By on March 12, 2014

used car for sale. Shutterstock user cleanfotos

Mike writes:


About five years ago I bought a 1982 Alfa GTV6 from a kid who was in over his head. I paid exactly $2,000 for the car, drove it home, fixed up the ignition system, suspension, various other bits, and drove it on weekends or whenever the traffic in Austin wasn’t too atrocious. I enjoyed the hell out of it, rusting fender wells and kick plates notwithstanding. The engine is amazingly, shockingly, damn near perfect. For all of the rust and decay elsewhere, the drivetrain was well cared for, and ran like a top.

With the help of the AlfaBB guys, I got the car into shape. It spent almost two years in a DIY restoration that involved removing all rust, straightening the body, and paint. Of course it still needs work; it is, afterall, an Alfa. I installed some later Recaro mesh head seats, cleaned up the interior, rewired schizy electrics, etc. In terms of show car score, maybe a 4/10. But in terms of every other GTV6 I’ve ever seen on the road? It’s an 8/10.

Trouble is, I’ve had two daughters since I bought the car. Finding time to just replace the fuel filter takes a month of planning. I’m consumed by anxiety whenever I drive it, worried that if/when it does develop a real problem, I simply won’t have the time to fix it. Let’s not even get into money (aside for the curmudgeons – we are doing well, in that we save more than we spend, own our home, and have no debt). I love this car. I love the way driving it makes me feel. But I don’t think it’s for me anymore.

Here are three scenarios, but I’m open to more.

  1. I keep the car, but rarely drive it. The value of the GTV6 is slowly rising, and based on conversations at a recent cars & coffee, I could expect the car to be worth quite a bit more than I’ve put into it (about $8,000 so far) over the next few years. This idea makes me sad, though. The car is meant to be driven.
  2. I sell it. I have no idea what to ask. Probably $8,000-8,500 based on recent transactions. Then in a few years, when the kids are a little older and I have more mad-money savings, I buy an S2000 or something along those lines.
  3. This is my favorite… I trade it for something of more or less the same value, but more reliable, more Japanese (probably), and equally fun and frivolous. Maybe even get a little cash for mods and restoration on top of the deal. Something I could use to get back into autocross would be ideal. Obvious answer – Miata. I sorely miss my ’94 Integra GSR to this day, too.

What say the commentariat?

Sajeev answers:

All three scenarios are do-able and very logical.  With your current finances and a super cool car like that, well, you can’t go wrong.  I would combine 1 and 2, driving the Alfa on occasion until the right buyer shows up.  Said buyer needs to pay a premium (i.e. not a fire sale auction price) and love it like a true classic car enthusiast.  Think of yourself as one of those folks who cares for rescue dogs. So to speak.

Or perhaps a combination of 1 and 3? Nothing wrong with having a toy, especially when it’s less of a time/money drain on your life.

No matter, I wouldn’t consider option #2 by itself.  That implies the Alfa is something you should sell for a price, no matter what the future life of the vehicle shall be.  That’s a mistake, because anyone who restores a classic car understands the value of their hard work…and understands that they are merely a temporary owner of a piece of history.  A rolling historical artifact that’s more than the sum of its parts, and more than just one person’s pride.  So it demands to be treated more than a mere commodity that can be sold anywhere!

Give it a fighting chance, take the time to find the right owner for the Alfa.

[Image: Shutterstock user cleanfotos]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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66 Comments on “Piston Slap: When to Exit the Alfa?...”

  • avatar

    Hey, a GSR ‘Teg won’t let you down….

    Good luck finding one. Honestly, if you like the Alfa (and it is excitingly wedge shaped) keep it until a good buyer comes, like Sajeev said.

    • 0 avatar

      Ha! I have a metallic Barney the dinosaur Purple ’98 GS-R sitting on the RV pad beside my house. We’re waiting for a friend to tag it so we can help her sell it since her partner passed away a year ago.

      They’re still great drives and I toyed with the idea of making an offer, but my wife started reaching for blunt kitchen implements at the notion of a 4th vehicle …

  • avatar

    List it on the high side and wait for the next caretaker.

    • 0 avatar

      Seconded. Make sure you drive it during the time it’s for sale.

    • 0 avatar

      I was that ‘special kind of buyer’/caretaker for my 10th Anniversary RX7. My seller didn’t really want to sell but for the money we were both satisfied. I even swore to him to offer it to him first if I ever sell it. As much as I want to advocate this as well, it’s easier to say that when you aren’t in an ownership situation with a car like this.

      Anyone who comes into possession of such a car becomes schizophrenic about it. The car is almost an anchor around your neck but it’s not quite a burden when it’s just _that_damn_fun_.

      I think often about selling my car and buying something more reliable. It’s just hard to find something reliable that is as fun. Zoom Zoom, you know?

      The 10AE is my daily driver. Every day begins and ends with a SMILE! But every thousand dollars or dozen hours that I spend keeping the car roadworthy or upgrading it makes me want to test-drive something new. Then I think I’ll only be satisfied with a Miata or RX-8 or hope-to-god-it-releases a new RX-7. Then I realize it won’t be any different and as much as I’ve talked about selling, I can’t bring myself to list it.

      Owning the “unreliable but fun” classic is like being in prison and having Stockholm syndrome. The only cure is to have more pressing burdens like a wife and kids that drag you kicking and screaming to the “two full-size sedan/crossover/minivan” lifestyle. It’s the only way.

      So to the letter writer, I say take your grand exit now. It’s the respectable thing to do and you’ve earned it. I will keep wrenching on my car for you and everyone else like you.

  • avatar

    Keep the Alfa!

    1. It is WAY WAY cooler than a GSR or S2000
    2. Drive it until it breaks, fix it, keep driving.
    3. Modify it to be your autocross car and drive it.

    My reasoning? Way cooler than the just about any Japanese car. You don’t have copious amounts of time to drive it anyway so it probably won’t break often. When it does break, no big deal because you don’t have tons of time to drive it anyway, so fix it up as time allows.

    Lets face it, body work is a hell of a lot harder than mechanical work. You’ve already done the hard part, now enjoy it.

    • 0 avatar

      With all due respect, scrap Idea #3 unless you want to be the last person who drives your Alfetta.

      Autocrossing is pretty safe for participants, as far as motorsports go, but it’s Absolute Hell on equipment. Especially fragile, older cars like you Alfetta.

      Over time, it’ll shake your car apart. Rushed shifts will steadily destroy that expensive transaxle assembly. And while that Alfa V-6 loves to rev, bouncing it off the redline every run will change the tone of that frantic wail to far more expensive noises. Autocrossing is for cars you’re not afraid to beat on, not older, fragile cars that will wither under such a beating.

      As you’ve already explained that you’ve got to schedule appointments well in advance to maintain your toy, you won’t be able to spend the time and attention needed to regularly service your Alfa for regular autocrossing.

      Enjoy your tourer, take it to Cars and Coffee events and car shows, and put a For Sale sign in the left-rear window with your phone number. Take lots of good pictures of it for a future nostalgia fix. Get the price you want for your Alfetta, enjoy every minute of it until you do, and remember it fondly as you find the next fun ride.

      • 0 avatar

        “…older, fragile cars that will wither under such a beating.”

        There was a red 1987 Alfa Romeo Milano that competed in Delta region SCCA autocross very successfully for many years putting to shame much newer equipment.

        • 0 avatar


          not sure if he is confusing road racing with autocross…I used to autocross quite a bit, and used my daily driver and never had any kind of failure. The only thing it used up was brakes and tires, and even then it wasn’t a huge hit to the budget.

          The OP doesn’t have tons of time and probably does it for fun, so I don’t see the problem with using the Alfa for it. Is something catastrophic is going to fail I’d rather it happen on a closed track than on the street.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m not confusing autocrossing and road racing. I ran different cars in B/F/G/H Stock, B/D/E Street Prepared and E Modified. With good results. In fact, I’m personally the reason why, more years ago than I care to recount, you couldn’t run a Texas Porsche Club of America autocross without a Porsche-engined vehicle.

            Which was where running the 944 came in …

            I’m not saying that running one autocross will destroy your car. But you better believe that running them regularly on a competitive basis for a number of years in the same car isn’t going to happen without regular and comprehensive maintenance of said vehicle.

            Over a couple of decades I went through LOTS of tires and brakes, but also suspension parts, valvetrain pieces, one transmission and, I’m embarrassed to say, a couple of engines. Not to mention more hours with 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch ratchets and sockets tightening various interior, engine compartment and undercarriage nuts and bolts than I could possibly recount.

            And while I don’t doubt that you can be successful autocrossing an Alfa, you aren’t going to be running a 30-year-old one for long without regular maintenance.

            The OP said he’s already having problems finding time to do maintenance on the car. Running an autocross schedule would make his situation a lot worse, one way or the other. But probably both.

            If you really have a hankerin’ to throw a car at a bunch of highway cones, why beat the Hell out of a perfectly good cruiser when you can just buy a less-fragile car and wail on it?

          • 0 avatar

            right on jrhmobile.

            I was coming from the assumption that the OP would only be doing it for fun on a fairly limited basis. If he doesn’t have time for basic maintenance than he sure as heck doesn’t have time to spend weekends being a hardcore autocross participant. I was thinking more along the lines of a few times a summer with the local clubs.

        • 0 avatar

          And haven’t a couple of Milano’s won Lemons races? Mechanically identical to the GTV-6.

          I still regret selling my GTV-6. Don’t do it.

          These cars are not nearly as mechanically fragile as reputation would have it. Though they do rust just as badly as rumor has it.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I agree, except for the autocross idea. You’ll be consumed with guilt if you sell the Alfa, and no Japanese car can approach its coolness.

      But if you keep it, don’t ignore it. Keep it on the road.

    • 0 avatar

      1. It is WAY WAY cooler than a GSR or S2000

      a. I’ve driven all three of the cars mentioned. You have not.
      b. Whatever you think cool is, writing WAY WAY cooler makes your opinion on the topic of cool irrelevant.
      c. see a. and b.

      As a former Italian car enthusiast, driving an S2000 for the first time was a revelation. It’s a car that came from the factory with an engine that exceeded the output and peak engine speed of barely streetable Alfa and Fiat engines built with racing cams and multiple carburetors. It’s the car with the best shifting manual transmission. It’s a car with a top that works as well as the excellent ones used on Italian roadsters.

      The GTV6 was my dream car when it was introduced 32 years ago. 154 hp was positively exciting at the time. The front was nicely styled and classy, even if the overall proportions were off due to sitting on a taxicab chassis. At least it was a crazy sedan chassis, with a de Dion solid back axle tube straddling a rear mounted transaxle. The GTV6 was a bright spot in a terrible time for our car market. When I got my hands on one in 1989, I’d driven a number of cars introduced in the years between that made finally driving the Alfa a non-event. The power was average by then, leaving the ropy shifter and crumbling construction to diminish the impact of the spirited engine note. Provided the GTV6 owner here really loves machinery, and his remarks point in that direction, he’ll be quite happy to have one of Honda’s high speed engines and close-ratio six speeds as his fun car, and it will be one where ownership isn’t tempered by financial concerns and non-service.

      • 0 avatar

        Wow CJ, just wow.

        Not sure how I can politely tell you how to shove it.

        I’m sorry your opinion of cool doesn’t match mine.

        I don’t see a generic GSR as being cool at all.

        The S2000 isn’t bad, but it doesn’t have the visual character the Alfa does.

        I HAVE driven a GSR and an S2000.

      • 0 avatar

        Look at my screen name for the proper context; CJ is right. Old Alfas are only really cool to nerds like me who geek out on all things old and Italian. For most normal human beings an S2000 is very cool, and is objectively better than a GTV6 in every way that matters. And you don’t have that “tick tick tick” feeling in the back of your mind waiting for the next time you need to replace the timing belt or the shifter bushings or the rubber giubos in the driveline or the rear inboard brakes, etc. etc.

        • 0 avatar

          I’d still love a ’67 Duetto. An Italian project car isn’t going to be as much fun for a family man with time constraints as a car that doesn’t need more than oil changes while packing a more exotic engine though.

          I used to see a GTV6 parked on my street in Manhattan in 1993. That may be the last driver one I’ve seen, and I’ve lived in San Diego for years now. Spiders are still around, but the only place I see GTVs is BaT. If you’re still daily driving one, keep up the good work. Stay out of i-VTEC Hondas though, or you’ll wind up like me. I don’t even know what happened to all my tools, and I had Italian or German cars for about twenty years.

        • 0 avatar

          Most normal human beings think an S2000 is a Miata.

          • 0 avatar

            I have to agree. I have a pal who has owned both. He has occasionally let me drive his car for a few days and in return I let him drive my wife’s 996 cabriolet. Imo, his high winding S2000 is considerably better than either of his earlier Miatas but in many ways still the same car. Neither vehicle really compares with the Porsche, but they cost half as much or less.

            The real point is that all three cars make reliable daily drivers good for at least 150+k miles (the IMS bearing in not an issue in our particular vintage of Porsche) for almost anyone. The OP’s Alfa sounds like a mechanic’s car with just a few too many reliability problems to be a daily driver. Then again, the OP sounds like a pretty fair mechanic himself.

            How about this? Put the Alfa up for sale, but hold out for a decent price. After you sell it, then get a nice Miata or an S2000 or even an older Boxter (IMS bearing notwithstanding-it is an $1,800 preventive fix). All three are a blast to drive, and you don’t have to worry that much about reliability.

            I mention the older Boxters because decent examples can be had at relative bargain prices because the IMS bearing issue has scared potential buyers and depressed their prices. Properly understood (i.e. the $1,800 preventive fix) you can take advantage of this and actually own a reliable roadster that is not terribly expensive and top ends at nearly 170 mph.

  • avatar

    If you love it, keep it drive it and then pay to have it fixed. Sure, it might be more expensive than you like, but if you don’t have the time you can solve the problem by using money. Use your connections to find a mechanic you like and give the basic care of the car over to them. Then you can just enjoy it.

  • avatar

    I wonder if Bring A Trailer might be a good place to find a new home for a vehicle such as this?

  • avatar

    If we had photos of what it looks like now, it would make it easier to give advice! Is it a good color, or 80s beige/gold? Is the interior nice? Was it well optioned?

    • 0 avatar

      80s Beige/Gold is a GREAT color. Why else do you think I posted this photo?

      • 0 avatar

        On the OUTSIDE! I don’t care what color the interior is on a model like this.

        Sanjeev posted that photo so he could see some leg all day.

        • 0 avatar

          80s beige/gold is also fine on the outside. It’s not chocolate brown, but it will suffice.

          Sanjeev loves resale red on everything, he will die a fiery death…that I promise you.

          • 0 avatar

            OK ok fine, with this design it works.


            Looks like tons of headroom up in there.

          • 0 avatar

            The minimalist 1970s Aerodynamic Wedge design aesthetic is best suited to shades of bronze and silver.

      • 0 avatar

        That doesn’t look like the two-tone beige/gold of my parents’ ’57 Chevy. Of course, that car’s paint job could better have been described as rust orange/off-white.

        Great advice san… uh, Sajeev! I would definitely wait for a buyer who cares about the car and would improve it, and (if a roadster is what I truly wanted) get a Miata or an S2000. The right buyer is one who will beautify the roads of the US.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Keep it! You will most likely regret ever selling this car. I second that it is way cooler than an integra or S2000.

  • avatar

    Sorry, I say let it go before it changes your good memories. And, I am clueless as to why anyone thinks this old rust-prone Italian is cooler than a soft-top VTEC S2000? Even without a top, the Honda has a more rigid body and a descendant engine of Japanese quality. But I could never castigate anyone for keeping a car for an irrational reason – I’ve got storage space so my wife doesn’t know the depths of my habit.

    • 0 avatar

      In my humble opinion it’s cooler for some of reasons that you’re saying that it isn’t. I’m not saying that the s2000 isn’t a cool car or an amazing piece of engineering, because it is. But you see roadsters around, it kind of looks like a Miata, which just makes it seem a little commonplace. Every time you see an Alpha(in the states anyway), no matter how rusty or sketchy it looks, it’s a head turner if you’re a car guy. Its cool because its special. If you love it, keep it because those cars are getting rarer and rarer as they rust away, so every time you see one in good condition it’s an experience.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The S2000 is a precision-made watch with little character.

      The GTV6 is an analog watch that loses 5 seconds a day, given to you as a gift by an old flame.

    • 0 avatar

      >>>But I could never castigate anyone for keeping a car for an irrational reason – I’ve got storage space so my wife doesn’t know the depths of my habit.

      My best laugh of the day so far!

  • avatar

    There is no way to sell an Alfa Romeo and be glad you did it.

    • 0 avatar
      Helmut Spargel

      Agreed. In the late 90s when I was in my early 20s I bought a used 164L (quite affordable to buy given the depreciation). I dare say it was the most influential purchase in my life. It prompted me to get off my ass and get a better job to pay for the maintenance. I also learned how to do basic repairs and maintenance to cut down on my costs. Admittedly, it seemed that most of my days off from work were spent attending to the car, but I loved every minute of it. I traded it for a Contour SVT when I was going to be living in an area without an Alfa mechanic temporarily, which I now regard as a mistake (not getting the SVT, but letting go of the Alfa given the lousy trade I got for it). I get a smile on my face whenever I think of that car, but I wish I could bring it back “home.”

      That said, I’m in a similar situation as the poster, so I understand his predicament. I wouldn’t want to put the car in storage because Alfas like to be driven and tend to deteriorate faster when they are not. Since this does not appear to be a financial issue for him, I’d recommend that he focus on how he will feel a few years down the road with his decision. If his intention is to get another weekend car, my experience has been that whatever it is will not live up to the irrational love of a previously owned Alfa.

      • 0 avatar

        No, he doesn’t get rid of it. Period. He joins the Alfa Owners Club. They form a support group around him. His wife lets him out of the house once a month and he goes out to talk about how to fix it when it breaks. He drives it more because of the club outings and his wife gets to chat with the other wives of the likewise afflicted. Maybe he buys another one. The kids grow up and remember “Dad’s Alfa”. Maybe they keep it on the road. Maybe they sell it for a billion bitcoins? But either way, he drives an Alfa and he is not some ordinary hubby/dad/wretched Miata driver.

  • avatar

    Allow me a perspective here:

    You and your Alfa have had quite a journey together.

    From the moment you’ve laid eyes on it, and noticed its weaknesses and hidden strengths, to going through the trenches hunting down various mechanical and (even worse) electrical gremlins. You’ve been up and down with this car.

    Nevertheless, you’ve been with it for quite a while.

    When it comes to cars, theres way to many stories circulating about “the one who got away”. That always leads to a long lasting feeling of regret.

    Now you find yourself sad about the notion of getting rid of it. And it’s troubling you. Couple in a nagging wife, and you find yourself ready just to get it out of there (especially if you’re a pleaser, or in her words, a “good” husband).

    But don’t do it. Don’t ged rid of it, I tell you.

    You’re at a crossroads with said Alfa, your little Italian lady. Sure, you could pass it on to the next guy, who will drive it differently, spend a few bucks, and pass it on again. And so on, and so on.

    Again, my advice is this, my good man: hang on to it.

    Put it under a tarp if need be, and save it for the next chapter of the book of your life. Just keep it in your book.

    Let some time go by, hell, let years go by… then pull the tarp off, knock that dust off, and get her ready for the next stage. And get the car even better than she was before.

    Again- keep it. You won’t regret it.

    Your girls already know- that’s daddy’s Alfa.

  • avatar

    Put a high enough asking price on it so you can demonstrate to your family that you’re trying to do the prudent, responsible thing by selling it while you continue to drive and enjoy it because no one in their right mind would pay what you’re asking.

    If it suddenly starts to get some activity raise the price another thousand or two and justify that by telling yourself that the market is changing and you don’t want to leave any money on the table.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    If you really don’t want to sell it, then don’t bother. If you are starting to feel that you’ve enjoyed your time, but want to find something else to try, then go for a combination of strategy 1 and 3. Hold off, enjoy it when possible, and then sell when they meet your price. Then go out and find the next object of desire.

  • avatar

    Keep the Alfa, you’ve put quite a bit of money and time into it, and if you’re going to have a part-time sports car it may as well be something a bit different.

    Honda S2000’s are cool cars but good luck finding one that hasn’t been beat or riced out to death, same for GSR’s or any other Honda. I doubt you’ll fine any used Hondas that run as well as your well-maintained Alfa.

    This isn’t to say that Hondas are bad cars by any means, its just that their “low maintenance” rumors attract the lazy type of owners.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      There are still a good number of weekend-cruiser garage queen S2000s out there, but you will pay dearly for them. The lower-cost ones do tend to be trashed and/or have super-high miles for a “play” car.

    • 0 avatar

      “I doubt you’ll fine any used Hondas that run as well as your well-maintained Alfa.”

      Dude, you gotta stop smoking blunts when you comment.

  • avatar

    I don’t see why you have to sell it. It’s paid for. You already invested a lot in it, money and love. It will never be worth what you and your Alfa loving buddies think its worth, you can probably get classic car insurance on it and keep the ownership expenses very low. So keep it, enjoy it and maybe someday some Alfa fanatic will give you a lot of money for it. You can still buy yourself a Miata for fun.

  • avatar

    I would not treat it as an investment. I personally think these cars look beautiful but once you start to get into the details, the Alfa is closer to a consumable than a jewel that can be polished to ultimate perfection. So consume it, try to save some money while doing so, and then buy something else and don’t worry about making anything back. You’re making your investment back right now as transportation with a level of soul others can never achieve. Once it stops working as transportation, it’s not going to work that well on any other level.

  • avatar

    If option 3 truly is your favorite, it just means you have had your fun with the Alfa and want to move on. A used Miata would be better car mechanically and would be a fine autocross toy. On the other hand, if a Miata, S2000, etc. lack an indefinable something that the Alfa provides, I recommend keeping the Alfa. From what you have said, time is an issue but not money. Drive the Alfa once a week during good weather. If it breaks, fix it yourself, hire someone to fix it for you or just park it until you get around to fixing it. It’s not a living creature; the monthly cost to let it sit around is zero.

    If you don’t know a competent Alfa mechanic, ask the nearest chapter of the Sports Car Club of America. The Lone Star Region is based in Austin, Texas. The same city also has an autocross club called the Texas Spokes.

  • avatar

    In the final analysis, do whatever will make you happiest. Only you can determine that.

  • avatar

    One thing I haven’t seen yet…

    You might want to be able to take your two children and wife out for a drive in a few years…not something you can do in a Miata or S2000.

    As others have said, do what you think is right. There really is no wrong answer when it comes to a fun car.

  • avatar

    O.K. NOW I see that is a dress.
    Thought it was a prosthetic leg propped up against a stack of firewood.

  • avatar

    As a recovering British car addict, my advice is to consider what it is that you enjoy doing with cars. If you like doing mechanical work on them and get satisfaction from that, keep the Alfa and find time in your schedule to do the work you need to do.

    However, based on what you wrote, my sense is that your enjoyment comes more from the driving of the car than the work you need to do to keep it running. If that is the case, sell it, accept a loss if need be as part of the cost of having owned it, and get something like the S2000 that will start every time you turn the key and won’t worry you constantly with getting stranded.

    That’s why I drive a Miata instead of a Spitfire these days. Sure, I got more looks and comments with the Spitfire, but I don’t have to go out and work on it constantly. I have a project car in my garage, but I don’t have to repair today if I want to drive tomorrow – I’ve got the Miata for that.

    Do I miss some of the cars I’ve owned over the years (TR-4, VW Bug, 1st gen Rabbit, etc.)? Sure I do. But then I slip behind the wheel of the Miata, I remember about what a pain in the ass they were to keep running, and I smile as I drive off with the top down without a worry in the world…

  • avatar

    I agree with what seems to be the consensus here. Keep the Alfa, cruise the Alfa, but don’t try and compete in anything with it unless you’re willing to commit to a serious lifestyle change.

  • avatar
    Short Bus

    I would keep the Alfa.

    I understand that being a parent stresses your schedule, but if you can’t even find time to change the fuel filter it sounds like you’re sacrificing your entire life to be their servant.

    • 0 avatar
      Short Bus

      I just read Mark_Miata’s post. I like his thoughts. If you like the whole experience with an emphasis on wrenching… stick it out with the Alfa.

      If you derive the majority of your enjoyment from driving the vehicle, there are probably better options.

  • avatar

    I’m keeping the bloody thing. Dammit, I’m keeping it.
    I’m keeping it.
    That’s final.

    And not because I broke it and no one will buy it for anything near its actual value until I pull the heads and replace rings and seals. Nope. It’s just because I love it so.

  • avatar

    “This is my favorite… I trade it for something of more or less the same value, but more reliable, more Japanese (probably), and equally fun and frivolous.”

    Sounds like you want something to drive. It also sounds like you enjoyed fixing it up …. but that part is done …. and now, instead of enjoying that process, you are left with a feeling of needing to protect it. I have a hunch that you won’t regret it. I don’t want to go all psychobabble on you, but the ‘endowment effect’ is real and people tend to value what they have more than its objective value.

    Something relatively new will be a safer vehicle.

    You sound like you are careful regarding what you are willing to pay for a car, so if you buy a newer model and don’t like it, you can sell it and buy something else.

    I need to take my own advice and sell all my cars — which is why I feel qualified to offer up this suggestion.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Its not depreciating; keep it. I’m assuming the owner isn’t up to his ears in debt or dirty diapers.

    Depreciation is the killer. If the car is going in the other direction even just a little, then you have relatively few risks. I’m not suggesting that your old Alfa is any kind of an investment. I’m suggesting that depreciation is a very large, and real cost of motoring that you happen to be able to bypass with this car.

    If you change your mind six months from now, you lose nothing. Sure, there is the occasional repair, but then you give it occasional use. Who is to say that didn’t defer a breakdown on your daily driver by driving this car?

    Don’t overlook the usefulness of that “spare” car, too. This means you can drive your daily driver right down to the ground. When daily driver finally gives up the ghost, you can drive this around for a month or two while you find another ride. In the meantime, you squeezed that last six months out of your ride for practically nothing.

    Its not all risk, either. The Alfa might be slowly appreciating now, but there is a fair possibility that its appreciation accelerates. I’m not suggesting that’s a likelihood, mind you, I’m suggesting that’s a potential that doesn’t exist for your daily driver.

  • avatar

    4. crush it.

    or if no ethics sell it and keep lying to yourself that its worth $8000 and sell it to the next poor bastard, because it sounds like it needs a solid $50,0000.00 in body/chassis work.
    Its a POS, accept it and move on.

    • 0 avatar

      Did you somehow miss the bit about the bodywork being restored over the course of two years?

      Selling a DIY restored car for market value does not strike me as unethical in the least.

  • avatar

    British Cars come and go.
    German cars get traded in every 3 years
    Japanese cars are like appliances

    If you sell the Alfa Romeo, you will regret it for the rest of your life.

    Trust a long time Alfa owner, the GTV6 is one of the best.

  • avatar

    I wanted a GTV6 sooo bad. Couldn’t find one in West Texas. Bought a Milano. Didn’t know what I was doing. Took a $4k loss. Can’t mention Alfa Romeo in front of my wife.

    Now, I have a 2001 Accord with a five-speed. Say what you will–it’s not nice–but I smile as much driving it as I did with the Alfa and the nightmares are gone. Sometimes I think, “If this car was mechanically the same, but was an Alfa Romeo, I’d never trade it.”

    Call me whatever name you want.

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