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I own a 1971, 1973 and 1974, so I am pretty sure this isn't a 1971. Tell tale signs:

1. The bumper isn't a 1971 - it's not even an Alfa Spider bumper! 1971 bumper has no spacer between sheet metal and bumper, has license plate lights on the bumper and the bumper fits tight to the sheet metal.
2. The license plate light is on the rear valance.
3. Wrong place for overflow vent for fuel tank.
4. Center console is not 1971 era.
5. 1971 didn't have a cover over the fuel tank. 73 and 74 didn't either.
6. Steering wheel was black rimmed in 1971, though someone could've changed it.
7. Door cards and window cranks are wrong, but someone could've changed it.
8. Wheels are wrong, but someone could've changed it.
9. The car doesn't look like a 1971.

Someone here said they think it's a late 70's, which I think they're correct.
 

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Tachometer is wrong.
Battery shouldn't be in back - though it could've been altered.

And the mirror is wrong, but it's also not an Alfa mirror either.
 

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This is a savable car, and huge credit for @Adrian (Amherst) in handling this as he has.
I don't think it's worth saving. To me, it looks like a late 70's car. Definitely pre 1980. These cars aren't worth much and with the VIN problems, I don't see it being something worth putting too much money into. Parts are a different story and depending on the condition of some parts it could be an interesting buy.
 

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1979 Alfa Spider. The door panels are like my 1980. The console is 1979 or older. The wheels are correct for 79. Fuel tank cover. Fuel overflow vent tank in correct position. Battery in back. Steering wheel, dash, etc.
Here's an ad for a 1979 in CL. Same year! 1979 Spider Craigs List
 

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Your late to the discussion... this has already been discussed here:
 

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This is a '79 Spider. Connecticut is pretty lacks when it comes to registering "classic" cars. I doubt that the vin was changed to get it registered. When I registered my '79 here in Connecticut the only thing the DMV inspector did was check that the window vin matched the paperwork. Nothing like the ordeal that other states put you through. I bet that the vin was doctored to clean up a salvage title, or the car was stolen at some point, or a previous owner wanted to artificially increase its value. Unfortunately, we'll probably never know the real story.

- Drew
 

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The seller seems like a reasonable guy. Whether the car was stolen and “renumbered” or some other malady probably won’t be known. $2k for a lotta parts is a good price. However, if it is later determined to have been stolen, now there’s both a buyer and seller of stolen property.

I think the seller should determine the real ID, and it’s legal status. Then, a clean transaction can take place, or at least an illegal transaction avoided.
 

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@DPeterson3

This is exactly what I was thinking. Chances are that the car will wind up being stripped for parts and the shell is sent to a junk yard. It could be a problem if the junk yard submits the VIN and it comes up stolen. The junk yard has the sellers information and the police/FBI will be showing up.

The other option is for the buyer to acknowledge that he's buying a car of unknown origin and history, thus he accepts all the liability. If this occurs, I highly recommend stripping the car to the ground and sell or use all the parts. Here's an excerpt from a site that buys junk cars for cash. "However, if you don’t have the title for the car, it gets more complicated. Without proof of ownership, scrapyards and towing companies will be hesitant to do business with you."

A VIN for a 1979 Spider should be AR followed by 12 digits. I looked at the VIN stamped on the firewall of my car and it's clean - there's no sign of tinkering, like this car has. And it's obvious that the VIN plate on the drivers A pillar is forged.

This is a tough situation for the seller. It doesn't seem like he did anything wrong and now he's inherited a problem. I admire his honesty and I wish him luck.
 

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All he has to do is call the city or county police department and ask them to run both vin numbers. If they come up clean. He good to sell.

Scrap yards don't care about vin numbers that old. I scraped 2 91 spiders that I bought out of an insurance auction. The scrap yard at that time said they would need a title for 98 and newer. I think they only go so many years back and it moves up every year.
 

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A VIN for a 1979 Spider should be AR followed by 12 digits. I looked at the VIN stamped on the firewall of my car and it's clean - there's no sign of tinkering, like this car has. And it's obvious that the VIN plate on the drivers A pillar is forged.

I just went and checked my '79 and it only has a pillar vin that starts with AR and then has a model number 11541, a five pointed star, a 7 digit serial number, and then another five pointed star. It doesn't appear that Alfa went to a 17 digit vin for cars built in '79. I'll pull the cover off the car later today to make sure they match.

- Drew
 

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The 17 digit system started in 1981.
 

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Best thing for the owner to do. Is scrap off all the paint around the vin number on the firewall and see if any welding has been done.

25 years ago at the Porsche dealer. We had a 911 come in for service. The owner had just bought it. A lot of things were odd on it. So we went around checking the vin numbers. The anti theft stickers hidden around the car did not match the vin stamped in the trunk. We took a pocket knife and started prying around the vin plate. All of a sudden it popped off. Reveling the original vin number. They thieves had glue the vin plate over the old one. Then took bondo and feathered out the edges and painted the trunk.
 

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All he has to do is call the city or county police department and ask them to run both vin numbers. If they come up clean. He good to sell.

Scrap yards don't care about vin numbers that old. I scraped 2 91 spiders that I bought out of an insurance auction. The scrap yard at that time said they would need a title for 98 and newer. I think they only go so many years back and it moves up every year.
It depends on the state. I had a 1990 Mercedes 300 CE that needed to go. I tried to scrap it and they wouldn't take it without a title. I had a lost title form and they still wouldn't take it. I wound up donating it to a kids cause - they took it with the lost title form and no title.
 

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Drew, you're correct. Your car is a 11541 (1977 and newer) which is five digits, which are then followed by the 7 digit serial number. AR 11541 XXXXXXX. 12 digits.

This car has an 11502 plate on the firewall (they didn't use them from 1977 and on). My 1971 plate is 11562, but my 1973 and 74 is 11502. So the 11502 plate is for a 1972 to 1976 Spider. The 7 digit serial number, on this car coincides with a 1971. The plate on this car isn't in line with the stamped number. The stamped number is above the heater hose on the passenger side. The 11502 plate is directly across above the other heater hose on the drivers side.

The serial number on this car looks etched, not stamped. There may be a chance that the original serial number is underneath the new number (maybe filled, ground down and etched). Or it may have been cut out and a new piece of metal welded in, then etched.

The VIN/serial/model number is completely wrong. A hodgepodge that someone did with a 1979 chassis, 1972-77 11502 model plate using a 1971 serial number.

Again, why would someone go through this much trouble and risk VIN tampering for a car that isn't worth that much money? My guess is insurance fraud or a stolen car - remember it's a guess and the only one who knows is the person who did it - and his accomplice(s).
 

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Best thing for the owner to do. Is scrap off all the paint around the vin number on the firewall and see if any welding has been done.

25 years ago at the Porsche dealer. We had a 911 come in for service. The owner had just bought it. A lot of things were odd on it. So we went around checking the vin numbers. The anti theft stickers hidden around the car did not match the vin stamped in the trunk. We took a pocket knife and started prying around the vin plate. All of a sudden it popped off. Reveling the original vin number. They thieves had glue the vin plate over the old one. Then took bondo and feathered out the edges and painted the trunk.
Wow, that's an interesting one. Car theft is a big business - unfortunately, a lot of people get hurt.

Way, way back, in 1987 ... I was living in a suburb outside of Chicago. I grew up there and it was a nice safe area - I would leave the keys in my car (sitting in the driveway), because I wasn't very good with keys and I thought nobody would come in my yard to steal my car - also, our family dog would bark up a storm when anyone came up our driveway! Nothing ever happened to the car - it was safe. When I was in college, I had a "hot rod" 1980 Camaro. My buddies and I tore the engine apart, took the smog stuff off, put some high performance parts on it and some nice noisy parts as well. It had a cammy rough idle (too much duration), but when pushed, it would make a NASCAR sound - The top end loved to rev, but the bottom end wasn't built, so I worried about all those revs - way above red line! One night, my buddies and I went to the movie in the suburb right next to ours. We had missed the start, so normally, we'd go grab a bite, but we saw some girls and decided to hang out and play video games. We saw the last show of the night and when we went to the car, it was gone. If your car has ever been stolen, you know that odd sinking feeling in your gut. Then someone said - hey, we didn't park here, we parked over there! Whew, my bad! But the car wasn't there either. Then one final - hey, I think it's over there! Again no car! We went inside, talked to the manager, who called the police. They came, took a report and they gave us a ride home. We took my buddies car and drove all over looking for my car. After a few hours, we gave up. I called the police every day asking if they found my car. Nothing! Then, when I had finally given up, I got the news - they found my car. The dispatch read the report to herself, then told me that I need to be prepared, because my car wasn't in good shape. I went to the impound yard and at first, I wasn't too upset. Then as I looked closely, I could see the damage. They didn't wreck the body - somehow. The wheels were gone and in place were some ugly black spare tires and wheels - mismatched of course and missing most of the lug nuts (the kept my chrome ones and used some left over rusty ones). The rear spoiler was gone and they damaged the bolt holes! Then I saw the dent along the bottom of the door and rear 1/4 panel. The front bumper was cracked. The front plastic parts were cracked/broken. Then I looked at the interior - stereo, amplifier, equalizer (we liked music) were gone. My radar detector - gone! I popped the hood and my Moroso blue anodized air cleaner was gone! My Holley 650 was still there, with the headers, Edelbrock intake manifold and chrome plated brackets! Alternator and battery were gone!

My insurance company didn't total the car. I forgot what they paid, but I had the car towed home and we put the car together the best we could. New battery, alternator - then fired her up. Ticking in the motor!!! After a few minutes it went away - lifters needed to be pumped up??? We put new lug nuts on her and took her for a drive. The motor wasn't the same - felt like she was low on power. And a very slight blue smoke out the back - we could smell the oil burning. My buddy threw some oil burn stuff in the motor and it got rid of the smoke - good thing! I found some new rims and bought new Goodyear Gatorbacks (replaced the old ones). Ordered new stereo stuff and another Escort. The funny thing is the thieves left all the wires and connectors in - they can't use the stereo stuff or detector without the connectors. New Moroso anodized blue air cleaner. New rear spoiler - we had to pound the quarters back into place, so the area around the holes were flat again. New front bumper cover and new black plastic headlight bezels and grille. I remember replacing a tail light as well. I left the dent along the bottom or the door and 1/4, because I ran out of money - the deductible.

My car never ran right after that. It looked okay and the stereo sounded great, but the motor felt tired. The police later told me that they believe the car was stolen by some local kids. They found the car between my house and the movie theater. The police told me they were amateurs - they dusted the car and found finger prints, but they couldn't identify the thieves - prints not on record. My car was found in a residential area - a neighbor had called to say a car had been sitting in front of their home for a few days.

The lesson I learned is:
1. Don't make your car a target for thieves. Nice stereo system and radar detector are things that can be sold quickly, so they steal them - different now of course, but that was the case back then.
2. An alarm is a good deterrent. If I had one on my car, they might've stolen another car.
3. Be honest with myself. I wanted her back so badly that I ignored the blaring problems. I should've called the insurance company and told them that the motor was damaged, but they would've totalled the car. I wanted to keep her, because I didn't think I could get another car like her.
4. When someone steals your car, they aren't going to take care of it. A hot rod car will be abused and most likely damaged. So, it's best to let the insurance total it, then try to find a replacement.
 

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Best thing for the owner to do. Is scrap off all the paint around the vin number on the firewall and see if any welding has been done.

25 years ago at the Porsche dealer. We had a 911 come in for service. The owner had just bought it. A lot of things were odd on it. So we went around checking the vin numbers. The anti theft stickers hidden around the car did not match the vin stamped in the trunk. We took a pocket knife and started prying around the vin plate. All of a sudden it popped off. Reveling the original vin number. They thieves had glue the vin plate over the old one. Then took bondo and feathered out the edges and painted the trunk.

This is exactly what's going on here. This car was stolen, probably years or decades ago.

My advice is to strip the parts off and send the body to the scrapyard. Whoever lost this car has gotten their insurance payout long ago.
 
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