Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm a current MGB owner who's thinking of taking the Alfa plunge, primarily because of an opportunity on what may be a relatively clean local '78 Spider for a low price.

Are there any red flags/warning signs I should look for when I see the car in person and take it for a drive? Have talked to the owner and see photos--has 98k miles, still has the SPICA, everything supposedly in working order, the interior is rough and well aged but not disastrous. Owner says floorpans are solid but signs of some bondo in the quarter panels.

I'm also interested in any observations about the difference between MGs and Alfas; my B is a 71, and I would likely be parting with if I got the Alfa. My first car was a Fiat 124 spider, so I'm already somewhat familiar with the differencees b/w Italian and British roadsters but it's always good to hear more opinions.

Thanks
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,193 Posts
dcalfa:

I don't want to say anything negative about British cars to you...but since you asked the question, to give a simple answer to "Alfa spider vs MGB", pretty much everything is better on the Italian car. Well, OK, the B's R&P steering is kind of cool. Since you have owned a Fiat 124 spider in the past, you might think of the Alfa as a Fiat built to a higher quality standard. Yes, I have owned British sports cars, as well as a 124, in the past.

Of course, an "apples-to-oranges" thing in comparing a '71 MGB to a '78 Alfa is the year. Cars imported to the States were pretty awful in the mid-late '70's. That '78 Alfa is going to have the big, rubber, tacked-on bumpers, seat belt warning buzzers, poorly engineered smog equipment, etc. So, in some ways, your pre-smog B is more of a pure sports car than the bastardized '78 Alfa.

Where are you located? DC perhaps? My reason for asking is that here on the west coast, Alfa spiders are fairly plentiful. A car with Bondo in the quarterpanels and a rough interior would be reason enough to decide to pass if long term ownership is planned (like your MGB, the Alfa is a unibody, so rust in the lower areas may well be structural). In other places, where Alfas may not be as common, that '78 spider might be as good an example as you can find. Regardless of location, you will generally pay more for a cleaner car , but will save in the long run.

One thing unique to Alfas is that Spica fuel injection. People either love it or hate it. I fall into the latter group. Here in California, pre-75 (or is it '74?) cars are smog exempt, so we Spica bigots can convert the earlier squaretail spiders to Webers. That may not apply in DC (or wherever you are located), or you may find that you love playing with pump gaps and decel solenoids.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I am in DC. Which means you're right about the quarter panel issue. I'm just going to have to give it a very close look in order to decide. The mitigating factor is that if I stick with the MG, it's not like I won't have rust issues! (Mine was redone correctly before I got it but still is showing creeping rust disease despite my best efforts).
One of the things that's appealing about the Alfa is its relative sophistication compared to the B; on the other hand the MG's archaic character is part of its charm...
Thanks for your thoughts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
dcalfa,

I'm in the DC area and sold my '78 Spider last Spring after owning it for 6 years (to concentrate on my Alfa Super :)). The '78s do have the ugly rubber bumpers but with the 2000 engine and a well functioning SPICA system, these cars are a blast to drive.

My only reference to the British cars is with a relatives '65 Spitfire--no comparison to an Alfa:D

On the East coast, a bit of rust re-work would not be uncommon. As far as the interior, carpet and replacement seat skins are available from a variety of sources at pretty decent prices. Those two mods alone will give the car a huge lift from an enjoyment perspective.

You may want to check out some of the advice at:

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/showthread.php?t=2133

before taking the plunge.

BTW, why don't you post a picture of the Spider--there may be a PO on the bb who could give you some background on it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
"Nochicken"--talk about a small world! I'm quite sure I may be looking at your former car. I talked to the current owner today who bought it in the spring and mentioned that the previous owner had sold it to turn his attention to a Giulia. (The current owner, assuming it's the same car, is moving to Boston and is not bringing it with, etc.)

Is there a private message type function on this board or a way to email? I'd love to find out more about your former car, assuming you're willing and that it's the same one. Here's a link to the ad (please no poaching everyone if it's a good deal!)

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/car/441854939.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Oops, rookie error. I figured out that private message bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,014 Posts
dcalfa:

A car with Bondo in the quarterpanels and a rough interior would be reason enough to decide to pass if long term ownership is planned (like your MGB, the Alfa is a unibody, so rust in the lower areas may well be structural)
not a autobody guy but what is bondo and why is it bad for your car?
 

·
1966-2013
Joined
·
13,741 Posts
*Bondo is plastic body filler.

While it can help cover/fix dents and rust holes, it offers zero structural integrity return.

As in you can fill a hole with it, but that's all you end up with: a plastic filled hole that's nowhere near as strong as the orginal metal was.

If you've ever seen a older car with what looks like hunks of body lumping off it, or a great deal of cracks around panels you know should be metal, you're looking at places where the bondo has begun to crack out.


*Manufacturers product name actually
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
549 Posts
Hey DCALFA, I am also located in the metro area..

I saw that Alfa as well. The first thing you should do is find out where he had it serviced and then give the shop a call. Chances are its Milano motors or London Auto...

Also, if you want to find an Alfa around the area, the local chapter has a couple of people selling really nice ones in the same price range. Ill be glad to help you out..

Ed
(Owned a 64 MGB)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,051 Posts
The guy who sold me my Alfa said that if I wanted an ugly car with bad electicals to buy an MGB.

I bought my Alfa and now have a sexy car with bad electricals. I never thought I would have to clean my fuses as regular maintenance on any car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
The guy who sold me my Alfa said that if I wanted an ugly car with bad electicals to buy an MGB.

I bought my Alfa and now have a sexy car with bad electricals. I never thought I would have to clean my fuses as regular maintenance on any car.
I disagree on the ugly part. But at least with Alfas you HAVE fuses. My MG has four--that's right, 4--for the entire car. And this is not a 50s MGA; this is a 1971 car. It's like a fire-starting contest.

Well, I"ve taken the plunge and told the seller I would move ahead with that Alfa (for just a tad under his asking). It turned out that 'nochicken' had indeed owned that car until last spring. Given all the info he gave me about the amount of work that's been done, I feel fairly confident, though I know there will be issues down the road. It also drove very well.

Foolish? Probably. But I've decided to look at it this way: You probably lose two and a half grand in depreciation on an average new car just driving off the lot.

Thanks all, and if you know anyone interested in a very clean and restored 1971 MGB in Iris blue, please shoot me a message.

--Dan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
Congratulations Dan. That car had some good care over the last few years with many new parts. Julio at Milano knows it well--you should take it by there some time (Milano Motors is in Kensington).

If you are riding around near Silver Spring make sure you look me up--the Super is on the road and always looking to get out of the garage.

Good luck on the MG sale.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,566 Posts
I'll also congratulate you on your buy. As you said your self, the Alfa is a much more advanced car - in a whole different class.
You wrote: "Owner says floorpans are solid but signs of some bondo in the quarter panels."
I don't exactly know what is meant by "quarter panels", but if they are part of the structural lower end of the body, get it repaired professionally (of if you weld your self).
I have owned my Spider for 3 seasons now, apart from a comprehensive service and attention to some other faults right at the beginning of ownership, it have performed very well and trouble free.
Good luck with your Spider
Erik
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I think I used the wrong term for "quarter panels"--only notable rust is behind the rear wheels, at the bottom edge of the wheelwells (seems to be a common spot). I think it's something that can be coped with, at least for now. The structural parts--sills, doglegs, etc--look solid.

Thanks...
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top