Market 15: “Beautifully restored Giulietta Sprint”

Update 9/15/11: A note from the seller: “Actually I did quite a lot to the car since I bought it from the man in Savannah GA who offered it on ebay.  That was about 30 months ago.  Paint was carefully hand cleaned, hand clayed, hand polished and waxed. Carpet was replaced with custom colored wool woven plush material, of very tight linear weave.  Engine bay was extensively cleaned and detailed. Original Lodge spark plugs and Cavis wires installed. Original air cleaner canister was refinished and re-installed with an adaptor to the dual barrel Weber. Engine was fine tuned and a complete new centerline exhaust system was installed by Mike Besic. Brake system was completely fine tuned.  Five new Pirelli Cinturatos installed. Interior was cleaned and extensively detailed. Trunk was extensively cleaned and detailed. Fog lights were replaced with Carrellos.  It all seemed like a good idea at the time, and then the 1958 Veloce Confortavole came along last Spring.  I actually took the 1960 Sprint and 1969 Duetto to the Concorso Italiano last August.  That’s where the buyer saw it for the first time. He drove it the following week at Fantasy Junction.  Car sold yesterday. Five days after Fantasy Junction offered it on their website.”

Maybe I didn’t ask enough.”

Update 9/14/11: First -I had to really dig to find this old post.  I’ve been at it a while now it seems.  Champagne all around!  Okay, wishful thinking aside -this car is now available from my frequently frequented, frequently well stocked with frequently above average -in this case way above average cars, Fantasy Junction.  Asking price is an inspiring $49,500.  Yep.  “Sale Pending” the website says.  Mines parked on the street in Oakland California with the windows open.  Heh!

My car looks almost this good from space on a rainy day before they fixed the Hubble lenses.  That’s a nice car!

Update 3/18/09: This charming gentleman has reappeared on eBay. It is still in Savannah Ga. Some new pictures have been added.

0c6b_3Another complete group of numbers for the archive.

0dce_3Previous interior comments still apply.

0ef4_3I think this is a modern stereo that fits in the hole. I may go this direction if I decide to commute in my Sprint.

The auction description: “Recently restored. New, bare metal re-paint in original Alfa red. Original interior, red and white. In the last two years: The Facts: * Front disc brake conversion (Centerline); rear wheel cylinders rebuilt (White Post Restorations) * Weber conversion (Centerline) * New carpet (World Upholstery) * Electrical sorted out, i.e. lights, turn signals, most gauges. * Fuel tank cleaned and sealed; new sending unit. * New electric fuel pump and regulator. The original mechanical pump was left in place, it was just weak. * Proper driving lights (so that you can actually see where you are going). * Vintage style radio AM/FM only (has iPod and external CD changer hookup, but would you ever?). * Good compression; does not burn oil as far as I can tell. * Have all original parts, i.e. front drums, air box. * Much, much more. Can provide copies of receipts for serious parties. My Opinion: * She is happiest between 3 and 4 thousand rpm. * She is a little cold natured (but so is my wife) * She is not a trailer queen. She needs to be driven…and sometimes hard…. The Bad: * Some idiot prior owner installed speakers in the rear panels. I have attempted to match the grill color to the surrounding upholstery, but it not OE. * The headliner has minor staining. * There is an extremely minor oil drip.

You will get more looks in this car than nearly anything else on the road. One, because it is a rare vehicle and two, because it really is cute.”

Relisted on Collector Car Trader for $35,995. Relist includes 3 pictures of car in bare metal. Looks like it was a quality job. Oh, and as of 6/5/08 it’s on eBay again with more bodywork pictures. The odyssey continues.

No harm in a slight bondo nose-job. I wish my 59 Sprint was this straight.

Reserve not met. Second auction ended 6/2/08 with one bid at the opening price $29,950. I can think of a few analogies for eBay car auctions and they all seem to involve getting something right the first time to seal the deal you want. Too often the first pass auction is lacking a really good description and/or solid pictures. The seller is probably so confident of what they are selling that they don’t think they really need to expend all the effort a really well done auction requires. When the first auction fails, a repeat auction without changes or additions seldom if ever even manages the response the first received. At this point even a complete redesign of the auction with the best presentation possible will probably not get any interest because the buyers figure the problem is not the auction but the item since it has failed to sell several times.

If it were my car and I didn’t have to sell the car immediately, I would spend a weekend detailing the car so that it is absolutely as good as it can be. I’d borrow or buy a very high quality camera and take a lot of mechanical and trim detail shots in a color neutral setting, then a bunch of glamour shots in front of architectural landmarks or spectacular vistas. I’d put maybe a dozen pictures on the auction and the rest would be available by link and hosted as a slideshow at Flickr or some such. My description would be as long as required yet concise, elaborating on money spent and quality achieved. I’d fine tune the auction over a month then list the car again as though it were not listed before. Put another way, I would create an auction that gave a buyer a reason to spend top dollar on my Sprint.

My gut feeling is that this is a good car, the seller just needs to confirm this.

The Sprint looks spectacular, though not very crisp in this picture. The saturation of red of the photograph contrasting the foliage in the background creates a lustrous effect on the body. That smudge is annoying.

Reserve not met. Auction ended 5/26/08 with 3 bids at $30,200. I imagine the presence of a similar car in a much better presented auction gave bidders pause. I’d like to see a few new pictures and an expanded description in a relisted auction to generate further interest, but doubt that will happen.

Giulietta Sprint ‘Normale’ 10105 1493*22975. Seller states the car is a 1961, Fusi lists it as an early 1960 in the serial number range, it probably first sold in 61 and that is on the title. A common discrepancy. Engine number is said to match that on the build plate found on the shelf above the fire-wall, but no number is given and there is no picture to prove it. Transmission is a 4 speed, which is common in an interim Sprint, but 5 speeds are not unheard of.

The opening eBay auction price for this car is $29,950 with a ‘buy it now’ price of $39,950. This range is realistic top of the market money for this car, but a personal visit with the car would be required to know if it is a top of the market worthy car.

I am looking at the pictures as I try and decide what to write about this car and I think the main problem I am having with this auction is that the pictures are somehow very vague. I don’t know if it is the camera quality, the lighting or what but I can’t really focus on any of the details. If I am supposed to be thinking about pulling the trigger on a $40K purchase price based on these pictures, I should be able to see more detail.

The paint is said to be a bare-metal respray that cost about $8000. The pictures do show a very nice paint job, but I don’t think it is possible to convey the quality of a paint job in digital photographs, especially those compressed for an online auction. If I were the seller I would have a set of very high resolution pictures hosted somewhere with a link to them on the auction. These pictures are just good enough to make me consider going and seeing the car in person if I were serious about it.

The interior looks very good, way above average for ‘driver’ status, but failing in some ways to be an argument for spending top money on this car. My overall impression is that the door panels and rear panels, while very nice and presenting all the original hardware, look a little too puffy and droopy. Originally the vinyl on these surfaces was glued right to the boards that make up the panel causing a ‘sheer’ appearance. Gauges are yellowed, about $1000 to remedy. Horn button is cracked. Leather wrap on the steering wheel probably hides a crack or two. Carpet looks a little too shaggy to be original. I am going to guess the upholstery was redone as well it could be done at some point, but has aged differently than the original materials.

The puffy look can be seen clearly in the silver panel around the passenger door controls on the door panel. The map pocket ‘buckle’ is present, which is a nice touch.

Yellow gauges are very common on Alfa’s through the 60’s but especially so on this style of gauge. Auction states that all the gauges were gone through along with new cables, fuel send unit etc and as such would be expected to work. Dash cover looks very nice, so does the rear view mirror.

Another example of puffy upholstery can be seen here where the luggage tie-down loops fit in the upper red section of the back panel. The shaggy red carpet is just too plush to be original. Maybe Alfa had a ‘plush interior’ option that I’m unaware of.

I feel like I am being overly critical on the interior, but for a car that could potentially command $40, 000, I think it’s necessary. I would call this nicely re-done rather than restored. I suppose it could be original as stated and that the materials have reacted differently than I am used to in the climate where the car has lived, but I doubt it.

Engine compartment doesn’t look bad, but it also doesn’t look fantastic. Maybe it just needs detailing or better photos to show how nice it really is.

Mechanically there is a description of work done, and even a price for the work, but no pictures to corroborate the claims. The list includes: Centerline disk brake conversion, Weber carb conversion, new suspension rebound straps and a general going over to make everything work. If the engine compartment is any indication I would guess the mechanicals all function well but lack sparkle. I’d like to see the original air-box being used, but this requires a fairly rare Weber carb top or modifications to the box. I prefer the former as original Normale air-boxes are around $300 now. Again, I’d have to see and drive this car to be willing to pull the trigger.

Car looks great from behind, all the chrome dazzles and the paint looks almost wet. License plate looks weird below the bumper instead of below the ‘airplane’ light housing. I’d have to change it.

Fog lights are a great way to fill existing holes in a bumper. AROC badge is a nice touch. I prefer the white turn signal lenses to the yellow ones on my 59. All the bright work lines up and fits well, a good sign.

This detail shot confirms the quality of the trim and makes me more comfortable about the quality of the paint job. It really does look nice.

If this Sprint is as nice as everything points to it being, I think it would be well bought at $30,000. A turn key Sprint in nice cosmetic condition inside and out, with no major accident damage and no history of rust, that comes with all of its original parts is not an easy car to find. Turning an average non-running project into a car this nice would cost close to the starting bid. This is the perfect car for a lot of classic car people. The ones who just want a nice car they can use, show and enjoy, doing occasional small improvements if they feel so inclined.

If this car IS this nice, a very thoughtful, thorough auction with very high quality pictures may achieve $40,000, but it would have to start low to generate interest. As it is presented I am just not sure if there will be any takers.


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