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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1st time buyer (combed the forums for the last 2 days) for Alfa spider, previously owned mx5, MGB, jag, and some older '65 domestics and newer Asians.

Looking for something I can drive around in the summer, not everyday but if I want to take out of town for the weekend- couple hundred miles. Think resto-mod.

Torn between looks on the S1 and newness of a late S2 early 80's (reliability? ha ha)

on either of these I always:
new gas tank- all lines hoses
upg brakes, hoses, rotors,
wheels to 15"
if FI, newer injectors
Electronic ignition +new wiring harness if needed.
headers + full performance exhaust, cold air intake
electric fan + alum. rad
shocks, new swaybars, bushings, etc.
swap out interior- new carpet, seats.

Can I get any more juice out of the old S1's and is there parts for this?

Looking for a 8-9 out of 10 driver (not concours) car, is the ride much better in the later S2's or is just looks after I mod the S1-

will the S1 drive like an old car, where you have 3-6 inches of steering play- like an old 60's muscle car? Is an S1 like something best parked and maybe driven under 40 to the local clubs gathering at A&W or can I take it and drive it.
 

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1st time buyer (combed the forums for the last 2 days) for Alfa spider, previously owned mx5, MGB, jag, and some older '65 domestics and newer Asians.

Looking for something I can drive around in the summer, not everyday but if I want to take out of town for the weekend- couple hundred miles. Think resto-mod.

Torn between looks on the S1 and newness of a late S2 early 80's (reliability? ha ha)

on either of these I always:
new gas tank- all lines hoses
upg brakes, hoses, rotors,
wheels to 15"
if FI, newer injectors
Electronic ignition +new wiring harness if needed.
headers + full performance exhaust, cold air intake
electric fan + alum. rad
shocks, new swaybars, bushings, etc.
swap out interior- new carpet, seats.

Can I get any more juice out of the old S1's and is there parts for this?

Looking for a 8-9 out of 10 driver (not concours) car, is the ride much better in the later S2's or is just looks after I mod the S1-

will the S1 drive like an old car, where you have 3-6 inches of steering play- like an old 60's muscle car? Is an S1 like something best parked and maybe driven under 40 to the local clubs gathering at A&W or can I take it and drive it.[/QUOTE

answer two critical questions first...

what is your total budget ?

what can you actually do yourself with a high degree of skill vs what will you have to pay to have done for you ?

those two answers will define what you buy.
 

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Suspension is exactly the same from 69 on. They did add spacers to the springs to raise bumper height over the years. Steering box change from bruman to zf sometime in the 80's. So an S1 and a late S2 will handle the same with equivalent suspension.
 

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I have had a 74 and an 83.... currently a 72 Spider. I agree with the above comment. Handling effectively the same. As long as the suspension bits are done (lowering springs, koni's, brakes and bushings) these all drive well.

You could do a frame stiffener, too.

I would go with a 2.0L Spica on an S2. You can always convert to carbs if you desire with exhaust mods and 15" wheels/tires.

I say go with a pre-75 S2 for two additional reasons. 1) the large Alfa grill/bumpers (without bumperettes) and Kammtail looks, and even more inportantly 2) PRE-EMISSIONS. You wont have to deal with the DOT as you do your modifications.

good luck. these are great cars. buy the best one you can afford.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
budget: like to keep it under $25k ish.
then up to $2500-3000 a yr to maintain (not inc insurance, gas, consumables etc) All I do is basic stuff change oil, filters, wax, plugs- a shop for the rest.

-no emissions test needed on any car
Forgot about that- yes stiffen. this is what I had on the MG for stock shocks- ha ha:
 

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budget: like to keep it under $25k ish.
then up to $2500-3000 a yr to maintain (not inc insurance, gas, consumables etc) All I do is basic stuff change oil, filters, wax, plugs- a shop for the rest.

-no emissions test needed on any car
Forgot about that- yes stiffen. this is what I had on the MG for stock shocks- ha ha:
with 25 to spend you can buy a pretty nice one that someone has done a good job with. the trick will be to find one hiding somewhere with legit low milage and no rust and original paint. it will take some time but thats the one you want. you don't want one that someone has " restored " and " fixed all the rust " . paint, cosmetics and interior work you can get done reasonably and the mechanicals that need work at 50 or 60,000 miles will be doable in a reasonable sense. for that kind of money you can end up with a very nice car and a nice car to drive. original is the key. don't buy something that someone else has screwed up and you will never honestly know whats underneath all that shiny new paint...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
for me, its body and paint, in the mechanical is far cheaper- a decent just paint and fill in the bumps no rust is a $5-7k job so looking in AZ, TX, CA for a clean aligned tight example.

Been looking at tons of parts, all seems reasonable a couple things a bit out there for pricing but is
there any weirdo bits? like $2k headlights, or non existent normal wear parts that I should be aware about?
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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Ha, memories, we used to fill those with a 50/50 mix of motor oil and stp, really stiff!
My vote is for a 2L up to 74, the best of all worlds but then again I'm probably biased as I have a 74.
 

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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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qa1 shcoks/ dampners are much better than old stye konis.. easyer to adjust,, about the same price,, and as a +++ you can rebuild them at home , or re-valve them if you want with a simple pin wrench
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
watched this whole video:
how to buy an alfa.
Its great video- but holy this car is junk- it would take $50k+ just to get back to factory spec.


Funny thing about time, makes you forget. Makes you look at things in a much different light than before.

This video whipped me into reality on these old cars (and all old cars). When he talks about floor boards and supporting tranny brackets- chassis issues, going it will take 60-80 hours to fix this side- the other one is worse.... at $110 an hour- that's 80 x 110= 8800 x 2 = $17.6k plus all the other stuff.... to me the owner should just crush this and walk away or park it in the bad end of town.


Looking at this- financially speaking buying any sub $350k fixer upper is a bad deal, because body work doesn't scale- rockers are rockers.

What's a duetto worth tops? $40k mint?
If it costs $15-22k for a decent car and then requires another $40k to fix just to get it to high average drivability (body work underneath so it doesn't split in half)- its bad deal. a paint job is $7k for a nice one.

Better to get the new alfa miata, MX5- or anything new if you start to work math like this.

Thanks guys for your input- just not as hard core as its going to take to own one of these, mainly because I don't do my own work, not interested in that part- which I think you have to be to get into this end of vintage cars.
 

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for me, its body and paint, in the mechanical is far cheaper- a decent just paint and fill in the bumps no rust is a $5-7k job so looking in AZ, TX, CA for a clean aligned tight example.

Been looking at tons of parts, all seems reasonable a couple things a bit out there for pricing but is
there any weirdo bits? like $2k headlights, or non existent normal wear parts that I should be aware about?

SENT YOU A PM (Private Message).


I have found that parts on Alfa's are very much available for the most part. Between Centerline, IAP, RockAuto, Vicks Auto -- not a problem, and I have had 2 GTV's and 3 Spiders.
Much easier to supply versus say 70's - 80's Ferrari, and much less expensive to work on and maintain.

John
 

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If I were to start over with a new spider it would probably be a '71. They have the best looks, both inside and outside and they are lighter than later Spiders. There is a nice one for sale now in the cars for sale section.

Upgrading to a 2L motor is easy and there are enough people who want 1750 motors that you would have no problem selling the old one if you go that route.

The S3 cars are heavier and are not as easy to modify for more power. The S2 cylinder heads have better shaped ports and with Alfa's earlier cars are better made (from a mechanical perspective). Compare cylinder head castings to see obviuos lower quality in the later ones.

The challenge is to find an early car with little rust. The late 80's cars did not rust as badly as the 70's cars.

You don't need a chassis stiffener to have a good handling car.
 

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will the S1 drive like an old car, where you have 3-6 inches of steering play- like an old 60's muscle car?

Is an S1 like something best parked and maybe driven under 40 to the local clubs gathering at A&W or can I take it and drive it.
if you have that much play in the steering, the steering box is broke! steering should be light and responsive. direct with great road feel.

italian sports cars like to be exercised regularly. the "italian tune-up" is not a myth. a healthy alfa begs to be driven with enthusiasm. that is what they were made for. i mean "spirited", not "abusive".

get a chassis stiffener. if you're used to all those other more modern rigid cars, you will appreciate it.

stock, the alfa will be slower than the miata. you might want to look into some engine performance work. this will be easier to do on a pre 80's car. also, the older pre-smog cars have cast iron 4-into-2 exhaust headers that are hard to beat for street performance.

per the QA1 shocks, why would you need to be constantly adjusting the settings or rebuilding them often? :confused:
 

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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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i have my qa1's on my ca for 2 years... have not or need to rebuild them,,, just a neat thing to be able to do.( i can remember that years ago, koni had a ' lifetime warrenty, and is was free to rebuild them, not abymore ). as for 'settings '. for around town driving.. set them to a ' soft' setting. but bombing the back roads or auto-x you can set them up faster.. just a dial at the bottom of the shock. no need to remove them as in koni's fronts are easy on the koni's but the rear.. a pain in the backside. takes only 10 sec. to adjust qa1's.. try there website.
 

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but bombing the back roads or auto-x you can set them up faster.
true. if you are serious about track days/autoX then this could be an advantage. for the average street enthusiast, it just seems a moot point. the original poster never mentioned track use, so it seems like overkill.

i had a lengthy face-to-face discussion with the technical director at Nitron shocks, who also used to be with Ohlins. he was saying that all the high performance rebuildable shocks are really designed to be disassembled, inspected, and fluid changed every 15k miles or so. sobering thought!
 

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they are nicely sealed,, no leakage after 2 years..qa1 says nothing about rebuilding ther ' street ' shocks.
 

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on either of these I always:
upg brakes
alfa brakes are really, really good. with quality pads and tires you will be able to out brake many a car. i have shocked people with modern performance cars and am able to brake scary late when autocrossing.
 

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One of the few technical issues you should think about is carbs vs fuel injection. The early Duetto had webers, and a unique sound and driving experience. Try an original car with the OEM skinny tires - you will be amazed at the performance the Alfa suspension gets out of them, and the drive is amazingly light and nimble. Webers are much better than the Strombergs on your MG, where you kept a screwdriver in your pocket....

The 1750 had the first Alfa FI, a SPICA mechanical system that is very good if it's working well - and there are experts here on the BB that can maintain and rebuild them to perfection. The high pressure fuel pump sometimes gives trouble and looses pressure if the tank gets too low on really hot days (the fuel is recirculated to the tank, so it heats up from the engine).

Later cars had variations of Bosch electronic FI. For a street car without much pressure (AX or TT track days) they are bullet proof and extremely reliable.

I'm partial to the Duetto, but that's because I've owned mine for 48 years. It's the lightest of the spiders - barely 1000 kg - and a joy to drive with spirit but little risk.

OTOH, the early cars have few creature comforts. No power windows, mirrors, no A/C. And they're noise and windy with the top down and just noisy with it up. They'd rather have better gas than we get today. The electronic FI cars compensate for most sins.

Find a BB member or an Alfa club in your vicinity and try a few variations.

Try some of the easy AX events, and visit a club Time Trial ;/ track day. There is a lot of fun.....

Good Luck

Robert
 
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