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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
i knew it would cost me money to maintain an alfa, but i just totaled up all my invoices this evening and i have already spent about 5k on my car since may.

granted - most of the stuff i did most people would not do - paintless dent removal (350), new stereo and speakers (800), boot cover in perfect shape (500), new tail lights (400) - i didnt even add the 700 i am going to spend to refinish all 4 rims, but i also did a few things that a lot of people have done or had to do - new water pump, new springs to name a few.

it has been a satisfying ownership experience and i have no regrets buying my spider since i have always wanted one since i was in high school, but wow - you can really get carried away with spending!!
 

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Yep, it gets expensive. I am about to drop $1k on a new bushings, Koni shocks and sport springs. you can dump a ton of money into it real quick.
 

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Yeah I've got probably a good $2k-$3k of stuff I want to do RIGHT AWAY (mostly suspension rebuild, all new hoses, and some interior pieces....actually it would probably end up well over $3k), not counting the bodywork (dents) and repaint I desire ($2k? $4k?). I also want to rebuild the tranny, no idea how much that's gonna run. Then figure $600-$1k for new rims, hmmmmm. And I could use a new carpet kit.......need to get a nice CD/tuner and some good speakers too.

I think something around $10k would get me by for now. :p
 

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Alfas are expensive, but. . .

Yea they sure are.
Now, 4 years ago the wife got a PT Cruiser. It has depreciated $14,000 over 80,000 miles, we have spent about $1,500 on repairs and we both hate to drive it. It has broken down several times.
Now that darn Milano I got in 93. I have spent almost $11,000 (including $4,500 purchase price) on it over the past 220,000 miles (320k total miles) I put on it and it has broken down several times. Heck it even broke a wheel in the Time Trial at the 2005 AROC Convention. . .
Now I have a $500 car that we still love to drive, on and off the track.
Those darn expensive Alfas.
 

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Timely topic. I am in the middle of collating all the work I have done on the car since I purchased it in 1999 with 63k miles on it (89k now). Since 1999, the car has never failed me once and the only part that required replacing was the water pump. All other work was my desire (or should I say pleasure).

I have averaged about $1,200 per summer with some years being more than others. I view it as a car that has been replaced as opposed to restored or other such concepts. Suspension, electrical, fuel system, interior - I would say the vast majority is stuff you cannot see.

I take the approach that if I am "there" lets replace other stuff too. Example: I needed a ball joint so I purchased the front end kit from Centerline and did the entire front end together with front inner & outer bearings, Mintex pads, and Brembo rotors.

What's next? Exhaust, heater blower, new top. Then again, the thought is to sell it and pick up a Berlina.....and start the process all over again :eek:

But it is both a hobby and a pleasure so I have little regard for the cost.

BTW, both Audi's have extended warranties and to date both have not been as dependable as the Spider - though they are much better in the snow. ;)

-Rob
 

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I am in the middle of collating all the work I have done on the car since I purchased it in 1999 with 63k miles on it.
-Rob
Don't do this without consulting your physician first or if you have experienced chest pains. The side effects can be a sudden increase of blood pressure, faintness and loss of breath. :D:D

If chest pains lasts for more then 4 hours contact your physician. :D:D
 

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and don't forget to figure in that you probably own the car outright with no car payments. I consider the maintenance to be my "car payment"

Dan
 

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Restoring cars is an expensive hobby

I second (third?) what previous posts have said. To add to the thread...

I would observe that much of what lgbalfa has spent his $5,000 on has been restoration/upgrade items, rather than maintenance. And, yes, restoration IS expensive! Start doing chrome plating and paint & body if you really want to watch the gauge on your bank account approach "E".

And, as I often point out, owning ANY older car is going to run into maintenance and the inevitable restoration/upgrade expenses. As sidewaysalfa pointed out, you are saving on depreciation, as well as insurance and registration/tax expenses when you have an older car. And, there ain't no free lunch, so obviously you are going to have to pay somewhere else. Whether it is a Honda, BMW, or Alfa, any older car is going to get you on maintenance.

Be thankful you don't have a '92 Jaguar!
 

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Every hobby costs, some go to the restaurant every weekend (for one year = $5000). I surely prefer to spend my money with my spider.........
 

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the way I look at it is that if you have a choice to invest over time in a car that at least holds its value, you are not doing too shabby. It beats paying for the depreciation of a car that you don't really like anyway. I spent a ton of money to get my Duetto to the state she's in right now....and that is far from a concourse restoration....I would not want that, as I would be afraid to drive her!
If I were to use her as a daily driver, I bet in the long run it would still be cheaper, even if I take a new paint job and an engine rebuild into account
 

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Dropping a 2 L into as 101 Spider uses up some dollars:(, but there is a wonderful way to rationalize it--beyond the sense of accomplishment and pleasure of driving.:)

Join a club, or hangout on the BB---there is always someone spending more money than you.:rolleyes:
 

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I restored a Porsche 911 SC in the 90'; original exhaust (complete) : $3300; complete clutch : $700; oil tank :$1000; valve replacement $4000, .... when it was ready to run, fuel : 3 times more than my Spider.
Alfa is cheap, isn't it ?:)
 

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Interesting thread... it brings to mind a few conversations with non-Alfa owners, either at local events or in the mall parking lot. Without fail, they always wrongly assume 1) we are well heeled folks (untrue), and 2) Alfas are the expensive, finnicky Italian sports car (also untrue) your dad warned you about.

Forget the wish list items, let's discuss maintenance alone. Go price an A/C compressor, alternator, starter and water pump for any late model Honda, Toyota or Nissan. Then look up the prices for these items with IAP, Centerline, Vick's or other Alfa supplier. Without exception, you will find that major repair components are more expensive for the Japanese cars. Granted, those systems are so long lived and reliable that frequent replacement is unheard of, but then Bosch makes some very good stuff, also. People inevitably ask me if the Spider is expensive to maintain, hard to get parts for, or fickle in its ways. And they are visibly surprised when I reply no, no and absolutely not! And just to go in for the kill, go compare component prices for Audis, BMW's and (dare I say), Porsche. At that point, you're light years past Alfa ownership costs, unless you happen to own an 8C2900B, or 6C 1750 Zagato.

Now if you buy a ragged out car, no matter what the marque, and you're determined to make it a reliable daily driver, then you're committed to spending some big bucks, no doubt. Moral? Avoid ragged out examples and put your money into a decent used car.

I'll tell you just how reliable my '91 Spider has been, and how little it has cost to own since new in May, 1992. The pages on my factory shop manual are, for the most part, unsmudged by greasy hands and not at all dog-eared. Major costs have been for a clutch (at about 57K miles), A/C repairs and exhaust system replacement. It now has around 65K miles (yes Big John, it needs speedo/odo repair), and frankly I have not had personal experience (yet) with many issues Spider owners bring up on this forum. No doubt I someday will, but my point is that these cars, especially the S3 and 4, are comparatively inexpensive to own, fun to drive and reliable over the long haul. Can you sink tons of money into them? Of course, but it's not mandatory in order to have an Alfa you can count on.
 

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I use the 'false sense of finacial security' method.

As in figure out what these things are selling for based on the condition that mine is in, then never let the receipts for parts exceed that total.

EG: current resale value 4K, all receipts from day one of ownership including purchase price = 3.8K means everything is right on track.

Of course every year I raise my resale value by 500 to 1000 because values seem to be climbing at roughly that rate and besides, I want to throw parts at it because it loves me. (C'mon, you'd buy a chick stuff if she put out in a really exciting way on a regular basis. It's the same principle only you don't feel quite as bad lending her to a freind for a day or weekend)

However, I can get away with that kind of math because I practically stole the car from the PO, so the very vast majority of $ spent is on parts I put in as opposed to purchase price.
 

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Owning an Alfa is an Expensive Hobby

Here's a little different focus on this topic. For us, owning Alfas was not a hobby, we used them as every day drivers and transportation. Pat always said that you pay for transportation one way or the other, you either make car payments, lease payments, take public transportation, you pay for maintenance, or you do it yourself and buy the tools and parts necessary.

We obviously fell in the latter category, the advantage we had was that we had enough alike Alfas that we could rotate the stock or rob parts if need be, while another one was being rebuilt or fixed. Also, the other advantage was that Pat did all of his own maintenance, rebuilds, etc. with very few exceptions.

In the end there is truly no free ride, you pay for it one way or the other. But there is a definite advantage to having a collection of Alfas and spare parts as compared to just owning one or just starting out with Alfas unless you intend to be a perpetual "wallet mechanic." Take a survey of the guys that do their own work beyond regular maintenance, meaning oil change, spark plugs, transmission fluid, radiator flush etc. and I'll almost bet you that most of them have more than 2 or 3 Alfas and own a trailer as well as a tow vehicle in addition. It's addictive once you get started, but in the long run everything you invest in multiple Alfas or equipment is usable from day one on.
 

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I have to admit my 280ZX has spoiled me in the maintenance and reliability department, though the Alfa is still really cheap compared to the '92 Oldsmobile I used to drive (was having it serviced by a "genuine" GM dealer....) and especially compared to newer cars. But I figure after the purchase price of $500, I've spent probably less than $1k on the Z in the 1 1/2 years I've owned it, including insurance and tags. :) So less than $1.5k total on the Z. In the mean time, I have several thousand dollars of repairs and upgrades I want to do on the Alfa to make it really nice.....which I no doubt will do, and ENJOY, in time.

That's why I have a reliable daily-driver Z and a weekend Alfa. :) Granted, if I'd chosen another Z as my project car right now, I *might* have saved a little money in the restoration stuff, but ehhh, it's cool.
 

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Cheryl:
You read me like a book: Quote "Take a survey of the guys that do their own work beyond regular maintenance, meaning oil change, spark plugs, transmission fluid, radiator flush etc. and I'll almost bet you that most of them have more than 2 or 3 Alfas and own a trailer as well as a tow vehicle in addition."
And for those that whine about the cost of an Alfa, you should see what it is to refurbish a Maserati.........
Regards Ian.
 

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Hey, it's either this or booze and loose women.
Yeah, but between Alfas, (good) booze, and women, where will you waste your money?

To quote Tug McGraw. "I'll probably spend 90% of my earnings on women and good Irish whiskey. The other 10% I'll waste."
 

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i knew it would cost me money to maintain an alfa, but i just totaled all my invoices this evening and i have already spent about 5k on my car since may.

granted - most of the stuff i did most people would not do - paintless dent removal (350), new stereo and speakers (800), boot cover in perfect shape (500), new tail lights (400) - i didnt even add the 700 i am going to spend to refinish all 4 rims, but i also did a few things that a lot of people have done or had to do - new water pump, new springs to name a few.

it has been a satisfying ownership experience and i have no regrets buying my spider since i have always wanted one since i was in high school, but wow - you can really get carried away with spending!!
I wouldn't consider any of these things you mention maintenance items. These are are all elective. I think the cost of a tune up or brake job or some other true maintenance item it no more or less than any other car.
 
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