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Discussion Starter #1
While talking to my oldest son last night I told him I was at a decision point on my 1989 Graduate with 48K documented miles. As I posted in another thread, I have just under a total of $3000 in my car.

The positive aspects are:
1. Great running engine with 48K documented miles on the car
2. New head gasket and recored radiator
3. New Pirelli’s
4. Straight rust free body
5. Everything works
6. Original Paint…no sins hidden

The negative aspects are:
1. What was a good top that someone decided to put a 6” cut in it a few weeks ago
2. Worn second gear synchro
3. Tired interior (seats, carpet, weatherstripping need replacing)
4. Worn suspension
5. Original paint….worn with some crazing on fenders
6. A/C works but needs charging

So, my dilemma is do I sell the car and take that money and put it in a “nicer” car (with unknown issues) or do as my son suggests.

He thinks I should fix the car. Even if it takes $10K he says I will have a “like new” car that is paid for. Over time the car will appreciate some as Alfa’s continue to disappear from the road. So, in 5 years the car may be worth $7 or $8K (assuming proper care). If I were to buy a modern car (S2000 or Miata, for example) I will spend much more money on the initial outlay and incur depreciation. Over the course of 5 years the maintenance costs will be minimal for the S2000 or Miata; however, the additional maintenance costs for the Alfa would be more than offset by smaller depreciation of the original money I put in it (from $13,000 to $8,000 for example).

Any thoughts on this convoluted “justification logic”?
 

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Reality check...
If you spend $5K on the car, you will have $8K in it (if I understand you correctly).
(Note items 1 to 6, will cost more than $5K if you had "others" do most or all of the work)
Bottom line is the car would have a tough time to recapture the $8K if you decided to sell it.
Sounds to me that if you are not willing to do most of the work yourself...the economics are not in your favor.
You can get an awful nice Veloce or Quadrifoglio for $8K in today's market reality.
Elio
ps: please don't compare a 22 year old Bosch Spider with a Miata or S2000.
You either want an Alfa for what an Alfa is or you don't.
TTFN Elio
 

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I agree with your son.

I say the put the money into the Alfa. The only item I would pass on is having the car repainted. I would find a excellent detailer and pay for the best paint correction in your area. Do not think of them as imperfections think of it as patina! Embrace patina!
 

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If you like Alfas, you have a good start. If you like flavor of the week cars, buy something from Japan. To maintain ANY car properly costs money. $"so-much.00" per year. I have a 45 year old Alfa that has never been restored. It has been properly maintained for 45 years and still shows wonderfully at Alfa meets. I have also driven, and raced it for 45 years. I like the car. I never owned a car that I did not properly maintain. When sold, they always bring top dollar. It does cost money to keep any car, it boils down to what car or cars do you like. Just my opinion.
 

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Perhaps the question should be, do you like the Spider? If you like it, keep it and fix things as required. Right now, your Spider sounds quite drivable as is, and certainly looks better than mine.

I will also say that despite having 209 thousand on the odometer, worn suspension, needing new motor mounts, and radiator work, along with a bunch of other things, I prefer my Spider so much more than the new Miata R edition that I leased in 1994!
 

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if your oldest son wants to keep going---feed him some money and tell him to go at it. If he spends it well--give him some more.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You're right that a Miata or S2000 aren't the same as an Alfa.....they aren't even really comparable to each other. My son's point is this....let's say I put another $10,000 in the car over the next couple of years bringing it back to "like new" condition. For a $13,000 investment I would have a virtually new car.

No one has a crystal ball; however, over the next few years the car should mildly appreciate through inflation and just natural attrition of Alfa's being parted out. So, if the car is worth $8,000 in 5 years maybe "losing" $5K while enjoying the car during that time isn't so bad. Of course, I am ignoring the time value of money.

It was just a thought he had....maybe not a good one. ;)
 

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Bill -

If you put money and work into it, it would be a labor of love. You wouldn't get an extra 4K out of putting 4K of paint on it, etc. Get a new top for $300 on ebay, install it. Get a can to recharge the AC for $20.

Really, there's no way to rationalize it. I often have to consider the same thing on my Alfa - do I fix the AC, do I get the U-joints fixed, do I get the front nose resprayed from rock chips? Bottom line is I lose on all of them if I get them fixed. You have to break it down to whether you're keeping the car or not. If you put $10K into, you won't get that 10K back. But you will have a nice car. If you want to put 10K in something, put it in a Duetto or some old car with more possible value.

Interior stuff - you can do that yourself. PS - does anyone know if someone has yet to make a replacement dash or rubber dash cap that looks good - every single Spider has a cracked dash.

But really, as others have said - if you like the car, fix it up, if you don't like it, sell it. All of our cars are/were works in process. There's no one here is pumping money into these - just time and parts. These cars are at their lowest value.
 

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""You're right that a Miata or S2000 aren't the same as an Alfa""

There is nothing the same as an Alfa. They are totally unique. Not that I care about other's reactions, but nothing short of a classic Jag or an mega buck Italian exotic generates so much interest from bypassers and passing motorists. It is something that has to be experienced to be appreciated. Almost makes trying to keep one in service worth the trouble. Me, I just love the looks and lines and having it sit in the driveway makes me go out and look at it just for the satisfaction it gives me.

Robert
 

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All of these listed are DIY projects with some good tools and less than medium skills. There is an encylopedia of info here that covers each of these subjects in great length.

1. What was a good top that someone decided to put a 6” cut in it a few weeks ago
3. Tired interior (seats, carpet, weatherstripping need replacing)
4. Worn suspension

2. Worn second gear synchro. This can be done at home but requires some good skills and a press.


5. Original paint….worn with some crazing on fenders. Go to Griots Garage and get the orbital polishing kit with the polishes and wax. You will be AMAZED at what this gear can do.

Most of it is an investment in elbow grease not $$$
 

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You're right that a Miata or S2000 aren't the same as an Alfa.....they aren't even really comparable to each other. My son's point is this....let's say I put another $10,000 in the car over the next couple of years bringing it back to "like new" condition. For a $13,000 investment I would have a virtually new car.

No one has a crystal ball; however, over the next few years the car should mildly appreciate through inflation and just natural attrition of Alfa's being parted out. So, if the car is worth $8,000 in 5 years maybe "losing" $5K while enjoying the car during that time isn't so bad. Of course, I am ignoring the time value of money.

It was just a thought he had....maybe not a good one. ;)
I wouldn't worry about how much the car is worth in a few years unless I was looking to sell it. I would be more concerned about the amount of money it would take to make the car "right" vs purchasing another car. You also would have to factor the cost of maintaining a car you purchase. if it's used, you will have some repairs to deal with down the road.
 

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There is no need to do eveything at once, or maybe at all. What is the use of the car? I think driving a car with a sliced top is kind of extreme, but that is unfortunately an expensive repair. You can drive a car for a LONG time with "worn" synchros with careful driving and slow shifting. A good detail and the paint is good for a while even of not show quality. As to the interior, how bad is it? Depending of the materials are really ripped or just worn, you may be able to respray the vinyl and it will look quite nice. Or seat covers are an option, or if the seats are really shot then that would be one place to spend dollars. As to the suspension, what is worn? You could probably pick and chose here too. And all the while enjoy driving the car!
 

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Drive a Miata for a week or so then decide. Life is more than a calculation if it wasn't we wouldn't have Alfas and all be driving rice burners.
 

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12 months ago I paid A$10k for a straight '83 Spider with average paint, a tired interior, shot rubber everywhere (original eng mounts and suspension) and an air-con that didn't work - it did have a new top. For an unmolested, straight car the $10k was excellent value here. So far I've clocked up more skinned knuckles than miles and a parts bill that runs into several thousand ...and enjoyed every minute of it. You guys don't know how lucky you are with an ample supply of cars so cheaply available and plenty of "local" parts suppliers. It doesn't matter if you or the next owner spends the money, the car surviving is the important thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have always had some sort of convertible sports car since I started driving. My first car was a 1969 Datsun 2000. I've owned lots of British cars but had never owned an Alfa. Looking at the prices of Alfa's, I believe that they are WAY underpriced/undervalued based on their comparable British competition. I feel qualified to say this having owned TR6's, TR8's, Spitfires, Austin-Healey 3000's, etc.

So, with that in mind, I am going to slowly fix up the Alfa and will do most of the work myself...starting with the suspension. I can do most anything mechanical (body work is a different issue) so that's my plan. I think I also want another one so I am going to start looking for a super nice S4.. :D
 
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