Keith’s Blog: The New SCM Accidental Purchase – Got Any Parts We Need?

By now nearly all the 1970s Alfettas are gone, victims of rust, primitive and expensive-to-repair emission controls, complicated and expensive-to-repair (does this sound familiar?) inboard rear brakes and a general lack of love from the Alfa community.

I happened to be at our favorite Alfa repair facility, Nasko’s, picking up our 1967 GTV after having its fuel sender replaced (the pickup is integrated into the sender, and when it fractures, only the top three gallons in the tank are accessible).

I mentioned in passing to Nasko that I could be interested if a really nice Alfetta GT came along—secure in the knowledge that since nice ones don’t exist, my interest couldn’t cost me anything.

“You mean like that one over there?” he replied. The hook was set. It was a second-generation 1978 model, with electronic ignition and an upgraded alternator. The engine had just been professionally rebuilt 2,000 miles ago, with receipts totaling $4,500.

The car was extremely straight, although not in my favorite color, cream (crema). The velour interior didn’t have a single rip, and the dash wasn’t cracked. The car had factory a/c (although who knows when it last worked) but with a later-style rotary compressor. It had 141,000 heavily documented miles. Asking price was $3,000.

I took Alex with me when I went to drive the car. She was direct. “Dad, it’s not my cup of tea. It kind of looks like a Scirocco. But if it means I’ll have more time to drive the GTV, I support you.”

The stack of receipts dating back to the early ‘80s showed that this Alfa had bled every owner dry, including the man I bought it from. What makes me think my situation will be any different?  Hopelessly naïve collector-car optimism, of course.

Final price was $2,000. The steal of life? Hardly. The SCM Pocket Price guide lists these at $3,500 to $5,000, with the best one in the world worth probably a 50% premium.

So I’ve got room for some enhancements without going underwater. Here’s what I’d like to do, and if you have any of the parts I need, please let me know. I’d like to put on a Quadraflow to get that good induction sound back. I’ll need a thicker front sway bar and shorter, stiffer rear springs, as I will be lowering the car. A vintage Shankle Sure-Shift kit would be good, as would a set of mild street cams for the 2.0-liter engine. Some good period mags would dress the GT nicely. I think finding Euro-spec bumpers would be too much to hope for – but maybe some big rally lights for the front? And how about some Euro-spec yellow headlights? The steering wheel has lost its finish—Anyone have a good one sitting it their attic? Anything else you Alfetta fanatics think I should be aware of or looking for?

Oh yes—and do you think it is feasible to bring the a/c back to life?

If you’ve got any of these bits laying around, drop me a line. Or come chat at Monterey.

My vision is that this becomes my no-money family Alfa; I am hesitant to drive the GTV in daily traffic, and we can’t get Bradley in to the Giulia Spider Veloce. Just think—lowered, good sound, big lights in front, some AutoDelta stickers… There, I’ve convinced myself. Are the rest of you on board?

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, now in its 33rd year. Keith has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and had his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity. He has received many honors, including the Lee Iacocca Award, the Edward Herrman Award, was inducted into the Concorso Italiano Hall of Fame and more. He is on the boards of directors of The LeMay Museum and Oregon Ballet Theater, and was formerly the chair of the board of the Meguiar's Award.

Posted in Keith Martin