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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I drove home in a 79 Spider today, though it's not for me, it's for my friend Chris. She wanted a cheap beater to learn how to drive stickshift, and this Spider fit the bill in a number of ways. I send her a lot of likely car ideas, and she bit on this one. Good deal.
One-owner 130K car from Marin County, has been in the Bay Area at least 20 years and perhaps longer. Original blue plates, no rust, runs well, just passed smog, good tires, great brakes, drives very nicely. One of the best shifting Alfas I've ever driven, which is important for Chris, as she'll need to learn shifting before she learns double-clutching. Top is faded and has one small hole in the window, but it basically keeps the weather out. Cheap seat covers, nice interior otherwise with only one small dash crack. One bad spot in the paint on the hood, which has been retouched, not well.
Was on SF CL for $1499, we drove away after Chris handed over $1200 cash to the seller. If Chris decides she doesn't like it, I'll buy it from her. It's at my house for a week while she's in New York and I'll check its condition, as Chris is not an Alfisti and needs the car to be reliable, not a source of aggravation.
I'm stunned no one beat us to it; it was on CL for days before I could even go look at it. Pics show Chris, proud new owner, and my daughter Emma. Chris's boyfriend lives around the corner from me, and he came over, went for a drive, and loves it as much as Chris does. Everyone's happy. A Spider on a nice day can do that for you. The drive from Marin was great, across the San Rafael Bridge.
Andrew
 

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Welcome! We love pics! Everyone here will help you. I promise. They helped me. Nice ride. Down in Socal, people arent as nice as up north. You're with a great family here.
 

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Oh yeah make sure heat works since it gets ice cold up north...
 

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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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nice car, andrew.... e-mail me. you might want to see what i have done to my alfa..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I hope Chris enjoys it. A vintage Alfa can be a trying experience for someone not prepared for the ups and downs of Alfa ownership. But I've promised to keep it in tip-top nick for her at bargain labor rates, so I think we'll be OK. First step is to check fluids, timing, Spica setup, etc. and make sure it'll start and run for her when needed. But no issues at all in its first 35-mile drive.
Just amazes me what late Spica Spiders are not worth. A Berlina in this condition would have been double the cost, at least. And a GTV triple, quadruple, or more. Say it with me: It's rust-free.
Andrew
 

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Nice.

Bought a '78 off a mechanic's lien for my daughter a few years back. Paid $730 for it and put another $1k in it.

She did not know how to drive a manual, but was motivated an quickly learned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, I think the fact of an Italian convertible will be a good motivator for Chris too. And her boyfriend loves it so much, he'll be inclined to help teach her to shift, so I don't have to.
This is not the first cheap Spider I've gotten; I've had many. Best deal of all was a black 85 Graduate from Pacific Grove CA for $160 (there's a thread on it here somewhere). A few cleaned relays and wires, got the throttle bellcrank unstuck, and it ran great. Best steering and brakes of any Alfa I've owned.
Andrew
 

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Nice find!
 

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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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that car is so nice and clean... great buy..
 

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1200 bucks? worth that (and more) in spare parts!
First thing I would do is take a bit of time and elbow grease and clean up those lovely period alloys! :)
 

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Wow, that is a sweet deal. I don't understand how a car like that can be so undervalued. Here in Montreal you would be considered crazy to sell for that price. A car like that will fetch 6-8k easy around here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Perhaps there was something wrong with the seller; I don't know. Seller's "guy" who we actually dealt with was a real winner too, but what the heck. The proof of the Alfa pudding is in the driving.
Changed the oil yesterday, started working through the regular maintenance items to ensure it'll be safe and fun for Chris. LF caliper has one frozen piston, so that's on the list to fix. Fan is broken in several places, and seller's guy claims no knowledge of how that could have happened, but I suspect the car had a pothole hit recently, as the pan guard is up agains the pan, and the fan shroud is missing some bits. No biggee, but the seller and his guy were not the people to get any useful info out of. The car will have to talk to me.
This car was literally two buildings away from Larry Buskirk's Alfa/Ferrari shop in Novato, so perhaps Larry worked on it; most of the work looks good. Brand new exhaust, a nice bonus.
My sense is this car has sat in a warehouse a lot for the last 10 years. But it remained smogged and registered each year, according to the DMV site, and it does have 137,000 miles on it.
Andrew
 

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Fan is broken in several places, and seller's guy claims no knowledge of how that could have happened, but I suspect the car had a pothole hit recently, as the pan guard is up agains the pan, and the fan shroud is missing some bits.
That's a pretty good sign that the engine mounts are finished. The engine drops lower and the fan whacks the shroud and disintegrates. Also the reason why the guard is touching the pan. My mount broke completely and damaged the inner tie rods.

Not driven means all rubber has probably dried up. check the transmount and the cneter bearing support as well.

Still an amazing deal. That stuff is easy to fix and cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm not touching anything on the driveline. The car is smooth and stable at speed; no vibrations or weirdness whatsoever. You may be technically right, but on a car that's vibration-free, I'm not inclined to mess with it. More than once I've made a car worse by such changes.
If the fan shroud hits the new fan, I'll trim away a bit of the bottom of the shroud, as it's far from perfect in any case. I had to do this recently on my 74 Berlina, even with new motor mounts, so sometimes it all just doesn't line up quite right, in my experience.
Andrew
 

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Great little car.
When I saw the photo, I thought someone had stolen my car!
Mine is a 1981, but from the side moulding to the mirrors and Avorio color, our cars are, outwardly, twins.

The motor, and transmission mounts are cheap to purchase, and installation is straight forward.

Here is a link to my transmission removal, rebuild and installation:
http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/spider-1966-up/122124-steel-vs-aluminum-flywheel-weight.html

When I replaced my motor mounts, I had to do it blind, only able to 'feel' my way through the job. I could not see what I was doing, eventually figuring out the right size wrench and where to place my fingers, hands and arms to do the job. It is a simple, but slow process.

A jack and the right wrench, plus patience is all you really need for the black rubber motor mounts. It was all reached from the top of the engine bay in my car.

The transmission mount is easy to work on, only because you can see what you are doing! But, that job requires you to press-out the old bushing and press-in the new one.

Tools needed includes 4 good jack stands, a jack, a way to press the old steel and rubber mount out of the transmission, and a couple of wrenches. I used an enormous socket, block of wood and a steel and rubber mallet. Your mileage may vary.

It is a time consuming, but simple job.

The transmission cross brace, exhaust and heat shielding may have to be jockeyed around a bit too, requiring a couple of other tools. I bought a transmission jack (Harbor Freight $79.99 - Transmission Jack - 450 Lb. Capacity ) and that helped a great deal!

Please, do not be tempted to buy/install the Yellow Transmission Mount Reinforcements, unless you only intend on only using the enormous yellow side washers that are included in the kit. The washers are GREAT!
This is experience talking.

Just install the new steel and black rubber transmission mount.

The yellow reinforcements puts the transmission too tall and the shifter interferes with the console clearance. Plus it buzzes more with the reinforcements.

Here are some photos so you can see what I'm talking about...

Good luck, and I hope she enjoys her little beater. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm very experienced, thanks. I've been at this since 1975, and have a good Alfa-friendly garage and tool selection.
Andrew
 

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Sorry. Just wanted to help out. I hope she enjoys the car.
 

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good price for a nice car.

hope she enjoys it.
 

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Pretty much a guarantee that the engine mounts are finished and it will only get worse as she drives it. Let it go and other things get damaged as well. Ask me how I know...
 
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