Learning the Basics…

It’s been several weeks since accepting delivery of this beloved jewel… and getting to drive it has been a real adventure.  I love it and can’t get enough!  The difference between driving it and an everyday SUV that never really gets up to 3000 rpm is beyond words.  Driving a classic Alfa Romeo makes having no power steering and a manual transmission a pleasure.  Once at temperature, shifting just feels and sounds right between 3500 and 4000 rpm if you drive by ear.

Not ever being a ‘car guy’, I’m trying to learning to do the basic maintenance myself.  Just the basics… clean oil and in-tune?  I hope to get it on a lift and have the Alfa specialist in my area help me make a new ‘issues’ list soon.  I’ll  compare the ‘needs to’ list with invoices & receipts I got from the previous owner to help me set new priorities.  Driving & getting accustom to how a 46 year old Alfa Spider runs & handles has been the real first step for me.  She definitely sounds loud, smells like gas, and burns oil.  Just what we all love about a classic Italian sports car!

Current goals:

  1. Have fun and drive it like I stole it (Italian Tune-Up)
  2. Learn to change the oil and filters myself  (source the parts I need)
  3. Learn to go through the ’69 – ’74 SPICA injection system tune-up procedure

I also notice that it didn’t start well.  Gradually got harder to start as the weeks heated up.  We have weeks of high 90’s and high humidity in my part of Texas.  Seemed to be running really rich and spewed black gunk from the tailpipe when you warm it up.  The cold start was becoming more and more difficult and wouldn’t idle.

I also notice the tachometer and speedometer never dropped to 0.  They always stop at 500 rpm and 10 mph.  Never lower.  I didn’t know what to think and it made me suspect they didn’t work.  I even asked a local Alfa club member about it who said he’d never seen one with dials that would drop to 0…  turns out there are tiny little stop pins that prevent the tach and speedo from reading below 500 rpm and 10 mph.  It’s not a flaw at all, its a feature.







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