Alfa Romeo Forums banner

Alfa engine, TR4A chassis & Dio Tipo body.

6781 Views 41 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  sh0rtlife
Bit more than an engine conversion but this seems close to the right thread header unless I am pointed to another which would be better.

I bought a Weber intake equipped engine from a member here a few years ago to put into a Marcos 1600 I had.
Finally decided that the Marcos was equivalent to restoring three normal cars so sold it, it's now back in England.

Then wanted another body to put the Alfa into.
Never found the Devin I really wanted but recently got a Dio Tipo 61 with TR4A chassis.
Not cheap but considerably less than the $6500 a new body goes for.
The Dio Tipo was originally designed around the TR3 so should be fairly simple to build.

The TR chassis I have is a roller but has no engine or trans.
I have the choice of using the Alfa 2000 or a Buick V6 I also have at hand.

Thinking the Alfa may be more "Correct" for the Dio Tipo body style.
Performance should be adequate and still a sports car rather than just another "Really wanna Cobra" build.
To do the Alfa I think I need to graft in the Alfa rear and re-drill the TR front hubs to the Alfa 4x108 pattern.

May need to swap the Spider oil pan for something shorter, I do have an Alfetta pan but not the correct oil pump for it.
Not sure if that would really be shorter.

Shooting for less than 1400 Lb. when done so should run OK.
At that weight I may want to switch to a 4.10 rear?

Unlike a lot of builders I will drive the car frequently if not daily when it is not snowing.
May also take it up the road to Virginia City on Hill Climb weekend. >:)

One of too many projects but actually probably the simplest to build as there will be no need to hunt down any original parts or adhere to any "Correct" details!
I am sort of looking for Alfa gauges to put in it.


See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 4
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Should be an interesting build, keep us up to date with pictures!

Is the use of the TR3/4a chassis so you can get it road registered?

I'm a Triumph fan but why not make a simple space frame chassis instead of using the flexible, crude and heavy (?) Triumph thing.
The body was designed around the TR3/4 chassis so is a good fit.
Using the TR chassis may ease road registration a bit and let me escape modern bumpers, third brake light, etc.
Also should be a bit faster to complete than a scratch built chassis.
Want this one to go together quickly.
Once I've fit the body support structure/roll bar it will become something of a "Space Frame" and not flexible.

So far, the Alfa "Sport Sedan" grill I've tried to sell on and off for the last couple of years fits like it was made for this car!
I think it will look great and is a nice clue to the drive-train.
Thinking I may make aluminum bars to fit on either side, set slightly lower with matching spacing.
Looks like an Alfetta pan will work better than the Spider pan, good that I have one, just need the correct oil pump.
Thinking I will put the Spider rear into it, at 1400 Lb. and 4.56 gears it should be quick.
May want to get a 4.10 rear too.
Re-drill front hubs to 4x108.

Need to find better 4x108 wheels, hoping for 6" - 7" wide, 15" Dia. would be nice.
Need to remain somewhat vintage look, Cosmic's would be ideal.
I will use the Turbina's I already have for now.

Ideal street legal windscreen would be from a Simca Plein Ciel, anyone know of any for sale?
Failing that a cut-down Spitfire windscreen may be used. (Cheap to buy if it takes more than one try to cut it.)

Also interested in finding a set of Italian made tail lamps with a look similar to the Lucas lights from an MGA, AH Bugeye, etc. that are not overly expensive if such exist.
I have the round FIAT 850 pieces for marker lights.

Nobody is ever going to mistake this for an original anything, but I do want it to have an Italian and vintage flavor.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Made some space and got to play with the Dio body, my Spider, the TR frame, and a tape measure.
Made some initial measurements and observations.
To get the engine behind the front wheel center-line and the gearshift into a reasonable position it looks like the wheelbase has to be 94"-96".
Similar to the Spider but I will be sitting much further back.
Bulge in the bonnet looks almost like it was made for an Alfa engine.
May have to add a small bulge or cut-outs for the Webers.
Too bad I have to run air filters but it's far too dusty here not to.
Cannot use 14" Alfa wheels with the TR front hubs, have to be 15" and I've found a set that should work.
Also cannot use the Spider pan, but I still have the Alfetta pan I bought for the Marcos conversion.
Seems I will also have to modify the TR frame at the X joint to get the trans in as I want.
Very interested in eliminating the Guibo joint as it's bulky among other issues.
New drive-line should end up as a single length part.

So a quick spec summary.
Track around 53", (57" outside tire) wheelbase about 95", 1400 Lb running weight, 2L engine on Euro cams and Webers so 120? H.P., five speed, LSD rear, four wheel disc, modified Alfa rear axle design (Replace the boat anchor upper link!) R&P steering.
Yah, this should be a FUN ride indeed!

Oh, need to add, now looking for a scrap block for mock-up purposes.
Can have a hole in the side, spun main, missing caps, SCRAP!
I already have a spare head and cam cover.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Been making some actual progress on the Alfa/Dio Tipo build. >:)
And lots of changes!
No longer using the TR4 chassis, may put that under another Dio later.
Now using an old Art Morrison design multi-tube frame, or at least basing my build on his design with some updates.
The good news so far is that I have the main chassis tubes bent to shape so I have the foundation to build on.
Also used some PVC tube and a hole-saw to fabricate mock-up cross-members that I may easily move around as needed for optimum placement.
Also made a cradle to hold the engine and trans, spacers for the chassis and body.
Engine sits about 4" behind the axle center-line as measured to face of the front cover (2" to face of crank pulley) so it will be a "Forward mid-engine" build.
I will be sitting only about 14" ahead of the rear axle, I expect weight balance to be excellent.
Trying for very neutral and flat handling.
After getting all the mocking up done I've figured out that there are some issues with the AM drawings.
But I've also determined that the stock Alfa Spider track is fine with factory optional 6"x14" wheels and 205/60-14 tires.
May try to go to 15" for better performance tire availability (?).

The bad (?), to get the engine to fit without having to cut the bonnet I end up with only 4" ground clearance under the Spider oil pan at the drain plug.
That is at 10" behind the front wheel center-line, so the tires may not help to lift the sump over speed bumps very much.
May not be as bad as the sump being low in front of the wheels as original. :question:
Probably not an issue on a track, but I'm a little leery of it for the street.
Never thought of Alfa engines as being particularly tall before now.
Almost makes me wish for a 1300 to use, I know they are shorter and rev like crazy. :wink2:

I am now looking into ways to make the pan shallower without having to go to dry-sump.
This IS supposed to be a budget build and eventual guide for others to also give new life to rusted out Spiders.
I have an Alfetta pan and oil pump, but is seems the depth is virtually identical to a Spider pan. :frown2:
Would prefer to use the Spider pan if possible as it appears to have better oil control for cornering.
Thought of fabricating a flat bottom half but not sure the oil pump and pick-up could be modified to work?

Front suspension will use reversed stock lower arms and spindles, custom upper arms, R&P steering (Why the arms are reversed!) and coil-over shocks.
Rear suspension is based on the AM four-link.

As it turns out the chassis fabrication is simple compared to the bodywork.
This is a very basic kit, no factory chassis available at this time and no real instructions or detail parts.
Very similar to the kits from the 50's and 60's that so many buyers were overwhelmed by and never finished.
I will be finishing this one, it's a "Bucket list, has to be done" item for me. :grin2:
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 2
Got to the point of being ready to begin welding chassis tubes, and ran out of TIG gas.

So decided to get a start on the bodywork.
Sanded out some mold lines, cut out the radiator opening, and just HAD to mount the grill. :wink2:

Fits like it was made for this!

And yes by thunder it IS going to be a RED car, probably with a silver racing stripe to match up with the silver-grey wheels.
Will probably even use silver-grey upholstery for a little continuity and cooler interior than black would yield.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 3
More pictures please, especially the chassis as that comes along.
Need to get some current pics, tube chassis is finally looking like something.
Now at the point I need suspension information, searching the forum, no luck so far.

Need an engineering drawing of the front upright/spindle.
Need ball joint dimensions, offsets, spindle length/Dia., etc.
Partly for A arm/steering design and to confirm that I may swap them side to side for forward R&P steering.
Some chassis progress.
Not pictured is that it is currently blocked up at ride-height with the engine and trans sitting in place for mock-up.
Need to find a way to shorten the oil pan so that I may lower the engine three inches!
Never really thought of Alfa's as being tall engines before now.

For some reason attached images do not display for me so I do not know if the pics are visible.


See less See more
Been working on the Dio/Alfa whenever I have time.
Have concluded that I have to go Dry-Sump to get the engine low enough.
Now working on getting at least the DS pan sorted so that I may put in the engine and front body mounts.
Triangulation regarding chassis?

Original design is a lot of large diameter tube with large hoops but I am adding a few more diagonals.
Original design is working very well with a 500HP SBF Ford in the factory demo car.
The 1.625" and 1.50" tube are overkill for my 2.0 Alfa engine.

Some day it is conceivable I might build a lighter space-frame for the Alfa and re-power the old one with a BOP/Rover V8 for more power than sense.

Planning to build a few of these kits but the Alfa has not worked out so well as I had hoped from a simple build, moderate cost standpoint.
Everything but the engine works out fine, but it turns out the engine is too tall for a simple and economic build without cutting an ugly hole in the hood or raising the bulge too far to look decent.
A 1300 might have been better but they are now hard to get and expensive.
I'm committed to completing this one for myself but no longer envision more Alfa powered builds for future sales.
What about alfa v6 power?
Maybe for another build but these are rear drive so again it gets complicated.
Not sure the V6 would be any shorter with the plenum intake, not sure what it would take to make it work on carbs.
I've made a deal for the DS from another member here. :)
Sud engine ...

Sud engine ...

Because they're super common in the US.
Might as well suggest putting a real birdcage motor in it - they're more common in the US than Suds!
Sud engine ...

Because they're super common in the US.
Might as well suggest putting a real birdcage motor in it - they're more common in the US than Suds!
Subaru then

The Alfa Nord is a very tall engine, but so I assume would be the Maserati engine. Could you angle a Nord engine at the 45° like I believe the Birdcage does?
Many years ago I owned one of the Huffaker Genie Alfa's.
If you've been to Monterey and saw a Gold Genie/Alfa that is my old car.
I made the "Sensible"* decision to sell it as I really could not afford to fix and race it at that time.
I've always regretted never getting to drive that car.

The Dio-Alfa is my consolation build.
So it must be a Nord engine, rear drive, and as close to a sports racer with registration as possible. ;)
Having to go DS is more disappointing from the aspect of giving up the idea of this being a budget build and encouraging others to recycle rusted Alfa's to build more.

*"Sensible" = The decision you know you should make, but will certainly regret later.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
So if you are going DS why not angle the engine over like Maserati did?
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.