Car Mechanics (UK)
PART EIGHT: We’ve come to the end of our Alfa Romeo GT project as Rob Hawkins completes the final few repairs.
We’d been looking for a straightforward and cheap means of fixing our Alfa GT’S glovebox and its missing chrome-effect cover ever since we collected the car from Bedford BCA. As discussed last month, a new glovebox was out of the question and a new lock may not have been the answer. Thankfully, the solution was even simpler when we looked at the back of the cover and spotted a threaded hole. All we had to do was work out a means of manoeuvring a screw through the glovebox lock’s handle to secure the cover.
On this occasion, Youtube came to the rescue through a short video showing someone fixing a similar problem on an Alfa 147, which has the same design of glovebox. The only trouble was the entire video was spoken in Italian! After switching on subtitles and choosing a translation to English, we had a better idea of what was going on. The video explained that by drilling a hole through the lid of the glovebox, a screw could be fed through to secure the cover to the handle. As you’ll see from our photos, the repair worked perfectly.
One job that we haven’t been as successful with is the removal of a dent in the nearside rear wing. We’ve managed to reduce it a little, but not completely.
So our Alfa GT project has come to an end. We’re now using the car on a daily basis and, so far, it is behaving itself. The coolant needed topping up (roughly half-a-litre) after the head gasket repair, but it hasn’t lost any fluid since. And with the direct-injection JTS engine now firing on all four cylinders, it sounds and feels livelier. The ride quality is firm but comfortable, and with new Avon tyres all-round, the handling is grippy. In the tradition of Alfa Romeo, this GT is definitely a drivers’ car.
Having threatened to become a money pit, our GT has been turned around. Alfa Romeos of this age are rarely troublefree, so even if we had paid a higher price and bought a vehicle with a full service history, we would still have had to perform all of the same routine maintenance we’ve covered throughout this project and would have undoubtedly have had several repairs to tackle.
On reflection, bargain bangers such as this Alfa GT are often auctioned for a reason, although we have been luckier than most with our project cars. What we have now is an Alfa GT that should hopefully last for many years to come, provided it’s looked after and routinely serviced.