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RIP 9/10/2017
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thought I would start a thread to document the restoration of my Jr. Z. I bought the car from a long time friend last year. He imported it from Italy in the mid-80s along with a 1300 Z. So I'm the third owner and it has the grand total of 23,000 miles on it. The original owner raced it in Italy so many of those miles were hard ones. He put an Autodelta 2 liter in it, so Ziggy gets along pretty well. The car has a few bits of surface rust so overall, I consider it rust-free. The second owner had the interior redone and the car repainted in 83 before leaving Italy, so its not the first paint job.

1973 Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato 1600 Images. Photo: 73-Alfa-1600_JR_Zagato-DV-11-CI-02.jpg

I bought the car after it sat under car covers in the driveway for 10 years. I started with rebuilding the front end and other sundry mechanical issues. My wife and I drove it to Monterrey for the Concourso. I had less than 200 miles on it as the new owner and been towed home twice before starting the long journey from San Diego to Monterrey... The car ran really well but used/leaked 4 qts of oil in 1000 miles.... After 40 years its time to really go through the Zagato.

My goal is not to go as far as Brian is with his 1300 but I'm sure he'll have a STUNNING car when he's done.

Chassis: The interior is very serviceable and with some clean up and repairs it will be fine. My ultimate goal is to send the dashboard to LA for recovering; we'll have to see how the funds hold out.
The exterior has a few dings and surface rust spots, so a complete new paint job is necessary to include the engine compartment. All new gaskets around the windows have to installed since the original parts are dry rotting. All of the stainless steal is serviceable. Under the car, I'll clean it and re-spray the undercoating were appropriate. Like Fred, I have some door locks to repair.

Mechanically: The entire front end has been rebuilt already. It still sags on one side so I have four new springs. I'm going to pull the rear end out to replace the trunion since the spacers are rotted out. I found a NOS still in the bag trunion last year. It also gives me the opportunity to clean up the rear suspension and replace the springs.
The big ticket items are the engine and transmission. Both are being completely rebuilt and I'll save the details for my next post.
 

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RIP 9/10/2017
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Discussion Starter #3
Pictures make the car look far fresher than it really is. Up close, the cosmetics don't hold up so well and the motor leaked oil EVERYWHERE. I do have a beautiful canvas on which to paint my masterpiece.
 

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Wow. You're setting the bar high for me ;)

That's a nice looking car you have there - the angles all look extremely straight and the shut-lines are perfect. You're already so far ahead of where I was when I started!

I'm generally not a fan of yellow on any car but the particular yellow orange on yours looks great. Is that close to original?

The rockers on my car were blacked out like yours. I guess that would happen when folks sprayed rocker shutz - maybe to hide the texture? It's sort of a shame - the rocker lines have a nice curve to them that get's lost when painted dark colors.
 

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RIP 9/10/2017
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Discussion Starter #5
I don't know why Ed had them spray the black stuff on the rockers. There's no rust on the car since it came from southern Italy and has lived in Escondido for the last 30 years. I keep watching your adventure with Pat's old car and think its really cool.

That is the original color; Giallo Oro Z... Its my favorite on the Zagatos so far. The other color that would look stunning on the car is a Porsche stone gray from the late 50's 356s. I saw one in town, it has greenish tint to it. I won't change the color of mine, not worth the effort, but if I was doing a full "go crazy" like you; I'd think real hard about it.
 

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Gray does look really good on these cars. I'm going to go with the light-silver/gray - it shows off the lines really well.

You knew Pat? Excellent dude. It was great to get to hang out with him. Went to his place a few times after I bought the car to chat and drink beer. Great conversation.
 

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RIP 9/10/2017
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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, I knew Pat for 25 years and miss him very much. He would be mortified if he know how much work you're having to do on this car. It was their driver car and it always ran. There is a dove gray that Ford put on Mustangs that would be really cool on this car. I always wanted to paint a GTV with that color.
 

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Yeah. I hadn't intended to go so far with this car but the rust was just so extensive, there really was no choice. The front sway bar mounts were completely separated from the body, the inner sills were completely gone, the tail was rusted away from the frame, stuff like that.

It reaches where you really have no choice but to do the work that needs to be done.

It's still going to be a driver. There's no question about it. I used to be able to keep up with Conrad Stevenson's SS in my car - it's a fast little bugger - Pat really knew how to build a 1750!
 

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RIP 9/10/2017
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
So things are progressing slowly, but I'm meeting weekend goals. So far I have the motor about half assembled. Pistons will take me an hour to put in this week and my mechanic has the head done. That's been an adventure... The original head was milled about 1/8 of an inch. They had this super thick head gasket and no pins in the head so it leaked like crazy. We also found the entire head was shot, valves, guides, seats, etc. My mechanic had a head and donated it to the cause. It only needed one valve and seats as well as the porting/polishing redone. The cams are high lift, short duration so with the porting and slightly oversized seats, it should work well. The bottom end was a whole different story. Autodelta did arts and crafts on crank and rods. Lots of metal was removed and its all balanced, a real work of art. I'm puzzled with the attention to detail on the bottom end and the crap head. This used to be a race car in Italy, so I suspect it was a fix in the pits... The rest of the motor looked like it has about 10k miles on it, nothing is badly worn but the head looked like it has 100K on it. The whole car only has 23K on it.

We spent today working on the transmission. I have all the parts ready to go to reassemble the entire unit next week.

I also spent an hour taking off the rear bumper or at least what they pass off as a bumper. As always, three bolts are easy, the fourth is pain in the ***. True to form, my Dremel tool failed half way through the job and off to Sears I went to get a new one.

Goal for next week, finish the engine and transmission build. Below are some before and after shots.
 

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"but the rust was just so extensive"

Real shame, as it had NO rust when we drove the car in 75. Hope to see it running again some day.
 

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Oh, trust me, you will.

You'll have to take it for a drive when it's back on the road so you can make a comparison between the stock car and the restored version :)

Sorry that it won't be through the French countryside. We'll have to make do with Seattle byways.

cheers,
Brian
 

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"Sorry that it won't be through the French countryside. We'll have to make do with Seattle byways"

Ahhh, too bad, although I have decided that a spirited drive through Tuscany on their really great roads would be much better. Shame I didn't have it a couple of weeks ago when we were there. Just great open winding roads through the wheat fields and vineyards, and along the tops of the hills. Sooo smooth and picturesque.

Anyway, keep it going. These are great cars from the modern era creative days of the 60's and 70's of Alfa.
 

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Morgan,

Glad you are documenting this. I can't wait to see it when it is done.
Good Luck!
 

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It never even occurred to me that 1600 Z's are hanging pedal cars. Must be nice to have dual circuit brakes. I'm probably going to re-pipe my car while it's apart - when I pulled all of the plumbing out of it there was a decent amount of pitting. Definitely don't want to blow a hardline when you only have a single brake circuit...

I'm noticing that there are 5-6 decals on the top of the passenger inner fender. I don't suppose you could post a snap of those? Curious if the decals are the same between a 1600/1300. What's that big red sticker?

Thanks!
Brian
 

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RIP 9/10/2017
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130 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
The nice thing about the 1600 is they are the late model chassis so anything after '71 fits for the most part. The stickers are for the electronic ignition that was put in with the 2 liter motor, they are not from Alfa. I won't replace them when I repaint the car.
 

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RIP 9/10/2017
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Discussion Starter #17
I have the "bumper" off the car and its in great shape. I found a small amount of rust under it but nothing that needs a great amount of attention.

I did have to grind off one of the bolts on the left side and the other was done in Italy most likely 30+ years ago. The lower portion was held in with a sheet screw. When the car was built, they put captured nuts inside the fender then bolted the bumper to it. Both failed to stay put. There is no way to access the inside of this panel from any angle.

The question is, how can I fix this without cutting it open and welding in nuts. I would assume they used this method so that there was some float to make it easier to fit the panel. I thought about taking a punch and knocking the nuts into the fender; this could distort the panel and then I'd have listen to the nuts clinking around in the fender. Since they spin, drilling them out may not be an option... So, things that make you go hmmmm.
 

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RIP 9/10/2017
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Discussion Starter #18
I'm still focused on the engine. Only a few tasks left before I put the head back on. Couple of pics... Before/after

BTW: found a great metal polisher for all the fading stainless/aluminum on the car.
 

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RIP 9/10/2017
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Discussion Starter #19
OK, its been a few weeks since I updated my thread. I'm trying to do this very methodically starting with mechanical items. I'm excited that the the transmission is complete and the motor is not far behind. I have to thank my mechanic, Eric from Rathman Auto Works. He did all the head work and helped me with parts and know how on the transmission.

The original gearbox was from the 1600 engine and I decided to build a new transmission from a later model car. I know the original gearbox needed gears/syncro's plus I've read that the metallurgy in the later tranmissions is much better. I swapped a guy some mags I had in the overhead for a core and started to work. I didn't realize that the water intrusion was as bad as it was. Fortunately, my mechanic had a bunch of used parts as well as new/used stuff from vendors. We threw out quite a bit of the original stuff and my parts list got big:
  • New 1,2, & 3 gears
  • New Syncros
  • New Bearings
  • Complete clutch assembly
  • Shift rods
1600 Gearbox 2.jpg
Original Transmission (nasty)

New Gearbox 3.jpg

New and Old 2.jpg

Eric finished the head work and we also started with a cylinder head that was a POS. The machine work on this motor was done by a genius and the mechanical work by a monkey. The original head was milled about 1/8 inch and they used two head gaskets to lower the compression; not good. Because of the thick gaskets; no O-rings were installed. The motor poured oil out the sides as an amazing rate. I found a new core (sounds familiar) and Eric overhauled the mechanicals as well as ported/polished the new head to match the intake which was opened up to make better use of the weber 45 DCOEs.
  • Valves
  • Guides
  • Seats
  • Seals
  • Tappets
  • Billet Alum carburator mounts (splurge)
Cylinder Head 1.jpg

Porting 2.jpg
Nice porting and new valve seats. The seats are slightly over-sized and should really flow well.​

The cams were ground by Autodelta so we had no idea what they were. I went to Schnieder Cams in San Diego. The guy at the counter was REALLY sharp. He knew what they were and used a machine to spec the cams. I got a readout that told me not only what the grind is but also cam timing and valve clearances. The best 10 bucks I've ever spent.
 

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Reaching for the nuts that hold the bumper

Dear MJ,


If I remember correctly, you can reach the bolts holding the rear bumper in place, by removing the mudgards in rear wheel wells. The bolts are in a cage holding them in place. Not the most solid way of doing things, I agree! Have a look at the photograph.

Ciao! Olaf
 

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