Ready to start afresh

Classic Cars (UK) - - Our Cars -

1972 Alfa Romeo Spi­der S2 Owned by Russ Smith ( Time owned Six years Miles this month 174 Costs this month £1228 Pre­vi­ously Failed to fix start­ing prob­lem

My last Our Cars ended with the Spi­der be­ing packed off to Alfa Work­shop in Roys­ton, Herts, as its lack of in­ter­est in start­ing regularly had got be­yond me. I felt the most likely re­main­ing can­di­date was the fly­wheel ring gear and Alfa Work­shop agreed and got on with re­mov­ing the gear­box – which is a lit­tle eas­ier with a work­shop two-post lift than in a do­mes­tic garage.

It was as well that they did. Not only was the ring gear in need of re­place­ment – it is prob­a­bly 45 years old, af­ter all – but the clutch plate had been con­tam­i­nated on one side by oil leak­ing from the front gear­box seal, so the car was about to have a gear­box-out job any­way. Nat­u­rally, I de­cided to have the lot done, all in one go.

About a week later I re­ceived the call to col­lect the car, com­plete with new ring gear, seal and clutch. I’d also got a call the day be­fore about the slightly rat­tly tim­ing chain I hadn’t no­ticed – there’s al­ways some­thing else – so they’d ad­justed that as well. The £1228 bill made my wal­let squeak a bit, but it is the first biggy the Alfa has thrown at me in the six years I’ve owned it, so men­tally di­vid­ing the cost by six went some way to mak­ing me feel bet­ter.

Though cau­tious at first on the run home, it quickly be­came clear that the car felt much bet­ter, much crisper to drive. And at last it now starts on the but­ton ev­ery time. I’d al­most for­got­ten the bill by the time I drove the Alfa into its re­dec­o­rated garage – I’d painted the floor and put up some more pic­tures while it was away hav­ing the work done.

I cel­e­brated in two ways, start­ing with a much-needed 35-mile top-down blast round some back roads to get prop­erly reac­quainted. That was fol­lowed by a visit to a meet­ing of the Cam­bridge & District Clas­sic Car Club, on one of those glo­ri­ously hot, blue evenings that you dream of when buy­ing a road­ster. The club ac­tu­ally meets in St Ives rather than Cam­bridge, but that’s cool with me be­cause it means a de­cent drive on good roads, and Cam­bridge it­self is so car-un­friendly these days.

It was a spe­cial club night where mem­bers take oth­ers out for a ride in their cars, so I gave a cou­ple of the guys a spin in the Alfa, had a ride in an MGB GT, then signed up as a mem­ber. The next event on the club’s sched­ule is a trea­sure hunt. I’m look­ing for­ward to that.

Russ’s Spi­der at the Cam­bridge & District Clas­sic Car Club meet

Alfa Work­shop re­placed the ring gear and clutch

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