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Greetings. I've mostly been lurking for a couple of months, but can now introduce my new to me Berlina 2000. It's my first Alfa... ever - picked up two days ago from a well known board member in L.A. (And thank you Andrew for the referral). I agreed to purchase it based only on the seller's description and emailed photos. A deposit was sent shortly thereafter. I've met the seller several times in the past and was confident that he was ethical and was describing the car correctly. I was right. :thumbup: A full service was completed prior to me picking it up, which was a big piece of mind.

My first drive in an Alfa was on the way back home to San Diego County with my new treasure.

I enjoy a number of vintage marquees - Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, Datsun (uh-oh, don't bring out the pitchforks!), and others. However, after viewing Manuel's "Never Enough Alfa" video on Petrolicious (at least 50 times), I was inspired. Had to have one and experience it for myself. Add to that the wheel to wheel vintage racing I've experienced against the Rimicci brothers and a few other Alfa racers, only helped to solidify the urge to scratch the itch. (I race a TransAm style Datsun 510 - or take it out for Sunday drives depending on your interpretation of my technique).

The Berlina purred like a kitten all the way home and ran at a perfect 175 degrees. Stopped well when the center pedal was pushed. And rode well and relatively rattle-free. I'm not sure of it's history, but it's straight and appears to be rust-free (just a touch around the window surrounds). The suspension has already been done, with the exception of the old tranny bushing which I need to replace.

It still has many needs however. The first thing I will do is get the exhaust system taken care of, as it's quite worn. A noxious aroma enters the cabin when cruising with the windows down. It was getting pretty bad on my trip home, so I rolled down all the windows in an attempt to help air it out. Only the next day on my way to work with the windows up did I realize the cabin air remained breathable. Wish I'd made the long journey home with them up - as did the group of brain cells that did not survive the trip.

The car was resprayed 3-4 years ago in the original color. Unfortunately, corners were cut and it ended up being a waste of money for the P.O. in my opinion, as it needs to be redone already. "Buick Gold" has not enchanted me with it's charms yet, so a sand blast and color change may occur. Have not yet decided. The internal mental battle between color originality and color preference has begun. We'll see.

The interior is original, but well worn. The dash, of course, is completely shot. Trying to figure out how to deal with that without dropping a sack of gold at Just Dashes has me up early in the mornings pondering and researching.

My plan is to drive it for a few months. After I get more comfortable with the car and start developing a list of it's needs, I will then decide the direction to take. Although, I will address some simple issues in the interim. I suspect a complete resto with perhaps some performance additions are in it's future, but time will tell.

In the meantime, I'd like to hear what folks have to say about the exhaust system. Should I just take it to a muffler shop and have them take care of it (if the price is reasonable), or go with an Alfaholics performance SS (or other) system that was pre-designed for the car? A good muffler/exhaust shop is right next door to my business, so that makes it convenient. They are also known for very good work and high performance systems. Thoughts?

In the meantime, here's my lovely little ugly duckling:


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I'd like to hear what folks have to say about the exhaust system. Should I just take it to a muffler shop and have them take care of it (if the price is reasonable), or go with an Alfaholics performance SS (or other) system that was pre-designed for the car?
I have always had good luck with the basic exhaust systems that Centerline sells. See: https://www.centerlinealfa.com/exhaust/1503 They fit well, are priced reasonably, and will last forever in our dry climate. Having a local shop fabricate a system from scratch is unnecessary since factory-built systems are readily available.

Your choice is highly dependent on how you will use your Berlina. If you intend to use it for everyday cruising, I would strongly recommend a stock system. Driving in the hot San Diego sun, with the windows down, a hot rod exhaust will drive you nuts pretty quickly. A performance system like Alfaholics offers will not provide perceptible additional power without also adding headers, porting, cams, pistons, ......
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Jay. My expectation is that the look of the car will remain largely stock, but with performance increases under the hood. That said, it seems that most performance exhaust "upgrades" I've run into in the past only seem to upgrade the sellers wallet.

Without either some meaningful dyno proof, or at least a few folks that can chime in confirming a noticeable performance increase w/ the Alfaholics system; I will likely heed your advice and go with the Centerline product.
 

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Any "upgrade" to exhaust is likely to end up being a downgrade without knowledge and engine mods that work together. Dyno tests in the 70s showed stock cast iron header was best compared to tube headers at all but very high rpm, and was noticeably worse down low. You might realize a tiny bit more power, and more noise, by eliminating one or more mufflers, but the system seems to like the first one, a small resonator, to work best.

Some headers, like what Vintage Custom/Wes Ingram came up with, and Norman Racing's handbuilt snaky systems, will likely be better across the board, but it's a lot of money for not much gain. Magnaflow's stainless system might improve flow a bit, but without engine mods, there's not much point. I sooner spend it on tires, suspension, cams, and driving school.

Andrew
 

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Good to see another Berlina in Southern Cal, especially in the Valley. Enjoy! Ooops, the pictures threw me off. I guess its heading to San Diego, still - Enjoy!
 

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Nice Berlina....

Does anyone know the AR paint code for this?

Don't see too many gold'ish coloured cars around.

Enjoy!

Cheers.
 

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Congratulations on your first Alfa. I would stick to an original exhaust. They will fit like a glove. I once had a muffler shop fabricate one,. was not happy with the end result.
 

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Nice! Before changing out the exhaust (unless there are obvious holes in it) I'd check the various trunk and tail light seals to see if they are letting in the exhaust smell.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for your comments. Very helpful.

I received a reply from Marco Fazio at AR this morning, as follows:

"According to our documentation files, the chassis number AR 3001696 originally corresponds to an Alfa Romeo 2000 berlina USA (115.00), manufactured on the 20th August 1973 and sold on the same day to Alfa Romeo USA, Englewood Cliffs.
The body colour is metallic light beige, with Maremma wild boar tex interiors."
 

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Does the car burn oil and/or run rich? If so, those smells may get in no matter what.
Yeah, trunk seals, rear door seals, taillight seals are a big part of letting smell (and rain) in. And good fit of the trunk lid. You often can trace black exhaust stains past the trunk seal to see where it's getting in.

"Wild boar tex"; now I want to see the factory that makes that.

Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Does not seem to be running rich. Will check the plugs this weekend however. Does need a trunk seal though. Will be compiling a list and gathering items soon.

Wild Boar Tex.. Sounds like an American folk hero like Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan.
 

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... Does need a trunk seal though...
Bingo! A bad or missing trunk seal will do a much better job of filling the cabin with noxious fumes than a leaking exhaust. Not sure about Sedans but Spiders and coupes are also sensitive to the length and position of the tail pipe.

... Wild Boar Tex.. Sounds like an American folk hero like Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan.
Yup, he was big in the sixties...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
^^ I was aware of the trunk seal issue, but discounted it as the likely source since it didn't occur with the windows up. Now that I think about it though, perhaps the open windows are helping to 'pull' the foul smell in through the trunk.

Does anyone have a good US source for the trunk seal? Tried Centerline, but they don't have it. Will just order from Highwood otherwise, as they have some other things I could use.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Took it for a couple of spins today. Quite a nice little car to drive. I'm liking it more and more. And it isn't as slow as I originally felt it was. There's actually a little 'oomph' in there when the peddle is mashed. :thumbup:

I am anxious to remedy the fume issue though so I can cruise with the windows open. First round of parts and accessories will be ordered tomorrow. I expect to have a remedy within three or four weeks, as well as a few other improvements if all goes well.

Cleaned her up as well today, and started making a list... a long list..of to-do's.
 

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A good Berlina can be a surprisingly fast machine over the road. The "boring" looks lead people to expect it's a boring driver, but it's anything but. I saw 115 mph (on the speedo) of my 69 1750 once, not something I'd do nowadays, but I wanted to see what it would do on a deserted back road.

Andrew
 

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Nice to see a Beige Chiaro Metallizzato AR-827 Berlina in U.S. specs! I wouldn't change the colour of the car. It is one of the nicest standard colours available imho. I repainted my own Berlina 2 years ago and still have now regrets at all to keep it original.

 

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Discussion Starter #20
^^well, your car looks fantastic (the color and the stance). I personally would be very happy with it. That said, I appreciate your position, and have very nearly convinced myself to keep it the stock color. It certainly can look good. And in then end, everything comes full circle - One day, metallic gold will be fashionable again.

Until I get to the rough stuff of body, paint and interior dealt with, I can look forward to some new shoes to gussy her up. I pick up some Alfaholics GTA wheels next week from nngtv; a definite improvement.

I received some seals, a new exhaust system, tranny mount and a few other nick-knacks yesterday. Hoping for an easy and simple install this weekend. Fingers crossed.

Back to color. When everything is fresh and gleaming, "Beige Chiaro Metallizzato AR-827" actually looks pretty good...

 
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