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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was just pondering as to how these cars fared when they were in daily use and as they aged. I'm talking from a UK perspective here with very inclemet weather which ate Alfa's alive. That aside these machines were riddled with poor quality and faults. A VW Beetle was built like a panzer compared to these gorgeous temptresses..

So looking at the 2000GTV RHD in the UK....

The engine was was hewn from granite. The only problem was the head gasket from time to time. The fuel system was OK with the twin 40's save cracking carb rubbers. The engine mounts collapsed which caused the fan to hit the shroud and smash it up. The gearbox is OK save 2nd gear synchro failing at very low miles unless treated with utter care when cold.

The prop donut went soft and split. The prop centre steady split which caused a rumble/knocking as you pulled away. The back axle was OK. The rear bump stops fell off. The trailing arm bushings went soft causing rear end steer. The rear springs sagged or broke causing the rear to sit very low. The handbrake cable used to drop down unfastened from its clip and rub on the ground. The fuel flap boot rotted letting water into the trunk area. The fuel flap spring/rivets used to fail leaving the flap swinging in the wind.

The door cable winder mech used to fail and lock up with the cable bound up on the drum. The internal door handles fell off and became wobbly when the tapered screws loosened. When you closed the door you heard a thunk as it dropped off onto the floor! The door casings rotted and fell off when the self tapping screws fell out. The external door handles fractured and failed. The internal steel door handle securing plates rotted and failed. The felt stuck to them caused localised rot. The felt window scrapers degraded and rotted causing the door glass to scratch. The door hinges wore causing the drivers door to sag. The dash would crack through exposure to the sun. The binnacle would warp. The heater tap would leak.

The light switch gear would burn out and smoke as there is no relay for the headlamps.

The headlamps rotted out. The Mazak 2000 grille pitted up after one winter. The headlamp height adjuster levers seized then snapped. The exposed front electrical earths became non conductive and you lost your lights or indicators. The rear side window adhesive could fail and when opened the window could swing out and shatter. The plastic part of the ignition key would break off leaving you with a stump. The trunk seal would rot out its steel clamping structure. The door seal retainers and B post seal retainer rotted out. The gear lever boot would split. The nylon looped carpets were not of the greatest quality and frayed/fluffed up. The Skai seat material split on the drivers seat. The seat stitching faded in the sun and rotted.

The closing panels under the front wings would rot out and fall off leaving two crucial areas very exposed. The Bertone wing badge used to deteriorate. The wiper arm caps rotted. The 2000 centre consul brackets easly snapped off. The steering box could break off its mountings or fracture if 185/70's or 195/60's were fitted.

The Bonaldi servos were pretty good but did fail. The master cylinder and clutch cylinder were positioned so that they collectected road crap and failed (RHD and early cars). The metal master cylinder cover rotted off. The pedals seized up on their shaft if left for a few weeks.

Then we have the ultimate issue.

Ramant rust.

They rotted away pretty much everywhere below the swage line. Although Alfa did also give us rot around the screens, rear shelf and windows to put the boot in a bit further..

I love these cars but my word they were shocking build quality wise!!!
 

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Yep this is quite true, I suspect their demise due to combined issues mentioned has contributed to the values they now bring, limited supply with an increased demand. I see Alfaholics now supplying carbon fiber bodies, I assume that you still need a solid steel shell to fix them on, that in it self costs a lot...
Hind sight is a wonderful thing with fifty years of testing the bugs are ready to be ironed out but not much of what you listed is being corrected, by those supplying the market with parts for these cars.
Tim
 

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Galvanising was the key. Old Porsches were the same. The 356 and 901's rust just standing there. Post '77, it changed with body dipping. However, even that did not provide the full answer. My '88 Porsche Carrera was really well built as most later 80's car were. It spent only one year as regular driver in the UK and it took me ages to replace every hose, clip, nut, bolt and rubber under the car, when back in Australia. Tough environment.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yep this is quite true, I suspect their demise due to combined issues mentioned has contributed to the values they now bring, limited supply with an increased demand. I see Alfaholics now supplying carbon fiber bodies, I assume that you still need a solid steel shell to fix them on, that in it self costs a lot...
Hind sight is a wonderful thing with fifty years of testing the bugs are ready to be ironed out but not much of what you listed is being corrected, by those supplying the market with parts for these cars.
Tim
I don't think anything can be done.

They are now toys which are looked after and mollycoddled. The DNA of the Giulia is what it is.

Climate is a big aspect of many of the problems I have listed. In hotter dry climes they fared much better.

They simply could not take harsh British winters. Whilst other cars deteriorated Alfa's took it to another level.

A Mk1 Ford Escort could give around ten years service and was generally robust. They rusted out in the end but you "got your money's worth". A German car was hewn from granite. Again the body's lasted OK but rotted out and wore out in the end.

I remember seeing Giulia coupes rotted out everywhere but with a sound engine and box.

Oh well!
 

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They are now toys which are looked after and mollycoddled.
I had to look that word up. Never heard it before.

This forum is about solving those problems and many of us drive them everyday. I sure do, and when something goes wrong, I fix it. Are you against fixing things? Then maybe a new car is for you.

I really fail to see the point of your post. It sounds like a post for a VW forum to get them to stay away from Alfas.

We all know these things, yet we continue to own and drive them. I don't think it deters us. As Stu Hamm says, "If you're scared, stay home".
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I had to look that word up. Never heard it before.

This forum is about solving those problems and many of us drive them everyday. I sure do, and when something goes wrong, I fix it. Are you against fixing things? Then maybe a new car is for you.

I really fail to see the point of your post. It sounds like a post for a VW forum to get them to stay away from Alfas.

We all know these things, yet we continue to own and drive them. I don't think it deters us. As Stu Hamm says, "If you're scared, stay home".
I have a very nice '73 2000GTV. The reason it's in excellent condition is because it was cherished by virtually one owner and always garaged. Never been welded.

It's a labour of love. The Bertone Coupe is a masterpiece.

However I do remember in the late 70's and 80's seeing these fantastic cars being scrapped wholesale. If they were built a bit better then maybe more could have survived.

I've just had a quick Google and 70% of all Porsches are still on the road. The Alfa 105 Giulia family are fantastic. They are every bit as good as a Porsche.

How many 105's are left? I'm not scared of anything. Try finding a sound Alfasud TI. There are literally none left.

1617673
 

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W11PEL:

Well, perhaps it was irresponsible for Alfa to have sold their cars in the UK - the climate certainly isn't favorable for them. The ones sold in Italy and here in California fared better, though time and moisture still took its toll.

If you had told an Alfa Romeo engineer back in 1965 that people would be complaining about build quality 55 years later, they would be probably have shrugged their shoulders and say that 55-year longevity wasn't one of their design objectives.
 

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Porsches were not the same class as Alfas. A Porsche owner would be expected to keep his car much longer, hence a higher build quality(or maybe the other way around). They cost more too. Alfas were not expected to be kept as long as some of us have kept them. I would compare them to the BMW 2002. Sure the Germans build better quality, but I can't remember the last time I saw a 2002 out in the wild. Last one I saw was over a year ago rusting is someones driveway. I see GTVs and Spiders every couple of months here. Certainly at a BMW club you will find some nicely kept 2002s, but nobody seems to be driving them daily from my perspective.

The Alfa sud? Come on, it's hardly better than a Fiat. You would be crazy to think they are supposed to last. In fact, there is hardly anything left from the 70s. Everyone knows the Russian steel thing in the 70s. It probably hastened the deterioration of these cars. That was not foreseeable by either Alfa or Fiat so it should be left out of the equation.

My GTV was not in good shape when I bought it. The previous owner did the minimal to keep it running. But it ran. I fixed almost everything and at the same time driving it. No full restoration, just taking care of things one by one and it is in great shape now. I even had to cut out some rust holes and weld it up correctly. It didn't need to be cherished to be kept running. It just took someone to keep it.

Again, I think your post is misplaced. This crowd is about preserving cars. We all know the short comings of old cars and of Alfas in general. Nothing you are saying is new to us. But you are putting it in a such a way as if to make us say. "Oh wow, that's right. What was I thinking? Why do I own this piece of junk? I hope no one finds out I own one of these. They will think I'm an idiot." The truth is everyone I meet is full of wonder at my ownership of the car and are mostly envious of me.

So while I do not think there is anything false about your post, it is not said in the true context of old cars in general. It certainly does not sound like it comes from a car guy. I would expect to read it on some new car forum, or an electric car forum. Spend more time reading on this forum and hearing from folks that have been tinkering for decades and you might have a different perspective on the past.

Keep your car in good shape.
 

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The Porsche 911's and their earlier 356 variants fared no better really, particularly in harsh northern hemisphere climates and salted roads. I have had several early cars (901 and 356) and they rusted everywhere. The rust free car almost never existed. Their build quality was reasonably good, but the same enclosed cavity spaces in ungalvanised bodies created problems. Porsche always considered that their early cars would last about 10 years. As appreciation for them and their values rose, however, an 'industry' developed to restore the most degraded cars in recent years. Some even had trees growing through them or were buried. They did cost more, there were fewer made and they are generally worth more.

The Alfas of the era were not helped by their construction and design priorities. Somewhat like Ferrari's reported views (when questioned about the robustness of the bodies and fittings) that they made the best motors, transmissions and suspensions but the bodies " ... were free". He denied it later but these old cars were never designed to last this long without a lot of care and protection. Some do this because they see increased value or, for most here, because we love the cars and the way they look and drive.
 

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Driving my DD 64 Sprint GT here in Seattle, I put ~240k miles on it from 1966 to 1975 (long trips in the West) with no rust except around the windows due to galvanic corrosion from the trim mounting clips, easily fixed if not let go at all. Luckily, the climate here was not terribly harsh on the car, and not much salt at all was used in those years, but the sun could have done real damage if the car was not covered much of the time, which I usually did (I tend to still use them on our cars). Of course, the driver's seat vinyl and fabric did wear some. The drive train was pretty invincible, with only one replacement clutch and one valve job above and beyond the standard consumable/wear items, ie, brakes, tires, rotors, fluids, plugs, hoses, etc. Otherwise, just the expected normal adjustments, and lubing of all mechanisms and hinges.
 

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I like the OP’s post. Fun read. Brought back poignant memories.

What I don’t like are posts telling others what should, and should not be posted on the BB. Very easy to change the channel if you don’t like the program.
 

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Notwithstanding more road salting and advances in thinking (eg galv. dipping)...
If manufacturers made cars to last 50 years; (a) they would be too expensive, and (b) they wouldn’t get follow-up sales. Both factors would soon put them out of business.
They would also have been much heavier, and your sweet, lithe little Alfa would drive like a Rover.
Post #1 was a fun read. I’d just rather not dwell on it....
 

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Oh, and as far as the OP, a few comments...
  • My GTV has been very reliable. Though I don’t drive it daily, after 25k miles in as many years, it’s never left me stranded or needed a tow.
  • My BMW 2002 has its own quirks and issues; they rust equally as well as a GTV and their dashes crack just the same.
  • IMO, back in the day, all mass produced cars had a design life of maybe 5 years. I recall my dad‘s Oldsmobile lasting 60k miles in NY until it wore or rusted out. Then it was time for a new car. That’s just the way it was “back in the day.”
 

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Discussion Starter #18
We need to remember these were not cheap cars.

A 2000GTV in the UK was TWICE the price of a Ford Capri 1600GT.

We have an MOT condition test in the UK when the car is three years old. Many Bertones/Supers/Berliners/Spiders failed their first test due to structural corrosion. The sills had gone. Rotted out.

The Giulia was built like a 50's car. Lots of rust tricky traps and complicated engineering solutions.

It wasn't just the Alfa (Coupe) that died before its time. Lancia's were also grim. The Beta range were decimated by rust. Likewise Fiats especially the 131.

Was the Alfetta GTV worse?! They certainly had no problem converting themselves into ferous oxide!
 

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As a fellow sufferer of UK climatic conditions I would say that everything the OP said originally is probably true to some extent. But I'd say that was also true of almost every contemporary car in the early to mid 70's - including BMW. This was a time when you had to pay extra for underseal on British cars otherwise they came without any.

Porsche always sat a price level above Alfa, BMW, Jag etc and so you'd expect a bit better quality. Bear in mind as well that the more expensive a car, the more it was likely to be both garaged and less used (see how many modern and classic supercars are offered for sale with a sad lack of miles - who buys a nice car not to drive it?) which helps in reducing problems. My sole experience with Porsche ( A 928, made from plastic, galvanised steel and aluminium) tells me that despite being the most expensive Porsche you could buy when new, they weren't exempt from shoddy trim or corrosion.

If Italian car quality dipped in the mid 70's then they weren't alone. I also run a '72 XJ6 Jag and it is substantially better built and more rust resistant than later models.

It's perfectly OK to recognise the flaws in your loved one but still love them. And when we look back like this we're probably putting together 20 years of problems into our list so these issues didn't all come at once. Our cars often fell into the hands of people who couldn't afford to run them as well, which meant that issues built up.

Alfa GTV's were expensive - just a few quid short of an E type. But there were huge import duties to the UK bumping up the prices at the time, which made up a big part of the price difference between a Capri and a GTV.
 

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My contribution to this is that I did spend a couple of years in the UK, 1981-82, and owned an Alfetta sedan there. What I recall is that Alfa's lasted just as well as most other cars of that time apart from the bodywork. Putting Mercedes aside, they were built like a brick outhouse in those days.

You could get a 4-5 year old Alfa/Lancia/Fiat that had a perfectly good interior and running gear but the doors skins were separating from the frames, the sills/rockers were rotted through etc etc. There was a series of books around the place on how to weld your car, seemed that was a common thing in the UK. Almost regular maintenance for your rep-mobile Cortina or Cavalier. Hardly surprising, the things ran on salted roads 3-4 months of the year, had no rust-treatment to speak of, and never had a chance to dry out.
 
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