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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello old friends.

If the plan holds together, Bob Fernald of Austin will trailer out my latest acquisition, his long-dormant project, 10204 01488. His story of this car is like many Texan stories, which awards the telling more than the veracity. That doesn't matter. There's enough documented history here to make this a project I simply had to do.

I've known Bob since the early 70s, although I suspect I remember him better than he remembers me. I was the parts manager at the Houston Alfa dealer, and later at BAP/Geon Imported Auto Parts. Bob bought some stuff from me, but his connection was far more with Joe Locario than some hourly guy working the counter. Bob owned Zap Garage in Austin, and later was the Alfa dealer in that, then much smaller, city.

When I got offered a traveling job with BAP, I offered my 102 for sale, and Bob shot over from Austin for a look. He was really thrilled at the fresh paint, engine, and tires, but then he took the trouble to look underneath. Did I say the car and I were in Houston? I was very young, and had never experienced rust on a car, but Bob was smart enough to divert his eyes and back away. I later sold the car to a Viet Nam vet recently returned home, and wanting to replace the 102 his parents had sold out from under him while he was away killing Commies for Christ.

I got rid of my two remaining Alfas in the late 70s and early 80s, expecting never to return. Both of my regular readers on the BB will acknowledge that personal discipline and impulse control are not my strong suits.

After declining my car, Bob looked around, and found 1488. His version of the story, plus the documents in the folder, suggest an American, J. W. Persohn, bought the car in Belgium, in 1964, probably as the second owner. The seller was Firma Olieslaeger, which sounds like a used car dealership. Mr. Persohn then (according to the story) drove the car to Italy where he married his fiancee, traveled around Europe, and shipped it back to Houston in 1965, where he went to work at NASA shipping lucky stiffs up to the moon.

J. W.'s son was allowed the use of the car. I don't know what his age was, but he supposedly took it drag racing, and blew up the clutch. "Blew Up", as in knocked a chunk of the bell housing out. The father was so enraged, he took the car away from the lad and dismantled it, with the plan to restore it. It sat. And sat. And sat. I'm still boggled at the thought of drag racing an unmodified 102. Or modified, for that matter.

Bob heard of the car, took a look, and bought it. It would have been after he looked at mine, but the year of Bob's purchase is a bit uncertain. Perhaps 1980? That is the most often repeated date. 1990? It doesn't matter. Since then, it sat in Bob's garage, avoiding the worst of the rain and all of the sun. The mileage, documented by sale documents, is about 96,000km, which is around 59,000 miles.

Bob is about to turn 77 (I think), and decided to thin his future "gotta do" list. Thus, I was told of the car, hopped a flight to Austin, had an indifferent chicken fried steak but very good company at an Alfa Club meeting, and shook hands on the car. Literally shook hands. Gave him a check, and he promised to deliver the car before the end of the year. Paperwork to be sorted upon arrival. No stress.

This is the way business used to be routinely done in Texas, and it makes me doubly happy to have bought this car in this manner. I have a heart warming sense that, for the moment, the world has returned to sanity. If I leave the radio off, maybe I can hold onto that for a while.

=========

Interestingly, the car has a US hood and trim strips, but Italian instruments. OK. I can work with that.

My goal is to have it complete within a year. My first Stampe biplane took 3 years. My second required only 14 months. My last 102 took about 3 years. What is the point spread on me driving the car in the first warm weather of 2019?

I don't think it needs many parts. The driveshaft is missing something. One hood scoop chrome trim piece is missing. Mostly it is complete, and (dare I say this), there is next to no apparent rust. Well, just a bit. Yes, I understand that stripping the car will reveal the folly of that statement.

It is currently red with black interior, but a RED carpet!!! Never saw that combination before. I'm hoping a letter to the new Storico (or whatever they call themselves) reveals the original color to be anything but red. If it was originally red, I will consider repainting it the same. However, I very much like the Grigio Biacca and saddle-brown Scottish leather formula I have on my current car. A steady stream of strangers tell me it is the most beautiful car they've ever seen. An even mix of men and women, but the women sometimes seem about to hand me their phone number. But, I digress.

Bob traded the original engine for an earlier worn-out Mk 1 2000 engine (large rear main bearing). I'll keep that engine, and rebuild it, in case someone in the distant future wants to revert my existing car back to something closer to original than its current hot-rod state. Fortunately, I have two freshly rebuilt engines with serial numbers that closely straddle the 1488 of the car. I'll drop one into this car, but using the OKP manifold set-up that transforms the car from a slug to pretty darn fun. When I offer it for sale, it will include freshly-overhauled components to revert it to bone-stock over a weekend. I wouldn't recommend it, but maybe someone will place a higher value on a set of fresh PHH44s, and sluggish performance, than I do.

So - Bob will head West in a few weeks. I've ordered a couple of new CA67s to help him roll it up onto his trailer. Hopefully the weather upon his arrival will allow him to do a bit of touring in my 2000/2300. I would like that.

Watch this space for tales of pain and triumph, in whatever measure they appear.
 

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Great stuff, Don -- and good luck with the car!!!
(Secretly, I'm looking forward to another exciting resto thread.)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Pictures when possible!
Be patient. My last 102 resto thread covered several years.

The car is expected to arrive before the end of the year. Meanwhile, I'm arranging the shop, and ordering parts. The orchestra is coming to their seats, and a symphony of motion, chaos, and occasional harmony will be presented. Bandaids may occasionally be required.

Currently holding auditions for body/paint player, and guest contributors during the cadenzas. Joe Atencio is on board (though may not realize his personal risk). Powder coater Alltizer is ready for the baton.

As-found pics likely uploaded this weekend.
 

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I love these stories Don, and thank you for taking the time to entertain us. You may remember that I sold my 2600 last year. I am jealous of your new project.
Larry Bono
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hello Larry! I've not seen you post in a while. I look forward to your comments and guidance.

By the way, I could use another 102 bell housing. The one with 1488 was damaged as a result of the clutch failure. It has been expertly repaired, but a never-damaged one would be better.
 

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Be patient. My last 102 resto thread covered several years.

The car is expected to arrive before the end of the year. Meanwhile, I'm arranging the shop, and ordering parts. The orchestra is coming to their seats, and a symphony of motion, chaos, and occasional harmony will be presented. Bandaids may occasionally be required.

Currently holding auditions for body/paint player, and guest contributors during the cadenzas. Joe Atencio is on board (though may not realize his personal risk). Powder coater Alltizer is ready for the baton.

As-found pics likely uploaded this weekend.
Yes, I understand. Just wanted to let you know that I am interested in your project.
 

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Well done Sir!!:thumbup::clap:
 

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Excellent start, Don. I recall running into you and your car at Concorso Italiano a few years ago. I was very impressed that you drove the car from Nevada to Monterey in August. No one can doubt your dedication to the task at hand. I look forward to restoring a 102 Spider vicariously, the only way that is practical for me now.

I take it that you like the 2000 version better than the 2600. If that is the case, then why?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Vicarious thrills

Hello Tom,

Regarding British aircraft, I once heard that they "design once, and modify forever". It's a concept we see in other countries and other forms of mechanical and artistic expression.

If the 2000 and 2600 are viewed separately, the overall impression is much the same. When I see them side-by-side, it is like comparing a young, fit woman with an older, more "made up" version of herself. The 2000 body is subtly more curvy, but with an overall lighter look to it. The 2600 has squared off lines, appearing "fuller" in the hips, and the hood air intake scoop reminds me more of a menopausal moustache than the 2000's gently flaring nostrils of a slightly aroused young woman.

The extra 90 - 100 pounds sitting right on top of the front axle-line doesn't help the driving experience, either. Yes, the engine sounds glorious, and provides the power sorely missing in the 4-cylinder, but I find the MUCH lighter steering of the 2000 to weigh strongly in its favor.

Meanwhile, what, exactly, is the point of opening vent windows in a convertible?

I also like the extra chrome art-deco of the 2000 as compared to the single long strip of the 2600.

Each has it's strong points, but I prefer the original design and driving experience.

Meanwhile, I've amalgamated a formula that improves the power, driveability, and reliability substantially.

Lastly, I'm choosing to believe that, over time, the older, original design will attract a market appreciation that matches the 2600. When I was younger, and in the imported auto parts business, the later Jag 4.2 was considered more desirable, and carried a higher resale, than the original 3.8. Now, early 3.8s in top original condition are attracting fun prices. It is interesting how our eyes eventually mature to appreciate the earlier forms, rather than the later, more tarted-up, versions.

I'm expecting the new project to arrive sometime in the next 10 days. A bit of a rush at the moment to get my old F150 truck back together and out of the shop in time.




Excellent start, Don. I recall running into you and your car at Concorso Italiano a few years ago. I was very impressed that you drove the car from Nevada to Monterey in August. No one can doubt your dedication to the task at hand. I look forward to restoring a 102 Spider vicariously, the only way that is practical for me now.

I take it that you like the 2000 version better than the 2600. If that is the case, then why?
 

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What about the Montreal Speedboat?

Doggone you, Don,
Are you really going to restore yet another one?!?? You assured me you were no longer looking for new projects. You should recall a recent comment you made to me after we viewed Trent's two liter in pieces in Olympia and I *****ed the deal by suggesting him the great value of just the pieces:

"I also spend a fair amount of time overhauling the components in advance of any need, which allows me to send them along quickly to another 102 owner in desperate need of a fix. It amuses me, keeps me busy, and has added some really nice people to my circle of friends.

So, with this one out of reach, I can go back to building a Montreal-powered wooden boat, and restoring the world’s only “internal combustion organ”. [End of Quote]

I am so going to miss seeing that internal combustion organ, but it will be enjoyable just to watch another two liter being built correctly. I hope you are coming North next summer for the Annual Alfa Romeo Club Convention in lovely cool West Coast Washington. It will be in Olympia and perhaps you could fly your Mooney if you don't want to drive your fantastic spider that far. You are one heck of a good pilot. The landings were so soft I was always surprised we were rolling on the runway.

Cheers for you and >:)Best of wishes, Jay.
spialso wantty cbuilgdan.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Jay,

I was in the process of shifting the shop over to wood when I got the call from Austin. Like all of my favorite dogs, it found me rather than the other way around.

I predict you'll live to see the internal combuston organ. Better odds if you actually come down for a visit.

When is the convention? I often plan that kind of trip well in advance. Maybe ship the car and fly up to meet it?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Spoke to Bob yesterday. He's planning on dragging the car this way starting next Tuesday or Wednesday, arriving the end of the week or early weekend. I talked him out of going into California and up 395 through Bridgeport, because the US Postal service motto about "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds", has a second line that reads "unless it's Bridgeport, CA in the middle of a winter storm".

I think the route Bob will be taking includes stretches used in "Vanishing Point"

This should be fun....
 

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Don,
We have subscribed. I have always enjoyed your enthusiasm and kind spirit when directed at the newcomers to this BB. Life is what happens when we are making other plans! While you did not intend to mount another project, the essence of a life long learner boils deep in your soul! The excitement surrounding the AR brand has never been so bright. Some watch dancing with the stars and American Idol- we watch AlfaBB. Good Karma will surround your new build proportionate to your passion. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You've never seen me dance the Argentine tango with an inappropriately dressed young lady. Alfas are just a minor distraction between engagements in the latter.
 

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Like I said- life is what happens when we are making other plans, and there ain't no such thing as inappropriate dress in the context of ladies and the tango, depending on the location and audience. Nevertheless we wait in eager anticipation of your colorful posts.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
As I sit here alone on a Saturday night, with grandson off with his buds, and wife having moved out (alas, it happens), I find myself reflecting on the joys of life. Alfas? Well, sort of, but they are inanimate objects without a true soul. Tango? Well, yes, but perhaps more ephemeral and ethereal, and easily lost. Perhaps this thread is about finding and rejoining the two in a search for a lasting love?

The first link is a typical street tango in Buenos Aires. A city I love, and where I've danced many times. You might think this is choreographed, but it probably is not. Clearly, the couple have been dancing together for a long time, but a major part of a great tango is when two people are completely connected in an improvisational dance. Flesh wounds are possible.


This second video is a couple, "Nito and Elba", both in their mid 80s. I studied with them back in 03 and 04. They've been a couple, and dancing together for roughly 50 years.


Perhaps if all of you showed your wives these videos, and said "honey, if you'll let me do another Alfa, I'll learn tango with you, and we'll still be dancing passionately this way in our 80s, things might happen more smoothly in your Alfa-lives.
 

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Bob arrived via the eastern Nevada brothels

Bob Fernald arrived today, dragging 1488 behind. His trip planning was pretty hilarious. From Las Vegas, he headed due north to Ely, then due West to Carson City. This would be like traveling from Houston to El Paso via Dallas. He hasn't quite related all of the details of his stay in a very fresh, clean hotel out on Hwy 50 (the world's loneliest highway, and featured in "Vanishing Point). I'd like to think he had a nice, happy night.

The car is pictured below. I still believe it's likely to be the best starting point for a 102 resto I've seen. Low mileage, away from the sun (original interior vinyl still supple and unstained), and apparently complete.

We had pizza and adult beverages, and discussed our shared history in the Alfa world until bedtime. That would be 9pm for gentlemen of our age.

He seemed enamored of my family-room side board, being a 1960 Alfa 2000 engine and trans mounted in a lit display case. I think he actually took a nap sitting in front of it, basking in the LED glow it was emitting.

So, the project grows one step forward.
 

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