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Discussion Starter #221 (Edited)
Isn't the problem with all of this that the car was a very poor example which was obvious from the most cursory examination of it? The seller didn't make the buyer buy it. The fact that it might have had a broken rear spring (the very least of its problems) seems to me to be irrelevant. What is truly wrong with it is obvious even from photos of it. The seller has generic descriptions of the dogs it sells with photos - warts and all. It would be a bizarre legal system that found any great fault with selling the worst examples of cars with photos showing just how bad they are.

I don't mean that I don't feel sorry for someone who buys one but I can't see how it is anyone else's fault. Why would anyone but a 40 year old car of a make they no nothing about without getting someone who does know something about it to have a look. If that had happened here, it would take less than a minute of looking at the car to reach the conclusion that the only sensible thing to do was run away.
The car's listing had the following line:
"An extremely clean and presentable example and as well as being an excellent original California car which is mechanically sound."

I think it's obvious that calling the car mechanically sound is not true. And again, this is not a case of caveat emptor, the seller does have a responsibility to be truthful, at least in US law. They cannot simply lie. In the end, the final word will be either in a settlement or ruling by a judge and that is the only thing that matters. Everyone may have an opinion but it does not mean it is informed and hence relevant (I am speaking in general). The upside of this is that we will have an actual data point, eventually.

As for whether there is something obviously wrong with the car, it may be obvious to members of this forum but NOT to someone who is new to Alfas. If at the very least this keeps BHCC more honest in future listings, don't you think everyone benefits?
 

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Any update on this?

Very sorry for your experience.
 

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A couple things. First, a late congratulations on your Alfa. These are special cars when they're right. When they're not ... well!!!

1. The front left tire is worn on the inside edge. Alignment problem - could be fixed easily IF the frame is straight.
2. The frame may be bent. The front bodywork is a clue that the car was in a pretty good accident. The engine oil pan is not parallel to the bottom of the front filler panel. Add to this the height difference in the front fenders - tweaked body lines.
3. The rear left quarter panel looks like it's drooping. That's a sign that the car was rear ended and could have a bent rear frame.

Best to check under the car for signs of damage. Pictures are okay, but real life will give you the true results.

Good luck and happy motoring!
 

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Sorry, but I'm really late to this thread. Today, I saw a nice looking Silver '72 GTV go for $31K on BAT. There was a link to this thread (buyer beware warning). I jumped to this thread and I saw the notes on the first page and threw my response in. Then I noticed that there were 15 pages of responses. I've read them all and I understand the situation. I will give some professional advice - I'm in the car business in CA and there are laws that protect the purchaser.

Here's what the OP needs to look for.
1. In the docs you signed, was there anything that described the condition of the car? If so, did it say anything about a broken spring, brake booster, old tires or frame damage?
2. In the docs you signed, was there a sheet with a history disclosure? The generic one has a list of 15 or so potential issues - one is for the car being a Taxi Cab. Another for a Police Car. Etc.
3. The advertisement for the car has terms that are subjective, so one person can say a car is good, because it starts when you turn the key, while another believes a good car should not only start, but be able to be driven 50K miles with normal maintenance and no major repairs. Being a 40+ year old car makes the term even more obscure - a 2017 good car is easier to define than a 1970's good car. Get it? So the ad can be used in court, but be advised that the judge may not be on your side.

Things that are good for you.
1. If you didn't sign anything as in #1 above, then there's a safety issue with your car. Every used car (from a licensed dealer not a salvage yard) must pass a safety inspection, regardless of the age or miles. If a used car has 1 mile and is 1 day old it must pass a safety inspection. A broken spring, bad brakes, bad tires, an unsafe engine mount, etc. Those are safety issues and the car should not have been sold in that condition.
2. You have statements on this thread from people who are very knowledgeable about your specific type of car and they have given you advice that the car is not safe to drive. There are posts that tell you to tow the car in vs drive it. That's an unsafe car. You can use this in court as additional proof that the car isn't safe.
3. You have proof that the spring was broken when you received the car, the tires were old and unsafe and the frame is damaged and has a blotched repair (welded braces that are not factory spec). Also, you have an engine that was held in by one bolt vs three - also unsafe.
4. You noticed the problems in the first few days you owned the car. It didn't happen months after you've been driving it.
5. BHCC is a used car dealer and their cars must pass a safety inspection.
6. As long as you didn't sign a history disclosure (item #2 above) that tells you about the frame damage, accident or broken spring or engine mount, you were never told about the problem in writing. If you look at your purchase order (form 553) there's a place where you sign, right below the numbers. It states that all agreements are written on this page and no verbal changes are allowed. So, even if they tell you they put a new engine in the car or it was owned by Steve McQueen - it's not on the contract or the associated documents, so it won't hold up in court.

The bad:
1. There is an assumption that the buyer needs to do his DD. If you've been looking at '74 GTV's, you've noticed that there are no good ones less than $30-40K. Logically, getting on in the $20K's from a dealership implies that the car has issues. Low compression, previous body work (bondo), interior flaws, worn parts, rust, etc - these are assumed problems.
2. When you found out about the broken spring, you didn't contact the dealer. Same for the old tires, engine mount and frame damage. When someone has a problem with a purchase, their first step is to call the store and let them know. It's assumed that IF they don't, the problem didn't bother them that much.
3. You never sent them a demand letter. When you're not feeling good about a purchase, the first thing is to write a demand letter (or email). State what the problem is and what you want them to do about it. For instance: The 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV I purchased from you, VIN xyz, is not in the condition you described. On top of that, there are some safety issues that make the car unsafe to drive. I made this purchase with the intent of driving and enjoying it and I cannot do so, therefore I request that you refund me the purchase price including all taxes and fees. Please include the cost to ship the car to me. Let me know when you will be refunding the money and when you will be sending the truck to pick it up. I will keep the car in my driveway and will not drive it from this point forward. Thank you.
4. You're a mechanical engineer, so it is assumed that you are intelligent and you have a sense of reason and logic. The seller may be able to reduce his liability by using this against you. You're not an average Joe - engineers are known to be great researchers and thinkers. It's suppose to be much harder to pull one over on an engineer.
5. Here's the kicker, and it'll hurt your case if the seller finds out about it. You posted on this site that you believe the car is safe and you had an expert confirm this (sans the spring). The seller could be responsible for the cost of the spring repair, brake booster, set of fresh tires and any other "safety" issues + use of vehicle. So, you may get $2000 out of it and you're stuck with the car. Remember that this is a public thread and you've now publicly stated that the car is safe.

My take. First, I will disclose that I'm an engineer (electrical) also, though I don't work in the field. I also am an Alfa owner - four in my stable as we speak (1983 Spider, 1980 Spider, 1971 Spider and 1974 Spider - in the order purchased). I was burned with my first Spider - the 1983. A warm day in the SF Valley - I was excited and nervous at the same time. I wanted the car so badly and since I had never owned an Italian car and I've watched so many Top Gear shows, it was now formed in my mind that I had to own one of these things. Mind you, I've owned some cool cars from nearly every manufacturer, so my foray into the Italian realm got me going. I answered a CL ad and it was a story car - the seller drove the car for years, but the battery went out and he let it sit too long and the gas got bad, so his mechanic told him not to start the car until he cleaned the tank. Life kept going with family, etc and he decided to sell the car for a loss and to pass it on to someone who appreciates it. I sensed it was a story, but I wanted it so badly that I talked myself into buying it. So, I handed him $2,000 cash, he gave me the keys and title and I set up a time for my transport guy to pick it up. Body was clean. Interior okay shape, but that's fine. Trunk full of junk - ditto for the glove box and map pockets. I sent it to my mechanic and he gave me the bad news. He cleaned the tank and put some nice new premium in it. No start! Then he tells me there's no Guibo, throttle cable and fuel pump doesn't work. So, there was no way this guy drove it. I called the seller and he answered - I asked questions and there was a lot of ummm's and uhhhhh's. I asked for some money back and he said he had to go, but I could call him tomorrow. Well, he never answered another call from me. It turns out that both computers were fried (someone may have put the battery in backward, then tried to start the car??? So, it still sits at my mechanic's shop - he gives me a big discount on labor when he works on it on his free time. I learned a good lesson and the other three I'm okay with. In fact, I'm super happy with my recent purchase of the 1974!

So, back to your situation. I know you're upset and disheartened. I get it and your dream is slipping away. Alfa's have a great fun factor and they have a great cool factor too. You feel young and alive when you drive one! I also feel you shouldn't dump your problem on someone else. So, what do you do? Four logical options:

1. You build your dream track car. The frame is bent and it's not a small problem - you're an engineer, so you know what happens when metal stretches - how do you put it back to the way it was? Bend it back? Cut it out and replace with a new piece? Leave it alone and weld an extra brace? And how strong will the repair be? In my business, cars with frame damage are to be avoided like the plague. They don't cut and weld these days - they just bend them back, however the dimension are wrong and there's a weak spot - remember molecular metallurgy! For your car, I think you'll need to cut and weld - I've seen it done and it's the only way to do the job right. Remove the motor, tranny, doors, interior and get the shell right first. Now your motor mounts will be right and your suspension will align. The cost of cutting and welding isn't that expensive; it's the labor to remove all the other stuff first + the cost of the parts. While it's out, get the synchros changed and check for worn/damaged gears. If it was grinding for a while, the edge of the gear could be bad. Is it hard to move the shift lever to the gate with the engine off? Hopefully not and it's only a synchro problem. Throw a new clutch in, unless it's like new - do it while you're in there. Then rebuild the motor. Pull the head and rebuild it. Low compression typically means worn rings - while it's apart, check it. New bearing below, a set of fresh gaskets and seals and a new oil pump. Spark plugs, wires, dist cap, rotor and points. Tune up the carbs and drop everything in. Check the Guibo, drive shaft and rear diff. Now you have a rock solid drive train. Suspension just bolts back in place. Check the steering box and rebuild as necessary. Interior back together and install doors. If you want to do the body work, do it with the motor out. I have a bad feeling you're going to find that there's a lot more damage than you think, but you can get it all straight and throw a nice two stage paint job on the car. You can do a lot of the work yourself, so that'll save on labor. $10-15K labor, $3-5K in parts and a year of time. And you'll learn a ton about your car and you'll appreciate how special these cars are.
2. Sell it, but disclose the major issues. Accident, broken spring (I'd at least fix this before selling - change two also), engine mount, body work, etc. BAT is going to be your best bet, but don't be surprised if you get $13-15K. Say you get $3K from the seller. You're down a little, but you no longer own the problem.
3. Get the main things fixed (tires, springs and other minor items), then enjoy the car. Do the complete rear suspension first, before tackling the front. If it wrecks a set of tires, who cares - tires are $300-400 a set - cheap in the scheme of things. Learn to rev match - a trick is to rent a manual transmission car for the weekend and try to shift without using the clutch. The synchros will help you get into the gear. Try getting to the point where the shifts are smooth, in and out of gear - based on matching the engine rpm with the speed/gear of the car.
4. Put it in the garage as a "sometime" project. Not a great idea, but these cars are going up in value and even with the damage, you may be able to break out even, BUT your replacement will be that much more too.

Good luck and know that most of us have been in your situation with a car (Alfa or other) - something that we wanted so badly that we didn't do our DD, nor did we thing straight. I know it's painful now, but it's okay. And look at the great connections you've found here on this site! The guys here are awesome and that's worth every penny of the $20K + you spent on the car. In fact, this is the site where I picked up my '74 Spider. 43K mile original!

Most importantly - do what you know is right. Imagine if you sold your car to someone like yourself and they wrapped it around a tree or skidded off a canyon road? Yes, we work hard for our money, but people are always much more important.

Thanks for listening to me.
 

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This story is sad. A real shame, as it used to be that the parts in question were available as replacements, ie, the entire front sheet metal of the car as one piece back about 8 inches or a foot or so (cut off the old and weld on the new), and the complete front suspension cross member beam (old one easily unzipped and new one installed, any bent rail easily straightened).

Please don't ask me how I know this, but "been there, done that".

This would have made the major repairs he describes much easier, as I had to do in my Sprint GT. It wasn't that bad at all.

Hate to see one of these go to pieces. Maybe find one of the cross members and fronts from a wrecked GTV and do the same?
 
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Sorry, but I'm really late to this thread. Today, I saw a nice looking Silver '72 GTV go for $31K on BAT. There was a link to this thread (buyer beware warning).....
I was led to this thread via the same link on that BaT auction. autobroker makes a lot of good points and probably gives better advice than most have given. Too bad it has been so long since the situation started and then developed to where the OP last commented on it. This thread started over a year ago and it has been over 3/4 of a year since the OP has made any new reports. It would be interesting to know the current status of his situation.

BTW, as far as that BaT auction, hopefully the buyer will get a car that is what he was expecting for his final bid. Full disclosure I was one of the "negative noise" commenters in that auction thread. The photo presentation, the seller's responses to questions and comments all gave me an impression of too much obfuscation. The car may have been fine for the price, but, I was, and still am, a bit skeptical.
 

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Hi ar1950,

Thanks for the comments on the GTV on BAT. I did put in a bid, but I was outbid. I would've paid $16,500 for the car after fees, but $31K! The car looks nice, due to a good paint job and some nice wheels. I noticed some things I didn't like.

The floor pan work was so-so. Not good for a $31K car.
The bent rear bumper should've been fixed
The details like the gas door, lower front part of the right door, trunk, etc.
No console
Rusty suspension parts - should've been removed, powder coated and reinstalled.
The comments from the seller - sounded like a used car salesman
The big giveaway to me was the cheap tires. Tires are the contact to the road and cheap tires tells me that the person was cutting corners. Come on, an extra $200 would've got some good tires.

I bet the seller was very happy with the $31K. The good thing is that auctions like that push the price of these cars up. I don't own a GTV, but I have a few Spiders and the prices are going up.

Happy motoring!
 

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Hi Del,

It is a shame. The OP's car could be saved, but it'll cost some money and time. I thought I gave him some good options and I wish him good luck.

He's in a tough spot. He made a mistake and he's trying to salvage what he can. I understand because I've been in that spot before. He's trying to justify that the car is okay, but if it were, he'd keep it. It's hard to face the honest truth, but as hard as it is, the sooner he does, the quicker he can start making good decisions. The sad thing is, if he succeeds in selling the car, someone will get stuck with the hot potato and that's not fair or right. This is how people get turned off to trying something new like buying a vintage Alfa.

If it were my car, I'd sell it on BAT, fully disclosed with a link to this thread. The purchaser will have full access to information and he can bid accordingly. Then I'd go after BHCC and try to recoup as much as I could. I'd be able to sleep at night, which is is very important to me.
 

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Having owned Alfas since 1966, I know that the body structural condition is the primary consideration when buying one of these cars, as they can be very difficult and/or expensive to bring back, if at all. Mechanical problems can usually be fixed with much less hassle/trauma, even if it takes some money, since it is parts replacements, not extensive body re-fabrications and finishing.

Trouble is, wanting/adoring such a desirable Alfa can put multitudes of stars in one's eyes (alas, it's being human), thus ending up blind to existing faults, even when they might be relatively obvious. I feel for the guy, hope it turns ok in the end, for both him and the car.
 

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@autobroker If you're truly in the market for a Coupe that ia a daily driver 30 K is a market price.
 

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Should have just listened to me a year ago. Bummer.
 

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I can’t go back and reread the thread again. What ever happened to the cut up spring thingy/excuse?
 

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I like the description of "excellent" for that 74, when in fact it has a bashed side which may affect the B side post as well, funny looking front end with no grill, very tired interior, funny side exhaust, and who knows what else. Poorly taken care of in my book. Too much money for what you see, IMO.

Still, looks to be restoreable if not having been involved in an accident.
 
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I don't think he fixed it - at least he didn't post that he did. He did post that someone gave him the green light on the car - meaning the car was safe to sell, except he needed to fix the spring. I don't think the engine mount was every put back to normal, but the guy at the repair shop told him it would be okay.

I do know something about cars and steering geometry and the front left wheel was not in the correct place. The tie rods and center link were bent also, so add this to the incorrect wheel position, something is wrong with either the frame and suspension. Remember that a front end alignment is typically Toe In, Camber and Caster. It has nothing to do with moving the front wheel forward or backward. To me, this is not safe - it's not even close to how the engineers designed the suspension and I can only imagine how odd the car would feel on the road.

Years ago, someone hit our Odyssey Van smack dab on the front right wheel. It was at about 5 mph, so the insurance co thought it wouldn't be a problem to fix. I fought, but they said they couldn't call it a total loss, so they had the shop fix it. After all repairs were done, the van looked like new. When I drove it, I noticed a vibration in the front end. I brought it right back and left it there for them to check. Sure enough, the wheel was bent. They installed a new wheel and then did some work on the suspension - new parts to replace the bent ones. Mind you, this car had already had the alignment done and it was in spec. I took the car home and while on the side streets, I noticed that the car drifted to the right, it would take more effort to make a left turn vs right and the steering felt vague. The guy at the body shop went with me and told me he didn't feel that anything was wrong, but since he didn't drive the car before the accident, he couldn't be sure. He asked me to drive it for a few days and let me know about any problems and he'd contact the insurance company. In about 3 miles, I got on the freeway. I noticed that the van would drift left at high speeds. I took it home and drove it for a couple days. The steering felt vague and off center (the best I can describe it). If I pulled the wheel to turn right at 40 mph, it felt like the van wanted to move that way and continue - the steering return was definitely off. I brought it back to the shop and they had it for a few days and told me the alignment shop couldn't find anything wrong. I knew something wasn't the same as before and one day, I was talking to a friend (at his mechanics shop) and he grabbed a tape measure and measured the distance from the back of the tire to the wheel well. He did the same from the front of the tire to the wheel well. Both left and right side. The right wheel was further back than the front. He then measured the distance hub to hub on both sides. The right side was shorter than the left.

I recall how the van didn't feel right, even though the insurance company, body guy and the alignment guy all told me it was okay. If I hadn't owned the van prior to the accident, I would've chalked it up to a tire issue or maybe a worn suspension part. Since I knew what the van should feel like and how it felt unsafe, I was persistent and I eventually found out that the van had frame damage.

The OP's GTV can't drive like it's suppose to. The problem will be accentuated in an emergency maneuver, when driving the car hard or in bad weather.
 

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The car has some problems, so I thought $16.5K would be a good price. There's the 1974 GTV in Glendale with 74K miles that's at $21K. I've been thinking about it too, but then I think about what I can do with $21K and I think my money can be spent better.

In a few years, I'll probably eat my words.
 

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@autobroker If you're truly in the market for a Coupe that ia a daily driver 30 K is a market price.

Tom,

The red '74 looks like a daily driver and $21K is less than $30K. The one that sold on BAT was questionable and I felt that $31K was excessive. Based on the photos and info I've found, I wouldn't purchase either the red one nor the Silver one, but if I had to choose, pick the red one and keep $10 for repairs. I could be completely wrong about this as I haven't seen either one in person + there are very few pictures of the red one. For all I know, it could have been in a bad accident, have frame damage, have bad rust, have a bad motor or tranny, etc.
 
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