Giulietta TI 109107 RIP

Gavin sent me these pictures along with a brief note that he had picked this car up and now had a shed full of spares from it.  The story is one I’m familiar with, and maybe you are too.  Guy who owned it rolled it outside a number of years ago to make room for some of its rarer cousins.  He is asked to sell repeatedly back when it was a viable used car, but refuses.  Ages go by, the elements reclaim much of the iron from it and ultimately what you see here is all that remains.  The old man dies, and the car goes on the market for parts -a needlessly dead thing.

Must be a bit of moisture in the area!  Note how the body just broke between the doors.  Must have been a chore digging this out of the vines.

I say it’s a familiar story because I owned a 69 GTV a while back that had been left to rot inexplicably.  Old man owner held on to it like some vestige of his youth was stored in the trunk, then finally sighed a resigned sigh and decided to let it go.  Trouble was, 15 years in a moist area, with a sage bush growing over the drivers side rear corner had seriously rotted that area.  Car started, ran decently, interior wasn’t too bad etc etc, but you could stick your hand in the hole under the rear windows on that side.  It probably survived, but just.

Looking at this I’m forced to wonder how long it took to go from neglected grocery getter to corpse.  Again -must be awfully moist in this area or right on a salty coast.  I visited a lighthouse on Hawaii’s Kona coast that reportedly had a bunch of scrap cars parked around it.  Never found much there except badly corroded engine blocks and the occasional tire.  There was one spot however, where an early 70’s Japanese compact had been parked.  The metal from the car was gone utterly, but all the plastic doodads from the doors, dash etc were present and presented in this weird car shaped presentation.  I guess that’s where this car was headed.

I’ve heard a lot of stories like this -the guy in the SF bay area with a bunch of 50’s and 60’s microcars sinking into the mud in his back yard, a guy who was going to give me a Fiat 600 that he abandoned on a guys property a number of years ago, but suddenly felt the need for payment -even though it was, and had been belly up in someone-elses back yard for decades.

Foliage doesn’t help, in fact it’s a >1 coefficient in the corrosion balance equation.  This car was RHD.  A pretty rare thing.

Apparently column shift is hard to carry over to a RHD conversion, so someone came up with this VW based (?) work-around.

Is there a point to this post?  Maybe not -or maybe it’s just to say: respect the machines in your care!  Got a decaying Sprint in your back yard you don’t want to get rid of but if you were honest with yourself, would admit you’re never going to get to?  Pass it on to someone who will save it.  I say this knowing full well that yes, it’s your car, and if you want to fill the rocker cavities with salt and pour battery acid all over the floors, it’s your prerogative, go for it, but in the grand scheme it’s just kind of petty and selfish to think this way.  It’s just a chunk of metal at the end of the day, and in the long view it, and the rest of the planet will be swallowed by the dying sun, but that’s no reason to not allow it its time.  These are neat objects, hearkening back to simpler days, but you know that -that’s why you’re here reading.


6 thoughts on “Giulietta TI 109107 RIP

  1. hi matt
    this is exactly the story with my ss that im working on right now, it was bought from under the railway arches in London 20+ years ago and was left ouside a garage with a taurp thrown over it, I bought it just over a year ago now. i have just about got it where it can go again, but its a labour of love thats for sure.
    While i am here can anyone help me with some photos or drawings of how the sill fits in relation to the door? common sense would indicate a step of some sort but as we all know Alfa romeo and common sense was never on the menu? any help please?
    its a 1964 Giulia SS by the way
    kind regards
    Dave Ward

  2. He probably knows this, but I hope Gavin harvests many of the small nuts and bolts that are unique to old Italian cars. Steering box, idler assembly, steering column bolts especially. Yesterday I ruined a fuel tank sending unit screw getting it out. I fortunately have a friend nearby that probably has some. It’s a little thing, but I enjoy it a less when I see modern hardware on Giulietta’s.

  3. In 1976, while I was driving past a country gas station outside Baltimore, I spied a once-nice Alfa two-liter coupé (series with the ex-1900 engine). Both of windows were down; the paint was oxidized; the seats were mushy; the tires were almost flat, but the springs still held the car out of the mud. I wheeled in and searched out the proprietor guy.
    Me: “How much would you take for that old Alfa-Romeo out front?”
    Guy: “Oh, I plan to restore that car.”
    Me: “Have you ever restored an Alfa-Romeo before?”
    Guy: “No.”
    Me: “Well, I’ll give you $600 for that Alfa right here and now and take it off your hands today.”
    Guy: “No, I’m gonna restore it.”
    Me: “Okay, here’s what I’m gonna do. In exactly one year I’ll come back and give you $600 for it if the car is still in pretty much the same condition as it is now.”
    I went home and wrote a note to myself about the car (with that day’s date) and taped it above my desk. My eyes fell on that note every day for the next year. On the anniversary I again drove back out to Guy’s garage. The Alfa was no longer out front. I went to the office in the rear.
    Me: “Do you remember me? I stopped by exactly one year ago today.”
    Guy: “No.”
    Me: “Last year I told you I’d stop by today and give you $600 for the old Alfa-Romeo that was out front.”
    Guy: “Oh, now I vaguely remember. I gave that car to my tow truck guy in satisfaction of a $25 towing bill.”
    Me: “Call him up and see if he’s still got it and ask if I can come look at it. If I buy it, maybe he’ll give you your $25 back.”
    Guy (hanging up the telephone): “He says he’s still got it and it’s in the same condition and you can come look at it.”
    As I approached the yard, I could see the Alfa buried in mud up to the doors in a large pasture. The windows were busted, the taillights and headlights were busted or dangling. You couldn’t open the doors. I told the farmer/tow trucker I’d give him $25 for it and take it away.
    “No,” he said, “someday some rich Arab is gonna drive up that road over there, see it, and give me big money for it.” The road he pointed to, a county road, was a half-mile away and I’d seen no cars pass on it in the half-hour I’d been there.

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