Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 20 of 50 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,688 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Some of you saw this on BaT. I bought this 74 128 wagon on Thursday. Saw it on CL, emailed, turned out to belong to a friend's step-son, so the deal went pretty smoothly. I had helped the friend with his Super and Berlina, we're all best pals.

Car was owned for some years by a Fiat nut in Oakland, I hear, don't know him, he did most of the big work, including suspension mods, 1500 engine out of an X1/9, Coupe dash, and Coupe steering wheel. Was originally a purer yellow, was repainted long ago more of what I'd call mustard or ochre. I like it better. A few rust spots, but unwrecked, and really remarkably straight and clean. I drove a 128 two-door some in high school, agreed to buy a one-owner 77 four-door off CL a couple years ago, but the sellers sold it out from under me after we made a deal. I started out on cars with five 850s, and later had a Dino, so I have some Fiat experience.

I love this thing. Smooth, good torque for what it is. It's too stiff for my taste, but I'm not sure I'll go to the trouble to do anything about it. I immediately removed the tube bumpers, put the stock ones back on. I have made small fixes and adjustments all over, but the kid who owned it commuted from Marin to SF in it for a year; never missed a beat. I'm digging it more than my Super at the moment, but that may not last. It's not a great freeway car, but around town, it can't be beat. The farting duck Fiat exhaust note makes me laugh every time.

Andrew
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,358 Posts
That's really cool Andrew. Seems like a quite few Alfa folks started out in Fiats of some sort. We had heaps in New Zealand, lots of 128's included. Hardly any wagons though, mostly 4-door sedans. Enjoy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,021 Posts
I'm glad an enthusiast bought it.
I was thinking about it, but I really want a 2 door sedan.
I grew up in Berkeley and had a 4 door. Got T boned on University by a light runner, it got hit right in the rear axle so I bought a 2 door shell and transferred all my good parts.
Keep us posted on any updates, did the bumpers come with it?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,688 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I'm not one for calling any marque "the dark side" myself. I think they can all be interesting. And as this is Fiat #6, not really new to me. Yeah, it's been awhile though. My Dino was maybe 15 years ago, too many problems to make sense to restore. I've worked on many other Fiats as well.

Yes, bumpers are already on. They lack overriders, but look good. I have an earlier honeycomb grille, will see how that looks. The black grille to me looks out of place on the car, since there's no other black trim.

The basics all seem sound, but sorting a zillion small issues, adjusted clutch, filled trans with oil, some sorting to shift linkage, more to come, adjusted parking brake. I think rear shoes may need replacing, will check when I rotate the tires.

Andrew
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
Almost bid against you on this one. The wagons are really a beautiful 'Bauhaus' shape. In the mid-70s my wife and I drove her pale green one all around the country, from Maine to New Mexico. It was unbeatable in the snow, including unpaved Colorado passes in mid-winter.

One quirk is that periodically, after Interstate driving especially, the car will gradually lose power at the wheels, to the point that flat-out speed falls below 60 mph. The cure is to drain the gear oil from the transaxle, add ATF and run the car in gear on a lift for a while. Then replace the ATF with the regular gear oil and you're good to go.

Best wishes with the car.

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,021 Posts
Almost bid against you on this one. The wagons are really a beautiful 'Bauhaus' shape. In the mid-70s my wife and I drove her pale green one all around the country, from Maine to New Mexico. It was unbeatable in the snow, including unpaved Colorado passes in mid-winter.

One quirk is that periodically, after Interstate driving especially, the car will gradually lose power at the wheels, to the point that flat-out speed falls below 60 mph. The cure is to drain the gear oil from the transaxle, add ATF and run the car in gear on a lift for a while. Then replace the ATF with the regular gear oil and you're good to go.

Best wishes with the car.

Don
I used to drive from California to Arizona for school several times a year and never experienced that.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,688 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Several folks looked at the before me, none bought it. I looked, committed, picked it up the next day. Even though I knew the seller, I didn't get any special deal. They do know I'll treat it right though.

Andrew
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,688 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Here's how it looks today, and with the early grille held in place. Looks like fitment screw holes are identical, so shouldn't be tough to install and see what I think.

Looked at the brakes, the LR has one shoe very thin, the Fiat adjuster goodie was messed up, circlip hanging off perilously. I know those are tough for the uninitiated. Probably will get new rear shoes. Rotated the tires, wore out the fronts a surprising amount in six months since they were new. I suspect hard use.

Has had a piece of picture hanger wire as the hood release cable since it was painted, will sort that out with a new proper cable.

Andrew
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
963 Posts
Looks great Andrew! My ex (my girlfriend then) had a 128 coupe that I kept running through high school and college. We finally sold it to a friend at 120K miles or so. I lost count of how many ancillary pieces we replaced along the way. The car ran great and was really fun though. One of the funny things was the way it would die in hard rain when it came through the front opening below the grille and flooded out the distributor. I don't know if there was supposed to be a cover over the distributor or what but it did it every time.

Nice find and keep us posted on your progress! Looks like a bunch of fun!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,021 Posts
Looks great with the early grill and the chrome bumpers.
You mentioned it rode a little harsh, try putting a load in it and seeing how it rides. You probably already know this but the wagon has an extra leaf. Those were the springs we scoured All Foreign for, had em re-arced to lower the car, added an Addco sway bar and we were ready to hunt 510s on Tunnel.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,688 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Yeah, sellers claim it has an extra extra leaf on the back, and that it has X1/9 spring on the front and Rabbit Bilstein cartridges. It all looks cobbled to me, not sure it provides much advantage with its flakiness. And the cartridges are not Bilstein colored. Plus I'm not taking this to Sears Point, so I'd rather have it ride nicely and stock. But I can't see it's worth the effort unless something goes amiss. The strut top mounts have been altered with an aluminum ring not normally there.

Is this black grille a Rally grille maybe? The reprints of period ads for 74 look to me like it would have had a dark grille with some shiny highlights, not all black like this. Or maybe it's from a later car, like a 77?

Forgot to take a pic of the inside, but it has an SL or Rally steering wheel, tach and kph speedo, and Rally temp and oil pressure gauge to the right. No carpet other than some tolerable homemade stuff. Who has a full 128 Familiar carpet/mat kit they're not using?

I came within inches of buying a 73 SL in 1976, big hit but it still drove OK. No way could I have done the body work at the time. $300 was outrageous then for such a car, which is also what I paid for my 68 850 Coupe in 1975.

Andrew
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,021 Posts
My 74 that I bought from the original owner had that black grill. I replaced it with the honey comb grill. I think the Rally had the honeycomb but in black.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,688 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
L'interieur. You can see how yellow the original paint is compared to the more mustardy repaint. At least that's how I see it. Your colors may vary. Black panels for rear seats are included, not installed. Side panels for wayback are MIA.

Carpet is homemade, akin to carpet padding, pretty well cut and fitted. For now that's what I've got. I assume it would have had rubber mats, and something besides bare metal in the wayback. The wagon on ebay in Bisbee AZ, I can see a hint of what looks like a rubber mat.

Andrew
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,854 Posts
"One quirk is that periodically, after Interstate driving especially, the car will gradually lose power at the wheels, to the point that flat-out speed falls below 60 mph"

Our 128 sedan did this now and then, esp in the winter, until we figured out that the air cleaner had a summer/winter heat vent setting, and if set to summer while driving in the winter, and sometimes even in cooler days in the summer, the carb would ice up due to the cooling effect of the venturi shaped throat on the air/gas mixture. Mechanic told us that this was evidently common with this model due to the small carb.

If you stopped for a short while, the heat of the engine would melt the ice in the carb and away you could go again. The trick of course was to make sure the air cleaner vent was set correctly for either hot or cool/cold weather.

No problems otherwise. Always ran fine otherwise. I never thought it was the best handling car, certainly not close to my mini but a good car for going in the snow to go skiing, etc. My wife graduated from that car to a 78 Alfetta sedan when I bought an 81 GTV6 after selling my 75 Alfetta sedan.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,688 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Yep, this car has the I/E settings on the air cleaner for summer/winter, a "fence" inside blocks the ram air or warm air inlets, depending on how you orient. Cheap and ingenious engineering. I'm guessing new Cincocentos don't have that feature!

Ordered new rear brake shoes, $16 including shipping. Parts prices are a revelation after Alfa and BMW parts.

Andrew
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
"One quirk is that periodically, after Interstate driving especially, the car will gradually lose power at the wheels, to the point that flat-out speed falls below 60 mph"

Our 128 sedan did this now and then, esp in the winter, until we figured out that the air cleaner had a summer/winter heat vent setting, and if set to summer while driving in the winter, and sometimes even in cooler days in the summer, the carb would ice up due to the cooling effect of the venturi shaped throat on the air/gas mixture. Mechanic told us that this was evidently common with this model due to the small carb.

If you stopped for a short while, the heat of the engine would melt the ice in the carb and away you could go again. The trick of course was to make sure the air cleaner vent was set correctly for either hot or cool/cold weather.

No problems otherwise. Always ran fine otherwise. I never thought it was the best handling car, certainly not close to my mini but a good car for going in the snow to go skiing, etc. My wife graduated from that car to a 78 Alfetta sedan when I bought an 81 GTV6 after selling my 75 Alfetta sedan.
Amusing, my wife and I also moved on from the 128 wagon to an Alfetta sedan, then a GTV (but with a BMW 2002tii in the middle).

The air cleaner flap was explained right in the manual. The binding transmission was a different problem, likely not experienced by those in dry climates.
 
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
Top