Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Opinions/ideas needed. Bought a '72 Spider that is about 6 1/2 hours away. I did a pre-purchase inspection and main concern was that it looked like there had been some leaks - but they couldn't tell how recently ... and all levels were full. They said the car would have to be cleaned underneath and then re-inspected to figure out if something is still leaking. They didn't see any drips on the floor under the car. The compression check was great. Turned out the tires were 16 years old - so I have 4 replacements. I am looking at having it transported ... but I really would like to just pick it up and drive it home. The dealer is concerned ... they said it is an old car and do I really want to drive it that far first trip out??? So ... any advice? I am in NC.

Thanks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,880 Posts
Do you have AAA? Take your card and a cell phone and go for it I say! Tires are a bit of a concern - I've always been foolhardy about tires though so don't listen to me on that score.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I will take the new tires with me and have them mounted and balanced on the spider before I head home. I do have 200 miles AAA towing ... it is a 410 mile trip. I'd have to make it to Raleigh ... then it is about 200 miles to Asheville from there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,045 Posts
In 2007 I road a bus from Memphis TN to Silver Springs MD, bought a 1988 Spider Veloce, and immediately drove it back to Memphis, 980 miles. Other than replacing the battery before I started, I only had to stop and buy light bulbs and an electrical probe to repair the tail lights and dash lights on the way home. Sounds like it was pretty smooth, right? The next week while I was driving the Alfa to work the alternator froze up and started burning the fan belt off as it screamed across the frozen alternator pulley. If that had happened on the way home from MD I would have really been screwed, because I bought the Alfa on a Friday night and drove it back home over a weekend. No mechanical help available on a weekend. It just goes to show that you never can tell.

Oh yes. All this happened in December and I caught pneumonia on the way home.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,012 Posts
Has the car been regularly driven? Or has it been parked/in storage for a long while? If it has been regularly driven recently then I'd be inclined to drive it home.

My wife & I flew to Houston Tx and drove our new-to-us GTV6 home. If needed, I was ready to find a rental truck/trailer but we had no issues.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,667 Posts
Well for my $0.02, I am a low risk person.

I have bought 2 Spiders, both were 450 miles away.

For me, I would never drive a 43 year old car that I didn't know the distance you are thinking.

I brought both mine home on a u-haul car trailer. Was cheap and gave me peace of mind.

Once home, I could inspect the car for as long as I needed and if anything happened, I was close to home.

I would trailer her home.

Vin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,317 Posts
Robert, you rock! Just saying. That is a great little story of car buying. I've done the same with an old BMW, with the same next day results LOL. Cars are machines at their basic form, and they break with sometimes unanticipated regularity. But it's really neat to see what your new purchase can do.

I also hate the age of the tires. If the oil is fairly fresh looking and it starts OK cold, and your intuition is good on the car overall, it might make for a nice two day drive after you change out the tires.

Are you buying from a dealer?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Yes. When I called around trying to find someone who could do the pre-purchase inspection I was told they have a great reputation and apparently work with other classics - mainly BMW and Mercedes. People were actually recommending them to check the car out. The car is supposed to run smoothly and start easily ... and I know it has not been driven much the last month .. told the previous owner put about 25k miles on it the last 12 years. It has all the service records for the last 12 years and many from previous years. 109k miles on the car.

This wouldn't be the first time for me either. I picked up a 2001 525i wagon with a stick shift 2 years ago in Chicago. Took a cheap flight to Chicago and drove it home to Asheville. It was a long, but smooth trip. Next day I brought it by my mechanic and apparently the tires were unsafe with a problem on the inside that was not readily seen. Had to buy new tires and park it until they came.

And ... flew up to Albany, NY to pick up a '98 328 Conv about 11 years ago. Drove it back home. Probably one of the best cars I've had. It is still going strong at 240k miles and I still autocross it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,306 Posts
A car that old that you don't know everything about, there are a lot of unknowns. A couple of years ago I bought a '91 164S that was only about 60 miles away and I opted to rent a trailer and bring it home. Turned out there were quite a few potentially disastrous conditions with the car and trailering it home was a wise decision.

You might make it or you might break down. AAA is one thing but where are you going to break down? It could be a dangerous or risky spot and damage might ensue. A coolant issue could compromise the engine.

When I got the 164 home I replaced all of the belts, tensioners, idlers and hoses (coolant and fuel) water pump, thermostat, filters, plugs, distributor cap and wires. Been trouble free and confident since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,045 Posts
Robert, you rock! Just saying. That is a great little story of car buying
I am not always so bold. In 2010 I bought my current 88 red
Quad from Seattle WA, about 2,500 miles away. That time I paid to have it transported across the US on a professional car hauler, the double deck kind. It was a much more sensible decision except that the bunch of guys working the transporter were a wild crazy bunch of Ukranians. But that is another story entirely!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,667 Posts
A car that old that you don't know everything about, there are a lot of unknowns.

AAA is one thing but where are you going to break down?
+1

Car trailer rental from UHaul are cheap, including insurance.

Vin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
The challenge is that I don't have anything to tow with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
I moved from Phoenix, AZ to Los Angeles, (about the same distance you are describing) and I did not bring my Alfa with me when I moved. After I got situated in L.A., I was ready to bring my Alfa out. I thought about driving it. I wanted to drive it. I had just had the gearbox rebuilt, and a bunch of other things gone through, and I have roadside assistance. However, when I thought about it more I decided not to. I rented a UHaul trailer, AND truck from them as well. I drove out with the Alfa on the trailer, and it was a nice simple drive. In fact, it was so smooth, that as I was hitting the border of California, I realized that I would get into L.A. about at dusk, so I got on my cell, found a UHaul shop about an hour and a half from home, and made arrangements to drop off the equipment to them early. (I had intended to drive home, park the UHaul truck and trailer on the street, and return it in the morning). I pulled into the shop, unloaded my car, turned in the equipment, and now free and clear of all of that, enjoyed the last hour and a half drive in my car! I had the best of both worlds really. I didnt put the extra miles or wear on my car, or risk a break-down on the long haul, and enjoyed the last part of the drive home in my car. FWIW, the UHaul equipment, a regular 14 ft box van, (the smallest they will rent to do this interstate) and a dual axle low-boy trailer, performed flawlessly and was VERY affordable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I have never towed anything, but maybe door to door at a U-haul location where they might be willing to help me load and unload ... Might work. I'll look into it. Thanks.
 

·
Senior TEXAS member
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
Drive that puppy home!!!
Check or replace all that you can before you leave, load up the tool box and some spares, your AAA card, fully charged cell phone, high limit credit card then, as the weather dictates, put her on the road and enjoy the drive!
What is that 8-10 hours in your part of the country? Piece of pie....:wink2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
I bought my Spider from an individual about 250 miles away. I considered taking a bus there and driving it back but decided to trailer it instead since I have a 1 ton truck and 16 foot trailer. I test drove the car and everything seemed OK except for a small exhaust leak so I loaded up and drove home. Next day I unloaded the car and drove it to town to get the title and paperwork done at the courthouse annex. Got the paperwork all complete and went out to the car, hit the key and BAM- out comes the judge and Constable with guns drawn! Opened the hood and found the #1 spark plug had blown out of the head.......Glad I decided to trailer it home.

This past summer I did take a bus to Florida and drove my Maserati 950 miles home with no incidents except being pulled over for speeding 50 miles from the house. Red cars do attract more attention from law enforcement- the cop just wanted to see the car and find out what it was.
Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
705 Posts
The challenge is that I don't have anything to tow with.
Easy. You rent a van AND a trailer from Hertz/Penske, or Ryder, and tow it home.

Not Uhaul, because their equipment sucks. In my experience, Uhaul has crappy old high mileage junk.

I'd tow it because this is worse than a crap shoot. I only gamble when I know the odds, and on this one, you have almost no idea what the odds are, and the risks range from blowing the engine to having the driveshaft detach itself from the trans. Or it might have bad motor mounts which will leave you stranded with a shattered fan, a destroyed radiator and dents in your hood. Could ruin your whole day.

EDIT:

For those who might think I'm chicken: I drove my '71 GTV from Atlanta to LA in four days. A year later I drove back to Atlanta by way of Montana, South Dakota and head South. That was in 1985, and thus the car was only 14 years old.

I would not attempt that feat in a 40 year old car I didn't know pretty well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Well ... I got everything ready to go ... picked up basics to replace when I got there ... and then the phone rang ... The dealer found someone that was willing to get the car out to me for not much more than it would have cost me to go get it. So ... after 16 years ... tomorrow morning I will be driving an Alfa again. I cannot wait!!! I already have appointments lined up to get the new tires on and to spend some time in an Alfa shop getting my feet wet again. Thanks for all the help and all the great stories. I'll try to post a picture.
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top