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1988 Spider Quadrifoglio
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you haven't given Carlo your business please do so the next time you need a mechanic for your rickety Italian contraption. Especially if you live near the North Shore.

He's a friendly, stand-up fellow with very fair rates and is stricken with the Alfa bug.

He hasn't done anything complicated on my car yet but for all the relatively simple stuff he's done he's been excellent.

His shop is hidden behind the Petro Canada car wash (facing east), on Caplino Rd and Marine Dr.
 

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I agree, Carlo is a great guy (I live around the corner from his shop), but let's put things in perspective -- for your and Carlo's sake:
  • Carlo doesn't work on carbureted engines.
  • Carlo has no experience with SPICA fuel-injected cars. He told me he's experience (and comfort level) is with electronic fuel injection only.
  • Carlo does mostly maintenance, not necessarily trouble-shooting and repairs. No engine and/or gearbox overhauls.
  • Carlo doesn't have storage space for cars that need to wait for parts. The good news about this is that he tends to deal only with cars that have a reasonably turn-around time (of less than a week -- my words, not his).
One o the things I really like about him is that he comes to car drives and does so without pushing his business.

Have a look at his Alfa Milano, which used to belong to his dad, and study the conversion he designed and created, putting a Busso V6 in the car, and building a supercharger for it. If one looks at this car, and hear him talk about it, one gets a sense that he has a pretty good understanding of internal combustion engines. I'm not sure to what degree that translates to transmissions, differentials, and/or driveline (with and/or without suspension) as whole.

I think one of his real strengths is that he knows what he doesn't know (and/or is interested in). So, don't be offended if he turns you away. As a rule of thumb, I doubt that he would work on anything older than and S4 Spider, but I've seen a '72-'74 Bertone there last week.

So, in a nutshell: In the Lower Mainland area, there's only Leah's in North Van (thanks to Joey's experience) and Bernie Hamm at Bent Wrenches in Mission who have experience with pre-1990s Alfas. Talking to some of their customers, these shops seem to be hit an miss as well -- probably largely due to the fact that all of them all the time get interrupted with phone calls and walk-ins while working on a car or diagnosing a problem and/or the fact of how long it takes to source replacement parts.

Speaking from personal experience, I found that these days, the only reliable parcel service, who can deliver in days rather than weeks, seems to be DHL -- So, (a) you need to be prepared that you may have to source the parts yourself ()rater than letting a shop do it) and (b) avoid any suppliers who don't use DHL).
 

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1988 Spider Quadrifoglio
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519 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Luckily I have an 88 L-Jet Spider!

Leah's is WAY too expensive and Bernie is too far away (and often overwhelmed). I try to do most things myself, but there are many things that I can't do in my over-stuffed low ceiling single car garage. It's nice to have a mechanic nearby that won't immediately shoo you away when they see the Alfa badge on your car.

I'm not sure I agree with you on DHL. They delivered my packages to the wrong address or temporarily lost them them on 2 out of my last 3 Classic Alfa purchases. We use couriers a lot at work and that's par for the course with DHL in North America. I suppose if you compare them to the Italian postal service, they come out ahead.

I find FedEx (not FedEx Ground, which is a separate entity and also horrid) and UPS much less aggravating.
 

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I forgot to mention Milo's on Kingsway (see website here) which recently changed hands (due to health issues) -- but I understand Tony (mechanic) is still there and Milo occasionally acts as an advisor.
 

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I'm using Carlo for my 74 GTV and really enjoy working with him. He replaced the fluids (engine oil, transmission, rear diff) last week, mounted the new CN36's, and the replaced leaky cam cover gasket. Did a great job and the car was nice and clean when I picked it up. And you're right - he said he doesn't know about certain things, I.e. the SPICA system but can learn. We've also got Wes Ingram & crew just south of the border as a resource for that. In the meantime we're chasing done the"fluffy" cold start, looking at the 123 Ignition Distributor, Bosch coil, wires etc... as well as refreshing the front end with him (Carlo).

I'm no trained mechanic but have wrenched on some of my earlier cars and these early Alfas are not overly complex, IMO. They do have idiosyncrasies I'm finding but they're basically very simple, with no electronic / computer bs in them so a classically trained mechanic should be able to figure things out.

I also really like the idea of giving someone like Carlo the business as a) he's a trained mechanic, b) he works on older Italian cars, c) owns an Alfa, d) he's reasonably priced and e)... wait for it... he's young! Some of the mechanics I've heard about are now in their '80's and their vast experience will sadly pass with them. I say let's push business to him and support a young mechanic that has years ahead of him and actually knows engines vs. the new generation of mechanics that hooks a modern car up to a computer and replaces parts.
 
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