Berlina Register Newsletter No. 11 (November 2000)
Notes and Comment
Welcome to Berlina Register Newsletter Number 11. No big topics this issue, but I thought I'd talk about Berlina values a bit, and update some Berlina parts sources. If people want to send me feedback about Berlinas they've bought and sold, I'll start a regular "Berlina Market Report" section, just like others do for cars that are actually worth something. Several people have asked me to post the actual register of Berlinas on the website. I'm working on it, but have more to learn about HTML and web stuff. The web page is at www.berlinaregister.com
A few more cars have passed through my backyard recently. A Register member contacted me last summer about buying his 1974 Berlina, which needed an engine replacement that he didn't feel like tackling (he was already restoring his other Berlina). So Chris Off and I took on the project, replaced the engine with a good used one from APE, replaced the gritty steering box, and fixed a number of small items like a bad speedo cable and leaky heater valve. We sold it to a local guy whose nice 2000 GTV had been hit-and-run by a stolen car. I also bought another Giulia Super, which turned out to be more of a project than I wanted (though it was totally rust-free; incredible!), so I sold it to a guy who already had eight other Alfas and should have known better. More recently, I bought a 1969 Porsche 912 because I've always wanted to see what Porsches were like, and this seemed like a cheap way to check out the cars and the Porsche community. For those who don't know, the 912 has the body of the 911, but the four-cylinder pushrod engine of the old 356. It is a dual-carb 1600, and has about the same performance as my 2000 GTV. It is a very handsome and fun car, faster than I expected, and has wonderful light, responsive steering. Basically sound, it has some underbody rust, just like an Alfa, and has been cosmetically but not mechanically maintained. So I'm learning how to work on Porsches. This car is dark blue with black interior and has Fuchs factory mags, which along with its lowered stance, makes it look meaner and more capable than it really is. It looks like a comparable 911, but when you fire it up it sounds like a VW; you can impress people only as long as you don't start it. Finally, yet another 1972 project Berlina is trying hard to end up in my driveway, but the deal hasn't worked out yet.
The keeper of the Berlina Register is Andrew Watry, 1284 Monterey Ave., Berkeley, CA 94707 USA. Phone (510) 526-0391. Email: email@example.com. Send me corrections to your register information or any other Berlina-related facts, rumors, tips, or needs. Always seeking articles for the newsletter. Free Berlinas and parts gladly accepted.
I've bought and sold a few cars lately, including a Berlina, and seen a few other Berlinas for sale, and have been thinking about Berlina values. I thought I'd pass along what I've learned from my own experience and others', as Berlinas can be notoriously difficult to value. Berlina values have been flat for the period I've owned them (six years) and I'm not sure their values are ever going to come out of the basement. For those of us who like playing around with these cars, that's good, because it keeps them affordable.
As with all old Alfas, price is usually a reflection of condition, and I believe the main reason for Berlinas' low value is they mostly are not in very good shape. Most of the cars I see around here in California run and can be driven, but have fairly major problem areas, typically rust and interiors. These are not cars that people ever took care of much. I get inquiries from people looking for "very nice" or "perfect" Berlinas for sale, but in my experience they just aren't often in that condition; I've only ever seen a couple. The other big reason for the low value is that some people don't like how Berlinas look ("Is that a Volvo?"), particularly in comparison to Giulia sedans, which have a devoted following willing to spend more money. A lot of people (including me) buy Berlinas as a fallback choice when unable to find or afford a Giulia sedan. I realize plenty of people appreciate Berlinas for their own particular charms, though. I drove my 1969 Berlina for five years and was very happy with it. It's hard to beat a strong 1750 with a good SPICA pump; the car was very fast.
In my area, typical decent running usable Berlinas go for $1,500-2,500. Nicer cars bring $2,500-3,500. I've seen asking prices much higher, up to $7,000, but I don't believe many people will pay that kind of money for a Berlina, regardless of condition. Beaters, rust buckets, and project cars are generally under $1000, frequently under $500, and sometimes are the mythical "free Berlina" that gets bandied about on the Alfa Digest (go to www.digest.net to subscribe). In this range, I bought a pair of Berlinas in early 1998, one a rusty but running registered 1973 rubber-bumper car, plus a complete 1972 parts car, for $400 for the pair.
By way of illustration, here are some actual selling prices. Most but not all of these are Bay Area California prices, where there are probably more daily-use Berlinas than anywhere else. Sorry for you folks outside the US:
C 1974 US 2000 Berlina. $2,800. October 2000. This was a white rubber-bumper car with black interior. Sold new in Los Angeles in 1976, it had one owner (an older doctor) til 1992, when it came to the Bay Area and had one more mature owner til 2000. In daily use its whole life, the car had 164,000 miles on it, but had good regular maintenance. Sadly, it got run out of water which blew the head gasket and warped the head. With a good used APE engine and replaced steering box (the original was very gritty), this was a great-driving car, which had more rust spots than you'd expect from a pampered California car. On the plus side, it had Marelliplex ignition, new brakes, a great interior, and yellow taillights. This was a fair price for both parties, and the seller probably could have gotten a bit more (maybe $3,000) if he'd been more patient.
C 1969 1750 US Berlina. $2,500. August 2000. This beige-exterior, tan-interior car looked very nice in the email pictures the buyer sent me. An original Arizona car, it seemed complete and straight, had rebuilt engine and trans, BWA wheels, and redone interior. It passed the AZ smog check. This seemed a good price for the buyer, perhaps a little low for the seller, considering how nice the car appears to be.
C 1969 1750 US Berlina. $1,500. Late 1999. This was a maroon two-owner Fremont car, the most recent owner a fastidious old guy who bought it in 1971 and took incredible care of it. Unrestored and virtually concours, the car needed a head gasket replacement. I saw it once at an ARA meet, and it was by far the nicest Berlina I've ever seen: hard to tell from a showroom car except that it was perhaps nicer than when new. This was a real bargain. If any Berlina is worth the $6,000-7,000 that sometimes gets asked for them, this is it.
C 1974 2000 US Berlina. $900. Summer 1999. This car came from Sacramento to SF, was dark blue, with a number of mechanical and cosmetic issues, but was basically a decent, usable car. Probably a good price for the buyer.
C 1969 1750 US Berlina. $2,500. April 1999. This was my good-but-not-great daily use Berkeley car, metallic olive drab, tan interior with 106,000 miles, a very strong engine and nice interior, and straight body. Rebuilt brakes, driveshaft, head, clutch. Only a few rust spots, and none around the front or rear windows, but the paint was pretty faded and the car was a bit dingy overall. Everything mechanical worked, but it needed front A-arm bushings, which had gotten flaky. This was a good price for the seller and maybe a little high for the buyer.
C 1973 2000 US Berlina. $900. Summer 1998. This car came literally out of a barn in Marin County where it had sat for some years. Dark blue with black interior. Straight and complete, with moderate windshield-area rust, but the rest of the structure was good. As sold, it ran and could be driven, but needed sprucing up. Two years later, the engine is on its last legs and burns oil. This was a pretty good deal for the buyer, who was capable of doing the repairs needed, and mainly needed a good shell to replace his rusted-out other Berlina.
C 1971 1750 US Berlina. $1,400. Summer 1998. This car came from Stockton, CA, and was pale yellow with a number of electrical issues to deal with; has since been turned into an autocross hotrod. This price seems a bit high for the condition.
C 1973 2000 US Berlina. $600. Summer 1998. This was a complete, maroon, decent-running but somewhat rusty and tired rubber-bumper car. Located in the SF Bay Area, it needed a waterpump replacement shortly after sale, then successfully took visiting Australians on an extended driving tour of the United States. Price was probably too low, as seller placed ad for it on the Alfa Digest and had four immediate sight-unseen acceptances of the $600 asking price.
By way of speculation and hope, here are some recent asking prices I've seen lately, off the Berlina Register web page classified ad listing, local newspapers, and eBay:
C 1969 1750 US Berlina. In storage for some time and not running, but complete and converted to Webers. Rebuilt engine, brakes need work, located in Iowa. Asking $1,500.
C 1971 1750 Italian Berlina. An extremely nice restored Italian-market car, in Canada, with lots of work done to it. Asking US $6,900, perhaps now sold to an owner in the southern US. I saw this car in person in 1999, and no expense was spared to make it nice. I would be interested to hear what the final sales price was.
C Three 2000 US Berlinas. Uncertain condition, but I believe it was two running cars and one rolling shell, located in Colorado. $5,000 for the lot.
C 1973 2000 US Berlina. Pretty good condition, located in Central California. Asking $2,000.
C 1973 2000 US Berlina. Runs but rusty, apparently in regular use. Located in Northern California. Asking $1,500.
C 1973 2000 US Berlina. Complete but rough, has AC, been sitting for years and looks rusty and dingy. Was on eBay, located in Alabama, asking $1,000.
Berlina Parts Sources
Here is a list of businesses that have Alfa, and particularly Berlina, parts to sell. I'm sort of a clearinghouse of Berlina information, so contact me if you have specific questions.
Alfaholics is Richard Norris and Richard Banks, teaming up to provide sales, service, parts, restoration of all Alfas, particularly older ones. Claim to be the largest dismantler of 105 series cars in the UK. Richard Banks has decades of repair experience, and Richard Norris was very nice to deal with when I bought some parts from him in 1999 (phones +44 (0)1398 351360, +44 (0)20 8299 2929; fax +44 (0)1398 351163; website www.alfaholics.com).
Alfa Parts Exchange is the foremost Alfa junkyard in the United States. They deal with all kinds of Alfas and have a vast knowledge of Alfa parts. They have parted out many Berlinas, including my 1969 car, and usually have at least one Berlina (2000 National Ave, Hayward, CA 94544; (510) 782-5800; email firstname.lastname@example.org; website http://www.apedirect.com/).
AR Ricambi has a wide variety of parts to fit all Alfas, particularly performance parts like springs, sway bars, exhaust systems and includes the old Shankle parts (6644 San Fernando Rd., Glendale, CA 91201; phone (800) 225‑ALFA; fax (818) 956‑5160; email email@example.com). All Parts in Berkeley CA has a range of new and used Alfa parts for all models (2255 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, CA; phone (510) 548-8748).
Centerline Alfa Romeo Parts has new mechanical, electrical, body parts, plus accessories, manuals, and some used parts. They have a good supply of hard-to-find stuff, including restoration pieces like Berlina window seals (P.O. Box 1466, Boulder, CO 80306; (303) 447‑0239; fax (303) 447‑0257; website www.centerlinealfa.com).
di Fatta Brothers claim to have 50 years' experience servicing and selling parts for Alfas. Had hard-to-find Berlina brake parts in 1995 (5928 Belair Rd., Baltimore, MD 21206; (410) 426‑7524; email firstname.lastname@example.org; website www.difatta.com).
Charles Dodson at International Imports has lots of used Alfa parts. He had Berlina and Giulia bumpers, trim, mechanical parts, and the like, when I contacted him in 1996 (7 Wainwright Ave, Annapolis, MD 21403; phone (410) 267-9245; fax (410) 268-2266).
Ereminas Imports has been selling Alfa parts for years and has a great knowledge of the cars both old and new (3000 South Main St., P.O. Box 1214, Torrington, Connecticut 06791; phone 1-800-ALFAHOT).
Ranier Hurtienne has a vast array of mechanical, trim, restoration, interior, and body parts for various Alfas, including Berlinas (Harpener Feld 34a, 44805 Bochum, Germany; phone +49/(0)234/86 41 43; fax +49/(0)234/86 46 99; email email@example.com; website http://www.alfahurtienne.de/).
International Auto Parts has new mechanical, electrical, body, trim, restoration pieces for most Alfas, including Berlinas (P.O. Box 9036, Charlottesville, VA 22906; phone 800‑726‑0555; fax (804) 973‑2368; email firstname.lastname@example.org; website www.international-auto.com).
Matthew's Foreign Car Parts has both new and NOS Alfa parts, as well as numerous cars they are parting out. They have some esoteric stuff (4709 First Ave. North, Birmingham AL (205) 592-8900).
Jon Norman's Alfa Parts. Jon Norman and Ruth Ann Yager have been selling Alfa Parts for decades, and know most models of Alfas inside and out. Providing new factory Alfa parts, accessories, ReOriginals parts. Affiliated Norman Racing Group does sophisticated Alfa engine work, machining, and fabrication (1221 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA 94708; (510) 525-9435); website http://www.alfa-parts.com).
Portello Auto Works has the stock of Alfa parts formerly owned by Tom Zat of Alfa Heaven, other good used, NOS, and reproduction Alfa parts, especially 750, 101, and 105 cars, plus some used cars for sale (Chula Vista, CA (619) 429-6518; website www.portelloworks.com).
Re-Originals has NOS and reproduction pieces for Alfas, particularly hard-to-find stuff. A good resource when doing a restoration. A lot of things are remade by the original supplier (12618 Craigwood Lane, Cypress, TX 77429; (281) 807-1945; (281) 807-1946 (fax); email: ReOriginal@aol.com; website http://members.iinet.net.au/~unimec/reor.html).
Berlina Classified Ads
Parts for sale from 1970 Berlina with 37,000 miles: Front and rear bumpers, front and rear windows, side chrome, window chrome, front and rear hoods, consol with gauges, speedometer, tachometer, door panels (brown), front seats (brown), door and window opening hardware, calipers, driveshafts, gas tank, rear taillights, headlight chrome, center grill, steering wheel, transmission, differential, brake and clutch fluid tank, fuel injection assembly, and misc. other small parts. Ron Thiel. email@example.com; 905-887-8800
For sale: Two berlinas; one 1972 green in good used condition with red konis and reinforced coils, alloy rims 15"x7", 195/55-15 contis, cd radio suzuki sport seats, not very much rust it has been used for 190000 km; The other is for spares only without engine & gearbox but most of chrome is ok and four extra doors in very good condition. Also engine parts carbs extractor pipes and other stuff. Price 17,000 SEK. Contact Mr Jan P Wanhainen, soderbygaardsvag 25, S‑76296, Raanas, Sweden; firstname.lastname@example.org; tel +46175/61370; mobile +46 70 498 62 52
Three Berlinas for sale, '73, '74, '74, plus parts, $5000, VHS video available, 303‑258‑7905, ask for Mark Smith, e‑mail contact: email@example.com
1971 1750 Berlina for sale. Genuine 105.48 Italian‑market car. Weber carbs; car is in excellent condition. $6900 US negotiable. Contact Dr. Andrea Berardelli, Victoria BC, Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org; see information and pictures at www.geocities.com/alfa4door/index.htm
1969 Berlina for sale. Rebuilt 1750 with twin side draft Webers, five speed. Red with black interior. Straight body with some rust on rockers and around rear of trunk lid. Interior good. 4 good Vredestein snow tires. Car has been in storage for several years (but license fees paid), needs brake boosters rebuilt, and not currently running. Car is in Des Moines, Iowa. $1,500. email@example.com
1973 or 1974 Berlina for sale, in pretty good shape. Seller wants to sell it to an Alfa person so it will be taken care of. Perhaps $2,000. Call Abe in Santa Maria, CA at (805) 928‑8646
"Mortimer II," a racing Berlina, is for sale. Car is in Mass. Contact Norm Riffle, 410 Eastfield Dr., Oregon City, OR 97045 for more information; Its‑A‑Grind.com; phone 503‑227‑2711