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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
**
I'm posting this "on the run" at work. Please EMAIL me and I will send pictures. I'll try to post the pictures here tonight.

toddbrown (AT) roadrunner . com
**

This car was recently posted on Ebay. I ended the auction early based on a local buyer - but the sale did not go through.

You wouldn't be able to replicate this car, to these standards, for less than $30,000.

Yes, you could buy a Berlina for less money... but if you want it to be (and drive) like new, you'll end up dropping more money into it than what you can acquire this one for. And, save yourself all the time and hassle!

My wife and I purchased this last year from a respected member here on ABB. Some of you may remember the classified ad. At that time the car had been painted an olive green color - which actually looked very nice.

We drove the car a few hundred careful miles... and the engine threw a rod. A flatbed carried her to Santos Italian Auto Repair and Santos gave it a completely rebuilt engine (from the bottom up) as well as a rebuilt transmission. Everything that needed replacing (and many things that didn't) were replaced by Santos using OEM parts.

On the way to work one day I was stopped at a red traffic light. A driver came up behind me and "tapped" the rear - with only enough force to bend the rear chromed bumper in just enough to "almost touch" the body. There was minor damage. It did require a trip to a body shop, though.

I called Santos and asked him who he recommends for body work... and he told me about "Art" a few doors down from Santos' shop. Again, the car was towed (flatbed) to Northridge, this time to the body shop.

While my wife and I liked the olive green color was nice, we both thought it was the "responsible thing" for us to do to bring it back to its original color. So, having this opportunity, we went ahead with the color change. Art brought his "A game" - removed the engine, took the car down to basically the shell... then stripped that shell down to the bare metal. We asked for show quality... and when Art was finished... well, we know why his Momma named him "Art."

The pictures I've attached were taken by Art shortly after the car came out of the paint booth.

Some people have commented that the front grill looks a little "off" ... and they'd be correct! Art took these photos before finishing up the grill installation. It's attached correctly now, and looks perfect!
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The fuel injection system was "rightfully" (per the opinions of many Alfa enthusiasts) replaced with the original European-issued Euro intake and Weber DCOE40's along with a Euro airbox. This is the preferred setup for these cars due to increased throttle response and "tuneability."

Drives BETTER than new... and, EXACTLY as a vintage Alfa should "feel"!

The suspension is a work of art! There's a reason so many people are passionate about Italian cars. The Italians know how to build a car that is exciting to drive. Although it's hard to explain (at least for me) in words, driving an Alfa in the mountains reveals so many "subtleties" - so much "feedback" from the road, to the driver. It's "how" it leans into the corners. How it "rights itself" coming out... It's the "zero play" in the steering, the instant response. THESE are the things which create so much passion for these vintage vehicles. Yes, newer vehicles may put "better numbers" down... but at what cost?

I have a gorgeous 1960 Porsche 356B 1600 Super. The newer Porsche's BLOW it off the road! Not even close! However, there's no way I would trade. Why? Because the newer Porsche's gain their advantage in ways that "take away" from the driving experience. The driver seems to be always "holding back" the car. Modern electronics often "make decisions" for the driver. Super active suspensions enable the driver to careen around corners... but at what cost? Personally, I'd rather drive a properly sorted vintage vehicle "all out" than have a modern one remove the feel of the road - regardless of the numbers it may put down. If you're a true vintage enthusiast, you'll know exactly what I mean.

This car "benefits the driving experience"!

So, we have a well-sorted vintage Berlina. A fresh and complete engine rebuild (and tranny) by THE GUY (Santos). A $10,000 "down to bare metal" paint job taking it back to its original color.

Next up... the interior.

Originally, Berlinas were offered only with vinyl interior. A car like this, however, deserves much better...

The previous owner purchased very high quality tan Connolly leather and shipped it to a sewing factory over in Italy. There, using original patterns, correct for the year and model, the covers were sewn utilizing the very high quality Italian machines. When my wife and I asked the previous owner why he went to the trouble to do this, he explained that the Italian machines are able to create a "tighter stitch" than the machines here. He offered as an example - FERRARI. Take a look at the stitching on Ferrari interiors and you'll see the difference in quality. And, with proper care, the seats will last considerably longer as the seems will hold together better.

Unless I am mistaken, I don't believe leather was offered (even as an option) on the early Berlina's. Vinyl was the "norm" for the day. So, this is most likely one of the VERY few Berlinas in existence with a real leather interior. And, perhaps the ONLY Berlina where the leather was stitched "properly" to Italian standards.

Not wanting to stop there, the previous owner ordered a WOOL carpet set. VERY high quality!

New, "Correct" Tires:

When we purchased this car last year, the tires on it were "fine." (See undercarriage picture taken by previous owner - "green paint").

However, after researching tires on the Alfa forums, we discovered that there was a "preferred brand". Vredestein. The tread pattern on these is almost exactly like the tires this car originally rolled off the factory floor with, however with important "modern" safety and performance features not available in 1971.

New front windshield ($1,500).

Beautiful Dash!

AM/FM stereo with trunk-mounted CD Changer. Sounds GREAT!

"Turns heads" wherever it goes!

Fantastic family car - very roomy and comfortable.

No California "Smog" Requirements!

"Numbers Match"

Clear Title in hand.

My wife and I have right around $30,000 into this car.

Honest Representation of Vehicle:

The minor rear end accident was MORE than adequately fixed.

The speedometer/odometer doesn't work. It worked before, but doesn't now. Santos says he thinks it's probably just the cable wasn't hooked up correctly when the engine went back in.

There is a slight "vibration" coming through the gas pedal. It's almost certainly just the cable rubbing up against something - an easy fix.

That's all I can think of.

You're more than welcome to stop by for a test drive (serious only, please)... or have a friend (or fellow ABB member) check it out for you if you're too far away.

Car is located in Los Alamitos - where the 22, 405 and 605 freeways meet in Southern California.
 
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