Project Alfa - Part 1

By Vint-tro / 28th June 2022
Red Alfa Romeo front view

Having recently sold my Aston Martin V8 Vantage I was looking to find something that was more of a project and less worry.

When I say less worry I mean in the terms of leaving a car places such as car parks or outside overnight etc.

Searching the ads a few months ago after several glasses of red wine I came across a 1998 2.0 Twin Spark Alfa Romeo GTV Lusso.

I have never owned an Alfa before and most will tell you it’s impossible to call yourself a petrol head unless you have so could this one be the tick in the box? My only real interaction with the Alfa brand was a 147 that my partner once owned and I disliked it quite a lot!

So knowing I didn’t really like the one Alfa I had driven in life and not knowing much other than they always seem to break or gain multiple faults it would be silly of me to make a purchase right? Wrong! The sheer amount of red wine went straight to my head and before I could talk myself out of it I had messaged the owner with an offer. One hour later I had paid for the car!

The back story is I bought it from a teacher, it had been sat in the playground of the school he was at for around two years and was going very green, very fast.

I made arrangements for the vehicle to be collected through the Vint-tro vehicle collection service and it arrived to me a few days later on the back of the trailer.

It was clearly worse than I had imagined. A chunk of filler work had fallen out of the quarter panel, all four tyres were visibly perished and flat, the paint was pink in colour too.

Upon closer inspection the servicing was lacking in every way and the car was filthy which was clearly hiding further gremlins, however I had a “new” car!

A deep clean was undertaken initially, inside and out. Bits of moss, old food and ghastly sights from under the bonnet and within the door shuts needed fumigating.

Once the clean was undertaken It was machine polished, this is around 90% complete and some areas I had to flat and polish still need further attention as I write.

Vint-tro sourced me four new tyres which were fitted by a mobile tech and the car was then collected by a mechanic to go away for few days. After sourcing several bits, the following was carried out:

  • Replacement Cambelt
  • Replacement Water Pump
  • Discs and Pads All Round
  • Engine Oil and Filter
  • Balance Belt
  • 30mm Lowering Springs


Upon its return I have also fitted a new battery, rubber grommet to the rear ariel, wiper blades and new wheel nuts.

The interior was grubby however the lovely leather interior was in good condition. I spent some time re-applying some dye to it and conditioning it fully.

I have removed the stereo that was fitted to the car and replaced this with a more modern unit for now but have the original to go back in it when the time is right.

A huge history file was provided with the car with spare keys and fobs for the very 90’s Clifford alarm that’s fitted to it.

What I also asked the mechanic to do was MOT the vehicle so I could gauge what items were left to carry out in order to get this vehicle back on the road once again. There was a huge list, one I am not afraid to say was longer than expected.

Most of them were very small items and I covered these off quickly. Things like adjusting the headlight beam pattern, securing the battery correctly, fitting the locking wheel nuts (at the time only 4 of the 5 nuts were on the wheels) along with some other mediocre items.

The big ticket failures were a small patch of welding required to the inner offside sill, a brake line and flexi hose, suspension mount on the nearside and that’s about it.

I have since sourced the parts needed and the vehicle will be going to Bridge Place Auto’s outside Ipswich for the final piece of work to be carried out in the new year at which hopefully it will then be road worthy.

I still have the body work to sort out, ideally I would paint the whole car but at this point in time and going back to what I first mentioned the idea of this vehicle was to enjoy it and not stress about it so whilst I will likely attend to the quarter panel this will be enough for the foreseeable and hopefully I can get small road trips and use from this car which has been saved from the scrapheap.

Lastly, let’s talk money.

The car was £550, it cost me another £90 to get it delivered and around £800 on parts and labour to date bring total spend so far to £1440.

I will still need to pay Bridge Place Auto’s after they complete the next instalment and ideally I will be in an MOT position for under £2k.

Yes, you can find these cars from around £1800 upwards however with the work I have done, this is fully serviced, belts, brakes and tyres changed for new which would never have been possible had I bought one on sale as anything under £2k all needs work.

I’ll keep you updated as time passes by on where this little monster takes me next but so far it’s been a great heap of fun and I’m looking forward to that first drive!

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