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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All in the 'later production' forum!

I have a '91 164 that I purchased recently for a song, and a 1988 FIAT Uno Turbo that I've had for almost five years. I have owned a string of other FIAT/Lancia models including another (and very tidy) '92 164 as well as many Unos and a 1988 Bertone X1/9.

With the third garage space empty, I was contemplating the purchase of another X1/9. Several late-model examples seem to be crawling out of the woodwork at this time of year (heading into summer in NZ). But I've had an X1/9 before and I remember feeling a little frustrated at the noise/vibration and the very 70's feel to the gearbox - engine could have done with more power and smoothness as well, that **** carburettor!

However I'm now thinking of buying a '97 Alfa Spider instead. A little more money (some examples seem to be hitting $10,000 which would buy a couple of good X1/9s) but I have my eye on a slightly scruffy but low-mileage example for close to $7000 (NZ dollars of course, NZ$1 = about US$0.74.) http://www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Motors/Cars/Alfa-romeo/auction-127077567.htm There seems to be quite a lot of interest in this particular car and the reserve appears to be $8000, so I wonder if I will be able to out-bid the several other interested bidders, and I wonder how far to go.

I hope that, being a two-litre Twinspark, it would be a bit more economical around town than the three-litre 164, and I wonder if it drives better on a track than the Uno Turbo (i.e. can I take it to club events?) Are there frequent cam variator problems? Is the cambelt change a DIY proposition? Does the red paint have a clear coat as standard?

Any other thoughts I should know?

Thanks!
-Alex
 

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Hi Alex - that was many questions at one time, I'll try to answer them one at a time
1 Fuel mileage: Yes it is about 20-25% more economical than a V6
2 The GTV version is a better track car than the Spider - closed coupe always are.
3 A '97 is a fairly early production using the new Alfa 2,0 16V (Modula) engine and they had issues with variators and cam and balance shafts belts and pulleys. Things are much better now and no probs if belts and pulleys are change every max 3 years / 80000 km, variators are good for double that.
4 Cam belt change is a specialist job, you need cam locks and at TDC gauge. Access is difficult.
5 Non metallic paints don’t have a clear coat standard, but last well if polished frequently.
Erik
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Alex - that was many questions at one time, I'll try to answer them one at a time
1 Fuel mileage: Yes it is about 20-25% more economical than a V6
2 The GTV version is a better track car than the Spider - closed coupe always are.
3 A '97 is a fairly early production using the new Alfa 2,0 16V (Modula) engine and they had issues with variators and cam and balance shafts belts and pulleys. Things are much better now and no probs if belts and pulleys are change every max 3 years / 80000 km, variators are good for double that.
4 Cam belt change is a specialist job, you need cam locks and at TDC gauge. Access is difficult.
5 Non metallic paints don’t have a clear coat standard, but last well if polished frequently.
Erik
Thanks for that Erik - seems this section of the forum is not as busy as the 164/168 part ;)

Especially point 5 - this is useful info for me, because the car I was looking at needs paint touch-ups for scratches on the bumpers, and I can respray/blend small areas quite well - EXCEPT where there is clearcoat over faded red, I find that very hard to deal with. This particular car looks nice and shiny, and red - rather than pink.

Thanks for the advice on points 4 and 3 - on age at least, the cambelt is probably now overdue (i.e. possibly not done in ten years, since it is under 75,000 km). Alternatively it may have been done, so I'll check the service history and hope it's there.

Biggest problem for me is that since I made my post, there are many, many more people interested in buying it :( Price has gone from $5000 to over $9000, with less than 24 hours to go and at least ten different bidders, I have to set a budget. Doesn't help that the previous (deceased) owner was a notable member of society, Sir Angus Tait, the founder of one of NZ's few successful electronics companies.

Cheers,
-Alex
 

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I'm sure that at '97 Spider serviced by an Alfa specialist (authorized or not) have had it belts change, as the pulleys back then had disintegrated long ago.
When they do it's a exchange top job - and wise to change the big end shells as well.
Another thing to watch on the 2.0 16V engines is oil level - for some reason 1 in 10 consumes up till 1L/1000 km.
Otherwise it a robust engine, I on my second with 178k km to it without any issues with either.
Erik
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm sure that at '97 Spider serviced by an Alfa specialist (authorized or not) have had it belts change, as the pulleys back then had disintegrated long ago.
When they do it's a exchange top job - and wise to change the big end shells as well.
Another thing to watch on the 2.0 16V engines is oil level - for some reason 1 in 10 consumes up till 1L/1000 km.
Otherwise it a robust engine, I on my second with 178k km to it without any issues with either.
Erik

Thanks again.
Bidding finished at $13,000 - above my price range (hoped for $11,000 tops).

I have my eye on another Spider. I shall post if I get that one.

Cheers,
-Alex
 
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