Berlina Register Newsletter No. 32 (November 2011)
Notes and Comment
Hello good evening and welcome. Don’t even ask about the craziness in my driveway of late. Took on four American cars after I sold the project Berlina last summer, got them all working, sold three and kept the best (1965 Mustang 289, manual trans) for myself. Sold a few bikes, so I have some breathing room. Will be changing the engine on my race Super from a 2000 to a 1600 so it’s vintage-legal in my local group, CSRG. I can still run with AROSC, but being in CSRG will allow me to race in my own backyard (Sears Point, Thunderhill), rather than facing cross-state weekends to get to SoCal tracks like Willow Springs and Buttonwillow. Plus I’ll learn racing rather than time-trialing. Had a great October timetrial with AROSC at Willow, and diced with Jason Seal (who also has a Giulia) in his ITB BMW 2002, pictured below. We had the greatest time. If you can do track events, you should.
In this issue we have an article from Jerome Cornette from France about rallying his Berlina. His English is far better than my French, and I’ve left the language charmingly as-is. You should do so well in another language. Also, a story on a Berlina I owned twice, and a tour report from the spring. Fall tour report will be in the next issue.
The keeper of the Berlina Register, North American Giulia Sedan Register, and Giulietta Sedan Register is Andrew Watry, email email@example.com. Send corrections to your information or any other Giulia- and Berlina-related facts, rumors, tips, or needs. Always seeking articles for the newsletter. The keeper of the international Giulia Sedan Register is Barry Edmunds in Australia, email Giulia105@optusnet.com.au
Like remarrying a previously-divorced wife, some guys get remorseful over time and seek out a car they’ve been with in the past. That’s not exactly the scenario here, but last January I was given a 1974 Berlina I owned in 2001, at a time when I had trouble fending off cheap maroon Berlinas (I had four in a couple years). It’s definitely worse for wear in the interim, but the price was right (free), and I’m not one to look a gift Berlina in the mouth, at least not very closely.
In 2001, I had a 69 Berlina and a 74 GTV; I had started the Berlina Register a couple years before, but had owned only the one Berlina. A friend said he’d seen two Berlinas in a driveway in El Cerrito and thought the guy wanted to sell. I got in touch, and after the seller got no response from a newspaper ad (craigslist had not yet killed classified ads) for the crazy price of $1,000, I bought both for $400. One was a sad green 72 with rust and some parts missing. The other, a faggio 74, was not bad, mainly dirty, and responded to cleaning and prep, and I got it running well. I drove it awhile, waxed it, and then sold it on the Alfa Digest for 50% profit at $600. The green parts car went to a Berlina Register member and was cut up to fix another car.
A couple years later, the faggio car passed through my life again a subsequent new owner from my Digest buyer wanted to convert the rubber bumpers to stainless. I had a set of bumpers; he stopped by to pick them up; we had a nice visit, and I met his wife and newborn son. End of story until January 2011, when late on a Friday, I got an email from the guy, asking if I wanted a Berlina, free. We communicated a bit, and I committed to come pick it up the next day in San Jose. He had been using it as a daily driver, but had bought a fully restored 72 Berlina a couple years before and found he was cannibalizing the faggio car to support the 72. He worried he was going to end up with a shell that his wife and neighbors would not appreciate, and anyway, why was he parking this pile in the garage, leaving the nice Berlina out in the rain? So we wrapped up its odds and ends and AAA flatbedded it to my house on a Saturday morning.
In the clear light of Berkeley, I began to see what I’d done, and what the ensuing years had done to this car. Fortunately it was registered, so I just transferred it to my name; no fees or penalties, although it had different plates from 10 years before. While it had not been a beauty when I’d owned it, it looked reasonable. My son and I had polished it and it had looked pretty good. Now, the horizontal painted surfaces showed buff-through down to the factory primer. The windshield was cracked, and the right rear fender area had bad rust, as had the right rear door. This was the family’s dog car, so the carpets were dense with dog fur, and the seats were split and torn, covered with sheepskins. A few items were missing including the driveshaft, console, turn signal switch, regulator, other odds and ends. It had a cobbled engine literally balancing on its motor mounts, the transmission in the trunk. The front had stock suspension, but the back had short springs and no shocks, so it sat very nose-high and bounced quite readily.
That said, I can’t complain; the seller was candid, it was after all a project, and it was free. I’ve had Alfa sedans since 1977 and have quite a stash of parts. I bought and sold two junker Spica Spiders to get a good engine and trans combo for the Berlina (one had a cracked engine block, not apparent til I removed it), and got a set of BWA wheels in the bargain. The only pieces I didn’t have were a driveshaft and trans mount, and I got them at reasonable prices. I cleaned up and popped in the engine and trans from a 74 Spider and reassembled all the other bits. After some sorting, raising the rear, putting out small fires, etc., it worked pretty well. Drove it a couple months, then sold it to a Berlina-needy party in Los Angeles. I met him Oakland airport, he looked at the car, liked it, paid me, dropped me at the nearby BART station, and drove it back to LA in six hours. No problem. Not that’s what you want in a beater Berlina.
French Rally Berlina
by Jerome Cornette
About the event called "Historique Routes du Nord," this is a regularity race, once a year at the end of September, in the north of France, on open roads, with an average speed to respect (nor too fast, neither too slow) and a very hard to translate roadbook. Its notes are written:
- or with distances and road directions, very easy with a Tripmaster,
- or with just road directions without any distance, a bit harder,
- or "German roadbook" with just the roads you have not to take (it looks like a fishbone, don't know if it is used in U.S.)
- or maps with level curves, with points you have to join by the shortest way
- or maps without any indication about villages or cities, you have to find the shortest way.
There are human controls anywhere all along the road, to check if you are on the right way or not, and auto controls you do yourself, and even wrong controls you have to avoid if you don't mistake with the roadbook.
We drive 2 days long, with cars check up on Friday evening, with a good beer to drink, 1 stage on Saturday morning, 1 on Saturday afternoon, 1 by night on Saturday evening (very funny) and the last stage on Sunday morning. The whole race make us ride for 550 to 600 kms. The average speed is less than 50 km/h, but the small roads we take are difficult for a really quick driving, and the road law must be respected.
My young wife and I use to race this event since 1999, 7 times with my Berlina, 3 times with my 1953 Panhard Dyna Junior, twice with my 1971 Iso Lele. The Berlina is quite the best car for this, comfy, powerful, solid, with good brakes, and a good high from the road. The Iso is too heavy and too hard to drive fast on small roads; the Dyna needs power (42 HP for 680 kgs, and it has no brakes and a glass-made gearbox!).
Admitted cars must be more than 25 years old. You can see some Alpine Berlinette, R8 Gordini, Ferrari Dino and 308 GTB, Alfa Giulietta, Giulia, GTV and Spider, Lancia Fulvia, Fiat Abarth 124, Porsche 911 and 914, BMW 2002, Aston DB6, AC Ace, MGA and MGB, TR3, TR4, TR6 and Dolomite Sprint, Sunbeam Alpine, some American Pony cars, Mustang or Camaro, and also more popular cars like Opel Manta, Ford Capri, Renault 17 or Peugeot 204.
The Routes du Nord are in a challenge with 7 races in the North and East of France, in Belgium, in Luxembourg and I think in Germany. A good copilot is needed to win!
Berlina Register Rio Vista Tour
Spring 2011 tour met on June 12 at Fellini’s in Berkeley as usual, and headed northeast on freeways to the Sacramento Delta, where we meandered along the levees, then headed through the Montezuma Hills southwest of Rio Vista, ending up at the Western Railway Museum. Had a nice picnic lunch, checked out the streetcars and interurbans, and rode a 107-year-old interurban on the former Sacramento Northern mainline.
There was a good turnout, about 25 cars at Fellini’s, 20ish making the drive. These folks participated:
Had a couple extra Berlinas at Fellini’s at the start, a 1970 VW Bus Westfalia, Porsche 912, a few others. As always, a fun day with a great group of people. Montezuma Hills Rd./Birds Landing Rd. near Rio Vista, CA is worth searching out if you’re in the area.
Berlina/Giulia Market Report
1961 Giulietta TI. White/grey. Nice looking complete Giulietta sedan modified a bit from stock, but still with its original appearance. 1750 engine and single carburetor, with five-speed. 4000 E/$5800, Netherlands. Compared to US prices, seemed cheap considering the specification and condition; I’d expect this price to be double in the US. There are a lot more Giulietta sedans in Europe than here, however. So charming, and with this engine/trans combo, a pretty fast car. 10/10
1974 US 2000 Berlina. Maroon/tan. This is a basically complete car that was in regular use til 2010 and started to be cannibalized for the owner’s other nicer Berlina. He realized it was better to get rid of it than end up with an unwanted shell in his garage. Missing driveshaft, console, turn signals, a few odds and ends. Rust in RR fender, paint buffed away on horizontal surfaces. Stainless bumpers replace original rubber. Free private sale, San Jose CA. This is a car I resurrected and owned in 2000, and got me started flipping tired, neglected Berlinas. The owner emailed me on Friday to ask if I wanted it for free. I was at his house Saturday morning and towed it home. The engine in it was not usable, so I sourced an engine/trans from a 74 Spider, and amassed all the other parts from my stash, needing to buy only the front half of the driveshaft. As such, this will be a car on the road for a couple hundred bucks and many hours’ labor. And it’ll still look like hell. Can I complain? Not at all. 1/11
1956 Giulietta Berlina. Complete, operable early 6” headlight column-shift survivor with old paint, sad interior, and a fair amount of rust on the lower edges. Rebuilt mechanicals, new tires, lots of NOS parts came with it. Resurrected after 35 years’ sitting in Washington, rusting. Grey/grey. $6250 AlfaBB, Berkeley CA. I put this car together over the past three years, rebuilding the engine, brakes, clutch, electrical system, you name it. But I never intended to address the cosmetics inside or out. Wanting to downsize, I found a sympathetic buyer in LA who will do a proper restoration. Perhaps this car would be worth more in Europe where as a pre-1957 car it’s eligible for historic rallies and such, but the extent of the work involved is enough to put anyone off. This is basically market price; I maybe could have held out for a bit more, but it takes finding the right buyer for this kind of project. This represents about 50% of what I had in it, not counting hundreds of hours. 1/11
1971 US 1750 Berlina. Olive metallic, tan leather interior. Super-nice restored 1750 Berlina, done with all the best stuff inside and out over a long period by a knowledgeable sedan nut. Stainless straightened and polished. Cromodora alloys. Engine and transmission rebuilt, converted to carbs with correct manifold and air filter. Suspension was in great condition. $15,000 AlfaBB, Los Angeles. This is right at the top of the US Berlina market currently. Berlina prices took a big hit in the recession, and have rebounded more slowly than Supers, which are already back to pre-recession levels. It has been very hard to get $10,000 for a Berlina, but this car did that and more, deservedly. Few Berlinas have been for sale other than beaters and projects, in the last couple years. 2/11
1974 US 2000 Berlina. Metallic gold, tan interior. A complete, operable car that is pretty sad mechanically and cosmetically, and has kicked around among several Bay Area owners in the last 10 years. Works, but is very tired. Originally tan; now a vibrant Volvo gold that may or may not appeal to you. Driveable but very tired mechanically. $1100 AlfaBB, San Francisco. This car is worn out all over, but could be rejuvenated by the right person. It went to a collector in LA who certainly can sort it out; will it end up as a track car, street car, LeMons car? Who knows. I looked at this car twice for different buyers in the past, and it needed work in every area. More than I’d want to pay considering the work needed, but really not bad for a complete operable car, and the going rate, pretty much, for a beater driver. Sold in less than an hour on the BB. 4/11
1965 Giulia TI. Green/tan Giulia that had been sitting for years of decades in the Arizona desert. Appeared complete but very sun-worn, especially the interior. Buyer said it ran under its own power and stopped, but not well. Not much info in the AlfaBB and ebay listings, but all glass, trim, bumpers, seats, etc. appeared to be present. $4601 ebay, Kingman AZ. I was at first surprised at this price, but after thinking about it, an original, probably nonrusty, operable Giulia sedan for under $5000 is a reasonable deal nowadays, even if it’ll need multiples of that to be restored. Could be put back on the road as a daily use car by a capable home mechanic for relatively cheap, though if it still has Dunlop brakes, those will be a challenge to sort. Seller asked $8000 on the BB, which was fishing/dreaming, and I was expected an ebay price of more like $3500. But fair enough; a similar car in the Bay Area got flipped a couple times with no improvement to condition, starting at free and working up to $8000ish. 4/11
1965 Giulia TI. Orange/grey car with excellent cosmetics, built as a tough street car or mild track car. 1750 with Webers, grey GTV-style interior, race graphics. Lowered with TZ wheels. Overall excellent condition. $25,000 ebay, La Jolla CA. This car caused a small frenzy when it was for sale on the BB a couple years ago, and again on ebay in 2011. It sold in less than a day for the asking price. This price is the going rate for an original, dialed-in stock 1600 Super. This car was pretty far from stock, but still had plenty of appeal, and the price seems about right. It is bright, bright orange, and with race graphics is no wallflower; you’ll get noticed everywhere you go. As a track car it has the look but not the moxie to back it up. Minimal belts, no cage, mild suspension upgrades. It could be upgraded to a full track car, or made into a great boulevardier to show off. Price seems just about right, perhaps a slight bargain for the work involved. 4/11
1970 Giulia 1300 TI. Sandia/tan 1300 that has been upgraded to rebuilt 1750/Webers specs, with Turbina wheels, Acura seats, Euro gauges. In grey primer, no paint. Straight, complete car that’s a ways from stock, but is likely a strong performer and fun to drive. Mechanically should be all set, cosmetics still need to be sorted. $9500 AlfaBB, Cameron Park, CA. This car has had a caring owner for some time who put together a pretty good package. Acura velour seats may not be to all tastes, but they’re likely a lot more comfy that the TI no-lumbar-support originals. Mechanicals sound great, car should more right along. With a paint job, this car will be all set unless you wanted to find stock seats. At first the price seemed a bit high, but if you put a $5000 paint job on it you’ll have a dialed in Giulia sedan for $15,000, about the going rate for a model that’s not an early Super. So it seems about right. And it’ll be as fast as any of them. 4/11
1973 US 2000 Berlina. Tan/beige project. Sold a couple years ago through a charity donation auction; buyer intended to see it through but realized it was not going to happen and put it on ebay. Complete, inoperable car with sad paint, tatty interior, unknown mechanicals. AC, Weber conversion. Some obvious surface rust and bubbling around the taillights; probably some rust underneath but not possible to tell from the pictures. $1100 ebay, Newport TN. Made several consecutive passes on ebay before a buyer finally paid up. Prices are up all over, and this is about double what such a project would have brought a couple years ago. In its favor are that it’s complete, not wrecked, and appears to relatively rust-free. On the other hand, it hasn’t run in many years and probably needs complete going through, and then it still needs paint and upholstery. More or less 2011 market price for a beater/rebuilder Berlina. 5/11
1967 Giulia Super. This maroon/tan complete car popped up on ebay. Hasn’t been used in years. All there except for non-stock front seats, but the undersides are extremely rusty from decades of sitting in Florida. Paint quite faded but body looks straight, if significantly lighter due to rustly lower extremities. Most Super-specific stuff intact (including Dunlop brakes), though center grille is broken, as is typical. $2900 ebay, Daytona Beach FL. This car looked appealing in the pictures til you saw the undersides, which were mostly not there. Just taking it apart would be a challenge, much less making it functional and non-rusty and putting it back together. Big big project. But a cheap enough starting point. Price seems more than fair; the parts value might approach this number. Again, if you pay to have it restored, you’ll be spending $20-30,000, so $2900 to start is not a big deal. 5/11
1969 US 1750 Berlina. Maroon car, apparently tan seats, wedged in a warehouse space with more Alfas and other junk. Partly disassembled, looked not to have run in years/decades. Body, paint, rust issues, lots of junk piled in the interior, and no dash. 2000 engine, condition unknown. $750 ebay, Richardson TX. About the going rate for a complete project Berlina. This one was hard to judge, as the seller was not helpful (stated in huge letters his “zero tolerance” for stupid questions) or apparently knowledgeable. Body looked basically all there, but there were no decent interior, engine, trunk, or underside pictures, so it’s a roll of the dice. Probably no harm done, whether to be restored or parted. 5/11
1974 US 2000 Berlina. Same car as the free maroon roller above. Good-running, bad-looking beater Berlina that I put back on the road over a couple weeks with mechanicals from a 74 Spider and a lot from the stash in my garage. New KYB shocks, tires, battery, actuator, clutch. Poor body and interior, some significant rust spots, but basically straight and complete, and drives very well despite beater status; nice steering, brakes, and trans. $1900 private sale, Berkeley CA. Might sound high for the condition, but the mechanicals were unimpeachable. I’d call this market price for this kind of beater. Buyer literally flew in, looked at the car at the airport, bought it, dropped me at the BART station, drove home to LA at 70 MPH with no problem. How’s that for a 37-year old car? 6/11
1974 US 2000 Berlina. Red/black rubber-bumper car, was used by Alfa as a company car in the El Segundo office til 1976. Looked very stock, complete, original in the ebay listing. Pretty much nothing wrong, many recent mechanical fixes, working AC. Very nice all around. $9750 ebay, LA, CA. This car has bumped around on various sites for sale in the past few years. It looked about as stock/good as possible, with no issues areas I could see. Rubber bumpers are not most favored, but overall condition is still the most crucial consideration, and this car looked utterly solid, together, unmolested. Prices have really rebounded since the recession and this surprised me by a couple thousand. Berlinas are pressing through $10,000 again for good ones. 7/11
1965 Giulia TI. Green/tan car, complete and operable, looked good on ebay, but seller admitted paint wasn’t good up close and there were some rust bubbles. Basically stock and complete, had Giulia Super door panels and later GTV steering wheel, but it worked as a package and didn’t look modified. Mechanically good, no issues mentioned; engine bay is complete and tidy. $7700 ebay, Portland, OR. Seems a ballpark-correct price for an honest, basically solid TI that could be used or cosmetically restored over time. While most Giulia buyers want a Super, the TI has its own appeal, and an original unmolested one can draw a lot of attention. The warnings re paint and rust spots by the seller are commendable, and probably dampened the price several thousand dollars. This seems the essence of a fair deal. 8/11
1965 Giulia TI. Grey/red car, mostly original and nicely worn, with tired mechanicals. Early car with Dunlop brakes, two-spoke “Edsel” style steering wheel, two piece door panels. Charming and simple, as it came from Alfa. $15,500 ebay, Novi, MI. A car valued for its great color combo and originality, which has changed hands a couple times and needed the right home. Current buyer sorted out the tired engine and is ready to enjoy an unmolested original car showcasing Alfa’s original intent for the Giulia line. Price reflects some adjustment due to engine woes, and seems high but I see the value in structural integrity, originality, and not having been screwed up. Folks are appreciating good Giulias of all variants, not just 1600 Supers. So maybe a bit high, but worth it for a rare example in rare condition. 8/11
1974 US 2000 Berlina. Silver car with black interior. Restored/prepped to perfection. Retained Spica injection, but swapped rubber bumpers for earlier stainless type. Flawless all over, stock but for aftermarket mag wheels. $25,000 private sale, Los Angeles. Big money for as good a Berlina as you’re going to find. The highest prices on Berlinas are coming out of LA these days for super-nice restored cars. This is a typical price for an utterly dialed-in Giulia Super, remarkable for a Berlina. Congrats to the seller. 9/11
1967 Giulia Super. Green/tan car that languished for years, moving from owner to owner, til finally being built up and put back on the road in the past couple years. 2000 engine, rebuild mechanicals, new paint, reupholstered. All work done to a good driver, not show level. $12,000 AlfaBB, Salt Lake City. A reasonable, fair-for-everyone price for a nice driver Super. This car has a long storied history as a project in the Mid Atlantic states and Northeast, and it finally got built up and used. 10/11
1968 1750 Berlina. Very original red/black Canadian market Berlina with early Giulia-style carburetion. Quite unmolested and original, some recent localized paint and welding to fix rockers, trunk lid. Done to a good standard. $12,400 BringaTrailer, Portland OR. An early unmolested carbureted Berlina is not something that comes up in the US very often; most carbed cars are converted following Spica issues, some better than others. This was a charming, one-long-owner Canadian car that was largely unmolested, but picked up typical rust damage from the real world, especially living so far north. That said, seems like a reasonabler deal for all concerned, perhaps slightly high from the comments I heard about its dingy condition; I didn’t see it, so I’m relying on others. 10/11
1967 Giulia Super. Longtime northwest blue/tan car, used on the street and as a mild track car. Solid body, good but worn interior, blue repaint to average level and color. Slightly prepped for track with springs, Konis, Ingram 1750, good drivetrain. Past body repair with replacement nose panel and hood, not original but not bad. $9000 craigslist, Seattle. I saw this car at the 2002 AROC convention at the track, then a Bay Area friend saw it on Seattle craigslist, bought it, and drove it home at 80 MPH. I drove it in October; from the buyer’s description I was prepared for the worst, but I think his standards are unrealistic. This is a solid, nice driving car that has had significant development to work the operational bugs out. Suspension is a bit improved, fine for street use. Engine is strong with dialed-in carbs, good clutch, trans drivetrain, super-firm brakes. You cannot go wrong with a 1750 in a Super. A few needs like missing front bumper and poor ignition switch, small typical rust spots; no big deal. The car is obviously not an unmolested original, but they can’t all be, and it’s great as a presentable high performance driver. This is a good deal a good measure; I wouldn’t have been surprised at a $12,000 price tag. I don’t know why a local didn’t snap it up; I would have. 10/11
1976 Nuova Super 1300. Blue/tan, converted to late 1972 exterior style but inside all original Nuova with headrests, etc. Came from Spain, drove all over the US on tour by multi-Giulia fan in Texas. Stock mechanically other than switch to 1600, excellent condition all over. $18,000 private sale, Austin TX. This is an interesting, unusual car, and a very strong price. You get the late mechanical spec of a Nuova and its comfy interior, but the exterior of mid-period Giulia. In some ways the best of both worlds. Car was about as dialed in as possible and looked great. Not for the purist, having been converted to a different look, but it was done for aesthetic reasons, not to fool anyone about what the car really was. A good result for the seller, I think this price would be hard to duplicate on another Nuova, but there likely isn’t another that’s had this done to it. Or this sorted. 10/11
1970 Giulia 1300 TI. Maroon TI 1300 with tan interior. Built as a bit of a hotrod, not a perfect body, with some rust, but presentable. Very nice interior, nice sporty steering wheel. A few minor gripes to sort out electrically and otherwise, but the car was functional and fast right from the start. 2000 engine, lowered suspension, Bosch wheels, $9000 AlfaBB, New York. This car was featured on the Alfa BB and discussed at length. I think the buyer who stepped up got a good looking, strong performing car that needs a little sorting that you can do as you go. Without seeing the extent of body issues I couldn’t call this the deal of the century, but I think it’s a relatively good buy. Buyer took it on a rally immediately and was thrilled with it. 11/11.