Buying Abroad – head south to find the soundest ‘Suds
Fewer than 90 examples of the Giugiaro-designed ’Sud remain in Britain, so it’s worth scouring the globe to find one that’s as rust-free as possible
Solid bodywork is hard to come by with this bargain gem of Italian design, so buyers in the UK have a good incentive to cast their nets beyond our soggy shores. The main headache is that while values have picked up, big transport costs can be hard to justify. But there are some worthy bargains out there.
Italy was of course the Alfasud’s sunny heartland, and that’s where most of the classified ads originate today. Options are relatively plentiful, though service history and the quality of past welding can be questionable, so choose carefully. Budget roughly £3000 if you want to convert one to right-hand drive.
Assembly also took place in Malaysia where, as in Italy, they were the car of choice for the local police. It’s a potential source of right-hand drive models, but decent survivors are rare and would need to be excellent in order to justify the roughly £4500 import costs. You’ll be a pioneer if you’re importing to the UK, so try the active Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club Klang Valley (AROCKV) Facebook group for sources and contacts.
A safer bet is South Africa, where right-hand drive Alfasuds were produced. UK Alfasud specialist John Christopher of Justsuds in Lancashire (01257 794823) says that a few UK buyers have had some success buying over there.
There’s not a huge number available, but they’re cheap, and the dry climate is potentially a big advantage with such a rot-prone car. John says buyers should look out for a few interesting little differences in spec compared to European models though. He says: ‘South African cars have different vinyl trim and headlamps, and the bumpers are made from chromed mild steel rather than stainless steel.’
Although the cost of shipping seems lavish, bargain values compared with their inflated prices in the UK could make it worthwhile in the end. Just make sure that you choose carefully, either by inspecting the vehicle yourself, or getting a local impartial expert to advise you. It may be worth the expense. John adds: ‘If I were looking to buy an Alfasud today, I’d definitely consider looking overseas.’