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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

New here, and I've always wanted a project car, and I definately want something different. So as I was looking around, I settled on a Fiat or Alfa spider as my go-to's.

Here is a 87 Quad that I found, and I want to make sure I don't pay to much for what it needs to have done.

Photos

The good:
Has a newer soft top, the quad hard top. Body seems very solid with a couple exceptions. Runs and shifts very smooth (except for a rough idle)

Parts that in the trunk that aren't installed: new door seals, rotors/brake parts, couple other misc items.

The bad:

Rough idle

Clunking in the rear suspension - probably a bushing/swaybar issue. Or maybe the exhaust is knocking into something.

Interior is very worn, although there aren't any holes in the upholstery or anything. Just very worn and faded.

Rear wheel apparently had a rust issue, and were patched badly (I'm assuming it was just temporary, but it'll have to be ripped out and fixed). And will need to be repainted after that's done.

Wheels will need to be refinished, as one of them is flaking



What do you think is a reasonable offer? He's asking 3k, which I think is high considering it needing new upholstery, paint, a little body work, wheel refinishing, etc. But it does come with some new parts, and is a Quad which is rarer.

Is 2k a reasonable offer? Less than 2? The ad has been sitting for a while, so he hasn't been getting any bites at his current list price.
 

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Series III Quad with the hard top. Not bad. The price is entirely up to you. What are you comfortable with? 3k for a running quad is not bad. Hard top alone is worth a couple of hundred.

Is there any rust in the floor pan? Does 2nd gear grind?

There is a lot to consider. Without further info it's hard to say.

I've been looking for another spider for a track day car and over the past year I have seen nothing but junk for less than 2k.
 

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$2000 is where I'd want to be tops. Like stated above to make it nice will cost another $2000 with paint and interior. At least the top is newer. I'd offer $2000 and may go as high as $2400.
 

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To finish this car to a "nice" standard will cost at least $6k and probably $10k on top of purchase price. You must either be prepared to pay that, or resign yourself to looking at the car for a few years thinking regretfully "what a POS". You won't really enjoy it, or be proud of it, as-is.

So, what can you buy for $8k - $11k?.....

Probably a nice, medium mileage, S4, which is a better car.

Note...

Leather interior re-do. $1,500 min
Rust repair. $2,000
Paint (low end) $3,000
Rear suspension stuff. $300
Front suspension stuff $300
Engine stuff $1,000 (probably more)
Tires $600
Shocks $600 (Koni - trust me, it's worth it)

Buy the best you can afford. Don't delude yourself about restoration costs.
 

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I totally agree. I purchased a Quad in 2010 and have doubled that purchase in improvements. Mine was and is a top car, but it all adds up......quickly. No biggie, but you'll get what you pay for.

To finish this car to a "nice" standard will cost at least $6k and probably $10k on top of purchase price. You must either be prepared to pay that, or resign yourself to looking at the car for a few years thinking regretfully "what a POS". You won't really enjoy it, or be proud of it, as-is.

So, what can you buy for $8k - $11k?.....

Probably a nice, medium mileage, S4, which is a better car.

Note...

Leather interior re-do. $1,500 min
Rust repair. $2,000
Paint (low end) $3,000
Rear suspension stuff. $300
Front suspension stuff $300
Engine stuff $1,000 (probably more)
Tires $600
Shocks $600 (Koni - trust me, it's worth it)

Buy the best you can afford. Don't delude yourself about restoration costs.
 

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Looking back at that add, I think it would be more cost effective to just pay 12k or so and get a nice car in the first place. I'd look for a well cared for original car. The car in questions looks that way for a reason. Hard life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys, very helpful -

I know it is more cost effective to buy the car already done but I don't have 12k to drop on a fun car, I can justify 3 or 4, and I can work on it over time. myself to make it nice (I have the skills and tools to do everything except probably paint).

I'll put in an offer at 2k and we'll see what happens - if I'll goes well I'll be a new member of the alfa club :)
 

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Swd,

We've all done what you propose. Too soon old, too late smart.

I eventually realized that I could have the pleasure of doing a restoration without having it become an exercise in good money after bad. The key is to pick an Alfa that has good odds of being worth more in the reasonable future.

A tired S3 Quad isn't that car.

Low production, unique models qualify, but these are now probably priced above your range. Maybe.

The S3s were bloated versions of previously light, minimalist, thrilling cars. You might find an S1 or S2 in similar condition and low cost. A good restoration will result in a higher market value than an S3 for about the same overall cost. Easier to work on, too.

Either way, welcome to the party, and good luck.
 

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A good conditioned Quad hardtop (no scratches, no ripped or missing rubber molding) with all the fittings can fetch $800.

I have also seen $1,000-$2,000 being asked for non-running S3 parts cars.

The thump in the rear is probably propshaft or exhaust related - pretty simple fix.

No synchro problems with the gearbox? - a real plus.

L-Jetronic idle issues? That is the real challenge. You could spend $500 to a grand replacing hoses, sensors, fuel pumps & fuel filters and still have idling problems.

You mentioned "the body seems solid with a couple of exceptions". Those "exceptions" could be the real deal killer. Rusted rusted floor panels and/or a rusted spare tire well are bad enough, but if there is rust in the rocker panels, you will have serious expense. Bottom line: rust is the main concern.

Like you, I couldn't afford a pristine Spider, so I spent what I could afford ($5K), knowing that I would have to put a lot of time and money into it.

I got a beautiful car that I was able to drive home in the rain the day I bought it (250 miles), with only one emergency repair stop on the side of the road along the way (see photo below - a week after purchase).

Once home, a thorough inspection of the interior (carpet and pad out) and undercarriage (on jack stands) revealed only a couple small rust holes, largest about the size of a quarter. I killed the rust, patched the holes, painted with POR-15, end of issue.

Since that time (1 year ago) I have enjoyed hunting down little bits and pieces, removing and rebuilding various assemblies, and learning from the wonderful folks on this BB. Yes, my finicky "Claudia" has been apart and un-driveable for more than half the time, but I'm still having fun fixing things. That's part of the pleasure of the hobby.

If you can get a Quad (top of the line model) that runs and has the original hardtop for 3 grand (with a straight body and manageable rust), go for it.
 

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it's all in what you want and what you hope to achieve. I have 2 very nice Alfa's that started off as "pretty nice". In relation to what they're "worth" I've sunk way too much money into them but it's my "thing". I do it cause I like to do it and as mentioned above, I enjoy finding the bits and making it just so. And...it's way cheaper than car notes!! And...I have 2 cars I very seldom see another of on the road. Exclusivity I guess. Anyway, these things are toys, not investments to me. If I could quantify the inner peace I get from my affliction, then they're the best investment(s) I could have.

Spiders don't do it for me. I had one and it was prolly more the locale I had it (New Orleans area) vs the car proper. If you are looking for something to simply goof around with then I'd offer up 1500 and see what happens. If, you are comfy with knowing what it needs. From your listing, this sounds like it could be a fun car. Deal killer for me would be rust. I just don't "do it". Good luck. ciao chris
 

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BTW, I see the Quad as the worst of the 105/115 Spiders. They are heavy compared to the earlier cars, but don't have the finish and comfort of the S4. Fancy body add-ins. A heavy sports car but not yet a lush grand tourer.
 

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I agree that an S3 Spider, the Quad in particular, is not the most exciting or perhaps the most plush of the Alfas out there. And certainly, S3s are not likely to be a good investment any time soon.

I use mine pretty much as a regular car and for that purpose, it performs very well. It is reliable, gets good gas mileage, and is certainly more fun than my truck. It has about a 170k miles on the chasis.

A running, drivable S3 with solid rockers and minimal "other" rust for less than $3000 is not a bad deal for a first Alfa. It gets you in the game and can be a fun car to work on and drive. BTW, there is no rule that you have to spend $$$$+ on paint jobs and interior work. You can figure that out down the road along with what, if any, performance improvements to make. Good luck.
 

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BTW, I see the Quad as the worst of the 105/115 Spiders. They are heavy compared to the earlier cars, but don't have the finish and comfort of the S4. Fancy body add-ins. A heavy sports car but not yet a lush grand tourer.
I had an S3 Veloce, which I think are nicer since they are not cluttered up with the skirts and such and don't have the god awful red carpet. But that's just me :) I got mine about 7 years ago with decent paint, newer interior and top, all power options worked except AC. It blew, but blew warm air. Never got around to fixing it. $2500. Drove it 3 years, water pump went and head gasket blew. Sold it to a couple in Canada for $2500. They paid to have it repaired and shipped from California.

I'm not sure where you're located but on my side of the country S3's can be had fairly cheap. Super nice one's for $7500, drivers for $4000 or less. People are asking huge amounts but are not getting it. Next thing the price drops 2 to 3 grand.
 

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Lest I be misunderstood...

S3s are the right choice for getting a cheap Spider that you drive around in without worrying about rock chips, parking lot dings, etc. Good, cheap fun.

I just recommend you resist investing much money in one. For that, there are better choices.
 
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Lest I be misunderstood...

S3s are the right choice for getting a cheap Spider that you drive around in without worrying about rock chips, parking lot dings, etc. Good, cheap fun.

I just recommend you resist investing much money in one. For that, there are better choices.
Actually I should have quoted original poster in my reply. I totally agree with everything you say. Great little drivers, just don't dump a lot of money in one :)
 

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The good things about the S3 are parts are probably the most plentiful for all the series. The Bosch fuel injection is the least problematic of all the series. When you finally get to rebuilding the engine you can put the 10:1 piston in her. However, with the 9:1 you can run 87 octane. The increase in weight is what, less than 100 pounds from previous models?

When you are buying a 30 year old car it's a matter of trade offs, unless you want a fully restored car. I purchased mine 7 years ago, a non running 86 Spider for $2,000. The body and interior were in good shape, but there was a small section of floor pan and tire well that were rusted. I needed to replace a flywheel sensor and put the distributor in 180 and it fired up. After that I had a rolling projected. Over the past seven years I have put $7,000 of parts in the car. Yes! Only parts since I do my own labor. That included an engine, transmission, drive shaft, brake, suspension rebuilds, and a few performance enhancements.

If you are going into this as a rolling project that will keep you busy in the garage and provide a sanctuary from the wife, I'd say go for it. Just don't tell her what you really spend on parts. Just like she does when she goes shopping.
 

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I totally disagree with the comments about a Quad being heavy, bloated, and not very pretty. The thing is gorgeous, light, and comfy. The top adds weight, but with it off, it's as nimble as anything I've driven. Add the top and it's great in the winter. It's also reliable and you don't have to fool with the carbs.
 

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I totally disagree with the comments about a Quad being heavy, bloated, and not very pretty. The thing is gorgeous, light, and comfy. The top adds weight, but with it off, it's as nimble as anything I've driven. Add the top and it's great in the winter. It's also reliable and you don't have to fool with the carbs.
+1
 
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