View Full Version : British and Italian Cars..Anyone owned an Alfa?

08-03-2011, 08:36 AM
Has anyone owned an Alfa Romeo? I find myself looking at ebay ads for Alfas.
They look good, they come as convertibles and they have history.

Anybody have any comments? Will these two play well in my garage?

08-03-2011, 08:47 AM
Some interesting swaps out there using Alfa Engines in Spridgets. They fit nice but questions about long term engine durability and reliability.

08-03-2011, 09:21 AM
Only problem that I know about is that the engine block is aluminum and the head studs like to pull out on a car that has not been maintained well. Beware of one that was "shadetree" maintained, they don't do so well.

08-03-2011, 09:25 AM
Paging Doc. :smile:

08-03-2011, 12:59 PM
I have both a couple of Fiat Abarth's a Sprite along with Austin Healey. Next on my hit list would be Alfa GTV. Love them all.


08-03-2011, 03:34 PM
I have had several: a Spider, GTV, and an Alfetta. They are wonderful cars, but rust is a huge problem. Jim

08-03-2011, 04:32 PM
Is the rust worse than with our LBCs?

08-03-2011, 05:44 PM
Is the rust worse than with our LBCs?

yes, they rust in the brochures.

08-03-2011, 05:52 PM
Has anyone owned an Alfa Romeo? I find myself looking at ebay ads for Alfas.
They look good, they come as convertibles and they have history.

Anybody have any comments? Will these two play well in my garage?

Back around 1980, I woke up from a antihistamine stupor and read an ad for the new GTV Sprint Veloce, and decided I wanted one. At the time I had lots of money and nothing to spend it on. So I drove down to the dealer and put a deposit on one. The next day at work my boss said my future employment was sketchy so I better not make any rash purchases. So after 24 hours of ownership I got my deposit back, but I never took delivery.

08-03-2011, 05:58 PM
I should know better, I've had two Fiats, One - the paint fell off within two years, second...don't ask. But because I owned a Fiats back in the 70's, I was forced to learn how to repair and tune them up. My first set of points was on a Fiat. It bought me dinner first.

08-03-2011, 06:05 PM
Its a fiat of a different name. Just like Porsche is the rich man's VW.

08-03-2011, 07:50 PM
The engine was fabulous and lines of the cars were beautiful, but they were assembled by whoever happened to be around at the time. You know that saying that you don't want a car that was built on Friday--These cars were all built on Friday. But still, I really loved mine. Jim

Bob Claffie
08-03-2011, 08:17 PM
My Dad had a couple back in the day, a used 1960 Guilietta (sp) and a new 1964 Gulia 1600 both of which I drove quite a bit. The '64 was the only car I have ever driven which had zero oil pressure at idle right out of the factory (when fully warmed up). Never seemed to have any long lasting effects. I owned a '66 Gulia for a short time. It was worn out when I got it and never progressed very far from there. Very pretty cars, great suspension but the unibody construction would not support the car being owned in the northern rust belt for long. Bob

08-03-2011, 11:11 PM
Had a red 1974 Alfa Spider, sweet looking outside, nice leather interior, 5-speed, double overhead cams, fuel injection, and a frame that was made out of rubber. Take a corner, and it would change directions three times during one turn. Was rear-ended and she bent up right at the rear wheel wells...totalled.
Scott in CA

08-04-2011, 03:55 PM
Howdy Folks,

I`m typ on the "Triumph" forum but as an "Ex" `58 Frogeye owner I stop by here occassionally to see whats going on.

I`ve had "2 Duettos", `74 Spider Veloce (Fun Car), Milano (Interesting Sedan) & a "Guilietta" (Real nice looking but a pcs. of junk - At least my brakes were junk).

Would I own another? "YES"; An earlier "Spider". Nice looking lines, Quick all around & quite comfortable.

Have Fun Shopping,


08-04-2011, 06:16 PM
Nothing wrong with having both British and Italian in your garage, I would like to. like some others have said, I have lusted after an Alfa GTV for years, as my ability to purchase one goes up so does the price, I have had Sprites, MGs, Triumphs, one big Healey, all different, but still dealing with SU carbs, Lucas electrics etc. for all, would like to try something different sometime.

Even a Fiat x1/9 or the cool early 70s 124 coupe, which was a pretty nice car, as an possible alternative in addition to the Alfa GTV or Spider, or GTV-6. So many cars so little time.....

08-05-2011, 06:51 AM
Now that the dust has settled...

I've had Alfas in the inventory continuously since about 1975. First one was a GT Junior (1300cc), then a '69 GTV 1750 (loved that one, BIG mistake selling it). Got another GTV in '86, went thru it and drove it daily for a decade on a 100 mile round trip to work. Great cars, elegant designs. This Spider is the first drop-top for me and I'd rather it were a GTV but it was a $500 purchase (1998). Built up a 1750 I had squirreled away and swapped out the 2L in 2000. Been driving it ever since.

Italian steel comes "rust, free!" from the factory. As JP says: they rust in the brochures.

You can stand beside one and if you listen carefully, you can HEAR the metal mites chewin' on it. :wink:

The engines are a far different animal than Fiat. This is the 1750 on the stand, still strong and all I do is oil changes. Stone reliable!

08-05-2011, 07:45 PM
Italy is going broke because of Fiat currency :wink:

08-06-2011, 12:05 PM
Careful, Doc, there's a rule about posting porn, and that naked 1750 comes awful close! (You had a GT Junior? Coool...)

There are a lot of similarities between Alfas and LBC's in concept; they should get along well together. Old Alfas tend to be mechanically "pure," there's not a lot of extraneous stuff. Like Spridgets, they are designed down to the bare essentials. Even the luxo stuff like power windows and A/C is stripped down.

Alfa, being Italian, puts as much emphasis on the way a given part <span style="font-style: italic">looks </span>as how well it <span style="font-style: italic">works</span>, unlike the more prosiac English engineer's way.

Alfas are engineered better overall, because they didn't have to compromise by using a common MOWOG parts bin. They spent time on details like getting the top to work, for instance.

Unlike the bargain-basement Spridgets, Alfas are pricey. Not as pricey as the "other" Italians in its league, but definately a step up from MG money.

Both cars are easy to work on: all the mechanical bits are accessible and garage-friendly.

Both cars are dead-reliable <span style="font-style: italic">if </span>you look after them -- and both need looking after. Lucas and Marelli had their own way of doing things, and if you do things their way, you'll be fine. Even the oddball SPICA fuel injection works well if you keep up with it.

Both cars have their endearing quirks: you put oil in SUs, you scrub an Alfa's fuses with a toothbrush. You adjust a Spridget's valves with a screwdriver, an Alfa's with shims.

Both are a blast to drive in their own way. Spridgets are limited by gear ratios, not so the Alfas. Both are perfectly balanced and take the twisties well. Alfas work much better as long-distance cars and love the Interstate.

Alfas need to be driven often and hard. It's not a car you can coddle on the weekends.

Oh, and like Spridgets, Alfas have a very loyal and friendly user network.

Did I miss anything, Doc?

08-06-2011, 01:05 PM
Bill, great remark about 'porn'. I've posted a picture of that 1750 next to my Farah Fawcett poster!

08-06-2011, 02:12 PM
mehheh. It's all Weber'd up, too. As a little homage to Shankle the head got red paint. That has all burned off by now, tho. :shocked:

I thought I had a photo of it all "dressed out" with the carbs and front end complete but can't seem to find it here in the GPU (Garage Processing Unit).

I screwed that engine together in 2000, the 2L was slap wore out. The 1750 has 11mm cams, Bosch dizzy, 40 DCOE's, Jaeger (140MPH) speedometer, cable driven tach... title calls it a '78 but I retro-fitted all the old RELIABLE stuff to it. :wink: