• Graham Eason

The £2k Alfasud Restoration

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

Running Great Driving Days, our sister business, means I'm in and out of classic cars virtually every day. Which is why I love it. But it does mean that I rarely get a chance to drive my 'spare time' cars. Like this Alfa Romeo Alfasud.

Since the mid 1990s I've owned several Alfasud. Back then they were bangers, nearly-Alfas that were disowned by the club (because they weren't built in Milan) and overlooked by hot hatch enthusiasts (because they're not as good as the Golf GTI). Since then values have gone through the roof, helped by a rapidly dwindling supply caused by their well known propensity to rust. Today there are less than 60 Suds on the road and probably no more than 100 in the UK.

So you would expect restoring an Alfasud to be a precarious business. Not necessarily so.

I bought this car in 2009. It is a low owner, low mileage car and the one I wanted - a late model Ti Green Cloverleaf with the full fat 105 bhp 1490cc Boxer engine. In the intervening 10 years I've hardly driven it - it's spent more time gathering dust in our workshop than being driven on the road.

Consequently, by autumn 2019 it was beginning to look a bit careworn. So as a Big Birthday gift to myself I decided to renovate it. The car was very solid but had picked up a few scrapes and dents in 10 years and the paint had begun to fade in places to a thin pink rather than a lovely deep red.

So the bulk of the job would involve respraying it, whilst fixing the cosmetic stuff along the way. And hopefully not discovering too many rot issues.

You can watch the video below for the full story or slide through the photos to see the progress. Once the car was stripped of all the plastic paraphernalia and trim it was obvious that it was solid, albeit with some localised rot to one rear wheelarch and the base of the rear screen. We also identified some accident repairs to the nearside - these were done many years ago and not to a great standard - the finish was pretty wavey and the paint match dismal. All of these issues would be sorted out during the respray.

The car was resprayed, a full job that included the door shuts. But this really was only the start of the work. Because the plastic trim had also discoloured - a common problem with 1980s black plastic parts - we renovated these too. There are many ways to do this but I wanted to retain the original 'stippled' finish to the bumpers and wheelarches, so this required more attention to detail than simply repainting them.

With the car painted it also needed the extremely 80s black plastic stripes re-applied, a very fiddly job that took around half a day to get absolutely right.

The finished car is really testiment to the attention to detail by Ben and Julian in our workshop. The paint, which they spent two days mopping and polishing, is perfect (probably better than when it left the factory) and the bumpers, spoilers and other plastic trim look brand new. Now the car looks as well as it drives.

And that is the great thing about an Alfasud: it is such a hoot to drive. The final cars may be a little compromised compared to their predecessors - thanks to biggers wheels and more power - and the Golf GTI may be an all round better car. But it doesn't have the 'sud's character - the crackling exhaust, the pin-sharp steering, even the ape-like driving position.

I am really pleased to have the Alfasud back to its full glory and very proud of the work done by the Classic Fixers team. Had we charged for this work it would have been £2,000 including VAT. I don't think you can say fairer than that. To discuss your classic project call us on 01527 893733 or email info@greatescapecars.co.uk.

Here's the film of the story of how we restored this 1982 Alfa Romeo Alfasud. Find out more about what we do here or call 01527 893733 or email info@greatescapecars.co.uk.

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