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1991 Alfa Romeo 164 L
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Greetings, y'all,

Short backstory; I live in the inner city (Chicago) and have no urgent need for a vehicle, I've been without a vehicle for the past ten years. However, my late father owned a ton of Alfa's and Fiat's, including two 164's. I've been casually browsing eBay for years looking for one, but they were always too far away and/or way overpriced.

Well, I finally found one in California for cheap, made a low bid, and won; bought a one-way ticket out there for $20 and drove it 2,100 miles from southern California to Chicago, and holy crap, are these things fun to drive. Speedometer, electric seats / heaters, HVAC, gauges don't work, but the car amazingly made it through the desert and the rockies without a problem. I took a huge risk driving an old car I'd never seen before over 2,000 miles, but I got lucky.

Anyways, my dad was an Italian car enthusiast, but I'm new to this, and haven't owned a car in over a decade. It's a '91 164 L with 115k miles.

I saw some of you recommended Besic Motorsports in Glen Ellyn; called him and he doesn't work on these but referred me to Eric at Midwest Auto Sport in Evanston, and my car is currently at his shop.

All that to say, what should I know about these cars and how to maintain them? I don't have access to a garage. Any tips on preventing rust? This car has minimal rust, if any at all, and I'd like to keep it that way. How can I best care for this car? Any warnings for things I should watch out for?

Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your wisdom to a young amateur,

Gordon
 

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Welcome to the club :)
Rust wise, check the rear subframe. These can rot and are almost impossible to find replacements for. The jacking points can go too. I accessed mine from above, via the sills and under the rear seat squab, to drop 95% pure zinc paint onto them - 3 had needed welding. Can also get rust behind rear wheel arch liners - not easy to remove. Maybe wait until spring. Long list of other things to check but overall these cars are really reliable - not typical Alfas of old - so enjoy your purchase and well done on the bravery of driving so far in a new purchase. BTW, cambelt. Get it changed unless have documents showing it was changed recently.
 

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and I say Welcome! Good to have another that will soon be infected. This is the place for all alfa related questions and to meet Alfisti that end up being life time friends.
Gordon, ask away (y)
Greg
 

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And may I add, quite brave of you to jump into an unknown car & drive across this country. You ARE the proper candidate for Alfa's
 

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what should I know about these cars and how to maintain them? I don't have access to a garage. Any tips on preventing rust? This car has minimal rust, if any at all, and I'd like to keep it that way. How can I best care for this car?
Congratulations on your new purchase. I owned a '91 L for a number of years and did enjoy it.

When you wrote "I don't have access to a garage", did you mean:

- I don't have access to a place where I can work on this car?

- The car will be parked outdoors, in the summer sun and humidity, winter salt?

Honestly, no matter what you do, no older car is going to fare well outdoors, especially in your damp, Chicago climate. Parts will rust, the paint will fade, rodents will eat the wiring, the interior will get mildew, etc. So keeping the car indoors would be my top piece of advice.
 

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Congratulations. They are, indeed, really neat cars.

This place has been an absolute blessing when it comes to troubleshooting and working on my 164s. You've come to the right place.

Bob
 

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