Keith’s Blog: Making Restoration Decisions

Last week I wrote about the decisions I was making concerning the restoration of our 1961 Giulietta Sprint Speciale.

We need the car ready by the SCM 30th Anniversary Tour in July. Which means it should be on the road by the 1st of June to have time to shake it down before the tour.

Which further means that we need to start making decisions about the direction we want the restoration to take now.

Materials have to be ordered, usually from Europe. Difficult parts will have to be sourced. The restorers, both of the body and the interior, need time to do their work in a non-frantic atmosphere.

Consequently, I have made the following decisions and we are moving full-speed ahead.

The exterior

I’m not going to repaint the car. The car is still in its original color, “Bluette”, according to the Alfa Romeo Museum. It has been repainted at least once, and the paint is presentable if somewhat aged.

It would cost at least $25,000 to strip the car and repaint it, and that price doesn’t count the chrome and other things that would need to be redone as well.

The rear wheel arches have been radiused; I’m having Tom Black rebuild them back to their original configuration. We had fellow SS owner Rick Martin bring his SS by so that Tom could make a template from his car to use on mine.

The car has extra louvers in the hood. I’m not going to have them taken out. If I found a different hood, getting it to fit properly might be a problem; I can live with the hood the way it is.

I believe the car was raced at some point in its history. Perhaps someday I’ll find proof that it was. In that case, the extra louvers, probably done for cooling purposes, would be a part of its provenance.

Further, I’m going to leave the unusual mags on the car. While they are not period correct, they are light as a feather as they are true magnesium. I have a set of correct Borrani steel wheels I can put on at any time.

The windshield is delaminating slightly in one corner. I’m not going to replace it; the delamination doesn’t interfere with your view out, and I believe this is the windshield that came with the car.

The interior

I’m going to have Guy Recordon do the interior in gray leather with red piping and red sides and backs to the seats.

The car was born with cloth seats. However, I personally prefer sitting on leather. And most important, I’ve never restored a car with a leather interior and I’m looking forward to learning about the process. Should someone wish to put a correct cloth interior into the car, this is an easily reversible process.

So there you have it. When the SS is finished, it will be a handsome driver with a sumptuous interior. None of the decisions I am making are irreversible.

I understand that I am “customizing” rather than restoring the SS, but that’s my decision and I’m comfortable with it.

I’m sure there will be many other things to replace or repair along the way. After all, this is a 57-year-old car that’s been off the road for at least 30 years. Surprises are to be expected.

I’ll keep you posted as the journey unfolds.

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

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3 comments

  1. Good decisions. No need to break the bank. I still hate the alloys, but maybe they will look better when the whole car is cleaned up.

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