Thanks all for your thoughts - turns out that even proper Alfa agents cannot find the part numbers, even when they were given the VIN number for the car and, they first supplied the wrong part for a larger diameter rack end bar and then when my local agent in SW France was given the rh track rod end to match, he then spent a lot of time on the phone with his vernier caliper in his hand tracking down the parts which turned out to be Fiat track ends made as OE by TRW - the FIAT/Alfa part numbers turned out to be 9947435 and 9947436: now comes the sting in the tail - the right hand TRE was available from Fiat on special order at an exaulted price of 90 euros but the entire Fiat empire had no stock of the left hand one - have fitted the rh one now and the car has gone throught the Controle Technique ok (French MOT) but then I decided that if one side was buggered, I had better replace the other so I contacted TRW in the UK who have the parts in stock (why not Fiat group in Italy?) but will not supply direct to the public!! TRW part numbers are JTE 750 and JTE 751 - very helpful people but another prob to solve now - found out from them that they supply the Alfashop in Norwich so have ordered through our friends Carl and Phil - funny really because it was the Alfashop who originally could not find the right Alfa part numbers and supplied the first set of wrong TR ends. So the saga is reaching its end after 6 weeks with the same parts suppliers - what a load of nonsence - my thought is that the very first V6 Spider had this rack fitted but Alfa soon realised that it was not strong enough so fitted the beefed up rack, rods and ends but no-one at Alfa seems to have registered that owners would still want to keep their ancient beasts on the road. Once again thanks for all you helpful thoughts!