Berlina Register Newsletter No. 45 (August 2019)
Notes and Comment
I hope you’re not keeping track of the time or date by the regularity of these newsletters, but here’s the latest. Seems like there’s a lot going on all the time! In local news, I had my Super painted finally after the body repairs from five years ago came undone. At the same time, put in new front and rear window seals, a NOS windshield, and NOS rear bumper. A local shop did a few small rust repairs, stripped the areas where paint was peeling, filled in the antenna hole, and painted in two-stage green from the AR209 code, all for $4000, not bad for the Bay Area. I’ve spent a lot more! The car lives outside and I’m not as good as I should be about maintaining it, so to pay big money for paint is to throw it away. I’m happy.
I sold the 1750 Berlina to a friend in Texas because I took on a 1600 Junior Zagato in April and something had to go. Its new home in Austin is a good one; the car is getting more love than I had time to give it. I kept the real GTA wheels, they’re now on the Junior Z. Been working on various cars, including getting a red Super running for a 91-year-old from across the Bay in San Mateo. The car needed its head put back on, brakes, fuel clean-out, some big oil leaks fixed. First time driving in 25 years, and it works pretty well. So that was a nice experience. See Gene, below, who found me through the AlfaBB. Texting, emailing, cellphoning at age 91.
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
Three Strikes and a Home Run
By J. Michael Hemsley
Strike one: As graduation from college loomed in the spring of 1966, I was anticipating buying my first car – can’t keep borrowing Mom’s ’63 Valiant once I was commissioned in the Army. I happened to see an Alfa sitting on a used car lot, and I stopped to look at this sexy automobile. It was a ’65 Giulia Sprint GT. Oh, I was in love. But I was also a complete idiot when it came to automobiles and what to look for in a used car. Luckily, there was a gas station on the way to my fiancé’s house that often had a couple SCCA-prepared Spitfires sitting outside. I stopped one day, and they said they’d be happy to look the Alfa over for me. A few days later, I drove my mother’s Valiant to the used car lot in time to see the Alfa drive off. I went inside and learned that the car had just been delivered to its new owner.
Strike two: In 1968, I was an Army Captain serving in Germany when I saw the new Alfa 1750 GTV. Once again, I was in love. I visited the dealer and we worked out a deal on a sweet car to be delivered in a month or so. Then the salesman said, in accented English, “Vell, you know you can’t take zis car to the Schtates.” My surprise was evident, so he explained that the ’68 GTV was not legal in the US because it had Weber carbs and didn’t meet the new emission requirements.
Strike three: Back from Vietnam, I was sent to teach ROTC at Eastern Washington State College outside Spokane. I joined the local sports car club – Northwest Motorsports. They soon had me racing (1956 Lotus 11 Le Mans I bought from Evel Knievel’s father Bob). Initially, I towed it with my Volvo 145, but soon realized it wasn’t a very good tow car and bought a ’65 Chevy Carryall. Now I had two trucks and a race car, so I started looking for a nice performance sedan. An Alfa dealer had just opened in Spokane, and he had a used ’69 Berlina on the showroom floor – the owner wanted to sell it so he could buy a new 1971 GTV. My wife and I looked at it, talked about it, and decided to buy it. I saw the dealer at a car show that weekend and told him that we decided to buy the Plum ‘69 Berlina. He looked at me and said “Sold it Friday.”
Home run: It took me about 10 seconds to ask him how much a new Berlina was - $3650. It took about a month to take delivery of my new 1971 green Berlina. It was the start of my Alfa disease – next came a ’66 Super that I raced, and a total of 15 Alfas over the years. Current Alfa is a ’73 Giulia Super with a very hot 2-liter engine. Wonder if there will be more?
This information kindly came to me from Miguel Mendes de Leon in the Netherlands.
The “Giulina" was built as a test-car on the platform of a Giulia TI (tipo 105.14) and produced on 15 January 1963. Chassis AR*400027*. According “Centro D.A.R." this car had been scrapped in 1976. But apparently not! So the history of the car after the test-period is not well known. The car was originally used as a test-car on the track of Balocco for testing the 1750 engine in combination with this new and bigger body. As you see this car is not a Giulia 1963 and still not the Berlina, but something in between. Definitely this car is the prelude to the final Berlina 1750. So in any case a unique Alfa Romeo.
Unfortunately I have no better scans. I made them from “Het Klaverblaadje.” But as I informed you the owner is an Italian collector, Corrado Lopresto. See next car for more info.
Here is another one, below, I may have published before. I found this car “for sale” online years ago, described as a Giulia prototype, shows Chassis AR*400010*. It seems related to the car above with minor differences. Perhaps a styling exercise for a replacement? The VIN seems like an early production TI, as does the VIN of the car above. On this one the hood opens from the front, not from the back, though the firewall, in other pictures, appears to be a standard Giulia sedan piece. This one has Giulia Super seats and door panels, and a late style steering wheel. This car is said to be in the Lopresto collection too. See http://www.loprestocollection.com/it/ for the collection, but neither of these cars is pictured there. Anyone know more?
1970 Giulia 1300 TI. Really solid looking car in grigio indaco repaint and red interior. Fair amount of recent maintenance on what looked like a solid stock car. Body and undersides looked quite good. The most common variant of the Giulia sedan, roughly half of production looked like this. $18,250 BringaTrailer, Palermo Italy. Great looking car in a color combo the US did not get, on a model we did not get. Most buyers are looking for Supers, but a solid 1300 can be a bargain. This price is right in line with expectation. If was getting exported, would be expensive by the time it landed, but probably worth it due to apparently great condition. 12/18
1966 Giulia 1300 TI. Similar to above. A graphite grey/red Italian import, very original and stunning looking. $36,400 Bonham’s, Scottsdale. Big money for a 1300 TI in the US, roughly double the private party FMV. That happens at auctions, two folks really want the same car, price guides go out the window. 1/19
1969 US 1750 Berlina. Now maroon, started life olive metallic. Redone red interior, recent paint, rust repair, can’t tell extent though seller mentions rust and that the car could stand restoring. Missing sill spears. Still has Spica, recent brakes, 2000 engine, various mechanical repairs. A high-level beater driver. $5,100 ebay, Baltimore. Car has been on the Berlina Register 20 years, was an ice racer in upstate NY. As such, I’d expect extreme rust and damage on the undersides, though the [poor] ebay pics didn’t show much. Minimal ad was not very useful. Was listed and “sold” a couple times, not sure which sales were real. Earlier sales at $13,300 and $3,500. Is $5,100 the real, magic number? Seems sensible; $13,300 was crazy money. 1/19
1972 Giulia 1300 Super. Very solid white/black car, reportedly restored five years ago. Stock all over other than 2000 engine with Webers. Condition looked great throughout. It was in Sicily, all its life in Italy, probably little rust or corrosion. $25,000 BringaTrailer, Sicily. Looked like a great car. For an American buyer a PPI would be tough unless you knew someone in Sicily. Car had recent valve job, carb setup. Key was lots of pics of solid-looking chassis. Cars from Italy can be an open question; this one appeared to be a good solid car, not something prettied up for sale. Fair price. If it came to a US buyer, add roughly $5000 to get it here. 2/19
1973 Giulia 1300 Super. Nice looking white/tan car, kept up but unclear if it was restored. Stock all over, recent work to get all the mechanicals functioning. Looked very solid. Undersides painted black, hard to tell exact condition but looked generally good. $17,500 BringaTrailer, Sicily. Same seller as previous car, and a very similar car. If anything, this looked to me a better car than the one with the 2000 in it. So I’d say a good buy by some thousands. As always, add $$ if you’re bringing the car to the US, plus you likely haven’t seen it in person. 3/19
1967 Giulia Super. Stunning grigio car with recently redone skai interior in original material and body done in Spain in 2017. Stock drivetrain, stock everything. Stunning car top and bottom, which is kind of the norm in the Netherlands. $43,000 BringaTrailer, Heemskerk Netherlands. This is a strong price, easily the most seen publicly in the last year, though there is currently a hotrod Super in the Bay Area offered at $60,000. This seems very fair for the condition. I cannot imagine you could find a better car. The Netherlands has a strong Giulia and Berlina following, a good club, and apparently rigid vehicle inspection that keep the cars sharp. As nice, and close to original, as you could reasonably ask 50 years later. 4/19
1968 Giulia 1300 TI. Charming light grey 1300 TI with dark brown interior. Amazingly enough, stock mechanically with original 1300 engine and single carb. Engine rebuild in 2016, new tires, fully serviced. Late style interior with unificata dashboard with instrument binnacle rather than earlier metal dash. Minimal pictures of undersides but looked solid. Like all 1300s, came from outside the US so shell condition can be worrying. $26,000 BringaTrailer, Peapack NJ. Super lovable typical European-style Giulia, left alone, not made into a hotrod. Looked very solid. Would be a lot of fun to use, if a little pokey when you wanted to pour on the coal. Easy enough to swap in a bigger engine, but you learn to go with the flow and enjoy life in these cars. Strong price, typically a 1300 won’t bring over $20,000, maybe that’s finally changing? Seems worth it to me. 5/19
1974 US 2000 Berlina. Metallic blue with light pigskin interior. Stock late Spica rubber-bumper car, described as a “rolling project” with the assurance that “it will run.” OK, got it. Not a bad looking car, factory AC, some moderate rust in typical places (windshield, wheel wells, trunk lid), no pics of undersides so could not judge that. Interior, including dash, remarkably decent. $4,500 ebay first time, $4,950 second time, Palm Coast FL. Fair enough price for a fix-it-and-drive-it car. Is it worth tackling the rust issues? Bad rust around windshield surround is not simple to sort out; cost could exceed the value of the car. But to fix the mechanicals and drive? Sure, why not. Twice on ebay, not sure if it in fact sold second time. 5/19
1973 Giulia 1300 Super. White car with black interior, 2000 engine, SZ mag wheels, lowered suspension. Strong driver, body good, mechanicals solid, getting a little tired in the interior, but in a real-world use way. $35,250 BringaTrailer, Mountain View CA. These late 1300 Supers are almost indistinguishable from 1600 Supers, other than the engine. By this time Alfa had rationalized the product line, sharing trim, seats, dash, bumpers, lights on all of them. So it’s inferior to a 1600 pretty much in name only. Very strong price for a 1300, but seemed to be one you could get in and go anywhere without worry. Above market price but maybe it’s a trend? 5/19
1970 Giulia 1300 TI. Another white car, black interior, from a serial seller in Sicily. Restored body in 2010, stock mechanicals including single-carb 1300 with a few add-on badges and the like, plus a customer made frig, oven, picnic table that folds out of the truck so you can enjoy la vida italiana. Nice looking car and, other than the picnic items, a typical Italian market car. $15,500 BringaTrailer, Palermo Italy. I was surprised this made reserve at this lowish price. The restoration was pretty thorough, and the work to install the fold-out picnic table, while maybe not to everyone’s taste, took some doing. Don’t know where the buyer lived, but this was a bargain price, even figuring in some shipping cost. 5/19
1965 Giulia TI. Green/red project car with 1750 on the side and extra Super parts. Not quite complete, relatively rusty, included interesting stuff like Super seats and dash, Giulietta Borrani wheels, new CN36 tires. $5000 ebay, The Villages FL. Looked attractive in the pics but dang there was that persistent rust around the doors, rockers, lower extremities. There’s a signpost up ahead: says a lot of unpleasant body work in buyer’s future. You can’t really come out ahead on such a project but if you want to build your own Giulia, fair enough. Price about right for a project nowadays. 5/19
1966 Giulia TI. Blue with tan interior, mostly complete, fairly solid shell. Interior described as “mint,” which seems like a stretch for a non-running project. Not running, no brakes, electrical issues, etc. $4500 ebay, Flanders NJ. Car has some curb appeal in the ebay listing with OK looking paint, but the seller mentioned rust, the hood was several colors and it didn’t run. Plenty of work ahead for the new owner. This car showed sold on an earlier auction at $10,000, proved not to be a real deal, later settled at this price, which is about right, if you’re up for the work, which is significant. 7/19
1967 Giulia Super. Red car, velour seats. Similar to above, looks nice above the water line but lots of rust in the lower extremities. Sitting on a trailer, various colors, hasn’t run in decades I’m sure. Appeared to be blue originally. Grey velour seats are more foam than fabric. Carbs rebuilt, engine allegedly fine, though not running. Some new parts including exhaust included. Take a lot here on faith. $4850 ebay, Carol Stream IL. Another aspirational project. Really, despite what seller says, this is a car to take down to the metal and start back up. If sandblasted you’d fine a tremendous amount of metal to replace. With such a project the original price will become almost immaterial. You have to be up for the time, money, complexity to see something like this through. Supers are not worth enough for this to be a rational option so you have to want to do it, which many, including me, have. But it’s not the easy or smart route. 8/19
1973 US 2000 Berlina. Red car with blinding white seats, probably originally light pigskin. Overall a competent car, recent de-rust and paint to a workmanlike standard. Largely stock mechanicals, other than switch from Spica to Webers, with period aftermarket AC. Bosch Spider wheels, nice interior (typically cracked dash), if imparting a “Miami Vice” feel with the white vinyl. Overall a decent car appearing car. $10,323 BringaTrailer, Glenwood NM. This car was a little tough to judge. The paint was spankin’ new, so hard to tell what quality of work and substance was under it. No one I talked to about the car felt very confident in the listing, and not many admit to liking red Berlinas. The listing had no worthwhile pictures of the undersides; maybe everyone took it on faith that a NM car was not rusty. The contrasty red with white interior was not to my taste, but the price seems market-correct, maybe a tiny bit low, if in person the car held up cosmetically. Get in and drive, nothing to fix really. And, working AC! 8/19