To call the 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint rusty would be to do the term a disservice – this car has all the structural integrity of a handful of cornflakes, but it’s nevertheless worth saving. The owner has stated his desire for us to give the shell a new lease of life, and while doing so well require a significant amount of time spent custom fabricating a huge list of parts, it’s something well within our capabilities.
We thought we’d shed some further light on one of the more challenging single aspects of the Alfa Romeo’s bodywork, namely the area which forms drives’ side A-post. Not only has the base of said post corroded away to almost nothing, the rot has spread to the intricate network of braces and presses designed to impart strength and structural rigidity to the car. You don’t have to be Colin Chapman (or even Gordon Murray) to work out that this area having all the strength of a wet bowl of cereal is far from ideal, which is how the fabrication steps detailed below came to be set in motion.
If there’s one thing that messing about with old cars and their crusty bodywork has taught us, it’s that there’s simply no point doing the fabrication equivalent of applying a plaster and hoping for the best, which is why we wasted little time in completely cutting out the offending section entirely. It might look dramatic and it certainly leaves the car looking (temporarily) worse than when we began, but there’s simply no point in half measures when it comes to a car like this.
It probably won’t surprise you that heading along to the local Alfa dealership and simply ordering a replacement section isn’t really an option, not for a near sixty year old Giulietta with very, very few UK examples left in existence. Curing the rot once and for all has therefore involved the fabrication of several new replacement panels, CNC cut braces and various other essential pieces, a process that’s seen the skills of Stuart (our chief fabricator) put to good use.
Time, miles and exposure to the elements had all but decimated the original reinforcement section, hence our need to remanufacture a replacement. Not for the first time (and most certainly not for the last) we counted ourselves lucky to possess both CAD and CNC cutting facilities, both of which were employed to accurately plot and manufacture the uniquely shaped, triangulated section of steel brace, a piece central to this area of the Alfa’s inner structure.
We’ve since recreated a large portion of the A-post base and associated areas, including the vertical ‘plinth’ which runs from the inner sill to the A-post itself, and one of the most important single pieces of steel in terms of outright strength.
The required panels for this single area of the Alfa have taken the best part of a week to create, which should give you a clear indication of how much work this car will eventually require and how seriously we take our work. It’ll all be worth it though, not least as we’ll have played a part in getting another example of what must rank as one of Alfa Romeo’s prettiest cars of all back on the road, and also because we’ll be sure that all traces of rot have been banished from the shell. Not something which could be said of most Alfas of this vintage, naturally.
It’s also worth pointing out that this is just one side of the Alfa – Stu has yet to begin the fabrication of a corresponding set of parts for the other side, which although in better shape than the nearside, will still require a significant amount of new metal if it’s to ever match up to our exacting standards.