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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my favorite Alfas has been the GTAm of the late 60's early 70's so a few years ago I decided to build a version running Alfaholics running gear and a Twin Spark engine using modern engine management technology. This build started a few years ago and so I thought I would document the journey. First step was the purchase of a Mk1 1750 GTV which fortunately had already been modified with an approved rollcage. I purchased this from interstate and had it shipped down (Melbourne Australia). The seller (Mark) had described the car over telephone conversations and photos and when I did get it was pleasantly surprised to find it was just as he described. I considered it in excellent condition and surprisingly rust free. It would require some body work but much much less than the previous GTV 2000 shell that i had purchased but found to have a bent front cross member.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One of the first jobs I tackled was the modification of the engine bay to make provision for larger airbox. The plan is to run fuel injection and and as I wasn't certain of the final configuration I went for as big as possible. The car had already been crudely modified so it was easily justified. My fabrication and welding skills were beginner level so I took the approach of building up a large section using pieces.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Next step was repairs to the sills. Both rear sections
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only need outer sill repairs. The right front needed inner sill repair however the left front had rot thru to the inner. Fortunately I had in my possession original sections from each so used them in the repairs in addition to some new fabrications. As this was going to be a modified car I was not too concerned about originality.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I intended to remove all paint from the entire car. starting from the interior which had previously been stripped out, I discovered a strange black coating under the paint. It seemed more of a metal treatment rather than paint but it did come off with paint s
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The body unseal was messy of course but I remember reading about using dry ice to freeze the metal which of course freezes the body sealer making it easier to remove. I took a cool box to a local chemical supply company and had them fill it with dry ice pellets. To slow down the dry ice evaporating, I filled the void in the cool box with scrunched up newspaper which seemed to help. I then spread the dry ice over the floor of the interior and trunk. It froze the metal almost immediately and with a rubber mallet started belting the floor and alot of the frozen underseal simply broke off and the rest I just pulled off. This of course only works on flat surfaces or anywhere you can get the dry ice to sit.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Removing what remained of the underseal was a real pain. My preferred approach ended up with using a heat gun to soften and scrap most of it off the remaining curved surfaces and doing a final cleanup with kerosene. It took a long time but the end result was great. Having the bare chassis exposed a I spent a long time admiring the engineering involved. I compared it to the chassis of a classic Aston Martin DB5 (4?) being worked on in a well know restoration company during a visit organised by our local Alfa club. In comparison, the Aston was like a horse cart with straight box section so unlike the intricately fabricated Alfa. Of course all the folded metal sections lead to some unfortunate outcomes!!!
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Next up was stiffening the body by seam or stitch welding. I had checked out a couple of examples and so got a reasonable idea about it and one example I looked at had the welds all over the place. As there would be no interior or underbody seal I decided to take extra care by marking out the length and position of the welds. when welding it's important to get good penetration and it was satisfying to see it in the following pic.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Another job on the interior is to fabricate seat mounts. The factory mounts are nothing to write home about and what I think is worse is bolting a race seat through the floor. Having had to complete damage reports for race cars that have been involved in a crash it is simply amazing what happens to seats and harnesses when subject to what can even be described as moderate shunts.
Thru the use of CAD (cardboard aided designed) two sets of seat mounts were created from box section. I welded in the nuts and internally braced them either side of the seat mount nut.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
With the body cleaned and repaired it was time for paint. I recall hearing a story about why post war racing Alfas were painted grey in all the negative areas (underneath, inside etc) and it was because they bough all this cheap paint from the Italian navy after WW2 (battleship grey). I don't know how true this is but I loved it nevertheless and decided to do the same...
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The most iconic aspect of the GTAm are the fiberglass guards. While researching the topic it appeared that Auto-Delta's approach to the fitment was quite crude in that they simply used tin snips to cut away part of the guard. I guess the modern day equivalent is the angle grinder....
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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Having cut so much metal, I felt it needed some stiffening up so I fabricated a tool to put a small flange on the cut edge. Another small job was to fill the gap between the body and the rear guard.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The rear guards were from Alfaholics but as they didn't have the 1750 version, the front were from Alfa Panels also in the UK. In both cases the fit was good but not perfect. After a little thought, I realised I could heat up the fibreglass with a heat gun (a small section at a time) and by pushing it against the body with a block of wood and waiting for it to cool, it would assume the shape of the body perfectly. I was pretty impressed with myself.
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I was lucky enough to visit the Alfa Romeo museum in Milan after it reopened a few ago and took a heap of photos of the original GTAm they had on display paying particular attention to the number of pop rivets used and their position. Another item of interest were the front indicators and for some reason thought they were the same as those fitted to the mini. When i tried fitting them found out that was not the case (too big) so I sourced original fitment ones. The Ferrari name on the packet would account for the price tag!!! They did look the part thought so well worth it.
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