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So after many years of Always Looking for Another, I took the plunge and bought a 1971 Giulia 1300 Super, AR2255543, recently featured on Bring a Trailer. The car was previously owned by two AlfaBBers in succession, and before that, by the proverbial Little Old Man from Venezia for 35 years. The car is mostly original, has little rust, and clearly has been loved and cared for. It’s also not perfect, which makes it feel OK to actually drive, park it in parking lots, etc. Haven’t taken a lot of photos yet, but it’s very well documented in the PO’s BaT listing, and the PPO’s Flickr page. Below is one shot from the drive home, “Giulia at Sunset.” (My wife calls the car “the other woman.”)

Driving impressions: I did the fly-n-drive to bring the car from Sacramento to LA. Brought 35 pounds of tools and a shop manual along for good luck, but didn’t need any of that. I was also concerned about the 1300’s ability to keep up with freeway traffic, and so chose a route that avoided the combo of big hills and big traffic (Grapevine, Cuesta Grade, Canejo Grade). Those fears were misplaced also. This 1300 is the Little Engine that Could; it cruises at 80 (if you consider 4500 RPM “cruising”) and is just plain fun to wring whatever speed I can from it. Never felt like a hazard in traffic. The car looks, sounds, feels, and smells like an old car, but beneath that the Alfa engineering shines through. Great motor, great brakes, great gearbox if you double-clutch, and responsive predictable handling even on way-non-high-performance tires and a bit of steering slop. The funnest pure driving aspect was SR41 from 101 to the coast, running the 35-55MPH curves through hills and oak forest. Met my friend in Santa Barbara who owns an (original) Mini; he took me on back roads where the Mini shines, but the curves are mostly too tight for the Alfa to be really happy. (See anecedote in Wheels and Tires thread in this forum.)

Something else that that made a big impression is the sonic landscape while driving -- engine noise, wind noise, other mechanical noises. Also, we’re so used to the isolation of modern cars that I forget how noisy other traffic is. Running the “4W70” aircon on a warm afternoon through the San Joaquin Valley and East Bay, Teslas going by at 90 are LOUD. I found earplugs a nice addition; they take the edge off the wind and engine noise, but can still hear plenty.

One little happy surprise, found what look like little black plastic knobs on the inside sills, below the doors. I’m guessing these are plugs from rust-proofing (or more realistically, rust-slowing-down) that was done as some point. Photo attached. Also, I was nervous about what might be hiding under the undercoating and thick black paint on the rockers, but it all seems legit. What look like the original spot welds are visible on the bottom of the rockers, and the rockers pass the magnet test.

Now starts the long term project of preservation and possible “improvements.” Prior to picking up the car, I thought looking for a 1750 or 2000 engine would be near the top of the list, but now I’m not so sure. Could start with optimizing the headlights as much as possible for my less-than-youthful eyes; the original two-headlight grille was replaced with 4-lighter at some point, but inner driving lights have never been hooked up. Then maybe take a look at tightening up the steering and suspension bushings. It’s great to have a car that runs so well as is; no hurry for the next steps. And it’s great to have an Alfa and especially a Giulia again, after almost 20 years without.

Logan
 

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Logan, Congratulations on your purchase. I always get excited to see new posts from people who just purchased a Super. Maybe because it proves I am not quite a crazy as sometimes I think I am.

I cannot wait to get mine figured out. Unfortunately that has taken a back burner to other life stuff...but soon I should be back at it.
Drew
 

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They are brilliant little cars. I have around 40 Craigslist alerts in various cities within 700 miles for a Sedan search. Nothing yet but I keep on hoping. Keep us posted-curious if anyone else can tell us/me the difference between a 101 1300 and a 105 1300 other than carbs. I have a 101 Normale but always wondered how the 105 engines performed
 

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This is pretty similar to what I've experienced since buying my Super in January. The 1300 is better than expected and the car is just so much fun to drive. It's been taking a little break while we hit the heat of summer here in the Southeast (yes, I am spoiled by air conditioning) but the mornings and evenings are still great times to be out. Like you, I'm not in as big of a hurry to hit all the projects I thought it would need right away. Just been driving it, added 1500km already!

Enjoy it and I hope to see some more pictures and updates.
 

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Congrats on the buy and thank for reporting in. Most BaT sales go away never to be heard from.. It was really a surprise it didn't make reserve so you did well I am sure in your negotiations. I own the same car from 1972. It is by far, not even close, the best Alfa I have ever DRIVEN and owned and I have had it for 16 years. In that period of time I've owned and sold 3 other Alfas and a Fulvia as they were encumbrances on space and practicality. My little Super 1.3 was always given the nod to keep over the others.
Thank goodness you recognize the performance of the 1300. In this form it is 103 SAE HP Vs the 1600 116 HP. That is plenty of oomph for driving hard just not drag racing. The other thing about the engine is you can lug it in 5th gear at 25 mph and it won't even stutter. My Fulvia was a 1.3 too and the Alfa is a much better car and every bit as nimble. Enjoy the ride and put gas and oil in it and leave it alone. .
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the kind words everybody. Yes, life does tend to get in the way -- it was a bit of a challenge just to carve out a weekend to go pick up the car. But it's great having it now, I can drive and "improve" it as time allows, but no pressure to do any of that, unlike the old days of spending all weekend fixing a car in order to make it to work on Monday. Currently am collecting bits to work on the headlights; it's great the number of resources out there for parts and info. Will post a report when I've made some progress.
 

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The "abbagliante fari interni" or "dazzling internal headlights" are just that in the configuration you have. If they are set up like the 1972-on which is pretty much what you have, the internal lights are a boost to the high beams on the external headlights. They were never meant to be fog lights but rather a enhancement to your outboard high beams at the same wattage. The only time they are illuminated is when you select high beams on your stalk and all four lights go to high beam. To make them operate in this way, you should find a heavy gage Green/black wire going to the outboard headlight plug. A pigtail then comes off that connection to the high beam side of the internal headlight bulb (There are two filaments with one always asleep --the middle prong or low beam-- and not connected to anything) One of the two lateral prongs is high beam. The other lateral prong gets a ground wire. Just so you know. The '72 had a lever under the outside headlights to manually aim the lights for city and country driving. I don't see that feature on your rims... more gee wizz stuff than anything. If you want more night light, you can get it very easily, this way. The internals were simply built in "driving lights". I don't think much of fog lights and neither did the Italians. The French did though, big time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's basically the plan, get the inner lights hooked up and see where to go from there. I do want to add relays as part of that, both to reduce voltage drop to the lights and to go easy on the 50-year-old headlight switch. Currently the headlights are a mish-mash of stuff. The outer lights both have the old-school R2 incandescent globe bulbs, one is a Carello, the other an off-brand. The reflectors look decent, but in an email conversation Daniel Stern cautioned that reflectors naturally age and at 50 years aren't going to be so great. The inners are both Carello, but one with an R2 bulb and the other an H1 halogen. And those reflectors look pretty tired. Also the passenger side outer was mis-wired, with low- and high-beam swapped. And the outers have the adjusting levers inside the buckets, but these don't stick out of the small slots in the bottoms of the headlight rims. So don't quite know what that's all about. Anyway, here's what I'm thinking in terms of order of operations, with potentially increasing light output and cost at each step; the idea is to do one at a time until I'm happy with the performance:

1) Install relays, hook up inner lights
2) Replace R2 bulbs with H4s on P45t bases, available from a few sources but not in the "+ whatever" high-efficiency versions
3) Replace outer lights with new -- Anybody have any experience with the Carello knockoffs from Classic Alfa?
4) Got to "+ whatever" H4 bulbs in outers
5) Replace inner lights with new, same question as above.
6) LED or HID conversion


We'll see (so to speak).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Divotandtralee --

Thanks for that link. Have you purchased or seen any of the OKP headlight assemblies? If so, is the quality good?

Logan
 

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No I haven't but OKP is pretty good on the details and will give you straight answers over the phone and more photos if you contact them directly with what you are considering. They will tell you whether or not the pieces are pedigree perfect or not. They are sticklers for correct parts and don't want returns if they can avoid them. Hein Brand is good too. He avoids repops because he has been burned too many times with inferior crap so he pretty much only sells original stuff and if he doesn't have it, he doesn't make the sale and doesn't care. Lubrimont in Montreal has a pretty good stash of original stuff too.
 

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Just took the Super for a ~30 mile round trip up Coast Highway to Malibu for a dental appointment. What a sweet car. I'm getting more adept at keeping the 1300 in its happy zone, and a little heel-and-toe action to favor the ancient synchros. Truly enjoyable.

Some incremental progress over the summer -- The Headlight Improvement Project continues, slowly, I've acquired most of the parts and done the bulk of the bracket and harness fabrication. Hopefully get that finished in another couple of weeks. Meanwhile, the only non-scheduled repair so far has been replacement of the clutch slave cylinder. Clutch engagement is noticeably smoother with the new cylinder in there.

A couple of improvements on the NVH front: Removing the little brass doodad that was rolling around in the ash tray makes a big difference in driver comfort. And in the long drive down from Sac I had been bothered by wind noise that sounded like it was coming from the roof. I didn't remember that in my old Super, and it seemed to go against the whole idea of aerodynamic goodness that these cars are about. Upon closer inspection, found the dum-dum was missing at rain gutter joint at the right front corner of the roof, clearly from some prior body repair. There was a an opening about 1 cm square in the bottom of the rain gutter, and apparently that was acting like a whistle. Right now I've got it plugged with duct tape, and actual dum-dum is on its way from Eastwood (Fedex notwithstanding.). Just adding the tape has made a bid difference.

So all good. Probably next projects after the headlights will be to flush the brake fluid and coolant, and then go through the steering and suspension. Am hoping to purchase a portable lift setup, like Quick Jack, et. al. Getting too old for crawling around under jack stands.
 

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Another good day in Alfaland. Met up with a fellow BB'er who wanted to try driving a 1300 -- he's thinking about purchasing a Giulia long distance. (He can ID himself if he wants.) We swapped cars and drove a stretch on Mulholland. His ride is a 78 Alfetta sedan, remarkably rust-free in my view. It was the first time I'd driven an Alfetta (though I owned a Milano for 14 yrs), and I think the first time driving a Spica 2L. Great car, lots of motor, very free and smooth through the rev range, nice loud exhaust -- really enjoyed the snap-crackle-pop on overrun. Comparing with the Super, I can appreciate the advancement made in the Alfetta chassis. Considerably more compliant but at the same time plenty of steering feel and quick reaction to input. Makes the 105/115 chassis seem harsh by comparison to achieve the same level of handling. Absolutely beautiful weather, great drive, great car conversations.

And yesterday finished installing the headlight relays in the Super. The most measurable benefit is a big reduction in voltage drop -- before the relays I measured drops as high as 1.7V between the battery and the connector at the outside of the headlight bucket. Now with the relays, drops are in the 0.1-0.25V range. Per Daniel Stern's charts, that equates to something like a 50% improvement in light output. The high beams, with the inner lights working, now seem fine. The low beams still seem a bit inadequate, given my aged night vision. Looking at the car head on with the high beams on, the inners are noticeably brighter than the outers, and one of the inners has the same bulb type as the outers. I checked the voltage drop at the ground connections for the outers, but that seems fine, essentially zero. So I'm thinking I'll replace the outer reflectors next. Maybe start with standard H4 bulbs, leaving the option to go to high-efficacy (low-life) "+ whatever" bulbs if I still want more. Will have to change the connectors in the headlight buckets to be compatible with the H4s, right?

Below are some photos from the relay project. I tried to stick with parts/materials that while not original, would at least look "plausible." So Hella dual-87 relays and old-school non-sticky vinyl wrap tape over the new wiring. All terminals crimped, soldered, and sleeved with head-shrink tubing. Put the relays on at the front edge of the battery tray, among other reasons, to not drill non-reversible holes in visible spots (just four holes in the bottom of the battery tray). After putting it all together, I had a panic that the location could be exposed to rain coming through the grille. Not that I'm planning on a lot of rain driving, but am thinking will at least add dielectric grease around the lower edges of the relay housings. Don't really want to redo the whole thing. We'll see.
 

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Just re-read my own post and noticed "head-shrink" tubing. Yeah, this project (and messing around with old Alfas in general) suggest that the help of a psychiatrist might be called for.
 

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How cool. I meant to ask you how you did such a clean job on those relays and not only found documentation here, but also feedback on my Fetta. Again, I thank you for being so up for meeting and letting me try your baby.

As for my impressions coming from the Alfetta....what a sweet little car. Love the big gauges and the shifter is so much better. Definitely a more vintage experience. Those seats! I could sit in them all day - so nice looking and comfy. The ****pit was a little too tight for me and I felt I needed a seat-click backwards at 6'2", but I'm told you can "flip" the seat bracket and have it adjust more backward and not far forward. Your car also seemed to get tons of attention when we stopped, something the Fetta seldom garners.

As for driving, I didn't feel any suspension harshness and it handled great. Really turned in more easily/directly than mine. Perhaps that is the lower weight? Your warning about the tires kept me form pushing it too hard though. Personally, I wouldn't do anything suspension-wise until getting the (safer) tires and wheels you want on there. Perhaps the wheel/tire setup would accomplish what you want. The motor was a gem in sound and feel, but it did feel lower powered coming from mine. Not much difference between 3/4 and full throttle, so I stayed 3/4 and below. Definitely a momentum car. Never thought my car was fast, but it felt a beast on the way back down Mulholland, which I completely attacked on the way out. Sorry neighbors!

Let's do another drive sometime. I don't know too many true Alfisti in my area and am always up for a good drive.
 

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Hey Paul! Good to hear from you on the BB, great photo, and thanks for the kind feedback. That was a terrific drive.

As far as suspension changes to the Giulia, I'm not thinking of doing much: First get the slop out of the steering and the clunks and wallows out of the bushings and caster joints. Then probably better (but still skinny) tires, maybe Koni reds, and maaaybe the slightly fatter front sway bar (25mm?) that seems to be a thing for these cars in mild suspension tune. As an interim cheap-skate thing, might just put tubes in the tires to alleviate worries about deflating under stress. (Happened once when I overcooked a turn, with lots of resultant understeer and tire squeal, and later found the right front tire really low.)


It's all good. Again, great meeting you, great drive, and look forward to it again sometime.


Logan
 

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An update on the Headlight Improvement Project: I tried replacing the outer headlights with Carello repops from Classic Alfa, P/N LT071. These are decently- made units, glass and metal construction. Unfortunately the curvature of the reflector is slightly different and deeper than the original unit, Carello P/N 07.480.700. (Pic below.) So the replacements did not fit all the way flush in the headlight buckets.

So on to Plan B. Purchased a pair of 60/55W H4 bulbs on P45t bases to replace the original incandescents. Also cleaned up the connector contacts and moved the grounds to the 8mm bolts in the radiator crossmember. After a short drive around the neighborhood at night, I am declaring the low beams adequate and the high beams good. May try tweeking the alignment a little, but it seems reasonable as is. Going forward, I'm thinking about getting the reflectors re-mirrored next time the car is down for a while. Danel Stern recommends this place in Germany:

http://www.reflektorklinik.de

Has anybody used them? To that end, I also bought a used Carello headlight on ebay to match the original one of the pair currently on the car (the other is some European off-brand). I'm going to the trouble and expense to refurb the reflectors, it would be nice to have matching originals. The ebay purchase turns out to have more of a scratch on the lens than seemed apparent in the ad, so might look into polishing that out. But generally onward and upward. I feel ready to try the car on my weekly drive from Santa Monica to Carlsbad, which I prefer to do at off-traffic hours (O-dark-hundred).
 

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Re-silvering the head lights turned out to be an expensive proposition so I sort of gave up on the idea. I didn't realize that the replacement 7in Carellos don't quite fit so that's a disappointment (the replacement inner high beams fit just fine, however). My plan "B" is to replace the odd European style Alfa specific headlight buckets with generic SAE style buckets like all the US version Alfas used. I have a pair of GTV buckets and accompanying hardware and they look like they'd be a bolt-in proposition since the sheet metal for both versions of Alfas appear to be the same. With the SAE buckets and US specific headlights you might find that they fit better and continue to look oem. I notice that Alfaholics replaces the headlight buckets on their GTAr builds with generic after-market versions so, hopefully, changing buckets may be a cheaper alternative to having headlight reflectors restored.
 
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