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Discussion Starter #1
Let's all engage in a little conjecture and pontification, shall we?
I've very recently started the restoration of a '71 1300GT Junior, which is very much up my alley, and something I can't wait to have on the road. I'm very new to the Alfa Romeo fraternity, having mostly been into BMWs in my formative motoring years. I've currently got a running, (almost) driving '86 M535i listed for sale, and by complete coincidence have been offered a trade today.
On offer is a 1964 2600 Sprint, with no money changing hands. I must confess that in my new-coming to the Alfa marque, I didn't even know this car existed until today. They certainly seem like an interesting car, and I'm a sucker for straight sixes. The car is allegedly 100% complete, and is "virtually rust free having almost all rust removed and replaced. Sills, floor, doors, bonnet, boot, all rust free with no damage or previous accident damage. An extremely straight example. No dents or damage." The car is currently dismantled, and I'm not sure about the health of the engine (though can definitely get more information on this).
From what I understand, these aren't a particularly common car in Australia, but are they sought-after? They're obviously pretty striking to look at. Are parts pretty tricky to come by? I understand that they're more of a GT car, but what are they like to drive? Does this classification mean that they're less-than-inspiring to drive?
I'm keen to have you weigh in with anecdotes and thoughts on this potential swap, to see whether I want to dive into this Alfa world completely!
Thanks,
Angus
 

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Angus,

The 2600 Sprint is for sure a very interresting car.
You should love it !
But you should know that these cars are very expensive to restore.
I did not really understand in what state was the model you covet. For example, is the upholstery to be redone?
Concerning the engine, if it has not been restored, it is preferable to subject it to a complete rebuild. Which can be very expensive.
I have never driven a Sprint, but I can imagine that their handling should be more dynamic than the Spiders even if the heavy weight of the engine in front of the front wheels will always be the weak point of these cars.
This car will always be much more clumsy than your 1300 GT.

Serge
 

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Hi Angus,
I agree with Serge's comments.

I like the 2600 cars, and finding a low km one only driven only on a Sunday is not what you have been offered.

What you have been offered is a stalled/abandon project. You have to ask why the 2600 build stopped in the first place, i.e. engine parts no longer available; gearbox parts no longer available worn shafts etc.
There is some dissimilar parts between the years, i.e. bonnets, doors, etc. You just don't know if the parts will ever go back together if the car was made up from a collection of parts of more than one car. It would take you years to work out from the boxes of parts if you are missing anything. You just don't have that time luxury even if you are under 30, as the majority of original parts and cars have vaporized from the world long ago.

You would have a limited number of sources of parts, as very little originals NOS or used parts are available, plus little reproduction parts made for it and this may be an issue when you are chasing engine parts, diff parts, gearbox parts, not to mention interior and trim parts and electrical i.e wiring loom. If the interior is leather then you have the Bertone DeLuxe seats and these have special perforations in the leather that can add another ~$10 to 15k+ to the cost of the seats. Steel wheels are 400 metric, so can be hard to find if they are rusted inside.

If it's cranks is at 20 or 30 or 40 thou grind it would give the car a limited lifespan. Having to grind your crank down to past 40 thou would be rather unpleasant as you now need a new crank or your car is ‘a static display’. (Sure your BMW has an implied limited lifespan as we 'western societies' are accustoming to this, as most would consider disposing of manufactured items like cars and update to a newer model).

Do some basic parts searches for 2600, consumables and repair parts engine, electrical, interior etc. to see what the supply and prices are like so you are making an informed decision.

There is not much room in the engine bay, so finding another make engine to fit may or may not be an option. The reality is 2600 cars will become mostly hybrid cars from necessity not choice. So with plenty good BMW 6 Cylinder engines with plentiful parts seems an obvious choice. The gearbox parts are hard to find as well and are not compatible with the 105 gearboxes so you will looking at a custom gearbox and adapter and may even be altering the gear box tunnel. That fine if it does not bother you and you have access to custom fabrication skills.

I would keep your BMW in good order with regular servicing for the next few years and spend your money on the 71 1300GT Junior, which is a desirable and practical and serviceable car on many levels. Even if you delay some aspect of the restoration of the 1300GT Junior you can always resume later, so the end result will be once you have the 1300GT Junior car running and on the road with years of enjoyment to look forward to.

Good luck
Regards Steve
p.s Good luck to the owner of the 2600 project car as well.
 

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Not sure how well you read German. Attached is a road-test from 'Auto Motor und Sport' from January 1963. It is a wonderful article describing that the 2600 Sprint combines the excitement of a small batch car with the typical drawbacks in practicality. It is especially the engine that gets the reporter excited, writing 'the engine is beyond doubt the part of the car that creates the most enthusiasm', both because of its looks as well as its smoothness, allowing a rev range from 1000 to 7000(!) rpm, and allowing the car a (proven) topspeed of over 200 km/h He doubts that the well-performing five-gear gearbox was really needed, as is so often described in road tests of Alfa's in 50's and early 60's, considering the torque of the engine. Having said that, he does acknowledge the kick off switching back to four when driving 140 km/h when you want to accelerate. There is criticism on the interior of the car, especially on the central gauge for gas and temperature. Steering is, next to the engine, the biggest plus of the car. It is precise and light, but there is a complaint about the understeering character of the chassis.
Alright, now you know how the car was being looked at in its days. Hope this helps you in your choice.
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I agree with the remarks made in previous posts. Here are few additional thoughts:

- Your original objective was to sell the BMW '86 M535i in order to lighten your collection by one car. You must have had a reason for wanting to "thin the herd". Yet now you are considering maintaining the size of your fleet by replacing an almost finished car and taking on one with needs (as others have written, perhaps some challenging needs). Does this make sense? Especially while restoring the '71 1300GT Junior?

- How would you use the '64 Alfa 2600 Sprint? As a show car? Touring car? Perpetual restoration project? As others have noted, it is a very different car than your 1300 Alfa - heavier, less nimble. Perhaps more fun to look at than to drive, which could be OK if your goal is to show it or just tinker with it.

- You would expect the 2600 engine to behave like one-and-a-half four cylinder Alfa engines, but somehow, it never quite "clicked" the way the 4-cylinder Alfa or 6-cylinder BMW engines did. I don't know why - lack of development budget on Alfa's part perhaps; they never built them in high-volume.

It's your collection, and only you can decide how to adjust it. Generally, anyone who joins this discussion group to ask about acquiring an Alfa gets replies of the form "Yea! Go for it!" so the more measured responses here should be an indicator that committing to a 2600 Sprint requires serious consideration. I'm not saying that it's a bad car or that your acquiring one is a bad decision - just one that needs a lot of thought and information that I don't have (e.g., the 2600's condition, your budget, your time availability, how you would use it, ...)

If you do acquire it, keep us informed. Good luck, whatever you decide!
 

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The 2600 Coupes are not much sought, and the best of them struggle t attract a price 20% of their Touring Spider brethren. So, there is unlikely to ever be a recovery of money spent to bring it back to life.

I have never heard a 2600 Coupe owner say “what a pleasure to drive”. In fact, the Spider owners rarely say that. Even though they will enjoy THE drive, it’s not the handling that delivers the pleasure.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you everybody for your very well considered responses and 'realistic' replies. Jay, you're very right about the fact that there is often unbridled enthusiasm from forums in terms of the "Yes, take the plunge!" response, so I'm reading a lot into the measured response I'm receiving here. It's working well to keep the head out of the clouds, and not go the knee-jerk approach.
I'm very glad that I put these feelers out- especially with the information about parts being tricky for these motors and gearboxes (and possibly seats!). I suppose nothing is insurmountable in these terms with enough money thrown at the problem, but I don't think I'm looking to enter that kind of situation for a car that possibly isn't going to excite the senses of somebody who is desperately trying to hold onto their youth (exactly 30 years old, as it happens). Given that I'm fortunate to have (relative) youth on my side, any project I consider at the moment is one that I can have wait in a shed for a while before I start work on it, so there's always an eye open for the 'interesting' option.
I think I'm pretty much decided on this one- the BMW is probably more suited to being traded for money than metal.
Thanks everybody!
Angus
 

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That's a wise choice, Angus!

My advice would have been to stick with the '71 1300GT Junior project for now. Life is so much easier with focus on just a single project (and getting things done) rather than spreading your energy and time across multiple projects. Also, the fact that each disassembled car probably requires at least 5-10x the space of its footprint for storing parts, etc. should not be underestimated.

Methinks you may have dodged a bullet.
 

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My understanding is that a 105 series and a 2600 are very, very different cars

Pete
 

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I have a friend in Germany who has one in a collection of like 20 Alfas .. from TZ 3 to Giulietta Spiders. He has a restored impeccable 2600 Berlina..and NEVER drives it. I think it was given to him and he could afford to send it out for a few years to restore. The fact he never drives it should be some clue on where this car fits in the ALFA lineup. The 2600 aficionados are a special close knit group. I'm not sure why,but I think misery loves company an with that comes a kinship. There are all kinds of remarkable cars that are more interesting and less complicated. As spoken, hardly anything is interchanged with the other mass produced Alfas. I'd pass and trade for a Holden if you are looking to trade. Add a disassembled "basket case" to the formula and I'd be running in the opposite direction with my hair on fire. I'll even go so far as to say the car has a diminished intrinsic value parted out as is which is counter-intuitive to all the reasons stated about difficulty finding parts. I think you've made your mind up. I just couldn't resist piling on. BTW when asked how his drives.. He remarked it drove like a panzer.
 

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Rust is the issue, so the fact that its already done is huge, rest is a jigsaw puzzle, but a car from a different world style n design wise. As Don said earlier, driving dynamics are a far cry from any BMW, let alone a M535 from the 80's. Even almost running is a far better deal than a pallet of parts 2600 Coupe. Think $20-30k finished, maybe double that if you spent 3x more or are a gifted restorer.
 

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Ok so I am fortunate enough to own a 2600 spider and a 1969 1750 GT , having previously owned a 2600 Sprint.

At 30 ( I am now 61 ) I also owned a 1750 GT , it was great only cost me £500 and you could drive it like a looney. I can remember racing an mgb up a hill and overtaking it while it was over-taking another car. You could drive wildly round a corner and if the back end stepped out you just accelerated harder and it pulled through the bend . The car was light agile and quick, this was a standard car built right first time by alfa , didn't need any upgrades as now sold by alfa specialists. Car was quick and cross country A roads were fun when they didn't have those annoying double white lines in the middle and the girl friends were generally as pretty as the car. Of course it rusted and fell apart around me only lasting 15 months .

At 50 I bought the 2600 spider and this will be fun 148 bhp straight 6 , got to be a blast compared to the slower 1750. The mechanicals and drive train are identical to the 2600 sprint and a fair comparison can be made. Horrendous , correctly described as the fastest truck alfa ever built . Great in a straight line , but no handling whatsoever. Round the test route that I used to drive the 1750 , most of time was spent trying to haul the car round a bend as the. engine tried to plough straight on.

The sprint is the same , plus you sit in the cabin and think this isn't snug this is a heavy old beast. Then then the steering is so heavy and those 400mm rims that you cant get decent tyres for .

So my vote at 30 , the beautiful bertone GTV every time

At 61 I have slowed down , so the 2600 spider for its rarity and pose value. I have got it up to 180 BHP and it will cruise ay 100mpg in a straight line but never attempt to go round a bend.

Nb rust on both is the same , only but a restored one .
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