Alfa 33 Rebuild

dickyb

Junior Member
Messages
428
So it looks as though its going to be yet another full stripdown, dashboard needs to come out to access some of the unsealed seams and it seems that the water draining from the windscreen is coming out in all kinds of strange places due to unsealed seams in the bulkhead area. Annoyingly I just got the air conditioning working after having to do some additional wiring but have now made a start on stripping out the bulkhead area to address the lack of seam sealant.

Evaporator/heater unit removed, heater system now bypassed and entire a/c wiring loom removed:

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All this is absolutely soul destroying, this will be the third time I have stripped the car for painting and all because nobody seems to be able to do the job properly. I should be out driving, not dismantling yet again.
 

Coxy13

Junior Member
Messages
120
Keep at it DickyB.

Let me tell you, there are people who are just as lazy/****** bags over here. I asked for quotes on a paint job a few months back, he took one look at the car and said $6k for a good job - not concourse. The quotes I had previously from people who are interested are around the 2-3k range.

it is really a shame to see tradespeople pull stunts like this, seems to be getting more and more common, they seem to forget they're there to do a job, and mechanics are a part of this too. The new age mechanics don't want to know about anything that doesn't take a computer and a quick read. Not all mechanics, just a bloody good proportion of it.

Mate keep at it, as I said, I took my old 33 for a run the other day (After telling myself I was going to give it away to my dad) and it re-ignited the flame a bit actually.

Best of luck
 

dickyb

Junior Member
Messages
428
This is heartbreaking. I assume you'll be suing them?

C
thanks for your sympathy, it is disturbing that a bodyshop of this supposed calibre made these kinds of oversights in the first place but to have the car for a further 3 years to rectify previous mistakes and to make such a mess is unforgiveable. Unfortunately this can now be considered to be negligence rather than merely an error. I can't really discuss what will happen on a public forum, you never know who's reading...

Keep at it DickyB.

Let me tell you, there are people who are just as lazy/****** bags over here. I asked for quotes on a paint job a few months back, he took one look at the car and said $6k for a good job - not concourse. The quotes I had previously from people who are interested are around the 2-3k range.

Mate keep at it, as I said, I took my old 33 for a run the other day (After telling myself I was going to give it away to my dad) and it re-ignited the flame a bit actually.

Best of luck
Its very sad that I am not alone with my situation and I don't understand how people can stay in business churning out this kind of ****. You are right about 33s, I've had my 33 for 20 years and whilst it may not be the fastest or most desirable car in the world there is something about how they drive that you rarely find in other cars. It is also amazing how many people have stopped to chat with me about the car whilst working on it outside my house.

As I mentioned before, my once pristine interior has been left in an appalling state, a couple of shots of the boot carpets, they should be dark grey but are covered in dust:

P5211507.JPG P5211508.JPG

and there are indentations in the seats after being stacked on top of eachother and dumped in a toilet corridor (they were originally placed on shelving racks and covered with sheets but had been moved at some point):
P5211509.JPG

In order to help the bodyshop get everything right I lent them my dealer workshop manuals which detail body repair and locations of seam sealant, this is the state it was returned in (and they still didn't get it right, I even borrowed another car to use as a pattern but I think its clear they couldn't be bothered):

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I have been working with a guy in Italy to reproduce the original fabrics and I will now carry out a full retrim, the first fabric samples have been produced and I'm very happy with the results, the colours have been adjusted back to how they would have been originally. Original fabric at the bottom of the photo, new reproduction fabric at the top:

33 P4 16v reproduction seat fabric.JPG

I've bought myself a sewing machine and will do the work myself, here is my first practice piece in vinyl on a spare seat (damaged foam will be replaced with new). Its not perfect and still needs a lot of work but not bad considering I'd never even touched a sewing machine before:

P5131502.JPG P5131503.JPG P5131506.JPG
 

dickyb

Junior Member
Messages
428
dashboard is out again, headliner is out again - you can see the roof sound deadening applied by the bodyshop isn't holding up very well. I think I've yet to find anything they did a good job of.

Feeling very annoyed at having to do this for a third time.
P1011438 (2).JPG P1011441 (2).JPG P1011439 (2).JPG
 

Gp79

Junior Member
Messages
763
That’s terrible, glad you’re keeping going.

They were clearly taking the p1ss at that last ‘effort’ probably on the hope you would just give up and go away.

Maybe it is time to threaten to name and shame all involved.
See if this helps find a resolution, but definitely not in the form of further work with them.

So hard to find someone who wants to do a proper job in any trade, not just make money.
 
Messages
149
Really sorry to hear you're having such rotten luck with some of these service providers who are failing to provide a service. Don't forget 'the squeakiest wheel gets the oil'. Perhaps it isn't your style to go in all guns blazing but if they value their reputation, which any decent business will do, they should know that it's at risk simply from you being honest and open about your experience.

The pictures speak volumes, the panel alignment is shocking, screen fitting pathetic. I really hope you get this sorted. I have quite a lot of legal experience both civil and criminal, if you'd like to PM me for any advice or views please do.
 

dickyb

Junior Member
Messages
428
The pictures speak volumes, the panel alignment is shocking, screen fitting pathetic. I really hope you get this sorted. I have quite a lot of legal experience both civil and criminal, if you'd like to PM me for any advice or views please do.
Thanks very much that's very kind and I think your comments really hit the nail on the head.

The car has gone off to a local car restorer today who are going to carry out an assessment of the true horror of the previous bodyshop's negligence, I'll go over and see them in the next couple of days to discuss the way forward. These guys specialise in classic Aston Martins, Jaguars and Maseratis but are also prepared to work on more mundane classics such as my 33. They seem to be very professional and carry out all work in house from bodywork to engine rebuilds, trimming etc so I am reasonably confident they can help me out of this mess.

You are correct, it isn't my style to go wading in with threats etc, one has to be a little careful with what is seen in the public domain and for now I am biding my time, all good things come to those who wait...
 

dickyb

Junior Member
Messages
428
thanks Matt, that's very useful. I have been watching a few of his videos and picking up a few tips along the way but hadn't seen that particular one. As with all things, the experts make it look easy but it takes a lot of time and patience (and an expensive sewing machine) to get it right.
 

conaero

Forum Owner
Messages
27,165
Dicky I looked into the machines and a used commercial sewer can be had reconditioned for between £4-600. You can do your curtains and cusion covers also ;)
 

dickyb

Junior Member
Messages
428
yep, I've been looking into them for some time and its amazing how complicated it gets. There are needle feed machines, walking foot machines, twin needle, single needle, high speed, slow speed, clutch motors, servo motors, single phase, triple phase etc. I've been struggling along with a heavy duty domestic sewing machine which has a powerful motor and all metal construction, it physically powers through several layers of vinyl no problem but it doesn't cope well with really thick materials such as when you back the vinyl with foam. The needle will go through it all fine but everything is too tight under the foot and it doesn't feed through smoothly so I get bunching and uneven stitches. Industrial sewing machines take up a lot of space and have to be permanently set up, what I need is a portable industrial machine such as a Sailrite but with a third restoration pending I'm not sure I want to buy one just yet.
 

dickyb

Junior Member
Messages
428
that looks just the ticket, I wonder what the reserve is? You do see industrial machines for £300 or so which is not too bad but they do take up a lot of space.

Not sure if you've had a go at anything yet but before investing too much money its a good idea to have a play with a cheap domestic sewing machine beforehand.

If anyone is interested these are some of the processes required to make one side bolster:

Original material unpicked and flattened out to make the template:

P4201468.JPG

I'm using vinyl to practice with as its only £5 per linear metre, supposedly vinyl is very difficult and unforgiving to work with so if you can master it you should be ok on leather and fabrics.

Original fabric laid onto the vinyl and the shape is transferred, very tricky as its difficult to keep the original fabric flat:

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Template marked with seam/stitching lines, holes to be cut, fold lines etc

P4291494.JPG

Templates cut out and ready to be sewn together (please excuse the coffee stain :( ). The notches help to align the two different pieces of vinyl as they are not symmetrical:

P4291496.JPG P4291497.JPG

I'm using French seams to join everything together, these will then be top stitched with either single or double stitching but this is where my current sewing machine struggles due to the thickness of the materials. A long way to go before I produce anything useable but not too bad for a first attempt, my templates are fine but I just need to play around with using shorter stitches to follow the curves more smoothly. I eventually I hope to do all the outer bolsters in black leather and the central parts of the seats in reproduction original material.
 

dickyb

Junior Member
Messages
428
Small update. The car has been on a holiday at a very well regarded car restorer who have been assessing everything over the past week or so, they were not very impressed with the previous work that has been carried out. The car will come home again later this week and stripping back to a rolling shell will begin (again), I am hoping that the car will then return to the car restorer sometime in October for all the rectification work to be completed. This will entail refitting and correctly aligning all of the external panels including a brand new front passenger door to replace the one ruined by the other guy, correctly reinstating all the seam sealant with the correct product, then a complete repaint inside and out including the engine bay. I am very confident that everything will be done to an excellent standard this time, these guys really seem to be perfectionists, they even told me they will do a few samples of seam sealant using different methods of application and different thinning methods to ensure they match the factory finish.