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Garage Find: 1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT

This 1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta’s sad story began when it arrived at a mechanic’s shop in 2002 due to a complaint that it “ran rough”. According to the seller, two of the injectors were defective. For some reason, after diagnosis, the repair was never completed and the car has been in storage ever since. It is now listed here on eBay, at no reserve. Lackluster bidding has the price at just $425. Apparently, would-be Alfisti have learned that there is no cheap “project” Alfa. The car is located in West Hartford, Connecticut, and you’ll need a trailer to haul it home.

The engine is Alfa’s wonderful 2.0 twin-cam four-cylinder, with Spica mechanical fuel injection for the US market, good for about 110 hp. The transaxle layout aids handling significantly; this one is a five-speed. The brakes are discs all around. The car’s missing parts are stashed in the trunk, but that’s slender compensation for two decades of storage; no doubt there’s more work here by now than those two injectors. Alfa’s are demanding in the maintenance department – skipping prescribed intervals can wreak havoc. The underhood insulation is mostly intact.

The car is finished in the very Italian combination of Grigio metallic, saddle upholstery, and grey carpets. The seats and carpets need replacement, though the door panels and other trim are decent. For all the promise of the Giorgetto Giugiaro exterior, the instrument panel is replete with modular ’70s plastic. At least it isn’t sun damaged or cracked. Even the wood grain portion looks bright. The radio and speakers are not factory originals.

More than 470,000 Alfettas of various configurations were sold worldwide, but nice survivors are somewhat rare – and this car has a long way to go before it can be held out as “nice”. The seller indicates that rust inhabits the wheel wells and around the glass hatch, though the body is straight. An in-person inspection would help decide whether this car should be relegated to the parts bin, or if it’s worth an attempt to restore the mechanicals. Alfettas are eminently tossable and make great rally cars, but top-end values are not very rewarding for the restorer. Which direction would you recommend for this car’s new owner?

Comments

  1. TomP

    I feel bad for it, because the older people who can relate to these are getting too old to work on cars, and the younger generation will have nothing to do with this car. It’s kind of stuck in the middle; and sadly, it’s future doesn’t look good.

    Like 6
    • eisenmen

      Depends on location, certainly there’s much interest on the West coast and of course in Europe. The Spica injection is tricky on these – but not impossible and there are some specialists still around. A shame the engine was left open like that.

      Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      I disagree with you there. Lots of young people are into classic cars.

      Like 9
      • Big C

        As long as the “classics” are 90’s Asian cars, with fart can exhausts and a 1,000 watt stereo? They sure are. They have no clue about cars like this.

        Like 12
  2. John Saucier

    A 78 Alfetta was my very first car sonI had to become a bit of an expert on this specific chasis. I am interested if for no other reason than nostalgia but I am in Alabama and already have 2 Stelvios in my garage. I will look and see what shipping would be. The biggest issue with this car is that it’s not worth the money to restore it unless you have some emotional attachment and that limits your market.

    Like 7
  3. Timothy Vose

    We can only hope that someone will restore this!

    Like 4
  4. Mike K

    I owned 2 of these, one was bought new and the other used when it was about 10 years ago. while I loved them the new one taught me how duanting maintenance can be on them. The used one taught me unless you have REALLY deep pocket a used Alfa wil seldom if ever be made anything but utter frustration and never “done”.

    Like 1
  5. Frank Barrett Member

    No guts, no glory. Sold for $1,525, a good deal, even as a parts car. These are much under-rated cars. It’s in the East but has a Ziebart rust-proofing decal on the rear window.

    Like 3
    • Jake Member

      Ziebart did the job. Incredibly it has minimal rust! It was worth every penny.

      Like 1
  6. jwaltb

    I love the creeper snack tray on the front!

    Like 0
  7. John Saucier

    Can the owner provide a little more information? Will the engine turn over? It’s at least a rolling chasis? Was the Spica original or upgraded later? I thought the US were all carb in 79 but I could be wrong on that. I would love to have it so I can teach my son on the same car I learned on. It would be a nice project to share with him. The shipping is the issue and state of the motor. How bad is the rust? Rear deck lid is almost always trash after sitting for 2 decades. If it’s not too bad I’d be willing to revive it back to maybe a weekend car. It will never be a daily driver I’m afraid..

    Like 0
    • Jake Member

      Hey John, just picked it up today. It’s in great shape! Body was looked after in period with cavity wax and being stored indoors. Still has the original paint, original interior, and original motor. All Alfa Romeo cars had SPICA for the US market starting in the early 1970s. They are mechanical gems that if serviced properly last a long time. Lots of conversions; but no carbs for Alfas in the 1970s. These Alfettas are just so much fun!

      Like 2
      • David Infante

        Good deal! The spica is pretty bulletproof but the fuel pump will likely be stuck. I’ve freed 2 different ones up by filling them with carb cleaner and bumping it with 12 volts as well as occasionally tapping on the garage floor.
        A little dangerous but effective. I’ve got a 79 that’s pretty nice.

        Like 1
  8. Bultaco

    I had a ‘79 like this (labeled the Sprint Veloce that year) in around 1987. The Spica mechanical fuel injection needed an expensive injection pump rebuild, so I converted it to dual side draft Dell’Ortos. I also swapped out the cams for euro cams from a carbureted euro market Alfa. After that, it was very reliable and ran great. It was the most accurate-steering, neutral handling car I ever had. Aside from rust, problem areas are the transaxle synchros, the rubber “Guibo” donuts in the driveshaft, and the little steel plugs falling out of the crankshaft into the oil pan, causing low oil pressure. You can ignore the synchros and shift carefully, and the other two issues are easy and cheap fixes. Mine had leather on every surface in the interior including the door panels. I traded it in on an Audi Coupe GT, which had its own set of problems.

    Like 0
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $1,525.

    Like 1
    • John Saucier

      Congratulations. If you ever want to unload it keep me in mind.

      Like 0

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