About to purchase a 1991 Spider, need advice - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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About to purchase a 1991 Spider, need advice

Hello all,

As the title says, I'm about to purchase/trade for a 1991 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce. Has around 88,000 miles and was last purchased in Chicago and then moved out to the West coast. I have some pictures of the car on a lift and I am hoping someone could give me an opinion on how the undercarriage looks? Is this "normal" rust and wear or is it something to run as far and fast away as I can? I'm a Porsche guy and I can tell on them what is good, acceptable, or just plain terrifying. Alfas? Not so much. Certainly will appreciate any help and advice!

Thanks, Jasper
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 09:48 PM
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About to purchase a 1991 Spider, need advice

This isnít a California car thatís for sure..

I donít see anything scary, but the suspension components are definitely going to be hard to replace given the amount of rust in those areas.

Are you paying/trading on the low end ($2000-$6000)
Or the higher end? $9000+?

Spare tire well looks ok!

Did you inspect the rockers? Are they solid?
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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High end. I have a low mile, original owner, full docs, 1984 944 in excellent condition. Love the car and the handling in the twisties is sublime. However, I was on the hunt for a convertible(450SL) when I came across the 944 and I picked it up as it was too good to pass on. I'm still desiring a convertible and while I'd prefer an S2 or S3 spider, the S4 models have a lot going for them. The rest of the Veloce is great looking and but it does needs new motor mounts.

Speaking of motor mounts and their replacement, I was going through the forum looking for information on repairs and the Alfas seem "simple" to work on compared to Porsches. Almost as if there is some amount of common sense involved. Almost. I think the engineers in Stuttgart might be sadists who enjoy looking at any part on an engine or transmission and asking themselves "How can we make this task as overtly complex as possible and can we then make it even more complex from that point?"

Missed your comment on the rocker panels. I haven't actually seen the car in person. That takes place on Sunday (21st)

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 10:36 PM
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Rust doesn't seem to be excessive or too bad. Looks like a solid chassis to me.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 12:33 AM
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motor mount replacement is not difficult but it takes time and the passenger side is a pita, because of all the intake stuff.
I'd say transmission mount and those exhaust hanger mounts need replacement...a lot of oil on the transmission (which could be a simple fix, like the gear shift bellows, or a costly fix, like rear crank seal)

I agree a lot of suspension componants have very rusty bolts, rusty spring pans, rusty springs the car has not been in a dry climate.....(but it looks like new rear shocks, as those bolts are shiney new)

new centre and rear muffler (with an amateurish welding job for the chrome tip!).

Overspray visible front and rear....has it had new paint? or some accident damage repair?
Interior stuff is expensive, are the seats good? (the leather/alcantara seat covers are expensive, like 1300 bucks expensive. Vinyl is about 850, then add the labour charge)

How is the engine running?
Transmission shift smooth? (notorious weak 2nd gear synchros, because people don't pause slightly between shifts and just ram it in)
When you test drive it, shift down from 3rd to 2nd

depends how 'high-end' the price is. There will be work to do on this car,as there is on every car, but mechanicals are fairly easy and spares supplies is good, if sometimes a little costly

the one free thing you get when you buy an alfa is the best marque forum out there, its like having your own pit crew at hand

check out the classifieds here too, often some good cars offered here by BB members.
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Dom - Alfa Spider 1990 S4 - formerly: Alfa 101 Sprint, 2600 Sprint, Montreal - family classics: Jensen Interceptor II, '58 Hooper RR Silver Cloud I, Shadow II, '60 Corvette.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 01:17 AM
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The off red/rusty color on the floor boards, front splash plate and spare tire well looks like undercoating? You will have to check in person. The over spray can be normal, not sure, they all have some over spray. Another big check is when driving, check for cowl shake over bumps. Some have terrible shake others donít. I tried one once and it killed the sale.

Good Luck!

Kevin


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2016 4c Coupe
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1992 Spider Veloce (sold)
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 03:22 AM
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some work definitely carried out on driver's side rocker...you can see the whole length of the rocker (under the plastic side skirt) is fresh compared to the RH side, plus the fresh black underseal in the rearmost area.
Just something to inspect. The plastic side skirts make rocker inspection nigh on impossible unless you get under the car.
imo, the driver's side skirt has been removed, that's why it is so clean compared to passenger side....you only remove these for a reason as they are a pita
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Dom - Alfa Spider 1990 S4 - formerly: Alfa 101 Sprint, 2600 Sprint, Montreal - family classics: Jensen Interceptor II, '58 Hooper RR Silver Cloud I, Shadow II, '60 Corvette.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 05:25 AM
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Take the spare tire out and look for any sign of rust, between water and battery acid that's one of the most likely places to find rust. That a 7-9k car in the southeast, and they would come with a rust free undercarriage. Parts for Alfas are cheap, you just have to find someone to work on them if you dont do the work yourself.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 06:26 AM
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I think that Dom's comments above are spot-on. There's clearly a bunch of oil on the gearbox, which has to be coming from a leak somewhere. The oil pan looks pretty clean, which means that the leak is probably on the rear of the engine, most likely the rear main seal. Replacing it is not too bad for a shade-tree mechanic following the required procedure (lots of good help on this board), but you naturally have to remove the gearbox. (Does the S4 have an index mark on the flywheel that needs to be oriented properly?)

If after driving the car you determine that the gearbox needs to be serviced (not uncommon), whether to do the work yourself or take it to a specialist depends on your level of skill (and risk).

As you get the car sorted out, you will without question encounter parts that need to be replaced. Fortunately, most replacement items are available at a few online specialty vendors around the country. For expensive small parts, you can often save money by purchasing from overseas vendors like Classic Alfa in the UK. For these items, the lower purchase price often more than offsets the higher shipping costs. For NLA parts, Alfa Parts Exchange in the Bay Area is a good source for used replacements.

Good luck, and give us an update after you drive it.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 07:40 AM
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Are those rivets on the passenger side floor board?

I guess it all depends on price. Is it a bargain? Will you spend more than it's worth in the long run?

You could buy a pretty nice one for $12500 without the rust: https://denver.craigslist.org/ctd/d/...904408167.html (not my car)

Chuck
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 6alfas View Post
Are those rivets on the passenger side floor board?

I guess it all depends on price. Is it a bargain? Will you spend more than it's worth in the long run?

You could buy a pretty nice one for $12500 without the rust
Chuck
I was wondering about the rivets the left side as well... and the price is 11,900. After really looking online at 1991 Spiders across the country I'm thinking this is a 9k car at the best. I'd rather spend 2 or 3k more for a rust free and undamaged example.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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Well, woke up today, with the initial rush of excitement of soon to be having an Alfa in the garage... beginning to subside.

I want to Thank everyone for their input! It is more than appreciated it.

I've decided not to trade my 944 (I won't easily find another as nice) and sit back and wait a few months and purchase a different Alfa outright (west coast car).
This Alfa just isn't the "right" car.

I'd like to find a clean S2 but I think they may be out of my price range and that leaves me with S3 or S4 cars.
In the mean time I just have to make room for it - how hard can that be? 2 car garage / 3 cars = Play Tetris
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderserie4
some work definitely carried out on driver's side rocker...you can see the whole length of the rocker (under the plastic side skirt) is fresh compared to the RH side, plus the fresh black underseal in the rearmost area.
Yea, and further evidence is the red overspray visible in all the undercarriage shots which indicate that this car was sahara when it left the factory and repainted "resale red". Most likely the re-paint occurred after some bodywork.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper_944 View Post
After really looking online at 1991 Spiders across the country I'm thinking this is a 9k car at the best.
Right!

Here's another way of looking at it: you are in California - land of the relatively rust-free Alfas - but you are (were?) contemplating buying a car that spent at least a few winters in the land of salted roads. People in the midwest (and east, and Europe, and ....) seek out cars from California. So why would you do the opposite?

I know little about Alfas as "new" as 1991, but here's a question for those who do: What is that beige-colored shield ahead of the sump guard in the photo below? Is this something that was original to a '91, or is it someone's add-on?

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 12:06 PM
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I'd say stick to west coast cars. Plenty come up on the various sites. $11K will bring a very nice example. This spring I flew over to California to look at a few S4 cars in the 9 to 13K range. Three of 'em were winners. I paid 11K for my '91. It certainly needed some sorting but the engine and tranny were freshly refurbed, it drove nicely, and was the color combo I most wanted.

It's hard not to get impatient. In my case I'd been scouting sites nationwide for a few months but found the best selection in the west and when I found a car that fit the bill it was a relief.

Have fun in your search and send pictures when you find the right car.
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Bill

1991 S4 Spider "Gabriela", 2017 VW Golf R, 2018 VW GTI,

Previous obsessions; 2006 Mustang GT, 2006 BMW Z4M, 5 other Bimmers, Capri V6, Renault 5, Lotus Cortina, Sunbeam Alpine, Ducati Diana Mk 3, Norton Commando
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfajay View Post
I know little about Alfas as "new" as 1991, but here's a question for those who do: What is that beige-colored shield ahead of the sump guard in the photo below? Is this something that was original to a '91, or is it someone's add-on?

Original. I have it on my '91 as well. Engine underbody shield.

Vin

1991 Spider Veloce - Red on Tan - Rosa Bionda
1987 Spider Quadrifoglio - Red on Grey - Rosa - Sold
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