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Discussion Starter #1
We've been looking for a very good used Spider for the last 6 weeks and inspected the latest candidate yesterday. Car seems very sound mechanically and is rust free apart from two areas:
1. The spare tire well. This doesn't concern me too much, it's a pretty easy fix.
2. An area just behind the trunk hinges (pictures attached). This concerns me hugely. You all have much more experience than me, but I just can't see an easy/low cost/permanent fix for the rust/cracking in these locations. Anyone got any experience of rust here? Is there an easy fix, or is this just a car to avoid?
Appreciate your thoughts.
David.
 

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It appears as there may be some body flexing going on in this location, probably very minor. If the rest of the car checks out and the price is right I would go for it. How many miles? condition of interior? etc?
 

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IIRC my '91 has some tiny cracks in the same location. As 930 said, probably due to chassis flex.

If the rest of the car is rust free I wouldn't worry about it too much. Usually the sills are the danger zone.
 

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I would be cautious. Given the amount of apparent rust in the trunk lid seams and what looks like a fairly recent paint job it's very likely that there is hidden rust in other areas that has been sprayed over. I would look very closely at the forward rocker sections and floorpans probing underneath with a sharp scribe.
 

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This doesn't look too bad. I agree it looks more like stress cracks rather than actual rot. Take the chrome strip off and take a look underneath and see what's there. If it's a thin line, i'd leave well enough alone.

It's more important to look for serious rot underneath the car, get it on a lift and shine a light and see what's there, things like suspension attachment points are a no go if they're rotted.
 

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I would be cautious. Given the amount of apparent rust in the trunk lid seams and what looks like a fairly recent paint job it's very likely that there is hidden rust in other areas that has been sprayed over. I would look very closely at the forward rocker sections and floorpans probing underneath with a sharp scribe.
The recent paint is at least a yellow flag. In addition to looking for rust in other areas, look for evidence of rear accident damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for your thoughts and advice. In particular Luscombe1940, thanks for providing such great documentation of your restoration. Great to see more or less anything can be fixed if you have the time and resources.

So a little more on this particular car...It's got 52k on the clock, locally driven wife's car according to the story. The respray appears to be full car and is not that recent - there are a few stone chips for example so I'd guess 2-4 years old. It's a good quality respray, I couldn't find any blemishes in the finish, just a little overspray on some seals etc. Some subtle coach lines have been added which I assume aren't original (it's an 82) and those have been done well too and add to the car IMO. What looks like rust in the trunk lid is actually a wax treatment. These are pretty common in UK, not sure about the US. Same type of staining apparent under the hood, on the firewall etc. Wax has also been injected into the sills. Underneath the car is very clean, dealer was very happy to put it on a lift for me (couple more pictures attached that the dealer took for me ahead of my visit). Sills, rockers, floor, suspension mountings all look good. It's the only car out of 7 I've seen in the last few weeks that still has all the jacking points - they actually used them for the lift. Interior is good too - dash not cracked, carpets VG, drivers seat is cracked (vinyl) so I'd probably recover the pair in leather. More pictures on the dealer website for the truly curious: Used 1982 Alfa Romeo Spider for Sale in South Burlington VT 05403 AutoSport / Imported Car Center

Taking off the chrome trim near the trunk hinges is a good idea - does it cover a seam or something, or is it pure decoration?
 

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Taking off the chrome trim near the trunk hinges is a good idea - does it cover a seam or something, or is it pure decoration?
Yes they cover seams, though Alfa could have filled those seams pretty easily. The two chrome pieces serve to anchor the little tonneau cover that goes over the folded convertible top.

I tend to side with the group saying "don't worry about the rust around the trunk lid". It doesn't look "bubbly" and it is high on the car. It's rust down low (like rusted-off jacking points) that causes structural damage.

65Sprint said:
The recent paint is at least a yellow flag. In addition to looking for rust in other areas, look for evidence of rear accident damage.
If it had been painted immediately before the sale, I would agree. But hey, this car is 32 years old! It may have just needed re-painting. And it was done a few years prior to the sale. To me, that's evidence of a well-taken care of car.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
And, just to add to my knowledge here, what does the trunk hinge attach to on the body? The bulkhead between the cabin and the trunk, the top body panel of the trunk, somewhere else....?
 

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If it had been painted immediately before the sale, I would agree. But hey, this car is 32 years old! It may have just needed re-painting. And it was done a few years prior to the sale. To me, that's evidence of a well-taken care of car.
I am not drawing a conclusion from those cracks and the respray. Just saying look carefully before buying the car... which it sounds like OP has done. I have four Spiders ranging from '77 to '88 and the only one with cracks as shown above was hit in the rear.

Here's the driver's side hinge and mount.
 

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Bubbles=rust. That's what you have to worry about. A repaint isnt necessarily indicative of anything nasty, recall it's an older car. And, even if it was done for resale, the issue is the quality of the job itself. One less thing for you to do.

The undercarriage looks good....a Vermont car practically guarantees a fair weather friend, the winters up there are not something to tackle in a Spider! Hence, the lack of rust and the low miles. One of the tell tale signs of storage is an intact head gasket...look carefully at the coolant and expansion tank for oil, the gasket usually goes as the result of cold weather driving and the heating up and expansion and later contraction of the gasket material.

Also, $7900 is code for $7500, as an FYI.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Bubbles=rust. That's what you have to worry about. A repaint isnt necessarily indicative of anything nasty, recall it's an older car. And, even if it was done for resale, the issue is the quality of the job itself. One less thing for you to do.

The undercarriage looks good....a Vermont car practically guarantees a fair weather friend, the winters up there are not something to tackle in a Spider! Hence, the lack of rust and the low miles. One of the tell tale signs of storage is an intact head gasket...look carefully at the coolant and expansion tank for oil, the gasket usually goes as the result of cold weather driving and the heating up and expansion and later contraction of the gasket material.

Also, $7900 is code for $7500, as an FYI.
Ha, the dealer has already told me he won't go below $7900, tried to convince me he would rather carry the cost on his books over the winter and sell it for $9k in the spring....
 

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Ha, the dealer has already told me he won't go below $7900, tried to convince me he would rather carry the cost on his books over the winter and sell it for $9k in the spring....
its not my money , of course , but i think 79 or even 75 is all the money for that car. and all those people that talk about the repaint etc as being a negative are absolutely correct... you don't know as a matter of litteral fact whats under that... those kind of prices are absolute straight retail numbers for that car which means there is no upside nor is there any room for any work you may need to do. the saying is " you don't make money when you sell something.. you make it when you buy it " ... now i know you say that this isn't for resale but value is value. my opinion ( based on 30 years in the car business ) is that this car is overpriced substantially. for that kind of money i want the car in absolutely original unmolested condition with no meaningful issues what so ever. maybe it might need a top and seat covers and rugs... but i want the car original...

i would continue looking for something either completely original or completely documented . there is no rush to buy this car... he is going to sit on it for a long time and he can afford to. he probably allowed 3k for it in trade...
 

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Walk in there with six large cash and lay it on the table. When (if) he says no, pick it up and walk out. I bet before your even able to drive off he'll run after you to talk. Get it for that price and it will leave you with a cool two large to sort out all the immediate stuff, assuming this is your budget.
 

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its not my money , of course , but i think 79 or even 75 is all the money for that car. and all those people that talk about the repaint etc as being a negative are absolutely correct... you don't know as a matter of litteral fact whats under that... those kind of prices are absolute straight retail numbers for that car which means there is no upside nor is there any room for any work you may need to do. the saying is " you don't make money when you sell something.. you make it when you buy it " ... now i know you say that this isn't for resale but value is value. my opinion ( based on 30 years in the car business ) is that this car is overpriced substantially. for that kind of money i want the car in absolutely original unmolested condition with no meaningful issues what so ever. maybe it might need a top and seat covers and rugs... but i want the car original...

i would continue looking for something either completely original or completely documented . there is no rush to buy this car... he is going to sit on it for a long time and he can afford to. he probably allowed 3k for it in trade...
Wise words Steve, never any bargains to be had buying from a dealer. Ever. A good honest, open private sale can be great for both parties. Car looks great in cream though...:(
 

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Walk in there with six large cash and lay it on the table. When (if) he says no, pick it up and walk out. I bet before your even able to drive off he'll run after you to talk. Get it for that price and it will leave you with a cool two large to sort out all the immediate stuff, assuming this is your budget.
maybe but i think i would say 55 and have 500 in my pocket to make the deal. i think 55 is probably what its worth and 6 would be absolute bottom line. no matter what you think you are buying, you are going to spend a grand on it in the first 60 days. if you offer him the 6 and he says no, walk away and keep looking.

and i still don't like the idea that it isn't in orginal paint. im from ri originally and the salt they use on the roads up there rots these cars away in a heartbeat. there are a bunch of cars in the for sale section equal or better than this for under 5k all in original paint. we aren't talking GTO ferraris here... these cars are every where. take your time and find the right one.
 

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Ha, the dealer has already told me he won't go below $7900, tried to convince me he would rather carry the cost on his books over the winter and sell it for $9k in the spring....
What did you expect him to say? No one carries unnecessary inventory over the winter, that costs money. A private party can wait, a business? nah. Time is on your side here. You've got the cash.

I think the owner (private or dealer) is entitled to a fair price, without games. If you really like the car go in with $7500. That's a reasonable cut in price and not totally offensive (like $5000). They believe desire (your) is on their side. If you can hide that, money is truly the great equalizer: You have it and he wants it and anyone who lets a sale walk for $400 is really a fool.
 
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