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1976 Alfa Spider
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I recently bought a 74 Spider based on pictures and a conversation with the owner - Not much history on the car, it was on BAT a couple of years ago and was bid up to $12,000 but didn't meet the reserve. It was in Los Angeles but was sold to someone out of state who is the person I bought it from. Its a good looking car from the outside, shiny, good quality fresh paint and all. Looks very fresh but once received I noticed some rust bubbles in the rocker panels and rust stains on the seams all over. I took off the carpets to see what's underneath and discovered a big mess. It seems someone had put lipstick on this pig to get it off his hands. I took off all the interior carpeting to see what else I can find.

The driver's side floor pan has rusted all the way through in many spots.
The driver's side rear pan has rust holes
The passenger floor pan has a sheet metal patch and a lot of surface rust
Top of the rocker panels underneath the chrome are pitted on the edges
Underneath the rocker panels there are rust bubbles and the seams are rusted.
The back "little seats" have surface rust
In the rear wheel well I chipped off some of the water proofing and see surface rust.

I am pretty handy but this is my first rodeo. I was thinking to buy the pans and try to do some of the work myself but not sure if I have the know how or the patience.

I guess I am looking for some guidance or a recommendation for a shop that can do the work reasonably in the Los Angeles area.

Thanks all,

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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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it this point as a quicky help.. get a spray bottle.. windex type.. wire brush what you can, as best you can to whats left of the metal... then fill the spray bottle with vinegar.. and spay all you can where ever you can..inside things etc.....this will help stop the rust from killing the rest of the car.
 

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1976 Alfa Spider
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Discussion Starter #4
I live in Topanga and my office is in North Hollywood.

Thanks for the vinegar tip. I will get started with that tomorrow. Should I spray in areas I cannot reach with a wire brush also?
 

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Here are a lot of guys out there with far more Knowledge then me. I looked at the car on BAT and it is a good looking car with a lot of good attributes going forward it . This is a common and expensive repair. My two cents, you have three options:
1. Put it back together a and drive it.
2. Sale it and buy another.
3. Repair it and have a lot of fun with the car.
Here is the positive news. It is an Alfa and they are really fun cars. The Alpha community is awesome. The value on S2 are going up. It is a truly great sports car with good road feel and handling. Here is the best news of all. It is pre smog, meaning you never have to smog this car again.

Good luck with your Decision.


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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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I live in Topanga and my office is in North Hollywood.

Thanks for the vinegar tip. I will get started with that tomorrow. Should I spray in areas I cannot reach with a wire brush also?
yes......white vinegar
 

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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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alfaromeoblack........ alpha???? you know you might have to do 'penance ' for that one
 
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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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did you remove the asphat off the floor?
 

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The rust you are seeing is not uncommon in these old cars. The pictures on BAT aren't too revealing, but some things can be seen.


There appears to be some bondo repair on the back right corner below the bumper. It could be collision damage. The best way for you to tell is to inspect that area from under the car and from inside the trunk.

Floor pans and rocker panels are commonly replaced on cars of this age. The frame rails which most people refer to as inner rockers require a bit extra effort to repair or replace. If it were my care, I would inspect those from under the car. A screw driver or an ice pick is a good inspection tool. It's fairly thick steel and you should not be able to drive the pick or screw driver through it. Since you've removed the carpet and or rubber mats, you can also inspect the frame rails from inside the car in the same fashion.

Are you planning on a nut and bolt restoration? Or, do you just want to fix the body and paint the car?
 

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alfaromeoblack........ alpha???? you know you might have to do 'penance ' for that one
Yea what is wrong Siri! When I use the dictation option she seems to get this wrong. I do see alpha a lot throughout the forms.


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Just a note there is products like POR 12 that turn rust in to iron. You need to wire brush off the loose flakes and sand it smooth. I have used it a lot over the years and it stops the cancer. If it is to bad it needs to be cut out. Like I stated I’m my first post you got to understand at what level and expense you are willing to go.


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1976 Alfa Spider
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Discussion Starter #12
The rust you are seeing is not uncommon in these old cars. The pictures on BAT aren't too revealing, but some things can be seen.


There appears to be some bondo repair on the back right corner below the bumper. It could be collision damage. The best way for you to tell is to inspect that area from under the car and from inside the trunk.

Floor pans and rocker panels are commonly replaced on cars of this age. The frame rails which most people refer to as inner rockers require a bit extra effort to repair or replace. If it were my care, I would inspect those from under the car. A screw driver or an ice pick is a good inspection tool. It's fairly thick steel and you should not be able to drive the pick or screw driver through it. Since you've removed the carpet and or rubber mats, you can also inspect the frame rails from inside the car in the same fashion.

Are you planning on a nut and bolt restoration? Or, do you just want to fix the body and paint the car?
just fix the body.
 

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The rust you are seeing is not uncommon in these old cars.
Henry:

Ossodiseppia's post is brilliant. Read it through a couple of times, think about his advice and answer the questions that he poses.

The key question you need to resolve is the condition of the "rockers", which form the structure of these cars. If those are sound, you can drive it as-is. But if they are compromised, the issue is more serious than the floors.

Osso's other good question is: Are you planning on a nut and bolt restoration? Or, do you just want to fix the body and paint the car? I don't know what you paid for the car (and I'm not asking) but a thorough restoration will likely cost you a significant fraction of the purchase price. And keep the car off the road for some time. Do you really want to go that route? If you goal was simply to have a fun classic car to drive, if the rockers are OK and if it runs well, you could certainly just live with it as-is.
 

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1976 Alfa Spider
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Discussion Starter #14
just fix the body.
BTW, that‘s not the BAT post I was referring to. I am hesitant to share since I am not sure if the previous owner is the cause of the issues and don’t want to muddy his reputation.
 

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BTW, that‘s not the BAT post I was referring to. I am hesitant to share since I am not sure if the previous owner is the cause of the issues and don’t want to muddy his reputation.
I'm sorry, I thought it was the white one not one of the Ivory ones.


We don't know whom you bought the car from so there isn't going to be any impact on his reputation. The sale was between you two. We don't know what transpired between you two and it really doesn't matter. Just from the BAT pictures, you car looks nicer that the white one.

One last thing, the reputation of the seller is not part of the conversation, here. It's about helping you.

It still comes down to what you want to do with it. Without more pictures it's hard for anyone to tell the condition of the car. From what little I've seen, if the car is safe to drive, I would drive it and enjoy it. If you have a nice dry garage and don't plan on driving the car in the snow and rain, there's not much chance the rust will get out of hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you, I think I would like to at least change the floor pans
I'm sorry, I thought it was the white one not one of the Ivory ones.


We don't know whom you bought the car from so there isn't going to be any impact on his reputation. The sale was between you two. We don't know what transpired between you two and it really doesn't matter. Just from the BAT pictures, you car looks nicer that the white one.

One last thing, the reputation of the seller is not part of the conversation, here. It's about helping you.

It still comes down to what you want to do with it. Without more pictures it's hard for anyone to tell the condition of the car. From what little I've seen, if the car is safe to drive, I would drive it and enjoy it. If you have a nice dry garage and don't plan on driving the car in the snow and rain, there's not much chance the rust will get out of hand.
Got it, thanks.

This is the BAT link 1974 Alfa Romeo Spider

I am in California and it will be garaged but I plan to keep it long term so I would like to fix it up. Not a frame off, but get all the rust taken care of and improve on it cosmetically.

Alternatively I could try to sell it and buy another one. What do you think it would sell for in this condition? It drives and handles really well. I had it tuned by Onofrio at Alfa Itlalia right after I bought it. I am into it for about $10,000 so far.

Thanks,
 

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Thank you, I think I would like to at least change the floor pans

Got it, thanks.

This is the BAT link 1974 Alfa Romeo Spider

I am in California and it will be garaged but I plan to keep it long term so I would like to fix it up. Not a frame off, but get all the rust taken care of and improve on it cosmetically.

Alternatively I could try to sell it and buy another one. What do you think it would sell for in this condition? It drives and handles really well. I had it tuned by Onofrio at Alfa Itlalia right after I bought it. I am into it for about $10,000 so far.

Thanks,
Just drive it for a while and them make a decision. After all it is just a Sunday driver. Since you do have it apart stop the rust by chemical treatment, prime and paint with a rattle can.


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Henry -

Floor pans are (relatively) small potatoes, but what look like holes in the A-pillar (photo 1) and top of sill (photo 2), not good. I've heard the acid test is to jack up one corner of the car, then try opening and closing the doors. If they still latch smoothly, then probably safe to drive; if not, fix it or part it out. The door openings need temp welded braces during open-sill surgery.

Probably a lot of body shops can handle the work. Santos in Northridge and John's Alfa Romance are not too far from Topanga.

David OD
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Alternatively I could try to sell it and buy another one. What do you think it would sell for in this condition? It drives and handles really well. I had it tuned by Onofrio at Alfa Itlalia right after I bought it. I am into it for about $10,000 so far.
Keep in mind that what you have into a car bears no relationship to what someone else will pay you for it. However, $10K for a running / driving / cosmetically-presentable spider ain't unreasonable. As Osso said in post #9, pretty much ALL '74 spiders are going to have some rust. What we don't know is how much your's has. It would be a good idea to have a competent body shop - one familiar with restoration, not just collision repair - assess the rust damage. That might help you to decide which way to go. Onofrio (or Santos as David suggested in post #18) can probably recommend someone.
 

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As mentioned, the important question is how are the rockers? Specifically the inner rockers. Get it on a lift and look all along the inner channel, especially around the front jack points. If this is solid you are fine. The outer rockers are strictly cosmetic - the inner and middle rockers along with the tunnel carry the load.

The floors are likewise not load bearing. I'd recommend patching the holes rather than replacing them unless you plan on doing a full restoration.

The most important goal is to get it on the road and drive it. I've known folks who have spent a lot of money and time restoring their first Alfa only to find that they weren't that thrilled with the car. Hard for us Alfa nerds to imagine but Alfas are not for everyone (looking at you Porsche nerds...,).
 
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