlin 50LA (+9 -6 gees, titanium spar, 1200 lbs, 260HP rumored to now be in Brazil)
1946 Luscombe 8A
Starduster Too (recently spotted at the Nevada City, CA airport - over 20 years and an entire continent separating it from our stewardship in Binghamton, NY)
1955 Cessna 170B (wife taught me to fly tailwheel in this)

And present...
64 Mooney M20E ("Rambo". My faithful steed for over 40 years) Over 55 years old, and just returned from a trip to Argentina in him
Newest in the fleet
1967 Piper Super Cub on Wipline amphibious floats (a true "all terrain vehicle")
2010 Triumph Thunderbird


You can snap roll an Alfa only one time...
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post #36 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 07:37 PM
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The title of this thread should be edited - delete "Avoid". Moderators?

Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
76 Suzuki GT500
2011 Jaguar XKR

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. - P.J. O'Rourke
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post #37 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 07:48 PM
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I don't think Norcal will mind a slight highjacking of this thread....

While we're on the subject of old, quirky Alfa dudes....does anyone remember the owner of Alfa Only in Glendale, CA?

He was a pleasant enough fellow, but what I remember most were his highly detailed yet inscrutable invoices. There were distinct letters that were consistently written and formed "words", but it was like reading a foreign alphabet like Klingon perhaps. I think he retired a few years back.

Hector
'91 Spider Veloce
'85 GTV6
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post #38 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 08:03 PM
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Larry Sr. is like Mister Rogers compared to the guys who have been hoarding antique boat parts for the last 50 plus years. I find Larry funny even when he goes on his rants.

I've learned over the years that when I call someone looking for used hard to find parts. Is to first introduce yourself. Ask how their doing today and how the weather is. I've found that this pretty much puts even the grumpy ones in a good mode. I think most of them deal with jerks most of the day and someone pleasant catches them off guard and puts them back into a pleasant mode.

Theres one guy I have to use for the really hard to find antique marine engine parts. When you call him up and ask if he has a part. He will say yes and give you a price. If you complain about the price he will hang up on you. When you call him back the price will have gone up about 150%. Which is a lot when most of these parts are in the hundreds of dollars.

So the best thing to do is take it all stride and go on with life.

1969 1750 Spider Veloce w/dual webers, 1969 1750 Berlina, 1971 1750 Spider Veloce w/ dual webers, 1985 Spider Veloce 23,000 orig. miles, {Two} 1986 Spider Veloces, 1987 Spider Veloce bought new, 1988 Quadrifoglio, 1991 164S, Plus several more. I think they are breeding.
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I just got 2 more. Now I have a Matta. I must be crazy.
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post #39 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 08:58 PM
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I love Larry and having chats with him. I am not 72 but also hate searching for cheap parts but since I am younger I do it. I'd hang out with Larry all day long. He is my type of guy and has my sense of humor which maybe you did not get! My suggestion is ask for larger more valuable parts, then ask for the cheap stuff, he will be more willing to throw those in and so will I. Burning this bridge may be a bad idea as all of us Alfa vendors offer something that the others may not.

APE is a great resource, all alfa guys are.
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post #40 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 09:19 PM
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I have two Milanos and would not be able to drive them unless without Larry's help. I do not think that there is anyone making parts for Milano cars. I purchased my 1988 Verde new from an Alfa dealer and have been buying parts since 1988. The problem is finding parts like exhaust manifolds, window mechanisms, brake boosters and many other parts that are now longer supplied. I have many used and new parts for both Milanos and still have to ask Larry for parts to keep my cars on the road. I have restored a number of Giulietta cars and finding parts is much easier because many vendors sell reproduction parts.
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post #41 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcal
So, I posted an objective review.
No, it was your personal opinion, not objective.

R.I.P. Alfa Romeo 1910 - 1986. 1987---> Badge engineering since then.
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post #42 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-19-2017, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by alfaparticle View Post
Did any of you complainers have the pleasure of dealing with Tom Zat? Alfa Heaven was a great resource and I miss them but I never expected a "Have a nice day" from Tom.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wutdhec View Post
I don't think Norcal will mind a slight highjacking of this thread....

While we're on the subject of old, quirky Alfa dudes....does anyone remember the owner of Alfa Only in Glendale, CA?

He was a pleasant enough fellow, but what I remember most were his highly detailed yet inscrutable invoices. There were distinct letters that were consistently written and formed "words", but it was like reading a foreign alphabet like Klingon perhaps. I think he retired a few years back.
Jeesh, guys. Please show some restraint and let this thread be about APE and the Larrys. Going down memory lane with anecdotes of suppliers not actively in business helps nobody in the Vendor Forum and should be posted elsewhere.

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Originally Posted by alfaparticle View Post
The title of this thread should be edited - delete "Avoid". Moderators?
First of all, I suggest to let the man have his opinion -- even if you don't agree with it (which happens to be the essence of free speech).

Secondly, as other have written, they use APE as last resort -- which is when the Larrys seem to become really helpful and bend over backwards to help owners keep or getting their cars running. Hence, I find the term "avoid" quite accurate: Avoiding them keeps the noise down for APE and owners whose cars are on life support -- i.e. don't interrupt trauma surgeons in their procedures when all you feel is a cold coming on.

-Ruedi
[SIZE="1"]'63 2600 Touring Spider (AR 191437, the car that started the 2000/2600 International Register, reassembly in progress)
ex-'65 2600 SZ (AR 856043, the car in my avatar, sold as resto project to Austria)
Maintainer of a private 2600 SZ register (not the one in the Netherlands).[/SIZE]
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post #43 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-20-2017, 07:01 AM
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Jeesh, guys. Please show some restraint and let this thread be about APE and the Larrys. Going down memory lane with anecdotes of suppliers not actively in business helps nobody in the Vendor Forum and should be posted elsewhere.
It is relevant because it represents a pattern of grumpy old Alfa experts. I could have also mentioned Al Cosentino or Fred DiMatteo (RTFM). Snowflakes beware!
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Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
76 Suzuki GT500
2011 Jaguar XKR

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. - P.J. O'Rourke
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post #44 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-20-2017, 08:11 AM
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In the spirit of vaguely on-thread digressions...

When I started my career in the imported auto parts business back in 1974, the relationship between the merchant and customer had not yet been "Walmartized".

If you bought a part and decided you did not want to keep it, there was a 10% - 25% restocking charge. It had to be uninstalled, in original and clean packaging, and typically brought back within a couple of weeks. No returns accepted on electrical parts or tools.

Special order parts had to be paid for in advance, plus inbound freight once determined, and returns were never accepted on these.

These policies were not to inflate our profits, they were to contain imbedded costs that would have to be added to future pricing levels. A DIYer who did not really have the knowledge or experience to correctly diagnose and plan his work should not result in increased costs for more professional repairers.

And then Walmart came along and reeducated the buying public. In a short amount of time, consumers came to believe that they had a Constitutional right to return anything and everything, without charge, in new or well-used condition.

From that time to now the small, highly specialized vendors have been replaced by much larger, highly automated, globally-connected merchants who have done a more modern job of catering to Walmartized buyers. In many cases, such as Walmart themselves, the cost of returns and warranties is actually charged back to the manufacturer. This was not possible back in the 70's through sometime around the end of the century. The world has evolved.

Except in the salvage yard business. They have no manufacturer backup. They have no computerized inventory control systems (at least few do), and in the case of Alfa parts, the market is so small that the fine line between the cost of acquiring and breaking apart dead cars, the cost of storing the components, and eventual sales must lead to a narrow path between solvency and evaporation.

I suggest an operation such as APE be viewed not through the Walmart-customer's eyes, but as though they were the only organ bank striving to have a kidney or liver on hand in the sudden and critical event you need a transplant to live.

Don P
Carson City, NV

Past Alfas...
59 102 Touring (first Alfa $500 running)
65 Sprint GT (2nd Alfa, $500 daily driver)
102 Sprint (never did anything with it, but wish I had)
74 Berlina (first new car - now certainly rusted into oblivion)
61 Giulietta Spider G-Prod Race Car (where is it now?)
84 Spider Veloce (rarely drove it, so sold it)
86 Quadrifoglio (Dull car - no more 115s for me)
1971 Montreal "The Full Monty". Fair winds and following seas

Current Alfas
59 102 Touring Roadster - restoration complete, enough Alfa for any rational man. Or irrational, for that matter
Oops. Add to the "present" list, 10204 01488, 2000 Touring Roadster project

And past...
Two 1946 Stampe SV4C (c/n 294 "Rocinante" - wife's favorite airplane. RIP), and c/n 235 "La Bon Temps Femme" (gone to a new home, but never forgotten)
Zlin 50LA (+9 -6 gees, titanium spar, 1200 lbs, 260HP rumored to now be in Brazil)
1946 Luscombe 8A
Starduster Too (recently spotted at the Nevada City, CA airport - over 20 years and an entire continent separating it from our stewardship in Binghamton, NY)
1955 Cessna 170B (wife taught me to fly tailwheel in this)

And present...
64 Mooney M20E ("Rambo". My faithful steed for over 40 years) Over 55 years old, and just returned from a trip to Argentina in him
Newest in the fleet
1967 Piper Super Cub on Wipline amphibious floats (a true "all terrain vehicle")
2010 Triumph Thunderbird


You can snap roll an Alfa only one time...
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post #45 of 67 (permalink) Old 07-20-2017, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim G View Post
Larry Sr. is like Mister Rogers compared to the guys who have been hoarding antique boat parts for the last 50 plus years. I find Larry funny even when he goes on his rants.

I've learned over the years that when I call someone looking for used hard to find parts. Is to first introduce yourself. Ask how their doing today and how the weather is. I've found that this pretty much puts even the grumpy ones in a good mode. I think most of them deal with jerks most of the day and someone pleasant catches them off guard and puts them back into a pleasant mode.
I second all of this. When looking for old car parts and odd services for old cars it's amazing how often you're dealing with someone who's angry at you for daring to bother them at their place of business to try to buy the product/service they're selling! I just try to be very laid back and friendly and get my business done with as little BS as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DPeterson3 View Post
I suggest an operation such as APE be viewed not through the Walmart-customer's eyes, but as though they were the only organ bank striving to have a kidney or liver on hand in the sudden and critical event you need a transplant to live.
Right, you could scour Ebay for months looking for a part or just call APE, maybe put up with a little BS, and get what you need.

Chris

1990 Spider Veloce
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