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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all,

I've been browsing the classifieds on here for awhile on my father's recommendation, looking for a spider. Just figured I would introduce myself:

* Mechanical Engineer

* Car History:
-'83 Porsche 944
-'86 Porsche 944 Turbo
-1999 Toyota 4Runner

* Motorcycle History:
-'78 kz400
-'86 vf500
-'98 vfr800

* Alfa Experience: Grandpa had an '83 spider, it was the first convertible I ever rode in (as a kid). I have virtually no memory of it except the shape and color (teal). My dad bought a '67 spider, but ended up not restoring it as it was too far gone. I also just test-drove an '85 spider this past weekend.

*Why am I here: Looking to learn about Alfa Romeos, as the brand is interesting to me and I'm hoping to pick one up soon. Also looking for leads on good, solid cars for sale in the NOVA-DC-MD area.
 

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Rocker

Welcome to the BB and this world of Alfas.

It has a remarkable heritage and I hope you have the time to read some of the history. That's on engineering, design and racing.

:cool2:
 

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I've had 4. Started with an Alfetta GTV 79 model. Loved it learned it and sadly it's no longer with me. 2nd an 88 Spider. So so car for reasons to come. 3rd about 3 years ago I bought a 164 and absolutely love it. Very easy to live with, work on and enjoy. Recently added a 75 (Milano) with very low mileage and I love it for different reasons than the 164. The 164 is my mile gobbling road car and the 75 becoming my rowdy car for balls out fun. Madonna/***** syndrome comes to mind.

The Spider. I liked it but qualify it with having owned it in the New Orleans area (Northshore) and not having the roads to really experience it and truthfully, top down in the heat humidity of the area was not the best. The car was reliable as a brick but had a tendency to be hit by young kids doing things other than driving while driving. IIRC the only "had to" job on it I did was the clutch master cylinder and a belt. Dont get me wrong, nice car, I just wont do one again.

A favorite? Hard to say as each one brings something different to the party. If I still had the GTV it's probably be the "pick" but moreso as she was the first. I'm weird in that I take alot of enjoyment working on them and washing them and such.

What to look for. Well, in my case I wont deal with rust, anything else is fair game. Living in Italy is unique in that I seldom see a Spider. I know of 2 in my area and one of them is the new Brera based - 918 I think it's called - and the other, a series 4. I've found Alfa's a very reliable, nothing to be scared of and quite unique. I hardly ever see another 75 and even fewer 164's. Good luck and welcome to the fold. ciao, chris
 

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Hi Rocker,

A good source of Alfa information is the local AROC chapter. If you haven't already made contact, here's one for your area:

Capital Chapter, Alfa Romeo Owners Club of America. The Chapter is one of the largest and most active in the United States and includes Alfisti (Alfa Romeo enthusiasts) from the greater Washington, D.C. region including D.C., Maryland and a large area of Virginia Alfa Romeo News | Capital Chapter Alfa Romeo Owners Club
 

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In addition to the classifieds here, I recommend Craigslist for Baltimore, DC and surrounding areas. I also tried eBay, Auto trader and cars.com but got the best leads from Craigslist. In fact, I wound up buying mine from a guy living 15 minutes away from me.

If you're looking for someone to do a PPI for you here in NoVA, I recommend Houda's Motors in Sterling.

Good luck with your search and I hope to see you at a local Alfa event soon.
 

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you are also lucky that in Baltimore, you have Di Fatta Bros, who are a very good supplier of Alfa parts. I would spend a little time there.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the warm welcome!

Jc96 - It sounds like you have a lot of experience with as well as love for the marque! The GTV is a great looking car for sure, I've never driven one so I don't know how well they go.

Del - I'm definitely planning on visiting Di Fatta Bros soon. Maybe they'll have some leads to cars available in the area.

I'm planning on looking at a spider today after work, I'll let you know how it goes. From talking to the owner the brakes need to be sorted (pulls to one side), needs a new battery (from sitting), the drivers door handle does not work from the outside, the top needs to be adjusted and has 3 small holes, and the odometer is not working, and the spare tire well is rusted. I think all these jobs are fairly straightforward, so we'll see what happens during the test drive.
 

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Hah, be advised that just about every Alfa made has had door handles which don't work or break. Just part of the charm of this marque.
 

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Some additional thoughts. Get a good PPI for sure. Also really pay attention to the body. It looks like you've had some German cars so make sure you study up on the spots where Alfas like to rust. The biggest things you have going for you (besides your background and experience of course) is a pretty good supply of parts and the very experienced, very attentive, helpful and generous AlfaBBers! Keep us posted and provide lots of pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Well guys, I went and looked at it and drove it. It's a cheap 87' Spider Veloce, I think I could snag it for around 2k and fix it up.

Good things:

-Engine Pulls strong
-Clutch release is low, midway through travel
-Bodywork actually looks really nice
-Didn't overheat after idling for 15 minutes, but started getting warm (Fan?)
-Interior looked pretty tidy
-Original Stereo works

The highlights (big problems) from looking at the vehicle are the following:

-Pulls to the right when braking, hard
-When steering hard to the left, a grinding sound seems to be coming from the front right wheel
-Rear spare tire well is rusted through quite a bit
-Convertible top is missing the canvas strip that attached to the middle frame bar
-Leaking Coolant visibly from the top right of the radiator area/coolant bottle area
-Speedo/odometer does not work
-Door Gap on the drivers side does not look great
-Trunk is bent up on right side (did not see any big damage in trunk area
-Someone made a typo when issuing the title, as the first digit of the vin on the paper title is a 2 when it should be a Z.
-Someone tried to jack on the drivers side frame rail and dented it


Here are the pics:

Alfa Search - 2 Photos by Rocker1501 | Photobucket

Should I pull the trigger? I think I might do it, it looks sweet and with a little work would be a nice driver I think.
 

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I hate to be the party pooper but the spider will rust away around you. Rust will not be isolated only to the spare tire well. The floors will be as bad and you can see the rockers are gone. Hold off and find a better one. Just my opinion of course after owning several rusty spiders--

Rule of thumb is buy the one with the least rust--all else can be put back together pretty straight forward. Rust? Not so easy
 

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Rust bucket.

Looks like a lot of rehab work underneath to restore safety. Also, with that wheel bent like that, I'd really look for other damage to the suspension and body. That is the result of a really mighty whack on one corner. Right front assy bent from the impact?
Is the trunk part of the body bent, or is it just the lid, which is not a big deal. The other, oh yes.

The other things you mention are mostly the results of old age. Doors sag and need readjusting, Alfa coolant bottle leak after a while. Fabric tops fall apart.

Unless you are a bonafide wrencher, enjoy rehabbing (cutting/welding new metal, etc) cars as a hobby, and the time/money I think I would run from this one.

Look for a West Coast car. Usually they are clean although maybe sunbaked, ie, no rust, the killer.
 

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I agree with the last few posts. Too much rust on that one. If it were only the spare tire well, it would be one thing. However, there's too much rust in other places.

Take your time, be patient. Find something better.
 

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-Didn't overheat after idling for 15 minutes, but started getting warm (Fan?)
-Pulls to the right when braking, hard
-When steering hard to the left, a grinding sound seems to be coming from the front right wheel
-Rear spare tire well is rusted through quite a bit
-Convertible top is missing the canvas strip that attached to the middle frame bar
-Leaking Coolant visibly from the top right of the radiator area/coolant bottle area
-Speedo/odometer does not work
-Door Gap on the drivers side does not look great
-Trunk is bent up on right side (did not see any big damage in trunk area
-Someone made a typo when issuing the title, as the first digit of the vin on the paper title is a 2 when it should be a Z.
-Someone tried to jack on the drivers side frame rail and dented it

.... it looks sweet
If that one looks sweet, then what does it take for you to reject a car?

Admittedly some those things might be easy to fix (like the speedometer). But the evidence of accident damage and rust are fatal - you can be assured that once you own it, more accident and rust problem will become evident.

That one looks like a car that hasn't been loved in a long time - try to find an Alfa whose seller is more of an enthusiast.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Well, I showed the worst parts in the pictures. A lot of it looked really nice. For me, it's "sweet" for an alfa in this price range. The overall condition looks better than an 85' that just went for 5k on eBay (I test drove that one). I'm not looking to spend that much on something rusty. For 2k I can enjoy it for a couple of years and then move on to something else if it rusts away. I think the basic mechanical jobs should not be too much of a problem. Maybe I'll wait, judging from the amount of run away postings it seems like I should. But it would be so cool to just go pay in cash and then drive around in it. Patience is not my strong suit.

FYI only the trunk lid was bent, like someone tried to close it on something too big. There was no obvious accident damage in the rear.
 

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Rocker1500 said:
For 2k I can enjoy it for a couple of years and then move on to something else if it rusts away. ...Patience is not my strong suit.
Hey, if you want to drop $2K, drive a rusty car for a couple of years, and then dump it, go ahead. Just be aware that every $ and every hour you put into it will be lost; when you are done, it will still be a $2K car. But it will be cheap fun and you'll learn something about Alfas.

Most of us have bought cars like this and regretted it. The problem is, at some point you'll want to make it nicer, but the "bones" just aren't there.

There's an old saying: You'll never buy a more expensive car than a $2,000 Alfa".
 

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I guess I would be concerned about safety driving something you know has been whacked and is rusty. Spiders are fairly plentiful. I have seen several in the west in better condition which would be cheaper overall to own for even a few years. My car isnt' that bad and I am spending more on body issues now than I have in the car in total, including the original purchase plus a lot of mechanical work.
 

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I for one would also be worried about safety, as wondering which rusty part of the suspension or chassis might fail when I push the car a little hard around some fun curves, as you know you would.
 

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Develop patience.... That car is worth nowhere near $2000 in my opinion. I bought my Veloce about 5 or 6 years ago with zero rust, new top and interior, strong motor and good trans. Slight 2nd gear crunch if I didn't pause on up shifts. Power windows all worked as did mirrors. AC didn't blow cold but worked. $2,500.
 

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Here you go. 87 Quad in Cali, no rust asking $2800, says it needs a starter. It's maybe 20 miles north of me. I'll check it out, offer him $2300 if it's all good. Ship it home! :)

1987 Alfa Romeo Spider $2800
 
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