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1971 Alfa Romeo Spider 1750 Kamm tail
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I'm going to take a look at a 71 Spider owned by a reputable SoCal shop. The owner has already told me that there are some rust with the front portion of both floorboards and a bit of rust on the passenger side rocker with looks like someone attempted to do a repair. The rust hasn't gone all the way thru and they are not soft at all. The rocker does have a small hole that you can get your finger into.

This shop does not do metal work so I am wonder if someone could give me a ballpark of what I can be expecting to pay to make these repairs if I do decide to buy this car.
 

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Ed:

The final cost will depend on two things that we don't know:

1) How extensive is the rust? You wrote: "The rust hasn't gone all the way thru .... does have a small hole that you can get your finger into". Well, which is it? But no matter; you really can't tell the extent of rust until the paint has come off. Alfa rockers consist of three layers of sheetmetal, and the only one that's visible is the outer skin, which isn't structurally important.

2) How picky are you about the final cosmetics? Once you get into rocker work - even minor - you have to re-paint. How well do you want the rockers to match the rest of the car's color and texture? Note that the original paint has faded, so it isn't as easy as just buying a can of the original color. Re-painting the whole car is the "100 point" way of finishing it, but I doubt that's what you want. Or is it?

If you really need to know whether it's going to cost $2,000 or $10,000 to fix, why not take the car to a body shop and ask them for an estimate? The seller should be willing to let you have it for the few hours that a pre-purchase inspection would require.
 

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1971 Alfa Romeo Spider 1750 Kamm tail
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Discussion Starter #3
Ed:

The final cost will depend on two things that we don't know:

1) How extensive is the rust? You wrote: "The rust hasn't gone all the way thru .... does have a small hole that you can get your finger into". Well, which is it? But no matter; you really can't tell the extent of rust until the paint has come off. Alfa rockers consist of three layers of sheetmetal, and the only one that's visible is the outer skin, which isn't structurally important.

2) How picky are you about the final cosmetics? Once you get into rocker work - even minor - you have to re-paint. How well do you want the rockers to match the rest of the car's color and texture? Note that the original paint has faded, so it isn't as easy as just buying a can of the original color. Re-painting the whole car is the "100 point" way of finishing it, but I doubt that's what you want. Or is it?

If you really need to know whether it's going to cost $2,000 or $10,000 to fix, why not take the car to a body shop and ask them for an estimate? The seller should be willing to let you have it for the few hours that a pre-purchase inspection would require.
Thanks for the response. I know it hard to answer my question based on my info. I want a decent driver quality car. Not looking for a show are. So far what I know is the the floorboards have not gone all the way thru, but that the passenger side rocker does have a hole that you can put your finger into it. Again, I have yet to see the car, I'll know more in a few days.

Thanks!!!! Ed
 

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any photos?
 

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Sounds like you can do the job yourself. if the floors are solid you can buy a POR15 kit and brush the black paint on after you have removed the metal and treated the rust with the metal prep can that will encapsolate the rust and if the rocker is only a finger size hole any nothing else you could glue on a small metal patch on one of both sides with a polyurethene structural adhesive caulk called sikaflex. If the hole is outside you could bondo the hole after an inner plate has been attached with the sikaflex. Done this approach on several driver cars and it does work.
 

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Ed, A 71' is a good year to put effort into. Rust never sleeps. I've done extensive rust work on these cars including duettos and gtv's. A good start is to check the wheel well in front of the rocker. Poke around with a screw driver to see how porous the metal is. Usually this is where the problem starts. Water etc leaching down the inside of the rocker rotting the inner and outer rocker panel. Also check the inner rocker, basically under the car opposite to where the outer damage is. If that is weakened, to the point you can poke your poking implement through, or not. There you may determine the extent of the rust. Which can determine the cost, sort of. Seeing it is a CA car the rust extant may be surprisingly small. Digging into these rockers, i.e. cutting out the offended material, replacing it can be pricy. Especially when you find that rust hasn't been sleeping!
Structural effect is usually minimal as there is an inner, outer and central rocker that compromises the entire rocker giving it longitudinal structure. So like Zenden says you could just patch it and drive it like you stole it. Or take some welding classes, buy a little brief case welder and have at it. It will always be cheaper if you diy. Bon chance!
 

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I just tackled this job on my 71. Tbh, didnt realize how thin metal as til we cut it out. Didnt realize how much needed to be cut until I got the coating off the floor n cleaned it. Luckily it was limited to the floor basically around every grommet n under gas pedal. My rockers are fine. seam sealer was jammed into the back of inner fenders which Im sure helped. That and being parked for last 20 years. Just the floors took 2 Saturdays 4-5 hours apiece. Didnt seem like much but fiddley getting patches made one day and then welding the next. Add your rocker patch to that n youve got 8-10 hours plus finishing. If paying someone, thats $1500-2500
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look of ' seam weld ' on youtube... better welds.. and not to hard to do
 

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i taught myself how to weld..its not to hard to do....i would recomend the HF tiatanium easy flux 125 welder,,, just change the grounding clamp to a better one.. its a very good light duty welder... get you extra wire from home depot..its about $5.00 cheaper, and a better wire.. .030 will do most of the work that you need.. also hood welding helmet and leather welding gloves... you will find out its... kind of fun
 

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I'm about to a very similar job on my 89 Spider Veloce. I ordered a pair of floor panels from Classic Alfa. I'm not cutting out the inner sills, if I can avoid it and will have to cut the replacement panels to fit the area for repair. These panels appear to be well-stamped, but designed for installation without sills in place. From the pictures above of a 71, the sills look similar to my 89. On the driver's side (LHD), the rust seems to extend up under the sill, causing me some amount of agita (that's Italian for 'Oh s**t!). I'm hoping to be able to work from underneath to get it all. It can be very fiddly to get the panels to mate up to the rest of the floor with minimal gaps to avoid weld blow-through. Wish me luck.

As to the question posed by Ed, I'd look for a better car to buy. Find one that's got mechanical issues rather than body/rust issues. If you're any kind of wrench, mechanical stuff is a breeze compared to body work and painting. Better yet, buy one in good condition. They are out there.
 
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or do the marh on all of it n buy ones thats drivesble now. Especially in California, spiders are abodente. So just walk away n fund another
 

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without OP pictures...can't really tell you anything...
 

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71 spider with 1750 is a collectable, desireable car. Buy it, drive it, have fun with it and figure out if you want to have a beater, a bomber (mine is a bomber, mechanically perfect but needs body work) or a beauty. FIgure out if you like it first -- then worry about the rust repair -- if you dont like it, sell it and move on. See my thread 'Dream s2 spider' for more details.
 

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1971 Alfa Romeo Spider 1750 Kamm tail
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thank you everyone for chiming in!! I know I didn't start with a lot of information but I do now have the following photos. What do you all think?
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awww, just like my first 71, love the color
rust wise, looks doable but those are pretty big holes and a crap load of undercoating
not end of the world, rest looks pretty good, totally driveable while you tackle stuff when you want
hows it mechanically?
 

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A bit impossible to say really. The one side rockers look at risk, the other side not so much. Until you get aggressive with a metal pick and see where the soft spots are, its really hard to say... and what your goals are. Floors are pretty much stand-alone, and can be R/R without any paint work, etc. Sills not so much. What are your goals? As with my car, it will be 7-10K to bring the body up to excellent status (in my opinion). I elected to not go that route since I like to drive my car, and not worry about it getting door dinged in a parking lot. SO much depends on what you want to do with it --and what you pay for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
awww, just like my first 71, love the color
rust wise, looks doable but those are pretty big holes and a crap load of undercoating
not end of the world, rest looks pretty good, totally driveable while you tackle stuff when you want
hows it mechanically?
It has had a ton of work done to it. There is an invoice for over $15K in repairs done about 10 years ago. The car is currently owned by a reputable Alfa Romeo shop in SoCal, after talking to the owner he indicated that the car runs great with great compression in all cylinders This is a SPICA car with less than 86K miles.
 

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I love '71's, especially ones that still have their original steelies & hubcaps, original steering wheels, etc. And yellow is an interesting color. I can see why you're infatuated with this car.

But, it ain't the only one in the world, so go in with your head, not your heart! I'm not saying it isn't the right car for you, not saying it isn't a fair deal, but for heavens sake, go in with your eyes open.

Ed Arango said:
It has had a ton of work done to it.
If the PO has done so much work to it, then why does it have huge holes in the floors and who know what going on with the rockers? I know someone spent $15K on it 10 years ago, but that doesn't mean it's in great shape today. Have you considered having a PPI done?

pinshaw said:
looks doable but those are pretty big holes and a crap load of undercoating
Yea, the undercoating was a red flag for me too. it's often applied to hide sins; it isn't as if a Southern California car has to be protected against salted roads!
==============================

Upon re-reading this message, I'm probably being too negative. No used car is flawless, I don't know what asking price is, maybe it's mechanically perfect, etc. etc. I just don't want to say "go for it!" when it's someone else's money on the line.

Maybe this is the 17th Alfa you've looked at and you feel it is the best. Or maybe it's the first you've seen, you expect the rust repair to cost $750, and you want a concours car when you're done. Without knowing this stuff, I'm just trying to err on the side of caution.
 

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Are all 4 jack points intact? A little surface rust is acceptable here. If not - problem.

Check the door gaps, both L & R, all 3 sides (front, back, bottom). Open and close both doors and check the action and the sounds. Then jack it up at one corner and check the door gaps again. Are they the same? Do both doors still open and close - same action? Same sound? Then you can be confident the rust is relatively minor & the structure is still sound.

If doors don't close, jacked, like they did when on all 4 tires, the structure is weakened. Problem.

If you don't DIY, most Spiders are not worth extensive rust repair. Just keep looking for a good one.

David OD
Laguna CA
 

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buy it. rare color and one year only example with Kamn Tail and 1750.
 
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