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Discussion Starter #1
I've been collecting junky '74 Spiders for the last couple of years but neither of the bodies I had picked up were in decent enough shape for me to consider as a starter resto project.

It's an interesting scenario for me - a supply of what feels like limitless parts and sheet metal but no car on which to make them useful...

Enter '74 Spider #3 - a decent California native runner that was recently in a strange accident. It had been run off the road by a couple of cars participating in a side-show. The pan had been ripped open and the oil pump sheared off.

Well known car nut Andrew went through the motor for his friend, doing a head gasket, swapping the pump and pan, amongst other mechanical improvements.

I bought the car from him back in November and drove it directly into my garage. The next couple of weekends were spent pulling the interior and scraping out all the old tar sound-proofing.

The floors were pretty bad. There were some big holes and lots of very thin sheet metal.

Here are some photos after I pulled the mats and scraped out most of the tar...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Progress

So, many of you are probably saying, "that's really not too bad". You're right. I figured this would be about the right amount of complexity for a starter welding project, and seeing as I am repairing floors I don't have to freak out about appearance, a bit of warping, etc.

Lucky me, one of my parts cars had just about the right amount of sheet metal in the floors so that I didn't have to buy replacement parts.

I'm trying to keep this project off the financial radar and considering that my red parts car was only $200 and has already yielded a new front window, a perfect gas tank, and various spare interior bits, the floors were just an added bonus.

Here's a pic of the absent bits of floor. I've also been cutting sheet metal out for patches and welding practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
"finished" product

So I just finished the last bit of patching in the passenger side front foot-well. It's not pretty but it's definitely solid. I scrubbed everything with marine clean and treated it with metal ready. I'm going to paint the floors with POR15 sometime this week.

After that, I'm going to install Kool-Mat. It's a highly heat resistant silicone material that has a fibreglass backing. I used it in my Giulietta Spider and it pretty much stops any heat from exhaust or road from being felt. It also has incredible noise reduction properties.

I'll document the installation. My wife is going to help me make a pattern so that I can share it back with the Kool-Mat people. They're going to start offering a kit for 105 Spiders and if I can get some help on a pattern for GTVs they'll do on for those as well.

Welding is really great fun. I've probably shortened my life by ten years with all the smoke and dust, but it's almost been worth it. I'm not going nuts dressing the welds down. There's a lot of metal in my welds at this point and it would take forever to flatten them out. I'm going to practice a bit more on a couple of chunks from the parts car out back...

Next project (after I get this car back on the road) is going to be welding in a new nose. My OTHER parts car has a perfect nose and a nice rear panel. I'm going to cut these bits out next weekend so I can get rid of these cars.

The red car is going to get cut up into small pieces and stuffed in the blue car's trunk so they can both go to the scrap yard.

Thanks for all the info in the resto thread. It's been a huge help both in terms of inspiration and technical details...

cheers,
Brian
 

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Good work for having a go, it's pretty straightforward once you get the idea of what you are trying to do. I really enjoy body work, I bet the bug bites you too.
Buy yourself some seam sealer for the finished welded seams, it's designed just for this application. It stays flexible, is thick enough to "smooth" ugly welds and can be painted over by anything. The best stuff is in a can, you apply it with a stiff bristle brush right out of the can.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
seam sealer

Thanks for the support.

Yeah - it's a serious bug. I've already spent three weekends heads down in the shop and the weeks seem longer in anticipation.

I bought seam sealer in a caulking tube. I was thinking I could apply and then spread out. Is it a different product?

Another question I had is if I should apply por15 first and then seam seal on top...

cheers,
Brian
 

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Brian
Seam-sealer material varies by geographic location. All products are not available universally. Buy a name brand from a reputable supplier and have at it.
Caulking tube mixtures tend to be thicker bodied than products packaged in cans.

I generally apply the seam-sealer, then paint with POR 15. This allows the sealer to fill the voids rather than the POR 15 dripping from any porosity.
Either way will work.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
a weekend's progress

Needed to get to the firewall so I pulled the heater box. I figured it would make sense to go through it, clean it up, put in new foam insulation, etc.

The valve checks out ok, but there was enough corrosion on the hardware to make me think it's worth replacing now (rather than in 12 months when I have the dash back in, etc).

The box was completely covered in filth. It looked like the exhaust fan outlet in a burger joint. This is symptomatic of a heater box that has suffered at least two leaking hoses, one or two failed valves and in all likelihood, a failed core.

I found a good post on box overhauling and followed the instructions for disassembly. I cleaned and treated all of the plastic and rubber bits and tested the motor. It works great on both speeds. Very quiet. Thankfully, a PO had drilled a couple of holes in the bottom of the box :)

I wasn't so lucky with the core, however. There's a pin-hole leak and I'm going to take it to Berkeley Radiator tomorrow to get it re-cored. I might just take a spare radiator that I've got lying around and have that rebuilt as well...

B
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Por15

The floors are completely done now. I got up this morning and cleaned, re-cleaned, vacuumed. I coated the inside and underside with POR15.

Having removed the heater box, I cleaned all the way up under the dash. I'm going to install a silicone mat on the firewall, so I removed all the old horse-hair and glue.

I know some folks want to keep everything original. But I just can't abide that horse hair stuff. It's just not appropriate for a convertible. Whenever I've removed it from a car it seems like it's always wet and the sheet metal underneath is covered in surface rust. All this stuff will be out of sight, anyway so I really just want the best protection I can get from heat and moisture.

Next weekend will be sound-proofing and interior installation.

B
 

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Discussion Starter #9
watching paint dry

While the paint was drying I started going through all of the various harnesses, gauges, switches, etc. that I have.

I'm combining the best bits from three cars, so it also takes a bit of time to remove, clean and compare everything to determine which version of this or that item is the least sh*tty.

I'm doing my best to recycle 100% here, only buying those items that cannot or should not be re-used, reconditioned, etc.

I combined three different center consoles into one really nice unit. The heater switch has peeling chrome, and there's a hole from someone's sure-start, but the final product looks better than any previous center console I've had.

I was lucky enough to discover an intact original lighter, which I was a bit excited about. I'm not sure if it works, but I cleaned/polished and installed it. We'll see how it goes. I don't really smoke but I like the idea of being able to light a cigarette while driving on the freeway with the top down.

A while back I had put in a request to Larry for a decent dash. He came back a few months later with a nearly perfect one. It's never been cut for a stereo box and there are no cracks. I cleaned it up with vinyl conditioner and it looks brand new.

I spent about an hour going through all of my dash hardware and determined that the gauges from the beige car are probably the best bet. They had very minor corrosion and I remember them working when I drove the car from Andrew's place.

I had only one decent set of vents between the four dashes I tore down. All of them were completely covered in surface rust and were either cracking or broken. The best set was from the beige car. The little arms for opening and closing the vents were plastic on those - which is a great improvement on the metal ones, if you can believe that.

Of the seven or so viable pieces of gauge brightwork, I was able to polish up 2.5. One had decent enough chrome but it's peeling in a couple of places. I have this really nice chrome polish that requires almost no effort to get really amazing results.

I had three different gauge harnesses to choose from. Of the three, the best was from my red parts car. There were a few subtle differences between each of the harnesses. The beige car is a '73, so the gauge light circuit is white/black. The same circuit it yellow on the '74.

One other thing that's good about having a '73 - I don't have to deal with the wiring hell created by the fasten-your-seat-belt kill-circuit. I noticed it's absence when I pulled the dash yesterday.

A couple of months ago I bought a decent glove box door off of ebay for $10. It's from a later model that was some special edition - maybe 100th anniversary of Pinin Farina? Either way, between the radio block off plate and the little plastic insignia on the glove box, my passengers are inevitably going to ask me what year my Pinin Farina is...

Cheers,
Brian
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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Very nice! also restoring a 74 spider, thanks for the photos!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hey Gigem - thanks for the post. I'm very familiar with your resto work. I've been following your fender replacement closely. I have a similar project to complete on my car - replacing the nose. I'd love to get more detail on what the welding process felt like for you. I imagine it probably took a long time.

I'm planning on cutting the nose from my donor car in a couple of weeks. I also need to swap out the rear deck panel as it's oil canned a bit...

Anyway, how's progress on your car?

cheers,
Brian
 

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Restoring any Alfa is cool. Take your time, think things out, and you'll be fine. And here's one thing I learned
about doing the work myself on my car...

"The Devil is in the details!"

Good luck on yours!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks. One thing tho - this isn't really a "restoration" per se. I've restored a number of Alfas including a Giulietta and a '71 Spider and definitely drilled down to every detail. This car is going to be a rolling resto. I'm trying to build a practical driver that I can thrash around in the mountains. Eventually it may even become a racing platform - but that remains to be seen.

I'm also in the process of restoring a very low number Junior Zagato. That car will be where all the attention to detail goes...

cheers,
Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A couple of sunny days here in the Bay. A bit cold but not too cold to spend a few hours outside picking parts off of parts cars.

I pulled all of the newer brake components off the blue car and moved them to the project. I had installed braided hoses and picked out the best of all of the brake lines. I decided to hold off on swapping out the master cylinder for now as I want to wait until I have the time to rebuild a booster with it.

I also went through the fuel system. I installed the tank that I had restored along with replacing all of the hoses between the tank, pump filters, Spica, return lines, etc.

In the process, I discovered that the hard-line to the engine had a small crimp under the rubber and there was evidence of a pinhole leak. It was probably so tiny that it just soaked the rubber and never showed itself. Still, this would definitely be a safety hazard in the long term.

I pulled both of the fuel lines from the parts cars and compared them. The line from the red car appeared to be in great shape until I pulled the last rubber before the tank. Water must have been getting trapped in there as it was terribly pitted and brittle.

Oddly enough, the hard-line from the blue car, which was from Idaho, was in much better shape. There was a tiny bit of surface rust but I steel wooled the whole thing, then etched and painted it - probably a more durable treatment than the cad plating, which seems to do little to protect metal when it's really exposed to the elements.

I managed to get everything back together by the end of the day yesterday.

My wife and I spent a few hours cutting out Kool-Mat. I needed to order a bit more so we aren't able to finished this weekend.

After we ran out of mat I decided to install new shocks. I had acquired a decent set of used Koni's a while back, which I cleaned up a bit.

I set the fronts to the max setting and the rears to the softest. My experience has been that these cars need a ton of dampening in the front. At one time I had a spider with Bilstein's in the back. If you're not familiar with these very expensive shocks, they are as stiff as they come and have no adjustment. The rear end would lift off the ground over the smallest bump and I would frequently lose traction when driving on uneven surfaces. My expectation is that having really gentle dampening in the back along with stock springs, should help to minimize this effect...

I've swapped out shocks so many times in 105 and 115 cars that the whole process only takes about 30 minutes. This added to the time I spent chasing all the threads on the Koni's and repairing the threads on the passenger front lower shock post, I finished in under two hours. Still time for a dog walk!

Next week/weekend will come the big push to install the interior. I'll post some photos as it starts to come together.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
progress

My wife has been very helpful - she was the mastermind behind the pattern-making and fitting of the Koolmat that is now installed in this car. It was quite a job - it took the better part of three days...

It's done now, thankfully. I can't say that I enjoy this sort of thing as much as the welding part. It's definitely peace-of-mind, though. When glued in and sealed with silicone, it creates a completely water-sealed protective barrier.

The firewall is really well insulated, which will also help to greatly reduce the transfer of heat from the engine compartment to the foot-wells. Having driven 105 cars long distances in 90deg temperatures, the transmission tunnel and firewall can heat up something fierce.

It looks sort of cool, too. Very NASA.

I didn't have time for much else after I finished. I installed the rebuilt heater box and the transmission-tunnel cover. Even with the dash out it's still a pain in the neck getting the heater box in. I almost poked my eye out several times. I don't think it's perfectly centered but hopefull it doesn't matter too much. I really don't feel like pulling it out again :p

B
 

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Coming soon

My little workshop is spilling over with bits. It'll all come together really fast. I know I've installed an entire Spider interior in an afternoon before.

The rubber is in desperate need of cleaning. I scrubbed the rear-cross-bar cover and washed it with rubber cleaner/preservative. It looks as good as new. I had a couple different rubber pieces to select from (one from each car) and have decent examples of every mat excluding the driver's side (of course). I was able to salvage the one from the blue car, but it's covered in some sort of brittle glue that just won't come off.

Eventually I'll buy a new one but what I have is good enough for now.

I've never had a rat-rod before. I've always had really nice cars that I either restored completely or bought in original condition. It's going to be interesting for me to be driving a spider that is so cosmetically challenged. I know I need to get over it. The interior will be totally refreshed so I'm sure once I start driving it I'll stop caring.

Not sure if I'll get to the body work any time soon. I really just want to drive an Alfa at this point. It's been almost a year since I've had an operational car :p

This is the longest I've gone without a sports car in my adult life and I don't like it!

B
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
"Initial re-assembly"

I've gotten 98% of the interior installed now. I had decent examples of pretty much every Spider interior bit you can imagine and polished, scrubbed and applied conditioner to each. I bought a bunch of new stainless hardware and went to town last weekend.

I had to drill a few holes to make up for broken studs, but top installation went much more smoothly than I could have imagined. It took me about a day to figure out how to adjust it, but now it requires only a minor sweat to get it closed. It's just a crappy used vinyl top that I bought from a fellow BB'r, but seeing as I probably won't drive this car in the rain at any point, I was more concerned about price-point than perfection. It came wrapped in garbage bags, already installed on the frame. Minimal cost, minimal labor...

I've been driving the car a bit. There are still some quirks to iron out but for the most part everything works.

The Magnaflow exhaust that Mitch built for me sounds great. He was emphatic that it would not be too loud without a rear can, and he was right. It has none of the tinny whine of my old Alfetta, it's all low-end and mid-range growl. It's not deafening but it's loud enough to set off the occasional aftermarket alarm system...

Just for yucks I cleaned up the car with polish/wax and removed the awful dealer installed door ding trim. Even with the rivet holes and slightly darker sand-beige color that was hidden under the trim, the car looks pretty decent. It was a bit of a shock, actually. I really didn't think it would look as nice as it does.

Of course, the perfect dash is the centerpiece. I've never had a Spider without a cracked dash, and it's really nice to be looking at one.

My short list of things I need to fix before the first rally:
-Fumes: it's a bit fumy in the driver's seat with the top up. Mitch didn't have any tail-pipes so that might be part of the fix. I'll probably look at sealing up the trunk and making sure that the exaust manifold is tight. I can't find my S-curve wrench so I haven't been able to reach the bottom nuts yet...
-Window felt and vent-window rubber: The felts are cooked and the vent windows are far from sealed. I think I can hold off on the passenger side for a bit but the drivers rubber needs to be replaced immediately
-I need to lube the suspension, too - there are zirk fittings on the bushings of the lower wishbones and I'll probably get a needle to inject grease into the ball joint and tie rod ends as well

I already installed the Centerline Electronic ignition that I bought used. It flattened out idle and I was able to get it down to about 800rpm. It's quiet and steady now. The old Marelli that came installed was pretty worn and the points were about ready for the grave. I installed some nearly new NKGs and a new Bosch Blue coil at the same time. Big difference right away.

When I think about where this car was just a couple of months ago and where it is now it's pretty funny.

Now all I need is for the weather to cooperate!

Fun stuff!

cheers,
Brian
 

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I just picked up my sand beige Spider from the shop yesterday :eek:

Friends of my friend Mitch's saw the car when he was installing the exhaust and offered to pull/spray the nose. No Macco, either - they do a lot of Maserati/etc. work for one of the local $$ resto shops. It's a bit unnerving how nice the car looks (and drives). I'll post some photos - I know people are less inclined to see the finished car.

My car is waaay to nice now. Remember that I started this thread saying I was going to build a rat-rod. Now I have this really nice car. Of course it continues to rain here. It started raining the day I finished assembling everything and it's barely let up since :p - I need to take the car out, heat it up and nail the timing - it hasn't stopped long enough...

Just gluing in the vent window latches. You folks don't need to see that...

Really the only thing not functioning on my Spider is the fan. For some reason flipping on the fan switch causes a short and blows the fuse. The turn-signals and harzards are on the same circuit and work fine. I've been trying to figure it out but have given up for the time being.

The issue has got to be in one of several places (or maybe multiple - if I start thinking the way the doctors on House think):
-The circuit is not grounding properly to the throttle light and lighter wiring
-There's a minute difference in the wiring into the plug - the female side of the plug (in my car) is model year '72, the male side (the harness that I used for the center console) is model year '74

Unfortunately, the '72 harness was hosed. Come to think of it I'm going to look at it for a minute right now...

B
 

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1984 GTV6, 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano
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Just stumbled across this thread. Honestly this is my favorite kind of restoration, making a "nice used car" vs. one that's over restored. I first saw the concept executed very nicely on a Jag e-type that just looked like a nice old car. But the owner assured me that it had been much improved, but that almost nothing on the car was new, but used in better condition.

Good luck with the sale. And Go Bears!
 
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