Notes and Comment
Welcome to 2012; the Registers march on. Interest in Giulia sedans has been high in the last year. The market seems to have recovered reasonably well, and hidden and unrestored Giulias have been coming out of the woodwork in search of high prices. Some found them, some didn’t. Recent cars have been a mixed bag, and Berlinas have been very thin on the ground. Giulietta prices continue to go through the roof, with Sprint Speciales and real Veloces leading. I haven’t seen any Giulietta Berlinas or TIs for sale lately though.
Around my house, sedans have not been scarce. I bought a green 1972 Berlina in November, slated to be my Jafco Turbo car when I get around to it; I have the kit, but no time at the moment (see below; that’s original Alfa primer showing through). I’m making my race Super vintage legal for CSRG, so I traded the 2000 it had and am building a peppy 1600 track engine. I will be getting passed by GTAs and Giuliettas at Sears Point later this year. I’m not hurrying on this engine, and it’ll be done when it’s done. A race engine is a lot more work and money than throwing together a stock street engine, believe me. The street Super just came back from Conrad Stevenson’s scalpel to get some rust cut out, then local painting, including a nicely keyed trunk lid by some thoughtful soul. I’ve been going through a major two-wheeler phase too, with various two- and four-stroke bikes, all 70s Japanese original-condition machines, keeping me busy. Plus three Vespas. And a couple VWs. Why not? La Dolce Vita, for sure.
In this issue we have an article from Roger Dilts about his intrepid journey across Canada to retrieve a Berlina. This puts my 45-mile drive (with dodgy brakes) from Napa to Berkeley in my new Berlina in perspective. Also some miscellaneous informationsal items I keep forgetting to include. So here they are. And a very big market report this time.
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
Miscellaneous Berlina Items
To see how they do things in Europe, please check out the Dutch Berlina Register. They have their act way together compared to American efforts: http://www.berlina.nl/berlina/register/register.htm Thanks to Miguel F. Mendes de Leon from The Hague for sending me this link and reminding me of their existence.
If you’re not a member of the Giulia/Berlina yahoo list, consider joining. Go to http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/giuliasuper/ to sign up. Emails come out individually or by digest depending on how you sign up. It’s a good bunch, a lot of overlap with the regular contributors to the Sedan Forum on the AlfaBB. Speaking of which, most of the discussion these days is on the Alfa Bulletin Board, including a knowledgeable and active sedan group, so check out www.alfabb.com if you haven’t.
I recently needed an ATE brake booster for my 1971 VW Westfalia Bus; they are not available, nor are rebuild kits. I got a recommendation for Karp's Brakes Service, 66 N. Central Avenue, Upland, CA 91786, and sent the booster to them. They rebuilt, painted, and shipped it back for $175. It works perfectly. Alfa ATE boosters are functionally the same, so this could be an option for hanging-pedal cars. I didn’t ask about 105-style inline boosters (Bendix, Bonaldi, Benditalia, Bosch), but I think they can handle anything they can get new rubber parts for. Check them out.
Benvenuto a Portland, Bianca! (Part I)
By Roger Dilts
Now, there seem to be two reactions from Alfisti when you tell them you are looking for a Berlina: 1) “What for?” and 2) “COOL!” Even though the four-door sedan variant in the 105/115 series has the same mechanicals and performance as the rest of the series, the utilitarian Berlinas have just not gotten the love that the others get. While admittedly not as sleek and sexy as the spider and GTV, they have their own admirers, which seem to include anyone who has ever owned one. Once I drove one I appreciated the comfortable upright seating and great visibility, with the same light and responsive steering, suspension and engine as the GTV and Spider.
So I started casting about for a Berlina. One local one for sale wasn’t quite what I wanted so I started on the net. Not much. For a country of 300 million there might be a half dozen Berlinas for sale over the whole year, so at any one time there were likely to be none listed. A couple of nice ones on the AlfaBB, though, and many more in Europe.
Nothing grabbed me, but I kept looking. Then, somehow my searching on kijiji.ca turned up a 1972 Berlina that looked interesting. Good price, but minimal photos. I emailed the seller before I realized that somehow my searching had included Toronto! With no response for a couple of days, I got sensible and emailed back, “never mind, Toronto is too far, thanks anyway, good luck with the sale.” Then he sent me the photos. Dozens. This was a very nice car. Nice paint in bianca spina, great black interior, no blown seams. No cracks in the dash. No cracks in the glass. No rips in the headliner. Solid on the rockers, fenders, floors, around all the glass, suspension points, etc. Hmm. Got a shipping quote. Not bad (importing a 1972 car from Canada takes two forms, one for DOT, one for EPA; both you just check the “more than 25 years old” box and that’s it, plus a small duty). Enough “miles” in the frequent flyer account for a free roundtrip. Hmmm again.
So we talked on the phone. The seller had imported this one-owner Italian market car from Italy a few years ago to be a project. Just over 100,000 kms and bone stock. He got it roadworthy enough to register then it just sat in his garage waiting for his attention. Life moved on and he never got to the car. It was time to sell and he wanted it to go to someone who’d drive it and enjoy it and not just fix and flip it. Me. We cut a deal and I arranged to get to Toronto.
It would be great to write that I flew out and drove it back in a cross-country adventure, but that just couldn’t happen. The car had a few needs to get running and I didn’t have the vacation time to cover it, so she would need to be transported back. And she’d need to be driven onto the transporter. And the seller could not be around for the transporter, so I’d need to arrange an alternate pickup scenario. Ah, thank goodness for the internet. A quick search of the AlfaBB and I found Pinarello Motori, a very well respected Alfa shop in Toronto. I call Pino. Pino says, sure I’ll get it running and the truck can pick it up here. No problem.I call U-Haul and reserve a truck and auto transport trailer for hauling Bianca from Kingston (where the seller lives) to Toronto (where Pino is) 180 miles away.
Several phone calls, emails, and weeks later, I’m at the Toronto airport, wondering about my sanity. Greg picked me up in his TDI Jetta and we have three hours to get to know each other and find out more about the Berlina. Really a nice guy, Greg is an engineer, owned lots of Alfas in the past. We have a lot in common and have a nice drive to Kingston.He picked me up at the motel the next morning (yes the clock says it’s 7 am, but my Oregon body clock swears it’s 4 am) and we head over to his house to give the car a good going over. I’d sent the photos to Alfa sedan guru Andrew Watry and another AlfaBB buddy previously and together we’d spotted some minor issues, but no deal killers.In short I found nothing on the car to make me change my mind and I handed over the cash.
Now off to the Ministry of Transport to do the official title transfer. The clerk tells us that because the car is more than 20 years old, its value is not in their database, so we need a professional appraisal to complete the title transfer. She suggests that we go to any licensed car dealer. Yikes! What is that gonna take? We drive to the VW dealer where Greg bought his Jetta and tell our story. Turns out the sales manager used to own an Alfetta and loved it! And he’d be happy to sign off on the appraisal at our agreed on price. Whew. Back to MOT. Where they want $520 transfer tax. Well that’s news to me, but they take Visa, so, with my wallet alleggerito, we sign all the docs and head off to U-Haul. The car is mine. Now I just need to get her home.
The U-Haul transaction goes well (except that their estimate did not include the extra days, so more lightening of the wallet). Greg and I and his teenage son manage to push the car onto the trailer (far easier said than done). I spend the next day packing up the spares he’s included for shipment back home and bright and early head out on Monday morning, after topping off the U-Haul with $80 of gas. (None of this counts in the purchase price, right?)
I’m at Pino’s in three hours sharp. What a shop! He has three lifts, one with an aluminum bodied Alfa 1900, another with a older Fiat 500 and a third with a customer’s late model BMW. Many spiders and GTVs out back waiting their turn. The shop is immaculate, tools nicely stored and a whole parts department. Pino’s father owns an Alfa dealership in Italy. I think I found the right guy. We go over the car, what it needs to get started, everything is cool. I drive off, deposit the U-Haul rig where directed, catch a cab to the airport and I’m home by 5 pm. End of Part I (to be continued).
Berlina Register Berryessa Tour
Last fall’s Berlina tour went to the Napa, Lake Berryessa area. Smallish turnout, great day and great drive. SR 128 along Lake Berryessa and its dam is quite a road with remarkable scenery. A real eclectic mix of cars at this event:
Sorry, no pictures for unknown reasons. I blame the publisher.
Berlina/Giulia Market Report
1967 Giulia Super. Red Super with grey interior. Nice cosmetically, good mechanically. Had some major bodywork years ago, well done. From LA, sold through Fantasy Junction, $25,000 Emeryville, CA, private sale. Top-line price for a nice car. This car was kind of an announcement to those watching that the market had bounced back from its slump. A high price, but this is the going rate for a good Super. I looked at this car 10 years ago with a previous seller. It was the same cosmetically at the time, but ran poorly. Its mechanical ills had been solved in the interim and worked as expected. 9/11
1972 2000 US Berlina. A better-than-beater blue Berlina, generated a ton of immediate interest on the BB, snapped up quickly, smartly, by a BB member in the Seattle area. $2,450 Craigslist, Seattle.A usable, cosmetically challenged car that went to a sophisticated Alfa owner and responded well to some quick mechanical attention. This was a smart buy; from the pictures, looked like a much nicer car than the $2,450 price would indicate. Good deal for the buyer. 11/11
1972 2000 Berlina. White car with black interior that is the subject of the main article in this issue. Condition is very good: nice driver quality paint (glass-in, engine in) in original color with only minor defects; no appreciable rust, only missing trim is the Bertone badge, no signs of collision damage; very good interior but door cards are not correct (replacements included in purchase), headliner stained as typical. Mechanically seems very good, needs a set of tires and seatbelts. $4,000 Canadian, kijiji.ca, Kingston, Ontario. Beyond the purchase price, this car had to be retrieved from Ontario to the Pacific Northwest, which added some cost, but it was an adventure too, right? This Canadian-market car is in essence a Euro car with carbs, small lights, etc. I consider this a remarkably good deal, especially for a Canadian car, many of which can be quite rusty. I wouldn’t have been surprised by a price a couple thousand higher. 11/11
1972 US 2000 Berlina. Green/tan. 350,000 miles. One owner from new til 2005, second owner used it to rally, not driven much. Mechanicals a mix of strong and worn with good engine with Spica, tube headers, Magnaflow exhaust, uprated springs, shocks, sway bars, Bosch wheels, new tires. Cosmetically original, meaning old and worn; about half the paint is original, with Alfa primer showing through. Rust-free, a few small dents. Broken windshield but included new glass, dash, minor extra parts. $4,000 private sale, Napa CA. High for a beater Berlina, but a strong, fast, original, unmolested car that responded well to some minor fixes. Still needs cosmetics. I (the buyer) really wanted to pay $3,000, which seemed like market value to me, but the seller wasn’t going any lower, so if I wanted the car, $4,000 was the price. My bad for overpaying and screwing with the market. 11/11
1971 Giulia Super. I can’t recall the details of this car. $21,500, Los Angeles, I think through the AlfaBB, but I don’t remember, sorry. $500 in minor fixes, then driven home without incident from LA to Reno. Buyer is very happy, thinks the price was maybe a tad high. 12/11
1974 US 2000 Berlina. Tan, black, factory A/C. The underside and suspension look clean, rust on the lower body panels. Front suspension needs to be gone over, car is floaty and pulls to the right, tires are worn out. Interior except for the dash top is nice. The bottoms of the front seats have been redone and the rest of the upholstery is very good. The headliner is not torn or stained, but the interior lights don't work. It starts and runs pretty well. $1,000 AlfaBB, Wisconsin. Extremely good deal for a beater Berlina, buyer was very lucky. Later notes indicate head gasket may be on its last legs, but still, you can’t complain at the price, especially in the Rust Belt. 11/11
1974 US 2000 Berlina. Grey/black car a bit above beater level, usable and complete, but in need of cosmetics. Has Mercedes-style sunroof. Car jumped among a couple owners over several years, went from the West Coast to Midwest to New England. Mechanically tired, needed the right handy owner to bring it back to life. $2,171 ebay, Kansas City. This car had sold for almost double this amount previously. As a beater/driver with rubber bumpers, it was at the low end of the Berlina spectrum, but it had a tough look to it (which I liked), and the quality metal sunroof was I think a plus, though not to everyone’s taste, especially if you needed to replace the headliner or fix its leaks. Car came with a ton of spares, and I think this was a borderline good-deal price. I considered buying it, but it didn’t run well enough to drive from Kansas to Calif, so I passed; shipping cost put it into the “bad deal” category for me. But someone got a reasonable deal, fair to both I’d say. 2/12
1969 1750 US Berlina. Still-stunning maroon/tan 1750 that was a longtime resident of the Bay Area, then got sold around and not used much for 15 years. Nice body, good paint, converted to Webers, functions well, needs a little tuning. $9,000 craigslist, Los Angeles. This car was a Holy Grail car for Bay Area folks, totally original and unmolested for decades. Subsequent owners to its longtime caretaker modified, repainted, made changes, but it’s still a strong car that the buyer took on a rally immediately and did fine. I worked on the car recently, and $9,000 was more than fair, probably a good deal by $3,000+. The LA seller was difficult and put people off with poor pictures and confusing info. The Bay Area buyer, who persevered, did very well. 4/12
1967 Giulia Super. Orange Super with a 1750 that’s been around the East Bay for years. Looked OK from a distance, but the car is mangled and weird in every way once you close in. Glenn Oliveria rebuilt the engine and trans 10 years ago, those work well, but otherwise the car is rusty, weird, needs work in every department. $5,500 ebay, Berkeley, CA. I looked at this car more than once. The odd condition and odd seller had to been seen to be believed. The car was operable, but it really wasn’t usable without a lot of work. You could fix it as needed and just use it, but the body (one rocker was literally peeling open), interior (seats were not from a Giulia sedan), functions, were all poor and somewhat maddening in their half-assedness. So do you restore it? Tens of thousands in bodywork, paint, upholstery to be done here, regardless of approach. Price is probably about right, maybe $1,000 high, but I wouldn‘t want to take it on. 4/12
1965 Giulia TI. Red/grey car well converted to Spica-injected 1750. Nicely done, not conventional, but makes a nice car. Car seemed old and original other than the Spica engine, but in fact was repainted from grey to red and had reupholstered seats. Rust-free throughout, garaged and not abused. Converted to ATE brakes from original Dunlops. Still, the car appeared nice all over. Headliner collapsing, would need redoing, which involves removing the glass. $12,345 ebay, Austin, TX. I was very interested in this car and in fact bid on it. Once I saw the true state of the headliner I was not as excited but still, an interesting car at a fair price. Everyone wants a true 1600 Super, but the TI has its own appeal, and this car with the 1750 Spica engine made a great real-world car that would be fast, smooth, comfy, different. In spite of my reservations, if I’d won the auction, I’d have happily driven it home from Austin. Someone got a cool, unusual Giulia at a fair price. 4/12
1971 Giulia 1600S. Well-known Los Angeles Giulia, a commonly discussed car on the Alfa BB, and one of very few 1600S models in the US. Exemplary condition, really as good a Giulia as you’re even going to find. Engine, trans, running gear, body, paint, everything original and pretty near perfect. Low miles, two owners from new, brought from Italy a few years back. Stunning. $24,776 ebay, Orange County, CA.As with the Spica TI above, I urge folks to buy the best Giulia they can find within their budget regardless of model. The Giulia 1600S is a single-carb version and not regarded as quite as nice as the Super, but give me a break, this car’s condition was virtually perfect, 90+% original, and beyond any other car you’re likely to find. Want more power? Drop in a 2000, save the original 1600 for when you sell it later. Top-of-the-market price, if it’d been a 1600 Super could have gone for more. As such, a slightly good deal, I think, but I think this is as high as it was going to get bid. 5/12