its is with much delight that i can write that another car has been saved, and even better, Matt, a previously active member and owner of 33's and GTV's etc, is back in action, having now taken delivery (almost!) of his new ride (well not quite!)
a 33 P4 no less!
i'll explain more....
Alex, of 33bits fame, rang me to enquire if i could help a guy out, as he was acting as middle man to put car and customer together, and the missing bit was the logistics needed to fetch the car from Wakefield, and deliver it to Matt in Wolverhampton.
"Matt in Wolverhampton?" i enquired, "not Matt who has had 33's before and a gtv to my knowledge?"
"yes, do you know him?" Alex replied
you can guess the rest can't you? ha ha!
so Matt then contacts me to discuss the finer details, and sure enough it is Matt, the same Matt that even owned one of my former 33 16 valvers, the one i ended up selling Kev the engine and gearbox from to build his current 16v Sud with!
We enjoy a quick catch up, and to cut a long story short, we arrange to meet up at the current P4's residing address in Wakefield, and see this "rare find" for ourselves.
The build up was certainly a very interesting story, including a history of careful no expense spared ownership, a complete "Nut & Bolt" rebuild less than 2000 miles ago by Mangoletsi Workshop, etc etc, the promises sounded glorious, and the possible deal and price, well, if the car was to be anything like as good as described, just a ridiculous steal!
Matt was excited, i was excited for and with him, and we were both looking forward to a nice day out collecting this P4,
It wasn't quite to go as smoothly as planned!
Firstly, myself and Matt, were to arrive at the postcode given to us from different directions, and after a bit of walking up and down, and even commando'ing down some drives (not appearing in folks garden without pants!), we could not actually find an Alfa owner within a small radius, but eventually we made contact with the elusive owner, and we were led down a lengthy track down to an opening which was currently home to several Land Rovers
and various other crud, and yes a Red P4!
if i knew the bloke or had my cheeky head on, i'd have asked if the other colours were thrown in for free!
to say that this car had been stood for some time, was an understatement, and Matt has since confirmed that it hasn't actually been mot'd or roadworthy for some 3 or more years, which would kinda reinforce the findings of red, pink, and purple paintwork, some woth laquer on it, some without, and with rear brakes so seized, that dragging the car home all the way to Wolverhampton wouldn't have cracked them free!
The car was unable to start, dead battery, zero fuel whatsoever, and a certain amount of reluctance to allow us to rectify this was felt by Matt and myself, so we nervously retired back to my van on the main street to discuss.
It was of paramount importance for Matt to know that he wasn't about to about to buy a lemon, so the very least we wanted was to have the motor turning over, for us to hear that there wasn't anything misplaced or evidence of belt failures etc etc so we returned with Matts van and my boost cables, and we did just that, turn it over and over, which it was happy to do, but with no attempt whatsoever to fire, not even once,
The interior was quite nice and solid, but the car really had not been touched at all in an attempt to show it at its best, or even to its future potential, no effort whatsoever, and this was clearly making Matt a little worried, maybe even nervous at some points, as we discovered more and more issues as we went round it.
on my knees i could see that the majority of the floor "appeared" solid enough, sills? same, and so on and so on, but our closer and closer inspections mixed with our dull expessions, were clearly giving the game away, and the owner, Andrew, enquired as to whether we were expecting something a litlle more, err, polished?
Polished? Polished would have been flippin amazing, on a GigantamaHoooosive scale!
but rust free as promised? Nice!
starts or even runs? Bloomin Lovely!
and not being a permanent fixture of the Rural Wakefield Horizon would have been an Effing Miracle!!!
By now, Andrew was feeling the dissappointment, and/or dissapproval of Matt, and the conversation turned more towards things like, "maybe if i tweaked the price a little?"
well, i thought, so long as his idea of Tweaking was the same as ours, which in fairness was closer to "Halving!" we might end up on the same train track, but we could still crash!
But the reality was this, and was typical of the justification for buying an elderely unroadworthy Alfa as it has been stated before, "You buy an old alfa with your heart, and not with your head"
So yes, we agreed that hey, its a P4!, how many are they're available these days, chuff all really, so condition aside, Matt was still wanting this car, even though it is a shadow of its former self, and certainly did not resemble a Mangoletsi rebuild of my understanding, which oddly enough the evidence and bills for which have been, err, lost by a builder
but then the head said yes, but lets get it cheaper and not let the miss's see it!
now thats a using your head plan!
so Matt and Andrew agreed a new and wholey more appropriate price, but we now planned to take it to my gaff for further assessment and short term storage, and maybe even to be worked on depending on how things look and work out,
so here she is, getting ready to move home, Matts new P4
it took some work to shift it, the rear pads had rusted into the disc, almost become one single mass of oxides!
so we cracked the wheel nuts from the OZ turismo's, and as my hand searched behind the skirts for the jacking point, i knocked it off with a mere graze from the mighty Thumb of Odin that is my right hands primary apendage! OOooops!
ok, plan B, my bottle jack under the rear axle and try again, and success this time, daylight beneath the tyres, wheels off, rear calipers off, and knock the remaining blobs of brake pads off the disc, back on its wheels, and hey, she can roll again!
sort the trailer out, winch it on, and head off back down south to my gaff where we finally breathed a sigh of relief over a hot brew, and eventually even giggled a bit over the adventures that had just taken place over the far too many hours it took to achieve!
BUT, this is not its home, just a temporary stop gap, and i knew that if Matt was actually going to smile and relax about the days business, AND be brave enough to tell his good lady the truth of the days activities, we had better find out pretty quickly if he'd spent wisely or not, so i suggested we throw some fuel in her, and have another crack at getting her going again, before Matt continued further south down to home in Wolves. This way, the planned assessments on structural condition and repair/renovation potential would be worth continuing with, or at worst mean that he hadn't lost all his money on a complete turd!
We had perviously heard a squeaking that i can only guess was the fuel pump attempting to prime from a bone dry tank, so encouraged by the fact that it at least tried, Matt threw in a tenner's worth of Murco's finest, we attached my Ir'n Bru type jump leads to his diesel astra van, and i liberally dispatched the easy start into the AFM.
YES! she fired, try again,
YES! she runs, and revs, and sounds and looks good,
NO NO NO NO! there goes £9.80's worth of that Murco's finset onto the drive!
Clearly a huge fuel leak from around the inner wing area, i supect a filter union or nearby pipe has simply perished into almost nothingness,
Wakefield has become the unlikely home of one or more of the rogue members of the Biker Mice from Mars, whom having been axed from several US cartoon and childrens channels amidst rumours of behaviour unbecoming of a heroic rodent group, disbanded their samaritan motorcycle club, and apparently turned to the booze and drugs, and on even harsher times, seemingly now gnaw their way into stationary vehicle fuel supply lines in and around Huddersfield!
Who knows eh?
The saga will continue, and the car may prove or disprove to be a good or bad buy yet, but theres penty of hope, and i think Matt has done right so far, but maybe most importantly,
Matt is Back, owns an Alfa 33 again, and plans to be out and about amongst the rest of us at first opportunity, and will probably be along in the Boxer Lounge pretty soon to contribute his version of the whole affair so far too,
well done Matt, and welcome back