Map analogy part 1: Where are you going?

A Sprint project lurks in your garage.  It’s in need of attention and you need a plan.  To have a plan you need to know what you want from it -where are you going with it.  So… -what do you want out of it?  What does your Sprint look like and drive like when it’s done?  This is the most important information for your restoration.  Why?  Defines your budget, timeline and a lot of other details.  So, what do you want?

This is a starting point that was all the excitement on the AlfaBB a few years ago.  The project has gone dark as far as I know, but this car is in a garage somewhere waiting for work to be done.  This is probably as difficult a starting point as you want to call a starting point.

I (we) see a lot of cars on the market and they are all a bit different.  What makes them different?  That’s easy -condition right?  But condition is a snap shot.  A point in the decay of the car.  They all started out new, more or less the same, they all got used -some died young, some carried on to today looking pretty good.  Most of them suffered rough treatment and ended up in a condition I describe usually as ‘doable’ and ‘challenging’ in the context of them as projects.  Most cars that come on the market are either somewhere on the path of decay from their initial glory, decaying after the first attempt someone has made to return them to their initial glory, or a car molded to be something it wasn’t made to be -like a hot rod or a race car.  I’m going to ignore ‘done’ cars, and cars from that last group because they are seldom bought as restoration projects: they’re bought to use and enjoy.

Where-as, compared to the car above, this car that sold through bringatrailer is probably as good a starting point as you will find.  Looks better than my Sprint that I drive everyday.

What does that leave us?  Projects.  A Sprint project lurks in your garage and if you’re going to do something with it you need to know what you want it from it.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate, but if you start off without a plan you’re likely to end up in a quagmire.  It goes something like this…

I’d be happy with the paint and body looking THUS.  I’d like the interior and trim to look THUS.  I’d like THIS much horse power and THAT sort of interior.  It’s easy to say you want perfection, but be honest with yourself.  Most cars you’d call perfect are not so on close inspection. I’m not saying it’s not okay to say you want perfection and accept less gradually -I just think it’s easier to embrace reality from the get go.

This car has sold a few times in the last month.  Last time was close to $200,000.  Some guys would call this a project.  It’s incorrect in many small ways after all…

You need to know where you’re going to go there and you need to know where you are to start.

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16 thoughts on “Map analogy part 1: Where are you going?

  1. Hi Matt. As always interesting. I got my Sprint (and I am 3rd owner) 3 years ago. Solid (well bodywise that is!) fitted with GT Junior 1300 (original engine also supplied) and wonderful fun.1960,vin AR 149322502 and I think a crossover. Now fully rewired ( could have been a fine electric BarBQ) with an interior that smells like an old folks home! Next step (hopefully) this winter is interior refit, then a year on, respray and then a year after that engine. Loads of silly problems which I may ask you for help with, but adore it having wanted one for years. Wont bore you any more right now, but thanks for all you do.
    glyn

  2. Mat,
    If you can find one like this I would like to know. Please. You see i’m in the antipodes and they don’t come up here very often like the top above.
    Jim

      • Send the owner a PM through the BB. If you search around on there you may find his email on a post. I seem to remember him stating the project was dead.

        Matt

      • I think the owner will owe us both beers if I buy it by the look of it. Looking for a race car project to sit beside my Giulia TI Super rep.
        Jim

      • My aim is to have several hundred free beers saved up globally for when I go around the world in the Sprint.
        Matt

  3. When I restored my ’63 Spider, I wanted it as original as can be, just because that’s what everyone around me said they’d do to their cars. Once I began tearing the car down, I realized the enormity of that self-imposed constraint – I had no patience to faithfully restore Alfa screws that are half-rotted, and beyond my control, the P.O. had swapped out lots of stuff. I made a slight adjustment to my “what do I want to do with this car” business plan from complete originality to “a fun driver”; that has made all the difference in allowing for my having lots of fun during the restoration process, and even more fun driving a slightly-souped up car. When you first start, it’s hard to know which way to head, but once you get going, do as Matt says, “be realistic” and follow your heart. You’re then guaranteed to have a good time.

  4. With any Sprint project there is the fantasy, and then there is the reality. The fantasy is that tight little coupe you see in those vintage videos on YouTube, threading the curves of the Radicofani Pass in a perpetual 4-wheel slide . The reality can be the off-tune hulk in the garage, that won’t start (again), with the spongy brake pedal and vague steering that you wouldn’t let even your ex-wife’s lawyer take down the block. That photogenic project car in the online ad that was “babied” until it was “parked’ in a “garage” in 1989 is most certainly going to need more than some professional bodywork and a fresh engine to achieve the fantasy, But when it’s right , it’s very right. The Sprint, with the proper attention, will drive and sound like the sportscar you always imagined it was (is), which is why a Sprint project is so seductive.

    • Nicely put Phil. I’ve been doing daily runs in my Sprint and even at probably about 70% of how good it could be -it’s really good! Astonishing for a 1300cc car from 1959!

      I plan a on getting into the meat of this hobby with the series I’m working on.

      Matt

  5. Hi, so much variation in approach! I try to use mine a couple of times a week. Bits fall off, bits put back, and as I said before, it still smells – but I love it! These things really grow on you and as Pathung says, follow your heart (trouble is mine is too near my wallet).
    I’ve never quite figured out if you are an originality freak. If you are, sorry, but mine will be what I want it to be. I keep all the original bits (eg have switched from dynamo to a sit on mower alternator) so next guy could always put it back. But then, he may like to keep it as I like it.

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